Sun’s out, guns out, am I right? Just as you want to shed those layers and crawl into something more...comfortable, so does your skin to your skincare. Summer is a fun, sexy time for us, but with the heat comes serious UVA and UVB rays, sweatiness, beach days, day drinking, sometimes not washing faces due to the former, and humid, muggy days. Let’s shed our cream cleansers, things labeled “ultra-rich” and step up our SPF.
In the winter, you may have found yourself stocked up on gentle cream cleansers to combat the gusting air and the prickly dryness of the heated indoors. Once summer rolls around, the days are hot and long, resulting in sweat and pore-clogging bacteria. To ensure your pores stay clear and fresh, opt for a gel or foaming cleanser for a deeper clean.
Try the ExfoliKate Daily Foaming Wash. It has AHAs and BHAs to clean out pores and provide gentle daily exfoliation needed during the summer months.
There’s also Ole Henriksen’s Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser, which will sweep away excess oils and dead skin cells with AHAs, while neem oil keeps skin balanced without feeling stripped.
Renee Rouleau’s Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel is your perfect summertime cleanser because a) it smells like mint, which is super refreshing for the senses and the skin and b) it’s not going to be harsh on sensitive skin. The licorice root soothes skin while spearmint and other antioxidants brighten the complexion.
Depending on what your skin type is, you’re probably using a serum that works specifically for your skin goals. If you’re dry, a light hyaluronic acid will definitely do! For acne prone and combo skin types, keep on doing you with a blemish-fighting or Vitamin C serum. What we are really here to tell you is to take a break from retinol serums or treatments. Vitamin A speeds up exfoliation, which is great during the flakey winter months, but during the sunny summer, it can be problematic as it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun and prone to sunburns–even if you only use it at night. Stick to a physical or gentle chemical exfoliator instead. If you use a prescription like Retin-A, just be sure to slapppp on the sunscreen and wear a hat in the sun!
The palate cleanser of serums: The Ordinary’s Buffet. This has a light texture with hyaluronic acid, peptides and amino acids to hydrate and combat aging.
Go on-brand for summer and try Glow Recipe’s newest fruit-inspired serum, Pineapple-C Brightening Serum. This bad Larry is a lightweight formula made with brightening pineapple juice and vitamin C and calming chamomile.
Another fun product to try this summer, D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Drops from Drunk Elephant. It’s like if sunless tanner (the good ones, not the ones that turn you orange) and serum had a beautiful love child. It boasts antioxidants and fatty acids all while giving you the benefits of a sunkissed visage without the sun damage.
If there was ever a time to sneak a mist into your routine, it’s now. They’re refreshing, moisturizing, and just some delightful summer soup for the soul… a gazpacho, if you will. While not totally necessary, mists can provide a mid-day moisture surge, upping the hydration levels. Personally, I keep one in my beach bag so I can bake in the sun and get that nice little oomph. Be sure to watch ingredients though. Some mists contain alcohol which will dry out your skin!
La Roche Posay Serozinc is a good mist if you tend to be a bit oily. It contains thermal water, which soothes and zinc sulfate, which mattifies.
Holy cannoli, I love Jordan Samuel Skin’s Mist so much. It smells like cucumber (which calms) and contains red seaweed for antioxidants and glycerin to hold in hydration. This is my pick for summer mists TBH.
Another fave is Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence. A bit bulky due to the beautiful recyclable bottle (they do refills so you don’t have to waste!), but it smells soooo beautiful, kind of like honeysuckle and lavender. It contains hyaluronic acid for moisturizing and ferulic acid for antiaging.
The best step of any routine, I would argue, but during the summer is the time to tone it down. With the excess humidity and sunshine, your skin doesn’t need as much moisture, so you can put that heavy cream into hibernation. Now is the time to opt for a lighter water-based moisturizer or gel formula to keep your skin light and airy.
Glossier Priming Moisturizer is a hit for a reason. It’s probably the perfect summer moisturizer: lightweight, combats redness and doesn’t exacerbate greasiness. It doesn’t contain SPF so make sure to layer one on top!
Belif Aqua Bomb is an oil-free gel moisturizer that’s super refreshing to apply. It contains lady’s mantle which is an antioxidant-rich herb that fights free radicals to prevent aging. Again, no SPF here, so layer up.
Supergoop is known for its creative ways of presenting us with sunscreen, but sometimes all you need is a one-step moisturizer with built-in SPF. Their new Superscreen combines light oil-free moisture with SPF 40 that won’t clog pores or feel heavy.
I feel like all I do is tell y’all about sunscreen, but here we are again. Keep wearing sunscreen! (See what I did, I just assumed that you were wearing it all winter because the sun don’t discriminate -_-) But if you hypothetically haven’t been wearing sunscreen, get hip to it and layer on some SPF. It prevents skin cancers, aging, sun spots, sun damage–it does it all! But during the summer, the rays are stronger due to the earth’s position in relation to the sun, so if you were doing a cute SPF 15, consider stepping it up to a 30 or 45. If you’d like more info on the sun and what’s she’s trying to do to us, we wrote a whole thing about it.
Another Supergoop rec. Their Unseen Sunscreen is a crowd pleaser because it doesn’t leave a cast on darker skin tones like others. This SPF 40 formulation contains meadowfoam seed oil for hydration and red algae to protect against blue light rays too! Ahhh, to be live in the digital age...
Another fun way to make any moisturizer an SPF: Coola Sun Silk Drops. These SPF 30 drops can be added to infuse any base product with sun protection. You can also apply it like a serum, but that’s a decision left up to you. It contains chamomile, aloe, and jojoba oil for ultimate hydration.
OOoo plot twist! This is also a 2-for-1, but it’s makeup. It Cosmetics’s CC Cream is the dankest and I’ll tell you why. I’ve used this for a couple years and it has collagen, hyaluronic acid, AND SPF 50! It also has a nice medium coverage tint to it for the days you need a little help in the complexion department.
Exfoliation is a beautiful thing, especially during the summer because all the sweat and build-up can clog those pores.
One thing to note, skin can be sensitive from chlorine, sunburn and the like, so skip exfoliation if you’ve had a rough week.
If you need more direction re: exfoliation, don't worry. We made a handy dandy guide.
Herbivore’s Blue Tansy mask is a dream. It contains gentle fruit enzyme AHAs and willow bark BHAs that dissolve all that gunk up in your face. Blue Tansy, the star ingredient, is an anti-inflammatory, so it calms any redness or sensitivity you might have going on.
Biossance’s Squalane + Glycolic Facial is a beautiful balance. The glycolic acid exfoliates away dead skin and cleans out pores while squalane replenishes moisture. A match made in heaven.
Another fruit-derived moment: Ren Glycolic Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. A mouthful, but a good one. It has papaya, passionfruit, and pineapple–the holy trifecta of enzymes–to gently exfoliate and brighten skin after long days in the sweltering heat.