Ah, summer. Our favorite time of the year. There are the long, hazy days and the sultry nights and … sweaty skin, breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage that no one asked for. And we mean no one. But that doesn’t have to be the norm, we promise. There are ways to protect and save your skin in the golden days of summer — and it doesn’t include a sacrifice ritual.
In fact, your skin actually has different needs during the summer. The temps, humidity, and exposure to hotter elements bring out different sides of your skin — and so that means you need to act accordingly. So from head-to-toe, we’re bringing you our favorite skincare essentials to get your Hot Person Summer on while still keeping your skin as lovely and smooth as the top of a hamburger bun. (Admit it, hamburger buns look like perfect skin.)
A Gel Cleanser
With summer comes heat — and the blessing/curse that is humidity. Depending on your skin, the humidity can either turn you into a glowing goddess or a shiny oil-slick. Do your skin a favor and swap out your winter cream or oil cleanser with a lighter cleanser. Why? Because heavier cleansers leave lipids on the skin in order to hydrate — but you don’t need that in the summer months. So go for a gel if you have normal skin.
Remember that (thicccc) creamy, heavy moisturizer you sang praises to during winter when your skin was giving you corn husk vibes? (Or was that just us?) It’s time to let her go — for summer, at least. Swap your heavier moisturizers for a weightless, oil-free version that won’t clog your pores (this is especially important if you have oily skin). And that’s primarily because as the temps rise, your skin starts to rev up its oil production due to the heat. And more oil may mean your skin doesn’t need as much moisture.
Our number one tip? Look for a moisturizer that draws moisture into your skin, like one with a hyaluronic acid. Our favorite is this one — it’s the definition of a lightweight moisturizer, and works for all skin types.
As self-proclaimed sunscreen queens and kings, we feel it our duty to always remind you of our holy grail of all skin products: SPF. And with our many love letters to SPF, you had to know this was coming — especially considering we’re talking about summer, where we all spend a lot more time outside. Be sure to wear sunscreen every single day (not to sound like a broken record, but it’s that important)because most skin damage occurs as a result of daily exposure — and let’s not forget that UV rays are stronger in the summer months. And we do not subscribe to sun damage here.
So slather and slay and then reapply. Our favorite is Elta MD UV clear sunscreen — it’s moisturizing, light, and oil free, and somehow feels like a luxury applying.
Listen, you didn’t come this far in your skincare journey to not use Vitamin C. Next to SPF, Vitamin C is our non-negotiable. And here’s why: It works to protect your skin from environmental stressors, like smog and UV damage, and both of these are big factors in signs of premature aging. When it comes to the summer months, Vitamin C is especially helpful to sidestep hyperpigmentation and UV damage too. Which makes us implore you to add it to your summer morning routine.
As your skin gets more sticky during the summer, you might be tempted to exfoliate more often. And while exfoliation is great for all skin types — especially oily skin, as it becomes thicker in the summertime — make sure to limit it during the hotter months. The truth is, exfoliation can increase skin sensitivity because it removes some of the protective layers, which means your skin is more reactive to the elements. When you do exfoliate, make sure to use gentle formulas and alternate your nights of use. (And if you’re constantly forgetting things like us and need a chart to remember, by all means consider this your permission slip.)
The acid that graces our countertops in summer is The Ordinary Mandelic Acid + 10% HA. And that’s because mandelic acid is one of the most gentle acids — it penetrates the skin at a slower rate than others, making it perfect for summertime when delicately exfoliating is key.
How anyone’s skin managed to survive the summer months before these products were invented, we’ll never know. (Seriously, is this why everyone stayed inside during the Victorian ages?) But what we do know is that we’ll be using these products from now until September, and telling everyone we know — because everyone deserves Natalie Portman skin. Everyone.