I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this summer definitely hasn’t gone according to plan. With travel plans, romantic entanglements, and social lives mostly on pause for the foreseeable future, it can be hard to feel like you have control of anything. But amid this miserable roller coaster of a year, one small thing we can stay on top of is our skin care. Instead of focusing on how lame this summer is compared to years past, put that time and energy into getting your summer skin care routine on lock.
If you don’t normally put much thought into your skin care regimen, switching up your products every season might seem extra, but it makes a lot of sense. While you might spend the winter fighting dry skin with heavy creams and moisturizers, summer is a whole different ballgame. Of course, each person’s skin care needs differ based on location, climate, and skin type, but generally speaking, summer skin care is all about keeping it light and breezy. Here are some must-have products that will keep you glowing (not from sweat) all summer long.
If you know about Laneige’s Cream Skin line, you KNOW how exciting this launch is. I admittedly was never a huge mist person until my friends coerced me into keeping a spray in my bag at all times, and now I’m actually unsure how I survived without one. The Cream Skin Mist is great because it gives your skin a natural glow, with or without makeup. A product like this is particularly important in summer, especially during quarantine, when the chances of me wearing makeup are about the same as the odds of me shaving my legs in the winter. This final step makes any routine feel complete, and the mist itself is super hydrating, long lasting, and perfect to bring on the go. The formula is lightweight, and enriched with amino acids from White Leaf Tea water.
If you’re looking for a clean, natural mist, look no further. When I heard the Limited Edition of the cult-favorite Beauty Elixir is back in stock, I had ~a moment~. There is something about this pretty pink bottle that makes this already great product even better. If you can’t relate to my passion for packaging, that’s fine. This product is filled with natural plant extracts that help visibly smooth the skin and tighten the pores. As someone with pores the size of planet Earth itself, this is quite important to me. This product preps and sets makeup, which is extra important in the summer months, because as you can imagine, sweat + makeup = a dangerous combo.
I once won a giveaway for a year’s supply of Kiehl’s, and have since considered myself an expert on each and every one of their products. In winter months, my skin literally feels like sandpaper, so a heavy moisturizer is a MUST. But come summer, the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream is my number one. I’ll be honest, this little guy is on the pricier side. That being said, if you know me (or if you’ve read any of my articles) you know I am cheap AF and that me splurging on a product means it is the real deal. The water cream claims to boost radiance (I see this claim from all brands, IDK what it actually means, but I do know that my skin is dewier using this product), reduces redness (can confirm this is true) and helps improve dry skin by softening and hydrating (also can confirm this is true). This is the kind of product that makes me want to skip foundation because my skin is actually glowing, and despite being ultra-hydrating, it’s lightweight and breathable. As I reread this *passionate* rant, I hope Kiehl’s sponsors me. My DMs are open.
I’ve got to say, this name is very overwhelming to type, but this Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is my other go-to in summer. Even if you’re into skin care at all, you still know hyaluronic acid is ~all~ the buzz right now, and for good reason. It’s hydrating, it’s not heavy, and it’s most definitely summer-approved. I love using this moisturizer after a beach day, because it’s cooling to the skin and helps calm any burning or peeling I may have obtained. It’s lightweight, super moisturizing, and wears well under makeup. This, like the previous cream, is worth the splurge.
If you don’t already know this, SPF is the most important thing in your skin care routine. As someone with textured skin (again, pores the size of planet Earth), I am very picky about my sunscreen. If sunscreen has any sort of white cast, it’s an instant horror show. If the sunscreen doesn’t agree with my skin type, my texture is exaggerated and it’s not a good look. And with that, I find myself reaching for my Supergoop! Glowscreen on the regular. It’s dewy and pearly (great for my dry skin pals) and allows for the true no-makeup makeup look (because you literally don’t need makeup). It’s hydrating, too, which is not always true for sunscreen.
Something that is not spoken about enough is the fact that SPF should be worn inside. Yes. Groundbreaking, I know. bUt ThE sUn DoEsN’t ShInE iNsIdE! Correct. However, now more than ever, our skin is exposed to harmful blue light. From scrolling for hours, to being glued to our computer screens on work days, and of course binging Netflix, I am excited and impressed to see that TULA has launched Protect + Glow to protect you from damaging pollution and blue light. If you’ve purchased blue light glasses, add this to your list of must-haves. Even if you haven’t, still add this to your list of must-haves.
Retinoids are the industry’s best kept secret if you ask me. Summer is fun, but sun exposure leads to skin damage and wrinkles, and I for one want neither of those. I never knew (or cared) what Retinoids were until I was introduced to a local NYC business, Peachy (support local!). Retinoids are the prescription version of Retinol—and clinical studies show that they both increase collagen production and prevent collagen degradation. Increasing collagen results in plumper, stronger skin and the minimization of fine lines and wrinkles. So, in less science-y words, Retinoids are the botox of skin care (without the needles). It’s important that you get the right prescription from a trusted dermatologist and still take care of your skin in the sun (USE SPF), but this product is my secret weapon.
“Foundation, but make it skincare” are the first words that can be read under Kosas’ Tinted Face Oil description, and it sums this product up flawlessly. During summer months, a cakey foundation is awful, to put it simply, and this has been my personal solution. The product does a great job of giving your skin the “blur effect” but doesn’t overdo it. Think “is she wearing makeup or does she just have amazing skin???” type vibes. Overall as a brand, Kosas has multiple products that dabble in both the skin care + makeup category, but this stands out above the rest for me.
Summer Fridays is one of those brands that is actually worth the hype. Their products are great, their branding is great, their social media is great, their packaging is great, even their p-page images are great (few will understand, but those who do will appreciate this callout). Anyway, during summer months I often love replacing my lipstick with a clear balm and letting my lips go natural-ish. This Lip Butter Balm is actually considered a mask, and it’s created to soothe parched lips while sealing in moisture. I’m a big fan of this product because it’s not like other lip balms that feel amazing for the first 10 minutes and then leave your lips needing more soon after. This lasts what feels like hours, and it makes my lips look glowy like a gloss, but without the sticky feeling.
If you prefer a little color in your summer lip look, an oil lip color is a great way to go. YSL Beauty launched their new Milk Tea collection (I’m fittingly sipping on milk tea as I write this) and the colors are reaaalllyyy pretty. I feel like we’re all on the permanent hunt for the “perfect nude” and this just might be it. The hydrating formula drenches lips in moisture while leaving a high-shine finish. Think lipstick-meets-balm. All day color and comfort? Yes please.
Summer brings an excess of oil and enlarged pores (sorry, I know you’re sick of hearing about my pores). SheaMoisture African Black Soap is THAT product that will help you maintain your natural glow while conquering oil and sweat (we all have it, so don’t pretend you’re better than me). More importantly, the soap won’t dehydrate your skin, which for obvious reasons is important here. This face and body bar is super affordable ($4.99) and is specially formulated with organic Shea Butter, Oats and Aloe to cleanse, moisturize and comfort irritated skin.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. I used to think body scrubs were a myth, but then I tried one and realized it wasn’t. Thrilling, I know. I’m a big fan of Sol de Janeiro’s OG Bum Bum Cream because it smells like vacation—even after being trapped inside for 100 days. The Bum Bum Body Scrub texture is soft yet gritty, and literally leaves my skin glowing. I think it’s important to be careful with body scrubs, because while you do want to exfoliate the skin, you don’t want the product to be abrasive. I think that BBBS (I’ve made up this abbreviation because Bum Bum Body Scrub is a mouthful) is the perfect happy medium, and the scent alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. WOULD recommend for *summer smooth* skin.
And there you have it, summer skin care, head to toe. Check back in winter for my 100-step routine.
Images: Margot Pandone / Unsplash; Provided by Laneige; Caudalie; Kiehls; Peter Thomas Roth; Supergoop; TULA; Provided by Peachy; Provided by Kosas; Summer Fridays; Provided by YSL Beauty; Provided by SheaMoisture; Provided by Sol de Janeiro
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Now that there is some—albeit incredibly vague—info on how we can reenter the world when coronavirus finally GTFO, I am feeling eager to get my skin back on track. I don’t know about you, but when I go out to dinner with my friends for the first time after being locked in my apartment for what will be at least two months, I want to glow. Luckily for me, Sephora’s annual spring sale is upon us! As always, Sephora is offering different deals and savings for each of their three member tiers. From April 17th through May 1st, Rouge members can save 20%; from April 21st through April 29th, VIB members can save 15%; and from April 23rd through April 27th, Insider members can save 10%. I am a proud Rouge member, so let’s f*cking do this.
If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that there are more skin care products in my medicine cabinet than there are food items in my pantry. I have no shame in my game. It took years of trial-and-error to discover which products are the best, so you can trust I know what I’m talking about when it comes to my recommendations.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, $72
The only YouTube channel I subscribe to is Klossy, which belongs to, you guessed it, Karlie Kloss. I don’t care who she’s married to, I love her and will continue to do so for the rest of my days. Anyway, Karlie has the best skin I’ve ever seen, so when she recommended this night serum, you better believe I went out and bought it, and I am happy to report that it works. My skin isn’t really problematic, but I want that dewy, plump look, and that’s what this serum delivers.
Like any skin care product, though, you have to use it consistently and for a while before you start to see the effects take hold. I started to notice how good my complexion looked after about three weeks. It’s incredibly moisturizing, smells delicious, and it’s the perfect consistency. What else you got, Karlie??
Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask, $28.50
I buy this twice a year for one specific purpose: visiting my parents in Florida. My skin may be able to withstand the pollution and whatever the f*ck is coming out of manholes in New York, but it cannot deal with the Florida humidity. My skin gets really oily and then I start to break out, so I visit my parents pretty infrequently. The one thing that absolutely saved my skin is this specific charcoal mask. I have tried about 10 types of charcoal masks in my lifetime, and this Clinique one is that actually works.
It feels like you’re spreading a thick, goopy paste on your face, but after about 30 minutes, it dries and hardens and, something magical happens in that phase of the mask. When I rinse it off, my skin is soft and supple with zero traces of excess oil. I’m obsessed.
Bobbi Brown Hydrating Fresh Cream Moisturizer, $60
This product was my first foray into skin care. I bought it when I was a sophomore in college after talking to a Bloomingdale’s salesperson for way too long. As the name suggests, this is a very lightweight moisturizer that falls between a gel and a cream. Because it’s so lightweight, it’s perfect for summer. Also, all Bobbi Brown moisturizers are made with a built-in primer, so you can save a few seconds in the morning when you’re getting ready.
Caudalie Beauty Elixer, $18
This toner is another Karlie recommendation for when you’re traveling, because planes really dry your skin out. Before I went on my study abroad trip, I asked my mom to get it for me and she said, and I quote, “Who do you think you are? You’re not a jet-setter!” Rude. To spite her, I bought it for myself and I have no regrets. I use it as a toner and spritz it on my face right before I put on my moisturizer.
My dermatologist suggested that I massage my moisturizer into my skin while it’s still damp from the toner because it will absorb better, which makes sense because, if you think of your skin like a sponge, it won’t absorb a thick cream when it’s bone-dry. This doesn’t really do much, but it smells amazing, isn’t that expensive, and it’s something else I have in common with Karlie Kloss.
Murad Vitamin C Dark Circle Correcting Eye Serum, $62
I recently learned that vitamin C is an essential ingredient in skin products for anyone who wants nice skin. I incorporated it via an eye cream because I wanted to test it on a small area before I introduced it to my whole face. Safe to say, it works! This eye cream is really moisturizing, which is important because the skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your face and is usually the first to show signs of aging. Yikes! Using a product that protects against free radicals (something vitamin C does) and moisturizes is a really good way to slow down aging around the eyes. It also smells fantastic.
Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask, $12
Until I tried this mask, I always thought sheet masks were kind of stupid. Like, you pay all of this money for something you use once for a few minutes then throw away. Then I tried this mask and I’m questioning everything I once believed to be true! Tatcha is a brand you’ll likely find in any high-end natural beauty store, and the products are 100% worth it. This mask is made with vitamin E, fatty acids, nutrient-rich rice, ginseng (which has a calming effect), and a bunch of other sh*t that gives you an instant glow.
And for anyone who’s wondering, sheet masks are packed with nutrient-rich serums that absorb best into your skin when you’re wearing the sheet and looking like Hannibal Lecter, but the serum is still very much on your skin when you take the sheet off, so they aren’t exactly a waste.
Dior Lip Glow, $34
I am weirdly specific when it comes to a tinted lip product: it can’t be sticky, it has to be the perfect shade, and it has to last through my morning coffee. This Dior lip product is literally perfect. First of all, it’s incredibly moisturizing. Secondly, it goes on clear and within a few seconds, changes color due to a bunch of science I don’t really understand. For me, it transforms into rosy pink with a coral undertone, but for my friend, it becomes more of a purple color. I’m truly baffled by this magic, but I won’t question it.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, $21
Until recently, I was a firm believer in all cleansers being the same, so paying more than a drugstore price was unnecessary. This cleanser is the definition of a super basic (in a good way) product that does exactly what it says it’s going to do. Wet your face and massage this into your skin for a few seconds and rinse off with warm water. Boom! You’re cleansed! It leaves your face feeling soft and clean, but without stripping your skin. I’ve said this before, but if your face feels tight and dry, your cleanser is too harsh!
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, $30
Double cleansing is an important part of any skin care-lover’s daily routine. The first step involves taking off your makeup and the second one is cleansing. This Clinique balm is unparalleled at removing makeup, so I highly recommend getting yourself a tub ASAP. It has the consistency of soft wax, but it works. Scoop a little out with your fingertips and move it around in your hand to break it down a little. Then, once it’s slightly softened, move it around your face and it literally melts your makeup right off. Don’t believe me? Use this then dab a clean white towel on your face and you won’t see any residual makeup!
Tan-Luxe The Body Illuminating Self-Tan Drops, $59
This purchase was a catch-22 because, on the one hand, authentic tans are horrible for your skin, but on the other, my natural skin tone is concerningly white. This self-tanner is unreal and legit impossible to f*ck up. I always strayed from self-tanner because I feel like it always looks fake and streaky—especially on people’s wrists, ankles, elbows and knees. This, though, is different! You mix a few drops with your go-to lotion and then spread it all over your body and it always turns out even and natural-looking. I’ve used this on my legs many, many times and I’m always impressed with how good it looks.
Images: Mercy / Unsplash; Sephora (10)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
If you, too, have been doing your best to help flatten the curve, you haven’t left your home in what feels like years. Back when life didn’t seem like the plot of Contagion, I thought spending a little more time in my French-country-meets-bohemian apartment sounded like it could be nice. However, after a week of being locked in what I now realize is a tiny box coated in about a thousand layers of paint that keep the doors from closing all the way, I am les mis, to say the least.
And I’m not the only one; my skin is also suffering through this difficult time. Look, even though my complexion should be thanking me for not covering it in 17 different cosmetics everyday, it does not appear to be showing any gratitude. As it just so happens, being deprived of vitamin D and living in an apartment where the heat doesn’t turn off until May isn’t very good for my face. If you have noticed that your skin is feeling more sensitive and drier than usual, you are not alone and you do not have to accept that your skin is f*cked. Over the course of four New York winters, three New York summers in an overly air conditioned office, and several spring breaks on the West Coast, I tried about every skincare product out there, and these are my favorite moisturizing and/or soothing ones that combat the elements of an apartment.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $22
Like I said, I’ve experimented with a myriad of products, but I always come back to this one. I have been using it for about eight years and am just as obsessed now as I was when I got it as a little baby college freshman. What I love most about it is the consistency: it goes on kind of thick, but it doesn’t just sit on your skin and rub off the second you touch your face. It takes about 10 minutes to absorb on a normal day, but on the days that I am chilling inside, it absorbs almost instantly. It’s also very reasonably priced, which is great because I’m using way more now than usual.
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment, $24
(If you haven’t noticed, I love Kiehl’s.) The skin around your eyes is much thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, which is why it’s usually the first place where you’ll find signs of aging. *sigh* A lot of people who try this cream hate it because it goes on like cream cheese (very tick and heavy), but those people didn’t bother learning how to use it! This does, indeed, go on very thick, but after you work it into your skin, you can actually feel it breaking down to a very watery consistency, at which point, you use your ring finger to dab it into the skin.
I wear this at night because even though it does absorb, it leaves your skin a little shiny and not in a cute way. Its hero ingredient is avocado oil, which is super moisturizing and can help keep that sensitive area around your eyes from getting too dry and angry.
Lush Mask Of Magnaminty, $14.95
If there is a brand I may love more than Kiehl’s, it’s Lush. I really appreciate that literally every ingredient in their products is natural and pronounceable. This was actually the first product I ever tried from Lush and since then, I have spent many, many dollars in this headache-inducing store.
Anyway, if your skin is dry, moisturizing is key, but so is exfoliating. Even if you can’t see it, which is probably for the best, your dry skin flakes and forms a layer of dead skin on your face (gross) and blocks your other products’ ability to do what they’re supposed to do. This Lush mask smells like a Thin Mint, which, for a while, was its main selling point for me. It’s also made with honey (super moisturizing), mint (soothing) and ground aduki beans (exfoliating). Unlike a chemical exfoliator, the ground aduki beans exfoliate your skin when you wash the mask off. I usually wet my hands and just kind of move the mask, which doesn’t dry on your skin, around my face and I can feel the beans exfoliating. I am always left feeling super clean and rejuvenated.
Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum, $38
After exfoliating, it’s important to soothe your skin, and the best way to do that is with a very gentle serum. Serums are great because they’re the most concentrated of all skincare products, but this one is my favorite because it’s not very aggressive. I don’t entirely understand which ingredients do this, but the second I spread it around my face, it feels cooling and soothing. It’s a really slippery, gel-like serum that goes a long way. I’m obsessed.
Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $32
Until I tried this two years ago, I was a firm believer in cleansers being kind of a waste. Like, it’s on your face for 30 seconds tops, so how much could it possibly do, right? Then I stole this from my mom and I am so happy I did. First of all, having vitamin C in your skincare routine is essential. Secondly, your cleanser should leave your skin feeling clean (duh) and supple. When you cleanse your face and it feels tight and dry, that means your cleanser is way too harsh. This one has a lotion-like texture, which, in my opinion, is ideal for a cleanser because it’s easy to move around, doesn’t get everywhere, and it’s rich enough do do its job.
ByTerry Baume de Rose Lip Care, $60
I am fully prepared to get verbally murdered in the comments because this price is laughable and almost offensive, but I swear it is worth it. I went on Accutane when I was in high school and this balm was the only product that kept my lips from ripping in half. I know Aquaphor is allegedly amazing, but in my opinion, this is the only thing that works when my lips are dry af. Because it’s so expensive, this is definitely not my everyday product for chapped lips; it’s my go-to when I feel like smiling could be dangerous for my mouth. It has a really buttery texture and does this thing where half of it absorbs and the other half coats and protects your lips. Most importantly, it’s not sticky, so if you shake your head and a strand of hair touches your lips, it wont be there until the day you die.
Image: Unsplash; SpaceNK; Lush; Kieh’s (2); Image Skin Care; Dermstore
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As you can probably tell from the title, this skin care diary entry will be less sexy than others we’ve published. Welcome to the world of sensitive skin. I graduated college a little over two years ago, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind watching my skin and metabolism compete over who can deteriorate faster. I’ve never suffered from serious acne (*knocks on every piece of wood in the tri-state area*), but my post-grad skin has offered up plenty of dullness, dryness, and increasingly visible pores. I also developed what I refer to as “my problem cheek,” and my dermatologist refers to as “rosacea.” Basically, one stubborn patch on my face is perpetually red with some bumps—not quite pimples but just not smooth.
Before I finally caved and saw a dermatologist about it, I was convinced I had chronically dry skin and was layering on fancy oil-based serums and thick moisturizers every night. I genuinely believed that the more I spent on a skin care product, the better it was for me. But here’s the honest, tragic truth about my (highly sensitive) skin. Just about anything I do to it beyond doctor-recommended cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer only makes it worse. As my dermatologist explained, the rosacea means that my skin barrier is damaged. So any products I’m applying don’t actually soak in. They just settle in the top layer, creating that fun bumpy texture I was describing.
Long story short, many of the fun, bougie skin care products I’d love to try are off-limits to me. All those “intensely moisturizing” products I used to swear by? They make my oil-prone areas worse, and ultimately clog my pores. Any physical exfoliants just activate my redness-prone rosacea patches. And forget about face makeup. Any time I go for a full face of foundation, or—God forbid—highlighter, which I seem to be allergic to in every brand, I accept that my skin’s overall appearance will take a hit for the next three days. So, I’ve worked very hard to assemble a routine that keeps my sensitive AF skin smooth, even, and pimple-free. If your skin is more dramatic about a change in routine than you are when asked to attend a 9am meeting, read on. Here are the products I’ve found really work.
My sensitive skin every time I try to introduce a new product:
Face Wash: I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it, and it makes my face feel crazy soft. I’ll double cleanse on days when I bothered to put on make-up, or if I skipped my routine the night before. And while I’m sure that a Clarisonic or the equivalent would make it even more effective, I frankly just do not have the time or patience to use one. Plus, I kind of hate reusable skin care accessories because I’m a germophobe and convinced they’re growing bacteria. This is a problem I imagine could be alleviated by like, cleaning it, but once again I am lazy/perpetually short on time.
Toner: I follow (most) cleanses with Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract toner. In the words of my dermatologist, it’s “not really doing anything,” but she graciously invited me to finish the bottle I’d just purchased. Despite her (rude) commentary, I like the idea of an additional cleansing step while living in the cesspool of dirt known as New York City. Also, it smells refreshing and makes me feel fancy. As I mentioned before, most products that fit that description give me some kind of weird reaction, so I really appreciate the ones that don’t.
Prescription: Once my doc determined that problem cheek = rosacea, I was given a prescription for an azelaic acid called Finacea Foam. It treats the redness and bumps caused by rosacea, and I use it twice a day after cleansing and before moisturizing. While it hasn’t 100% cleared up the problem, I’ve gone from having bumps spread across both cheeks to one small patch (damn you, problem cheek!). The overall texture has also greatly improved, and what was once a weird blotchy redness now shows up as more of a flush after hot showers/working out. Highly recommend.
Spot Treatment: This is not dermatologist-approved behavior, but if I see a pimple coming on I’ll dab some spot treatment with salicylic acid on the area before locking it all in with moisturizer. It’s a little annoying because I have to wait for an additional layer to dry, but fully worth it if you can stop a burgeoning zit in its tracks. If I go a little too nuts and start using it daily I end up getting dry and triggering some redness, but in moderation I find this kind of product to work wonders. My two faves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel.
Sunscreen: I use EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 every morning, at my dear dermatologist’s behest. Apparently rosacea can be triggered by sun exposure, so I guess this plays a role in calming it down. Honestly, I struggle to get excited about any product from which I don’t see immediate effects, but I know it’s good for me and I feel lightly smug for using it for that reason. Also, it sinks in quickly enough and replaces my moisturizer in the morning.
Moisturizer: I use CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion every night and some mornings, depending on how dry my skin is feeling. I love it because it’s lightweight, has the same silky feel as their cleanser, and doesn’t sit on top of my skin like all those fancy jar moisturizers I was buying for years did. Does it make me feel rich and chic? No, but it also doesn’t cost me $50 every six weeks, and my skin is way softer. I’ll take it.
Serum: Eminence Facial Recovery Oil. My dermatologist all but begged me to throw this out (in her words, “I don’t think more oil is what you need right now”). But I’ll still dab a little on my forehead every now and then because I can’t help myself. Nose, chin, and cheeks are off-limits for this riskier product, but I’ll mix a little in with my moisturizer and apply to my forehead a few times a week. It smells amazing and my sister swears it’s improved her fine lines.
Morning: Cleanser, toner, Finacea, sunscreen. I have a week-old pimple on my cheek, and last night I put on a bunch of spot treatment and extra Tretinoin on the area, plus Neosporin since I keep picking it open. (Don’t @ me, it works.) The pimple is finally fading from view, but I see two to three more bumps lurking below the surface. Problem Cheek, will you ever set me free??? I’ve tried changing pillowcases, changing what side I sleep on, never holding my phone to that side of my face… nothing works. I take a few pictures in hopes of taking you on a visual journey, but I’m on week 7 of a 10-week shoot and the bags under my eyes/general lifeless demeanor are a little much to take.
Evening: Cleanser, Finacea, moisturizer. No spot cream or toner because I just worked 14 hours. Moisturizer I applied lying down maybe three seconds before passing out. I manage to apply more Neosporin to my cheek spot, though, because at this point I’ve been wrangling it for nearly 10 days and it’s all I can think about. To anyone reading this: do not pick your face until it bleeds, no matter how fun and genuinely helpful it seems in the moment! I fall asleep praying it will heal overnight.
My poor, picked-at skin:
Thursday morning I don’t have to be at work until 9am. This would be better news if it didn’t mean I’ll be there until 11pm. However, the extra time in the morning means I can cleanse, tone, apply Finacea, and put on sunscreen all in the comfort of my home. I’m sad to admit I sometimes apply sunscreen on the subway, which I am aware makes me gross. I have a thing about layering products too quickly. I worry I’m just diluting one product with another if I don’t give them time to dry. If I’m totally wrong on this, PLEASE call me out in the comments. I would love to stop putting on sunscreen with hands that just touched subway poles.
I’m not home until 11:40pm, as expected. As I dutifully cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize, I realize something miraculous. Cheek pimple is, if not totally invisible, highly faded. Neosporin saves the day again. I stare at my nearly clear cheek and think about how I definitely would have skipped washing my face tonight if I weren’t writing this diary. This makes me think I should start journaling my food, too. Then I eat four bite-size candy bars I stole from work and fall asleep.
Today is an exciting skincare day for you all! I’m working from home until 6:30, so I don’t get out of bed until 11. I don’t do anything to my face because I want to work out first, a dream it takes me two hours and 15 minutes of yoga to give up on. I wash my face in the shower, then put on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s my go-to for all generalist, make-my-skin-look better needs. It’s great for calming down redness and inflammation, improves overall tone, and just makes your skin look clear.
After, my skin is looking the best it has all week. The cheek pimple is totally gone, and those bumps I was complaining about on Wednesday seem to have died down too. I add toner, Finacea, and sunscreen. After sunscreen, I add my new favorite no-makeup makeup product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This is the closest thing to foundation I can wear without triggering a breakout, and despite being sheer, I swear to God it visibly blurs away my flaws. Friday night, I cleanse/Finacea/maybe moisturize? I spent my evening getting high and watching Vanderpump Rules, so I honestly don’t remember. I do remember eating a Twix bar at 1am and thinking the single greatest thing I could do for my health is cut down on sugar, so take that as you will.
Me: I should cut down on sugar!
Also me every time I go out:
Saturday morning, I cleanse and tone, and get dressed in a rush waiting for toner to dry. Then I add Finacea and try to find my insurance card for a doctor’s appointment for 10 minutes. Two hours later, I remember to moisturize—hope it still counts for something. No sunscreen today, oops. Saturday night I make a genuine attempt to go out. But I still end up asleep on the couch before midnight. At least I manage to wash my face before crashing. I tell myself I’ll put on Finacea and moisturizer in bed. I don’t.
Sunday morning I’ve slept for an annoyingly long time. I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize—no sunscreen. My skin’s feeling dry since I fell asleep without moisturizing the night before, and I don’t really plan on spending time outside anyway. I go to the movies, where I realize the junk food and half-hearted skin care Saturday has resulted in two new bumps rearing their heads on Problem Cheek. I tell myself I’ll do a mask and spot treatments that night. Instead, I drink two margaritas at 5pm, and barely manage to cleanse/tone/Finacea/moisturize. I suck.
I wake up at 4:30am, regretting Sunday’s margaritas with every bone in my body. I seriously consider quitting my job for five minutes, then get out of bed and cleanse, tone, Finacea, sunscreen. Monday night, I get home “early” (7pm), and treat myself to some salicylic acid spot treatment following my cleanse/Finacea/moisturizer routine. No toner because I’m already tired at the prospect of the spot treatment, but the bumps I saw at the movie theater Sunday don’t seem to be going anywhere on their own.
Tuesday morning I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and liberally apply sunscreen to try and make up for the fact that I don’t have time to apply moisturizer (and wait for it to dry). At work, I read a different skin care diary in which someone who clearly has more money and better skin than me also swears by salicylic acid for clearing breakouts. Even though the salicylic acid product is the only one in her routine I can remotely afford, I allow myself a brief moment of smugness. I also remind myself that fancy $100 skincare items have never done anything but made me break out.
Tuesday night, I cleanse/tone/Finacea, and add more spot gel (Clean & Clear) to those bumps on my cheek. I can’t be sure if they’re actually pimples or just rosacea bumps, but I feel hopeless if I can’t even pretend I’m treating it. I tell myself I’ll moisturize in bed, and as I’m sure you can guess, I do not. At 3am, I wake up, realize my mistake and moisturize. It’s terrible.
All in all, the moral of my not-so-exciting skin care routine is that I’ve (reluctantly) stopped chasing Instagram-perfect skin. And both my wallet and face are a lot happier for it. I don’t use drugstore products because I’m low-maintenance and don’t GAF. I use them because the alternative is spending $78 on a moisturizer that sits on top of my broken skin barrier and makes me break out. So if you have sensitive skin like me, remember that the #1 investment you can make is a dermatologist, and when you’re rich, biannual microneedling and injections. Can’t wait.
Images: Giphy (4)
Travel is without a doubt one of the greatest parts of summer. First of all, there’s the crack-like (I assume) rush of turning on an “out of office” email reply. Chase that with a daily routine of margaritas for breakfast, followed by triple-digit likes on a “look at my ass this beautiful view” ‘gram, and I’m decidedly living my best life. Unfortunately, even the highest of vacation highs tend to come crashing down within 24 hours of returning home. Not only did your “out of office” reply deter exactly zero people from emailing you multiple times, but you now have to deal with the ravaging effects of whatever public transit hell you were subjected to on your return home. (I’m primarily discussing air travel here, but let’s not pretend that buses/trains don’t leave you feeling pretty icky as well.) Here are some travel beauty tips for avoiding and even reversing the damaging effects of air travel.
Start With A Clean Face
If you’re one of those people who can’t leave the house without a full face of makeup, I have bad news. No one believes you woke up like that, and you should absolutely never fly in makeup. If you absolutely have to roll up to the airport made-up, at least take it off ASAP once you’re in the air. Makeup wipes like these Philosophy facial cleansing cloths are a must, given the state of airport bathrooms and the fact that your bougie-ass cleanser definitely won’t make it through TSA. Alternately, you can go with a (travel size) no-rinse micellar water—just please God use cotton pads, not airplane toilet paper. Ew.
Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths
Embrace In-Flight Skincare
Ok, so now your face is clean. Sadly, your work is just beginning. One of the biggest damaging factors on airplanes is that they dry you out like crazy. This means you’re looking at red patches, flaky skin, and the overall pallor of a three-day-old corpse (just me?). Luckily, there are ways to avoid this—though they do involve giving exactly zero fucks what the people in your row think. For starters, it seems like every celeb on earth applies a hydrating mask while flying. Luckily, there are “invisible masks” like the Origins Drink Up Intensive, or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque, both of which you can leave on for hours to absorb maximum moisture, without getting dirty looks from flight attendants. For those a little less shameless, the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask goes on like a regular mask (that you’ll have to rinse off with a warm towel, somehow), but it provides hydration and anti-inflammation without any harmful ingredients or artificial fragrances (it’s also vegan). If you’re brave enough for a sheet mask, Chrissy Teigen and J Lo swear by the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque
Once you’ve removed the mask, it’s recommended you follow up with your preferred serum/moisturizer/eye cream. (Or if you’re prone to puffy under-eyes (hi), consider some cooling pads like these skyn ICELAND firming eye gels. Emma Stone swears by argan oil for long flights, but your heaviest daily moisturizer should work fine.
skyn ICELAND firming eye gels
As a final, extra-luxe step, invest in a face mist. Celeb stylists love rose-water infused options (try Khloé Kardashian’s preferred Jurlique version), but regular old Evian is fine too. If you’re reallyyyy trying to get extra about this, the Caudalie Beauty Elixir is another celeb fave. (It’s a toning spray, but don’t ask me what toner does). Or, you can follow up your SK-II celeb-approved face mask with their Facial Treatment Essence. (Seriously, do not ask me what essence does.)
Stock A Full Mom-Purse
You know that one friend whose purse is always fully stocked with Kleenex, lip balm, gum, etc? Yeah, you’ll want to emulate that to an extent. In addition to all the face wipes and hydrating essentials mentioned above, you should never board a flight without hydrating lip balm, hand lotion, and more water than you usually drink in a week. This final point is especially key, because in addition to making your outsides dry AF, your insides are also dying from dryness when you’re on a flight. So drink, drink, DRINK. Even though it’s annoying to get up every half hour and use the bathroom, you’ll thank me when you don’t arrive bloated and constipated (ew), not to mention the fact that the simple act of getting up and moving frequently is proven to help beat in-air bloat, and can help prevent blood clots. Woo!
Be Careful What You Eat & Drink
Oh, and speaking of drinking—I have another bubble to burst here. As you know from waking up at 3am with desert mouth after a night of drinking, alcohol dries you out—which means drinking on flights is a big no-no (same is true for caffeine). Yes, air travel is definitely one of those memories I’d prefer be a little hazy, but the pounding headache and exaggerated dehydrating effects all around are not worth the 25-30 minute buzz. Save the drinking for your final destination.
When it comes to eating, you’re better off the less you ingest while actually on the flight. Sugar-free foods and gum escalate an already gassy situation (sorry—I don’t make the rules), and chewing gum makes you literally swallow air, which, you guessed it, escalates both the gas and the bloat. The same goes for high-sodium foods and any carbonated drinks. So yeah, even your beloved La Croix is a no go. Some experts suggest to avoid eating anything on a flight, since flying may cause your digestive system to slow down, and the restarting process will be all the more unpleasant if there’s new food to digest rolling around in there. Whether or not that’s 100% scientifically proven, many people who avoid eating on planes say they feel more rested and hydrated after, so it’s worth a shot. Were you really that hyped about airplane food anyway?
That’s all from me (though TBH, it’s plenty). I purchased maybe six more products over the course of writing this article, as I’m currently in the throes of post-flight bloat and ogre skin myself. Learn from my mistakes and help slightly soften the blow of going back to work by not having to deal with a pimple the size of a third eyeball taking over your forehead. Really takes away from the glamour of an overseas vacay.
Images: Giphy (2); Sephora (2)
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I have recently decided to become
a good person kind of healthy and try, like, really hard to better myself inside and out. How long will this phase last? I give it a week, but for now, let’s continue to let me feel productive and wholesome. Obviously, I want to have my cake and eat it too, so while I still have the frequent bottle glass of wine along with calorie-loaded food, I also want to have FaceTuned-looking skin by the time I wake up tomorrow. Luckily for me all of us, there are a bunch of acne spot treatments that basically perform miracles overnight. Here are the ones worth both your time and money that will make your breakouts disappear ASAP.
1. Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment
This is the first one I’ve tried, and it’s my fave so far (which is saying a lot for someone who is insanely picky). The natural cream is full of super healthy ingredients including tea tree and other good-smelling plants. All you have to do is use a small amount of the cream on the affected area and watch your blemish disappear by the next day. Seriously, a little goes a looong way with this one. The formula helps reduce redness, unclog pores, and prevent future breakouts. TBH, there *is* a little bit of a sting when you initially apply it, but it’s nothing to leave a bad review for, and it’s oddly satisfying to know this shit is working.
2. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This is next to add to the existing cart I have on Nordstrom.com simply because anything by Mario is essentially a godsend (and honestly, I’m just waiting for that Black Friday sale). The lightweight lotion is v gentle and soothing, which is ideal for those with sensitive acne-prone skin. It consists of major key shit like calamine and salicylic acid, both of which make zits disappear overnight without drying your face out. BLESS. After washing and toning, tap on the affected area, but don’t rub it in—instead, wash off in the morning.
3. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Blue Herbal Spot Treatment
Oily skin sufferers, say no more. This spot treatment was designed for those who go through blotting sheets like it’s their job, since it controls excess oil while reducing rude af breakouts. Even if you have sensitive skin, this will soothe it immediately without causing irritation. It’s a fucking miracle. Start by applying once a day, and only increase up to three times a day if you find it v necessary.
4. Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Clearing Gel
First of all, anything with AHA or BHA is a plus. Both have really long names that I am most definitely not spelling out rn (that’s what Google is for, guys) and have fab results for the skin. These clearing gels work to reduce the appearance of most types of blemishes, which include whiteheads and blackheads, and help rejuvenate the skin by correcting discoloration from previous acne. It also cleanses your pores, hides the fact that you’re slowly aging, and produces healthier cells for better skin. Use just once a day or twice if you need a pimple gone like, yesterday.
5. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Fighting Spot Gel
Take it from me: This shit actually works, and you can low-key stock up by running to the nearest Duane Reade or CVS. It’s a non-comedogenic gel that clears breakouts in just a few hours. So basically, it’s the perfect solution to a pimple emergency, if you have a date or important photo opp planned. Apply directly on the affected area once a day to start seeing results in eight hours, or just leave it on while you sleep.
6. Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Fast Acting Acne Spot Treatment
This moisturizing treatment clears and soothes irritated skin by the next time you check yourself out in the bathroom mirror. Okay, so not that fast, but you get the analogy. It not only gets rid of current and future breakouts ASAP, but it also eliminates the nasty-ass bacteria that causes acne to begin with. FINALLY, someone is doing something right in the world. The lightweight treatment will drastically take away unflattering redness, swelling, and all-around change your
selfie game life as you know it.
Images: Sam Manns / Unsplash; Ulta; Nordstrom; Sephora (2); Neutrogena; Macys
I think I speak for everyone when I say there’s nothing worse or more embarrassing than visible sweat. It’s obviously gross, very inconvenient, and like, literally so annoying. Sure, maybe it’s a bodily function to keep us from overheating, but it’s really so extra and unnecessary. Like, yes, thank you for letting everyone in my vicinity know I’m fucking hot as balls by making my face melt. Love that. By noon each day, my face is on its way to looking like a fugly greaseball, and although it feels like I’ve exhausted most remedies, I’m running out of patience to deal with this oily face bullshit. As much as it sucks to have the occasional oily face, it also blows to have to deal with dry skin, even after you’ve gone through bottles on bottles of moisturizers. Since winter is never going away, apparently (on the east coast, at least, so don’t jump down my throat, west coast betches), those of you with mostly dry skin will need a savior ASAP, aka me. Below, I give you everything you need to prevent oily hot messes and dry af cracked faces.
If You Have Oily Skin, You Need: A Good Facial Cleanser
Good skin starts with the shit you’re putting on it. Fucking duh. First things first, check to make sure you’re using the right face wash for your skin. If you’re prone to oiliness, be sure to opt for a cleanser with at least 2% salicylic acid, like Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser With Saw Palmetto And Mint. This helps maintain a little oil (but in a good way) so that your skin at least keeps the natural stuff and you don’t end up looking flaky.
If You Have Dry Skin, You Need: Intense Hydrating Masks
Washing your face is great. You’re doing amazing, sweetie, but if you’re prone to ultra flaky skin, you need a hydrating mask to lock in all of that moisture you’re putting on. Not just any hydrating mask, but a super intense one that works immediately and has long-term results, such as Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque. Make sure to focus on extra sensitive and thin areas of your face like the eyes, nose, and chin.
If You Have Oily Skin, You Need: A Cooling Facial Mist
Blotting papers are great and all, but going through millions of packs and growing pissed off at how much oil sits on your face clearly doesn’t actually fix anything. To reduce shine throughout the day without ruining your makeup, buy a cooling facial mist or setting spray like Urban Decay Chill Cooling and Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray. Cooling your skin down throughout the day obvs minimizes your pores, which results in far less oily grossness.
If You Have Dry Skin, You Need: More Water
And I don’t mean just chugging it on the regular. I mean, more water-based products, too. Since your face is clearly struggling to keep itself hydrated and moisturized, you’ll need products that are full of good ol’ H2O and designed to lock in necessary oils and hydration, like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream so, you’re not cracking say crack again by lunch everyday.
If You Have Oily Skin, You Need: Oil-Free Everything
This is probs the most obvious of the bunch, but you’d be surprised and utterly disgusted to find out how much of your everyday skincare and beauty products rack up on oil. So goddamn rude. These are the reasons I have trust issues. Make sure you’re using oil-free *everything* such as Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, BECCA Cosmetics Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, and Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Liquid Makeup to ensure you’re not contributing to the hot mess that is your face.
If You Have Dry Skin, You Need: To Exfoliate Like It’s Your Job
A big reason why your face is probs dry af is because your outer layer sucks, to say the least. All of your time and efforts aren’t actually getting absorbed as well as they should to last, so be sure that you’re exfoliating twice as much as you regularly would with a gentle scrub like the La Roche Posay Ultra Fine Scrub. This healthy route helps uncover new layers of skin and exposes the new, better layer to the much-needed moisture, water, and hydration you’re putting on it.