Remember Evian spray? The glamorous, overly expensive facial mist of the ’80s and ’90s. It contained water… that’s it. But the idea of spraying purified water onto our face was so…luxe…that we’d shell out over $10 for the high-end hydrator.
Cut to a few decades later and, while Evian Facial Water ($13) still exists, mists that act as toners, serums, and vitamin activators have completed upended the market on luxury hydrating sprays. Being both refreshing and moisturizing, these face mists 2.0 are multitasking, prepping the skin for deeper absorption of products, plumping the complexion with vitamins, minerals, and anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid, protecting and purifying the face from environmental pollutants, and, of course, toning, calming, and beautifying. These mists should be used post-wash and prior to serums and creams. Because of the convenience of a spray applicator, face mists 2.0 are perfect for on-the-go touchups… anywhere (like the gym or post-work).
1. Spray onto a cotton pad and gently swipe across face, neck, and chest for a deeper clean.
2. Spray post makeup to “set” the look and to add a healthy dose of dew (in other words, to un-matte your skin).
3. Spray into the palm of your hand and combine with your favorite moisturizer to a) dilute a heavier cream or b) inject some additional ingredients into the cream.
4. Spray onto hair, chest, neck, even arms to hydrate and refresh.
5. Feel free to mix and match mists for optimal results, and spritz onto your face every few hours for an infusion of healthy ingredients.
Shop a few of our favorite face mists:
Farmaesthetics Cool Aloe Mist ($26) – This award-winning mist contains a simple combination of aloe, lavender, and bergamot for healing inflamed tissue from sun-exposure, burns, or exposure to radiation like lasers. Suitable for all skin types but ideal for sensitive complexions.
Skin Inc. Pure Serum-Mist ($55) – Use on normal, combination, and dry skin types to hydrate, soothe, and calm angry skin due to sensitivity and acne. This product is like a serum in a mist applicator – seriously healing and effective.
Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48) – This celeb-favorite formula leaves the complexion gorgeously glowing. Great to use to “set” makeup as well. Just spritz after makeup application is complete for an all-over healthy, dewy effect. Formulated with 20 percent botanical oils and humectants and infused with a Hadasei-3 Anti-Aging Complex that supports antiaging. Suitable for normal, combination, and dry skin types.
Derma E Purifying Toner Mist ($14) – Ideal for oily, active, or urban skin types, this formula of marine algae and green tea protects against environmental pollutants and rebalances skin for a healthy, youthful glow from the first mist.
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System ($35) – Based on traditional Korean skincare, this mist contains bamboo sap to improve product absorption, 5-Hydra complex™ to protect against daily environmental aggressors, and lotus and green tea extract to tone and hydrate. Leaves a healthy glow to the skin pre or post makeup. Can be used on all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone.
Fresh Rose Floral Toner ($40) – Rosewater, one of nature’s most decadent anti-aging ingredients calms, moisturizes, and clarifies. The aromatic floral water will leave skin healthy, hydrated, and pleasantly scented. Can be used on all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone. (Learn how to create a DIY rosewater mist here).
First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist ($16) – Vitamins to feed your face. Contains B5 to moisturize, vitamin E to nurture and protect, and vitamin C to brighten. This alcohol-free mist does it all: replenishes, hydrates, soothes, and restores. Good for all skin types, even the most sensitive and reactive.
I was in the country for the weekend where summer seemed to be a distant memory with the temperature peaking at a brisk 63 degrees. Excited by the cooler climate, I whipped out my cashmere sweaters and Burberry wool blend coat (I highly recommend purchasing this slim-fitting, versatile black jacket to add to your fall wardrobe – I practically live in mine!). At last, I thought, fall has arrived.
Ahhhh. Not so fast. I returned to Los Angeles yesterday where the sun blasted me with her oppressive rays and the temperature hit 100 degrees. To say I was hot would be an understatement. I was melting… which got me thinking, how do we navigate these drastic weather differences — from city to city and day to day?
I turned to celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, whose clients include Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Karlie Kloss, and Michelle Williams, to tackle this looming climate-slash-skincare crisis. When it comes to all-natural and DIY skincare, Vargas is one of the best in the business.
Here, she explains how to transition your skin – and your skincare routine – from summer to fall, and offers up a few of her favorite transitional products, plus a post-sun treatment mask that will have your complexion glowing (literally) within minutes.
Sarah Howard: How does skin change from summer to fall?
Joanna Vargas: At the end of the summer going into fall, the sunscreen that we’ve used is clogging pores, most people have suffered sun damage, and their skin looks dull and dehydrated, really clogged. Fall treatments for me include really great exfoliation. I like to have people do my Exfoliating Mask and even sleep in the mask overnight so it stays on the face for a long time to clean out the pores. Another great at home fall beauty mask is combining yogurt with honey.
SH: How should you alter your product regimen?
JV: Skin needs more TLC during the fall because the transition from humid to cold weather can be extremely drying. Dry skin is so fragile, and you have to do more to protect your lipid layer. I suggest adding a day cream to your routine that contains soothing Shea and cocoa butter – they melt at body temperature so they go right into the skin and stay there all day, so you don’t end up feeling dry halfway through the day. Also, another great ingredient to look for is avocado oil. It contains so many amazing vitamins for the skin and lymphatic system, so it will depuff, hydrate and soothe the skin.
SH: Add or subtract anything in particular?
JV: Fall skin is damaged, dry and in need of repair. The best way to start is to use a cleanser that can exfoliate the dead skin and stimulate collagen production. I would also consider doing a nice peel to really start fall refreshed. I like both fruit acids and enzymatic peels. Also, summer sun and pollution stress the skin and fall is the perfect time to repair the damage with an intensive moisturizer.
SH: How can you manage these at home?
JV: The best skincare tip I can recommend is something I learned when my son had excema as a baby. To this day it is my family secret for healing dry, sensitive skin. Boil a large pot of water with one cup of chamomile tea leaves and one cup of rosemary. Cook these for fifteen minutes. Then strain and add this water to your bath. Not only will you feel relaxed from your day, this potion will soothe your skin like nothing else. Dry patches and redness will disappear overnight!
Also, Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom. It will add just enough moisture to the environment to give your skin the chance to do some real healing. For those who are afraid of the bacteria that sometimes can accumulate in a humidifier, you can even get a little one that attaches to a mini water bottle.
DIY TIP: A great at-home scrub would be 1/4 cup of almond powder plus 1/2 cup of olive oil- it’s so simple but scrubbing this on the skin for a few minutes in the morning will soften sun damage, exfoliate dead cells and actually calm the skin. Plus it adds a glow!
SH: What are your 5 must have fall skin products?
JV: I love the Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser for fall because it also doubles as an exfoliant. This cleanser contains rice bran which helps to remove the damage while the geranium acts as an anti-bacterial agent and seaweed stimulate the lymphatic system.
Eve Lom Cleanser is awesome for soothing and hydrating the skin while removing all traces of makeup on the face. It’s one of those classic products that everyone I know uses.
Wei White Lotus Moisture Rich Eye Blend is one of my favorite formulas because it’s gentle, but it’s also super rich. It contains peptides to keep the skin strong and the white lotus delivers minerals to chase away fine lines that have formed from summer stresses.
One of the best moisturizers I’ve found is Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm. It will reduce inflammation, help to regenerate tissue and will address uneven pigment that you may have from summer months. I like it because it restores the moisture barrier for the skin and reduces redness.
My own Joanna Vargas Rejuvenating Serum is the perfect serum to sleep in. It repairs the skin, and because the formula contains jojoba oil, it’s great for all skin types, even oily skin. This serum will help to soften sun damage from the summer and make all those fine lines disappear.
SH: Do you have a DIY treatment for post-sun skin?
JV: I would do this mask:
2 tbsp almond oil
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp warmed honey
1/4 organic yogurt
The almond and olive oils are anti-inflammatory and will soften any damage from summer. The honey hydrates the skin and the yogurt calms and exfoliates the skin. Mix together and leave on the face for 20 mins. Your glow will be amazing when you are done.
Celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno (she works with Gwyneth Paltrow, Amanda Seyfried, Felicity Jones, and a slew of other A-listers) has an affinity for all-natural products. In an interview with Beauty Banter a couple of years ago, she said: “I began my career in social work helping women feel better, and I love that I still get to do just that every single day. I’m extremely passionate about the burgeoning green beauty component, and love finding out about new products made with ingredients that are safe enough to eat.” We caught up with Katey yet again to find out what are the latest and greatest green products in her makeup bag, and how we could curate our very own all-natural Labor Day beauty arsenal. Here are Katey’s current healthy skin and makeup staples:
1. RL Linden + Co Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist ($48) – This amazingly scented blend of hydrating and calming hydrosols, oils, and essences goes with me everywhere. It’s the first thing that goes on my face, and I refresh with it all day long. It doubles as my perfume and deodorant at times, too.
2. Jennette All Natural Skin Care, Potion #2 ($150) – After struggling with breakouts for most of my life, I reached my late 30’s and realized I’d neglected to use anti-aging serums in favor of anti-blemish treatments. Whoops! Luckily, this awesome LA-based facialist created a product that actually combats signs of aging for skin prone to acne. Hallelujah!
3. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($40) – This oil is super hydrating but surprisingly light, and has absolutely helped turn back the clock on some of my sun damage. Three drops is all I need, every morning, and I’m hydrated throughout the day.
4. Ren Active 7 Eye Gel ($30) – I don’t like a heavy eye cream in the summer, so this light gel is perfect. It’s cooling and hydrating and is a great base for a touch of concealer.
5. Jane Iredale Lip Scrub ($25) – I love the sleek size of this container, and I think everyone should use a lip scrub, every day. It gets rid of the scaly flakiness before it starts and leaves lips feeling so healthy and hydrated in a way I never knew I needed, but now I can’t do without.
6. Utowa Eyelash Curler ($22) – I love the angle of the pad and the length of the head of the curler, and since I’ve been trying to go without mascara (really tough for a blonde lashed girl) this summer, a serious curl of the lashes is always my focus.
7. Nvey Eco Volumizing Mascara ($17) – Despite becoming more comfortable with my blonde lashes by day, when the sun goes down, I always feel the need to make my lashes stand out. A few coats of this is the perfect mid-weight way to accentuate lashes.
8. Ilia Cosmic Dancer Illuminator ($34) – This is such a staple in both my personal makeup kit and what I use for work. It melts into my skin, is just the right color for me (really a non-color), and I apply it with the tip of my ring finger to my cheek bones after blush, to my cupid’s bow, sometimes to my lips, and to my lids. A little goes a long way.
9. RMS Lip2Cheek in Demure ($36)- It’s a soft, cool pink with a lot of punch. I get compliments on my cheek color constantly when I wear this creamy, coconut-based shade. I’ll often press some into my lips as well, and top with some balm.
10. Bite Beauty Lip Crayon ($24) – For a more intense punch, I’ve been favoring this super easy to wear pop of deep fuschia. I’ll press it into my lips with my finger, and then blend what’s left on my finger onto the apples of my cheeks if I’m looking pale. It’s great for a sheer application for day, and fantastic with a more intense touch for night.
11. Dalish Illumination Concealer ($22) – This all-natural Canadian brand does a great job providing just enough coverage in the perfect texture – especially for summer. I like using the wand to lightly dot the product along the darkest portion of my under eye circles. Using a clean finger, I lightly press it in, making sure not to feather it to the outer edges – avoiding creasy crows feet at all costs!
12. Intelligent Nutrients Curly Hair Serum ($32) – My hair always wants to frizz. Nine out of ten times when someone compliments me on my hair, it’s because I’ve worked this product in while it was still damp, followed by another dollop of it once it dried. The scent is earthy and delicious and doesn’t attract bugs, which is often my gripe with other hair de-frizzing creams.
13. Ama.la Detoxifying Body Oil ($58) – I have about 25 bottles of body oil in my bathroom, and another 3-5 on my bedside table. Despite this, I never have trouble deciding which to use each day. I always know exactly which scent and viscosity I want based on the weather/time of year/state of my skin. This light, fresh fig, myrtle, and apricot kernel-infused oil is just what I crave towards the end of summer – both the lightweight, easily-absorbed aspect, and the addictive scent.
14. Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint ($45) – I love the look of bronzer, but hate the tell-tale ‘I used a bronzer’ look of most cream and liquids that are chock-full of reflective pigments and shimmer particles. This sheer, lightweight, super faint bronzing tint is moisturizing enough to use on its own, but I generally mix it with either my face oil and dab along the highlights of my face, or with body oil before I slather up my legs. I’m not sure if it really makes my cellulite disappear, but I think it does, and that’s all that matters.
15.Herban Essentials Towelettes ($16) – These are key for me because I apply everything with my hands, and I never want to touch my face unless my finger tips are freshly cleaned. The lavender scent is a total bonus, and serves a double duty, helping to keep bugs away.
*For more Katey, read her first makeup bag interview here.
Vitamin C is a favored beauty ingredient because it achieves three very important complexion goals: It lightens, tighten, and brightens the complexion. Ideal for a myriad of skincare issues including sun damage, acne scaring, collagen depletion, and aging concerns, vitamin C is like a cure-all for the face (just like it is for the immune system).
Even if you have been blessed with the genetic lottery and boast a flawless complexion, a vitamin C serum should still be a part of your daily skincare regimen because of its ant-aging and preventative abilities. After all, even the most porcelain of complexions can benefit from an extra bit of brightening – and tightening – right? In fact, vitamin C gives everyone better skin, seriously.
When using a vitamin C serum, apply post wash and pre moisturizer. Let it soak into the skin for a couple of minutes before moving on with your routine (brush your teeth or floss to kill time). While you can use vitamin C AM and PM, I recommend starting with a PM application to build a tolerance, as some skin types may feel a burning or stinging sensation, followed by some mild redness. Generally speaking, this reaction will go away after a few applications. I apply morning and night and I always make sure to wear SPF during the day, post vitamin C, as potent serums increase sun sensitivity. So, if you’re planning to spend the day baking in the sun, skip out on the vit C.
While Vitamin C is usually most potent in a serum or powder, it can also be found in brightening moisturizers, enzyme peels, and face washes.
Here are a few fabulous vitamin C serums and products to try today:
1. Obagi Professional-C Serum 10% ($82) – This deeply penetrating serum comes in three strengths – 10%, 15%, and 20% (definitely start with the 10%; it’s potent and results are practically instantaneous). One of my favorite vit C serums of late, this stuff does it all – lighten, tightens, and brightens – without irritating skin or depleting it of moisture. In fact, it leaves the complexion dewy and luminous.
2. Natura Bisse C+C Vitamin Cream ($115) – The end-all-be-all for drier skin types concerned with aging, this vitamin C-packed cream helps to restore skin elasticity, tone, and firmness while adding serious moisture.
3. Murad Intensive C Radiance Peel ($55) – One of my longtime favorite at-home peels, this stuff really cleans out clogged pores and sloughs away dead skin while leaving the complexion soft, smooth, and beautifully bright and radiant.
4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($88) – Firms and brightens skin, and reverses photo aging, this potent serum is packed with antioxidants and nutrients to nourish, lighten, and brighten skin, while deeply hydrating.
5. Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash ($65) – Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas has concocted an extremely gentle yet effective wash full of vitamin C to leave skin clean, smooth, and brightened, while hyaluronic acid offers lightweight moisture to plump and revitalize the complexion. Pure cleansing perfection.
*Make your own DIY Lightening and Brightening Lemon Toner here. Face-changing!
The rising temperatures inevitably have you sweating more than a whore in church. Sorry… was that too much? The heat tends to go straight to our head and affect our better sense of judgment. In any event, beyond your standard ways of cooling off (jumping in a pool, taking a freezing shower, sitting directly in front of the AC), there are several beauty products that have cooling properties and can kinda, maybe, sorta cool you off like sticking your head in the freezer!
Here are our favorites:
Summer means a lot of sweating, so in all likelihood you will find yourself washing your face much more frequently. To avoid over-drying, try Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar ($30) and wash without disturbing your skin’s delicate pH. It’s filled with lavender and aloe to calm and invigorate.
Sunscreen can often feel sticky and goopy. That is far from the case with La Roche-Posay Anthelios 30 Cooling Water-Lotion Sunscreen ($36), which has a water like texture that you will actually find refreshing.
Not only does First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist ($16) reawaken your skin, it lightly hydrates and simultaneously protects from environmental irritants. Pop the small bottle in your fridge for an added boost of refreshment.
Whether your eyes are puffy from a salt-filled summer BBQ or a long day at work, H2O+ Eye Oasis Instant Hydrating Stick ($25) has caffeine and algae to cool and nourish tired peepers. Like the spray above, this product is also fantastic in the fridge.
Although moisturizing may feel counterintuitive when your oil glands are in overdrive, it is not a step you should skip even on the hottest of days. Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence ($48) is impossibly lightweight, but still intensely hydrating. You’ll feel more chill than you would after a session with your shrink.
A short jog in serious heat and humidity can feel like a marathon. Soothe your tired muscles with Mio Workout Wonder Invigorating Muscle Gel ($33), which has a cocktail of herbs and extracts to feel like an ice pack on your skin.
You know those days when you do a full face of makeup only to have it completely melt off by the time you arrive to the office? Luckily, COOLA Suncare Classic Face Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30 ($36) can prevent those dreaded occurrences. Not only will it keep you cool and refreshed, but it’ll also protect against UV rays.
Getting that gross film of dirt and sweat off your body after a long day is a serious task. C.O. Bigelow Mentha Body Vitamin Body Wash ($12) will leave you feeling downright chilly. What could possibly be better? Okay, maybe a cold glass of wine waiting for you when you’re done showering.
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com
If you aren’t layering your skincare products yet, let this be a practice that you pick up in the new year. Layering is BIG at the moment – layered hair, layered clothes, and layered skin products. Like adding on a shirt, sweater, and jacket, layering your retinoids, serums, and moisturizers, allows you to get better results. Think about it in terms of your winter outfit: you put on the sweater and the jacket to keep warm, then throw on a scarf, gloves, maybe even a hat to keep these areas even toastier. Certain areas of your face need certain products and ingredients while other areas don’t, and layering allows you to spot treat where necessary while still offering up essentials like Vitamin C and hydration to the entire face.
“I started by layering natural ingredients from the market, like aloe vera and rosehip oil,” explains Kat Rudu, facialist, founder of the eponymous skincare line, and devout layerer. “I would exfoliate and then apply certain serums for each area of my skin depending on my concerns at the time.” Rudu explains that if she had oily skin one day, she’d add a few drops of tea tree oil into her aloe vera. Another day, if she needed more hydration, she’d add some all-natural rosehip oil. And on days when her skin was combination, she’d spot treat with tea tree oil on the greasy areas and rosehip on the dehydrated parts.
“Serums deliver active ingredients into the skin.” Rudu suggests applying two to three serums post wash and prior to moisturizer, but make sure to let each dry before applying the next one. “Maybe brush your teeth in between,” explains Rudu. I’ve been doing everything from putting on my pajamas to bringing a glass of water to my bedside table. After each task, I apply my next product.
How do you know what products you should apply to your skin? Consider your concerns and then choose accordingly. Rudu suggests peptides or hylauroniuc acid for anti-aging and plumping (TRY: Perricone MD
Hypoallergenic Peptide Complex ($98), Sanitas Hyaluronic Concentrate ($68), Kat Rudu Liquid Lift ($68)); kojic acid and licorice root for brightening (TRY: Skin Ceuticals Phyto+ ($80), First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Serum ($44)); willow bark for oily skin (TRY: Eminence Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum ($56)); aloe vera for sensitive skin and/ or rosacea (TRY: Philosophy
When Hope Is Not Enough ($43)).
Rudu explains that you layer in order of the serum/ moisturizer’s consistency, meaning from thinnest to thickest. Directly after washing your face, “you go with antioxidants like vitamin C (TRY: Kat Rudu Hydra Cell Vitamin C Serum ($72) or Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum ($45)). Second is a peptide or hyaluronic acid. After that, you can turn to the oils, especially for more mature skin that craves additional moisture.” Rudu opts for essential oils like rosehip and jojoba (TRY: Pai Skincare Rosehip Bio Regenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend ($35) and Desert Essence 100% Pure Jojoba Oil ($10)). “Then you do a moisturizer to seal everything.” (TRY: Kat Rudu Hydra Cell Bright Citrus Moisturizer ($54)). The last step is your chosen SPF for sun protection.
At night, Rudu explains that it’s essential to add a retinoid into the mix. “You can either do the retinoids first and then add the serums or do the serums first and seal it with a retinoid. I’ve always put the retinoid first, though.” Basically, skip the vitamin C and put the retinoid in its place. The rest of the layering routine is the same as the morning, minus the SPF. For both AM and PM, use an eye cream directly before your moisturizing step.
It’s pretty basic but the results are anything but. “The more you layer, the more potent the ingredients become,” explains Rudu. So, next time you wash your face, follow it with a slew of serums, an oil, and a face cream that focuses on your specific skin concerns. Watch your complexion change literally overnight. New year, new skincare routine!
“Your skin is the largest living organ and is the first line of defense against all of the microbes and other hazards in the environment,” explains facialist and founder of eponymous skincare line, Cecilia Wong. “Though it can regenerate, repair, and restore itself, it’s important that we take very good care of it.”
So, how does the sun – and summer months – affect our skin? “During the summer, the sun is the strongest and UV levels can wreak havoc on exposed skin. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature aging, causing excessive oil and sweat, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin discoloration, and loss of collagen, hydration and vitamins.”
But wait. There’s more… pay close attention, especially those suffering from acne. “The sun can also cause clogged pores, leading to whiteheads and small bumps. Heat can cause oil glands to work overtime, hence, the oily T-zone,” says Cecilia. “We also sweat more causing dehydration and loss of minerals and vitamins. In order to maintain a healthy radiant glow, we need to take the necessary steps to replenish and protect our skin daily.”
No need to hide in doors just yet. Here, Cecilia Wong offers up these 6 crucial steps and product recommendations to add into your summer skincare routine. Follow them, and you’ll save face.
1. Add in a Vitamin C product – Vitamin C contains loads of antioxidants that helps repair sun damage, reduce sunburn caused by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation and prevent the consequences of long-term sun exposure that leads to wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and loss of collagen. Vitamin C is also great in preventing and reducing acne. I’d recommend using Vitamin C from plants or fruit oil which is less invasive and won’t irritate skin.
TRY: Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream; Cecilia Wong Skincare Vitamin C Cleanser
2. Switch to a lighter moisturizer – This goes for all skin types, even those with dry skin can experience sweat and oil during the summer. The dermis is made up of 70% water and the epidermis, 15%. In order to keep the skin well moisturized but not oily and greasy, it’s important to choose a water based moisturizer that balances the level of water within the skin. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this step altogether as it’s essential for your skin to remain hydrated. One way to discover if your moisturizer is too heavy is to check your skin an hour after applying – is your face filled with grease, especially the T-zone area and does your face feel heavy with the moisturizer sitting on your skin? If the moisturizer is too heavy, this can cause clogged pores leading to breakouts.
TRY: Ilike Sulfuric Whipped Moisturizer; Cecilia Wong Skincare Moisturizer for Oily/Combo Skin
3. Choose a higher SPF – During the summer, the UV index is the strongest. It’s important to wear sunscreen at all times, but especially between 11 A.M. AND 4 P.M. Sunscreen protects your skin from visible aging (sun spots, inflammation, uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, wrinkles, loss of collagen and dehydration). Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 30. For those with fair skin, malasma or prone to sun spots, opt for SPF 60. To be the most effective, sunscreen needs time to absorb into your skin. Apply 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours.
TRY: Coola Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30; La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 (both are suitable for all skin types)
4. Exfoliate – In the summer, skin cells are shed at a very quick rate daily, so if you don’t get rid of the dead cells sitting on top of your skin, they can cause it to look dull and dry. Exfoliating helps in removing dead and dull skin debris and prevents congestion and clogged pores. It also helps to improve better absorption from toners and moisturizers, helps even out any skin discoloration, draws excess oil out of the pores and leaves skin less shiny. I switch between using the Clarisonic (it really gets the dead skin off without over scrubbing and gives my skin a smoother texture) and enzyme based exfoliators. Enzyme based exfoliators contain minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, so not only do they get rid of dull skin, they are also anti-aging. Enzyme exfoliators are less harsh and drying than ones that contain glycolic or salicylic acid. They are also gentle enough for all skin types.
TRY: The Clarisonic; Ilike Sulphuric Exfoliator; Ilike Botanical AHA Peel
5. Add a Toning Mist into the mix – Extra sweat means that dirt, oils and other environmental chemicals are trapped close to the skin and your pores. It’s important to keep your pores closed and skin cool by using a non-alcohol based facial toner. Facial toners are refreshing and, with the right ingredients, they restore, repair and hydrate the surface of the skin. They can also kill bacteria that can cause acne and other blemishes. When you sweat, you lose minerals and nutrients necessary for healthy skin and a toner can add the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Stay away from alcohol or artificial fragrances.
TRY: Cecilia Wong Skincare Pro-biotic Charged Rejuvenating Toner Mist (for combination and oily skin); Ilike Rosehip Toner (for normal to dry skin)
6. Apply a Mask 2-3 time a week – For those with oily/combo skin or acne prone skin, use a clay or herb based mask. For sensitive and dry skin, use a hydrating mask. During the warmest months, acne and other blemishes (blackheads, whiteheads, small bumps) can occur. Other skin conditions can also flare up (heat rash and rosacea) and skin loses water, vitamins and other nutrients. Applying a mask can help rehydrate, cool and prevent breakouts by purifying and detoxifying the pores. It rejuvenates and repairs the skin from the day’s damage.
TRY: Cecilia Wong Skincare Multi-Purpose Blemish Peel Mask, Ilike Rich Carrot Mask (to hydrate)
Dr. Julie Russak gave us a quick chemistry lesson about various acids for the skin. Here’s what we learned:
1. Different acids achieve different results. To treat acne, look for salicylic and beta hydroxy acid to decongest pores, as well as glycolic acid to encourage cell turnover. If you’re concerned with aging, try hyaluronic acid to plump and retinoic acid for a fresh glow. Struggling with hyperpigmentation? Ascorbic acid and kojic acid can help lighten and repair sun damage.
2. Aggressive acid peels should be left to the professionals, lest you want to risk serious burns and scarring. TCA (trichloroacetic acid) is extremely strong, so be wary. Everyone remembers Samantha’s unfortunate incident before Carrie’s book party in Sex and the City… enough said.
3. Professional peels should happen approximately every two weeks for a specific condition, and then every two to three months for maintenance. If you’re treating at home, resurfacing serums can be used as often as every evening.
4. If you like playing chemist and mixing your products, be careful. Products with low concentrations are generally okay to mix, but take care not to disrupt the skin barrier with excessive use.
With Dr. Russak’s tips in mind, we rounded up our favorite products with acids as an active ingredient:
As we get older, aging becomes more of a concern. That being said, our acne woes have all but completely disappeared. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90) not only clears pores, but also promotes collagen production. Despite trying a slew of serums on the regular, this one has remained in heavy rotation.
Acid near the eyes can sound scary, but that is far from the case with Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream ($68). The creamy formula moisturizes and smoothes with ferulic acid and retinol; no high school chemistry class eyewash required.
Since our oil glands tend to go into overdrive when it’s humid, pores are begging to be cleaned. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads ($30) control oil and shine with salicylic acid, but simultaneously soothe with willowbark extract.
Although no one likes to talk about it, flaky scalps are a common ailment. SACHAJUAN Scalp Treatment ($45) treats irritation with rosemary oil, menthol, and salicylic acid. Plus, it’s much chicer than stealing your dad’s Head and Shoulders.
Sometimes skin needs powerful hydration, but who wants to glop on thick cream during the summer? Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Refresh Infusion ($100) deeply hydrates with hyaluronic acid, but with a light and easily absorbable formula.
Acne on the face is annoying enough, but adding your back, chest, and shoulders is just icing on the cake. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash ($8) cleans off dirt and sweat while treating those pesky spots with salicylic acid.
Brighter and firmer skin in two minutes is a bold claim. However, M-61 Fast Blast ($50) does that and more thanks to vitamin C and ascorbic acid. And don’t worry about irritation since there’s also plenty of seaweed and aloe to soothe.
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com