Peek Inside Our Summer Photoshoot Survival Kit

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As editor in chief, I have to write a lot of uncomfortable emails — whether it’s rejection letters or asking brands the tough questions about environmental standards. Personally, the height of uncomfortable might just be telling a model not to wear deodorant for a 2 hour shoot in 90+ degree weather. Don’t worry, I’m not a total sadist. We’ve just been burned way too many times by mainstream deos wrecking garments on loan.

As much as I love our home base in the South, the summers here — which seem endless thanks to climate change — force us to prepare for each photoshoot like we’re going on a hiking trip. Will there be mosquitos? Oh yeah. Will the makeup we just spent an hour doing threaten to slip off our model’s face in ten minutes? You bet. Luckily, after a few seasons of sizzle, we now know how to pack a mean survival kit.

When scouting for new items to add to our on-location bag, we look for vegan, cruelty-free, and palm oil free options where it is possible. Good Cubed, a newcomer in the clean beauty marketplace, has filters that make it easy for us — they’ve done all the background work on the brands they carry so we can just shop. We've love that they also donate 1% of every purchase to Rescue + Freedom Project, a Los Angeles-based organization that rescues animals all over the world.

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Creative Assistant Victoria applying bug repellant.

Meow Meow Tweet Bug Repellant 

Did I mention the mosquitos? Just about any scenic, green space we can think of is teeming with little blood sucking buddies. This DEET-free bug spray is key to keeping our entire production team safe from the feeding frenzy. Bonus: it’s also clothing and hair safe.

Glossier Invisible Shield

This might be a controversial pick, as its not palm oil free, but we feel that a photoshoot is not a good enough excuse for putting a model’s health at risk. We proudly feature a lot of diversity in our editorials and a palm oil free sunscreen for the face that can a) suit every skin tone, b) sit comfortably under makeup, and c) won’t clog pores just doesn’t exist in the market yet. This cruelty-free and vegan option is our go-to until that change happens!

RMS Beauty “Un” Powder

Applying powder is key to the longevity of any makeup look and that rule is tenfold in high temps. To keep makeup from slipping, I apply powder three times: before foundation, after foundation, and during the shoot to temper sweat. This is our top choice because it has no color and is finely milled, meaning it won’t leave a ghostly cast on anyone’s skin.

Lily Lolo Eyelid Primer

Essential to keeping smokey eyes et. al. from creasing. I’ll apply this to the lid, set it with a neutral color, then pack pigment on top. Voila!

Yarok Feed Your Style Vegan Dry Shampoo

In case of emergency, break out the dry shampoo. We don’t use this often, but in the event of a particularly humid shoot, we’ll apply this to avoid any continuity errors and, ahem, soak up all the sweat we can. Hey, who said photoshoots were pretty?

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Fashion Editor Meggie applying deodorant.

Erbaviva Lemon Sage Organic Deodorant

This product is a hero among deodorants. Because it’s a spray — scented beautifully, I might add — it doesn’t leave a single trace on clothing. We’ve also pit tested this baby in full sun and couldn’t smell anything but lemon sage at the end of shooting. This allows me to add a comfortable aside to my aforementioned uncomfortable email: “deodorant will be provided for you on set.”

Yarok Feed Your Hold Vegan Medium Hold Hairspray

If dry shampoo is cold medicine, this medium hold hairspray is the Vitamin C you take the second your throat tickles. While I’d love to bring out the Aquanet and spray a model’s coif into oblivion, alas, we are an aerosol free magazine. This non-sticky hairspray is a primo substitute.

Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil

Andddd we’re back to the sunscreen controversy. Trust, it vexes me plenty. But until we find a broad spectrum SPF that won’t alienate our deep skin-toned models, I’m between a rock and a sun damaged place. The added benefits of this body product, besides being vegan and cruelty-free obvi, are that it’s waterproof and provides a beautiful sheen in a much safer way than say, olive oil. PSA: Makeup artists, please stop using vegetable sprays in lieu of sunscreen on set?!

Ursa Major Face Wipes

Somehow, some of our wildest makeup looks end up being last and models usually have to jet off to work right after a shoot. While I’d love to offer them a cleanser and a towelette, that rarely gets to happen. These 100% bamboo face wipes are perfect for when someone doesn’t want go to a job interview with disco eyes — yes, that happened. These are great for wiping off oil before an outfit change, too.

Photoshoots are, by their nature, wasteful and imperfect things. Sometimes, we have to put the personal comfort of our models and team before the purity of the editorial and that’s okay. At the end of the day, environmentalism is a journey, not a destination, and I believe that this list really exemplifies that. It’s taken a lot of time and research, but I’m proud to say that we’ve found a way to make this artform as eco-conscious as possible. Whether you’re on a shoot or just want to maintain a composed visage this summer, trust that these products can help you weather the heat.

Shop Good Cubed here.

🍒 Photography by Magdalena Antuña. Featuring Meggie Copeland and Victoria Jameson.  🍒