This summer's beauty aesthetic = mermaidcore

Wanna play mermaids? This summer's best beauty inspo comes straight from Ariel and her shimmery siren sisters: pretty pearls, ocean eyes, saltwater tresses and glassy skin. 

Mermaidcore is making a splash again but this time with an updated spin: Think clean girl aesthetic but with bold, ethereal looks that shine under the sea (yes to beach days and pool party nights) and on the shore (taking you from your bestie's birthday brunch to fancy family dinner). Let's dive in!

Beached Babe


These shimmery shades fit right in on the coral reef. "These eye looks are so fun because you can truly use any combination of colors," says makeup artist Sophia Hutch. (Hint: Stick to just one kit of colorful shadows to start. "Palettes are designed to complement each other," Hutch explains.) As you apply, "use a small, dense brush and don't overblend," says Hutch. "You want the colors to feel blurred but distinct—just like a watercolor painting."

Feeling bold? Choose a bright hue and, using short strokes, blend into the hollow between your eye socket and nose for a mesmerizing effect. Finish with a glossy lip oil and baby pink blush. We sea you. 

Juvia's Place Garden of Juvia Eye-shadow, $25 | E.l.f. Cosmetics Eyeshadow "C" Brush, $5 | Kosas Wet Lip Oil Plumping Treatment Gloss, $22 

Shipwrecked Strands


The wet look elevates perfectly imperfect beach waves (and makes it seem like you just wrapped up a morning surf session even if you live nowhere near the ocean). The surprising secret? "Start with totally dry hair," says hairstylist George Fragkioudakis. Beginning with big sections at the back of your head, saturate hair with gel from roots to ends. Gently brush through strands with a detangling brush and lightly tease at the scalp with your fingers to add volume and texture. 

For glossy face-framing fringe, separate strands and bring forward, soaking them with gel. "Use hairspray and a tail comb to shape the piece," explains Fragkioudakis. Slip in a few pearl hairpins or mini pearl decals to finish the sea princess vibe. Spritz on shining gloss and blow-dry on low heat to lock the look.

Aussie Instant Freeze Gel, $10 | Kenra Professional Shine Spray, $21 | Recollections Adhesive Backed Pearls Value Pack, $9 

Pretty as Pearl


Bye, bronze: We're smitten with this year's pearl skin trend, a perfect match for all your floaty summer dresses and linen crop tops.

When going for the glossy sheen Hutch advises careful layering, especially if you're working with skin that tends to be oiler. "Save gloss and glow products for last," she recommends. "Prep with an oil-controlling primer, apply foundation, concealer and setting spray, then dust a tiny amount of translucent powder on your oiliest areas first." Now lightly pat your gloss or glaze onto any high points of the face (cheeks, brown bone and cupid's bow).

For an extra shimmery finish, swipe highlighter on your cheekbones and inner corners of your eyes. And you don't have to stop there: Bring the gloss and highlighter down onto your collarbones and neckline for an allover sheen. Ariel would approve. 

Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix Multi-Use Pigment in Crystal Clear Glaze, $20 | Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Confetti, $32 | Lime Crime Mermaids Hi-Lite Palette, $38

Aquamarine Eyes


If you hold up a conch shell to your ear, you'll hear the ocean whispering "blue shimmer shadow," because the cerulean look is a must this sunny season. 

To make sure your blues stay super vibrant, start with an eye primer to help the shadow go on smoother and last longer. Then play with pigment by layering lighter shades on the inner corners of your eyes and gradually blending darker as you move color toward the outsides of your lids. Blue mascara on your lower lash line completes the aesthetic—and makes eyes of any hue stand out. 

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Eyeshadow and Concealer Primer, $25 | Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Washable Mascara in Blue Mist, $13 | ColourPop Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Makeup Palette in Blue Velvet, $14

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our June/July 2024 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Keep reading for more beauty inspo:
💄Your guide to dry skin in the summertime
💄Your new beauty obsession = craftcore
💄 Your ultimate summer camp beauty routine, right this way

Top image: @shari.mua
Slider image: @merry.laney


by Erin Sargent | 7/6/2024