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A Little Sun Thing To Talk About: Step Up Your Summer Skincare

It may be the strangest summer yet. Here are a few ways to lighten up, and also power up your summer skin routine.

This summer may look a bit different than summers past (read: global pandemic), but Mother Nature is right on schedule. The hot, sticky, sweaty, sunny and chlorine-filled season is upon us. Long days and sunnier skies are great news for our emotional and physical health, but the shift in seasons can be tough on our skin. The harsh sun rays, pollution and dirt can wreak havoc on our body’s largest organ, not to mention heightened stress levels. In fact, this year has a bonus factor “maskne” from mask-wearing. It may be the strangest summer yet, but make sure your skin can breathe. Here are a few ways to lighten up, and also power up your summer skin routine.

Sunscreen Dreams Are Made of These

Walking on sunshine? That’s great, but also not so great. We need the sun for vitamin D, which is crucial for our immunity, our moods and our circadian rhythms. However, it can also wreak havoc on our skin cells and cause irreversible damage.A good sunscreen is essential to protect the skin from powerful UVA/UVB rays.

Try: NYDG Skincare’s Chem-Free Active defense SPF 30

Designed for sensitive skin and ideal for sports or any activity that breaks a a sweat. In fact, it’s the best unkept secret of several water sport champions. “It’s like wearing a million tiny umbrellas,” explains Dr. David Colbert, celebrity dermatologist and founder & head physician of New York Dermatology Group. He adds, “It’s a natural, organic way to protect your skin from the sun.” With regenerative squalane and antioxidant argan, it protects skin without irritation. The product also blends invisibly and evenly under makeup.“Organic argan oil is a great way to protect the skin against environmental stressors,” says Dr. Colbert.

Try: Coola Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Non-greasy, lightweight, organic and made of plants — check, check, check and check! Coola’s sunscreen is water-resistant, vegan, non-gmo, paraben-free, gluten-free and reef-friendly, too. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, this sunscreen comes in 100% recyclable plant-based tubes sourced from sugar cane. Coola’s farm-to-face formula provides sheer broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and hydrates skin at the same time. Try the cucumber variety for an extra burst of freshness and use the body spray for long, active days in the sun.

Try: Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 30

This hydrating product protects from UVA, UVB and IRA rays. The lotion is water and sweat resistant, so it’s perfect for playing outside all day or going for a swim. The formula is also reef-safe, A.K.A. octinoxate-free. The Glowscreen SPF 40 is a multitasking sunscreen that not only protects, but also hydrates and acts as a primer to give the skin a dewy glow. And if you’re on-the-go this season, try their Glow Stick – a portable dry oil sunscreen stick for the face, chest and shoulders to protect and highlight skin anywhere and everywhere.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

This goes for your skin and your plate. Water is so important for skin health. After all, our skin contains 64% water! In the summer, it is even more essential to avoid dehydration. Make sure to drink as much water as possible throughout the day, but don’t forget, you can eat your water too.

Fill your meals with hydrating summer fruits like melons, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, berries and tomatoes. Hydrating vegetables include cucumbers, leafy greens, celery, eggplant and zucchini. Other great, naturally hydrating foods include everything coconut (water, oil, butter, milk), avocado, sweet potatoes, olive oil, nuts and seeds and green tea.

Aim for a lighter moisturizer during the summer months. Dr. Colbert warns: “Avoid products with glycolic acid or molecules that can be affected by the sun.”

Try: Colbert MD Nutrify & Protect Day

A great lightweight daily moisturizer for summer (and every season) that includes Coenzyme Q10. This protects skin from UV damage, while Tibetan goji berry aids in reversing sun damage. In addition, tremella mushroom is a hydrating, natural source of hyaluronic acid that boosts collagen and reduces feelings of dryness. It’s also the perfect remedy for sun or stress-induced (read: global pandemic) blemishes. And, great news — you can use it with sunscreen.

Try: Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer with Skin-Smoothing Peptides

A brand new moisturizer from Vermont’s queen of green, Tata Harper. This innovative, lightweight hydrator is engineered with water-locking technology that delivers a sustained dose of hydration. Applying this moisturizer is like someone handing you a slice of watermelon or coconut water every hour, except for your skin. This summer-ready product primes and smooths the skin with orange peptides, pomegranate and hyaluronic acid. An extra bonus: It heals your skin… and the planet. When you run out, just grab a recyclable refill pod to continue this cycle of beauty.

Try: De Mamiel Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar

This nourishing nectar shields your skin from UV rays and oxidative stress. A natural, mineral UV filter of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide protects from both UVA and UVB rays, and prevents oxidative stress and cellular damage.Ingredients include avocado extract, raspberry seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, quercetin and tocopherol, all enriched with heavenly essences of flowers. It’s tough on the sun, but gentle on the mind. Start the day with an aromatic and empowering breath of fresh air. Feel like you’re walking on sunshine without actually absorbing sunshine. Genius!

Try: Susanne Kaufmann Face Fluid Line F

This light, sensorial moisturizer balances skin for a clear complexion. It nourishes the skin without causing stress. In fact, it infuses the skin with healing herbs like calendula blossoms, chamomile flowers and witch hazel. Witch hazel might sound spooky, but it actually has powerful antioxidant properties to protect skin from damage and inflammation).

Mist Opportunities

Facial mists are among the best products to instantly refresh and hydrate skin. Light and floral, they are bursts of energy in a bottle.

Try:Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist

Smells like la vie en rose in every spray. This blend of hyaluronic acid, rose water, coconut water and hibiscus extract hydrates and softens skin. Use on clean skin or over makeup for fresh, dewy skin in seconds.

Try: De Mamiel Dewy Facial Mist

An energy boost in a bottle. This mist instantly soothes, hydrates and energizes the skin with a blend of essential oils and phytonutrients. I love a few spritzes on a summer day to destress my skin and mind.

Try: Susanne Kaufmann Rose Water Mist

An antibacterial and anti-inflammatory product to help soothe and treat impurities and irritated skin. Keep in the refrigerator for an extra cooling sensation.

Try: Max & Me The Intuitive

This is the most mystical mist around. Use it as a refresher throughout the day (especially during these hot summer months). Quench thirsty skin while bringing peace to the mind, as well as troubled or inflamed complexions. You can happily spray acne, rosacea, allergic reactions or sunburn away!

Oil Together Now!

Since our skin tends to feel more oily in the summer, many people tend to avoid oils during this sweatier season. However, doctor’s orders: Don’t. “You can absolutely use oils in the summer,” confirms Dr. Colbert. “There is a common misconception that oils cause acne – they don’t. There is nothing better for the skin after 35-40 than an oil.”

Try: Colbert+ CBD Face Oil

A natural anti-inflammatory product with 11 essential oils, including CBD. This CBD is pure, organic cannabidiol isolate — A.K.A. cannabis at its finest. It’s blended with other skin-nourishing ingredients like avocado, baobab and marula oils. While you’re at it, try the Colbert MD Illumino Face Oil! This product harmoniously blends naturally powerful ingredients like borage seed, yangu, marula, passion fruit and argan oils. The result? An instantly soothing massage to improve skin’s overall tone, texture and glow.

Try: De Mamiel Summer Facial Oil

This facial oil designed for the sunniest season simply feels like summer. It feels like running through an open grassy field on a warm day and falling onto a bed of sunshine. It’s a vitalizing blend of lemon seed, geranium and wild rose mixed with skin-soothing prickly pear, pomegranate and sea buckthorn. To top it off, flower essences of marsh marigold and pink frangipani make it smell and feel like summer. Indulge in flowers, sunshine, joy and celebration in every drop.

Try: Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil

In this season of blue skies and the deep blue sea, there’s another blue in town. Lapis Lazuli is a beloved stone in Egypt, known for a gorgeous deep blue hue and precious Blue Tansy oil. This oil soothes dry, irritated skin while reducing redness and restoring balance. Designed for combination, oily or blemish-prone skin, this oil is ideal for balancing hydration.

Try: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

This serum has reached legendary skincare status. The ingredients contain 22 of the world’s most nutrient-dense, whole botanicals from conscious growers around the globe. These are simple, yet elegant ingredients you know and can pronounce (Avocado, hazelnut, lavender, lemon, turmeric…). The result? A serum that is nourishing, regenerating, anti-inflammatory, balancing and protecting.

Après-Sun Care

While we all know that too much sun isn’t good for our skin, we can’t seem to resist during the summertime. Sometimes we use sun protection and other times we don’t. In that case, we find ourselves doing the walk of shame home from the beach, totally sunburned.

Think of these après-sun soothers as the “morning after pill” for risky sun behavior. Or, as Dr. Colbert calls it: “a sunburn hangover.” He likens sun exposure to drinking alcohol: “A little glass of wine is OK, but when you drink too much, you’re killing off brain, stomach and liver cells. When you’re over 40 and you drink too much, you feel it the next day. The sun does the same thing.”

Fear not, there is hope for imbibing on too much sun. “Your sunburn hangover can be treated up to a certain point. It is possible to reverse some of the damage.”

Try: Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Ultra Hydration Body Oil

Give your skin a trip to a Hawaiian beach without the plane ticket. Treat your skin to coconut oil, coconut CO2 extract, and a hint of natural tropical florals for nourishing and hydrating the skin.

Try: Max & Me Sweet Serenity Rescue Balm

Heal sun-damaged skin or simply pamper any sensitive, inflamed, irritated, stressed or damaged skin. I simply adore this German brand for its infusion of positive energy. This blend of beauty oils, butters and essential oils is extremely hydrating. Experiencing redness and acne during this sunny, sweaty season? Max & Me Balm to the rescue!

Try: Susanne Kaufmann After Sun Moisturizing Gel

This hydrates, boosts collagen synthesis, and calms the skin. It was created specifically to soothe and balance the skin after sun exposure. As such, the regenerating nutrients have a refreshing, lightly cooling effect. Use on your face and body, too.

Try: Aloe Vera

Or, go au naturel! Aloe vera is an obvious but effective cure for burned skin (or really anything — it is truly a miracle plant). Apple cider vinegar also works wonders for hangovers — skin or otherwise.

Wash Responsibly

It’s no secret that washing our faces too much can irritate the skin. “In general, scrubbing and roughing up your skin every day is a bad idea,” says Dr. Colbert. That said, if you have acne, are wearing makeup or sunscreen, or jumping into salty oceans or chlorine-filled pools, cleansing is a must.” Dr. Colbert recommends using “only gentle, non-soap cleansers on the face.”

Try: NYDG Colloidal Oatmeal Cleanser

A gentle facial cleanser that removes makeup and impurities with mild exfoliation. It leaves skin smooth, nourished and protected thanks to colloidal oatmeal, chamomile and aloe vera. Bromelain exfoliates, allantoin and vitamin E nourish, and green tea adds an antioxidant boost to protect skin from environmental stressors.

Try: Max & Me Purity & Grace

A facial oil cleanser that gently cleanses the skin of pollutants, impurities, makeup, and other environmental or digital toxins. As a detox for both the face and mind, it is infused with high vibe ingredients like soothing wild mountain lavender, detoxifying mountain juniper, circulation-boosting atlas cedar, hyssop and neroli. Founder Tanja recommends turning your facial cleanse into a full ritual:

  1. Place a few drops into the palm of your hands.
  2. Cup hands over the mouth and nose.
  3. Inhale deeply and breathe in all the love, goodness and joy.
  4. With each exhalation, let go of your worries, tension – all that weighs heavily on your shoulders that you don’t need anymore. Breathe it out, let it go…

Try: Susanne Kaufmann Cleansing Milk

A sweet way to start the day. This light cleanser uses sugar surfactants made from renewable raw materials and a base of energy-rich rosehip seed oil. These are blended with chamomile, sage and St. John’s wort flowers. Mild, nourishing, non-toxic, biodegradable and skin-friendly, this milk does the body—and planet—good.

Try: Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser

Perfect for dry or sensitive skin. It’s a very gentle cleanser that hydrates and removes build-up to soften dry or sun-kissed skin for a healthy glow. Oh and, like everything Tata Harper, it’s earth-friendly with 100% of the total ingredients from natural origin and 80% from organic farming. So green, so chic.

Balms Away!

“Excuse me while I kiss the sky…” If you are, make sure your lip balm is hydrating and contains some SPF. Your lips need just as much protection from the sun’s rays as your face and body. The skin on your mouth is very delicate, making it even more vulnerable to UV damage. This can cause dryness, cracking, wrinkles and premature thinning.

Try:

Hands Up!

Hand sanitizer certainly stole the spotlight this year, and its stardom should extend to the summer. If you’re going to be lathering lotions and sunscreens all over your face, don’t be an out(k)cast – make sure your hands are so fresh and so clean (clean).

Try: Herbivore Botanicals Hand Hero

A 75% alcohol hand purifying gel that includes hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to keep hands soft and hydrated – even if you’re cleaning them all day long (note: you should)! Choose from refreshing pink grapefruit or calming lavender.

Don’t Bug Me

As if a global pandemic and murder hornets weren’t enough to worry about, ’tis the season for ticks, mosquitoes, spiders and more fun summer guests.

Try: Badger Anti-Bug Spray

Badger’s motto says it all: “Good for the skin, bad for the bug.” It’s free of synthetic chemicals, DEET and petroleum products. Effective protection is shielded with a lovely aromatic blend of citronella, rosemary and wintergreen essential oils.

Rock Your Body

“Who wears short-shorts? We wear short shorts…” While our precious faces are a top skincare priority, make sure to include the rest of your body in your summer skincare routine. This means, not only applying sunscreen from head to toe, but also hydrating and nourishing every inch of your skin. Scrub, polish, brush, shine and repeat.

Try: Susanne Kaufmann Mineral Body Lotion

We love this because it’s filled with seven mineral salts to detoxify muscles, boost cell energy and activate lymphatic flow.

Try: Max & Me Circle of Protection

A body oil, like a liquid hug for your body and your spirit. It protects skin from environmental toxins and the elements, so it is the perfect way to nourish and balance your skin after a day running around outside. Vibrant plant essences hydrate thirsty skin.

Try: Tata Harper Limited Edition Revitalizing Body Oil

A special summer scent from the farm, this concoction is just for this sunny season. It has an energizing, uplifting scent to pair with powerful, plant-based ingredients like sweet orange essential oil, green tea, apricot and bergamot for glowing skin from head to toe. Get it while it’s hot… Outside!

Try: Supergoop! Glow Oil SPF 50

An oil-in-one oil that protects, hydrates and heals, this sunscreen body oil protects the skin without making it feel greasy, as sunscreens tend to do. It’s lightweight, water-resistant and packed with antioxidants, making it the perfect summer glow-to product!

Summer Spa Day

If you can’t jump into the ocean and bask in the sun on a faraway—or even nearby!—beach this year, take a spa day at home. Pull out your most powerful crystals, blend a matcha tea or detoxifying green juice, turn your phone off, and put on your soothing playlist. Take a day—or simply an hour —for you and your ectodermal tissue. In general, when it comes to summertime skincare self-care, “use what feels good,” says Dr. Colbert. “If it doesn’t feel good, don’t use it. Listen to what your skin is telling you.”

Try: Max & Me Sweet Serenity Mask & Wash

A pure indulgence for the skin and the senses. With cacao, raw manuka honey and essential oils, it smells like a delicious dessert and its texture feels like you’re putting delectable cake batter on your face. Rich in anti-oxidants, it delivers intense hydration and bright radiance, stimulates collagen, soothes irritated skin and boosts the skin’s own self-healing abilities.

Try: Goop Rose Quartz Face Massage

Designed to promote circulation for healthy-looking, radiant skin. It releases tension in facial muscles and has a soothing, cooling effect to reduce the appearance of puffiness and under-eye bags. Of course, it is also infused with rose quartz healing powers to massage self-love into every inch of your face (if you don’t believe that last part, it’s OK, it will still work). Use it on bare skin or apply with your favorite facial oil (see above). Then, massage for 5-10 minutes, targeting whatever areas need some extra TLC.

Try: Uma Pure Energy Wellness Oil

Massage this invigorating essential oil blend into your temples, on the inside of your wrists, and between your toes to infuse your pressure points with peppermint, frankincense, patchouli, basil, jasmine, ylang ylang, rosemary and ginger. You’ll smell like a fancy spa retreat – guaranteed.

Try: Susanne Kaufmann’s Cooling Ritual

Start with the Glow Mask, a nourishing face mask that gently tingles when applied. The mask acts as an enzyme peel to remove dead skin cells and minimize imperfections, while also infusing the skin with nourishing ingredients like blackcurrant, coffee, rosemary, olive and raspberry leaf extracts and papaya. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse off with cold water.

Spritz Rose Water mist (see above) afterwards. Keep some Eye Rescue stick in the refrigerator, then roll it on to wake up tired eyes. The cooling cocktail of green coffee extract, jasmine, hawthorn and baobab naturally remove puffiness after long days and endless nights soaking in the season.

Try: Lilfox Orange Blossom Ylang Bang Salt Crystal Bath Soak

You can also fill up your bathtub with Epsom salts and essential oils. This bath soak is hand-blended mixture of three kinds of salt crystals and essential oils for a sensuous bath to cleanse the body, uplift your spirits, and make you very, very relaaaa… (So powerful, it works just thinking about it). While you’re there, bring a flamingo float and a piña colada, put on a pair of sunglasses, close your eyes, and pretend you’re poolside at a fancy resort halfway across the world, in a world where COVID-19 is a distant memory.

Feature Image Credit: Alicia Zhang

Rebecca Leffler

Rebecca Leffler is a Paris-based writer and journalist who, after a career as the French correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and as a film critic on Canal+, traded red carpets for green smoothies. She’s written five books about healthy lifestyle from Paris to NYC and beyond, including Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season, and most recently Le Nouveau Manuel de la Cuisine Végétale. Rebecca has pioneered the “vegolution” in Paris, where she continues to organize events focusing on healthy eating, yoga and la vie en rose… And green! You can keep up with Rebecca on Instagram!

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