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The days of laying out in the sun and monitoring the UV index like it’s our full-time job are quickly approaching. While this may be a more enjoyable task (who doesn’t like being tan?), something many of us avoid or simply forget to do before basking in the sun is apply sunscreen. And, TBH, I’m not trying to look like I’m fresh out of a tanning bed circa 2007 (Playboy bunny sticker an all). You can easily avoid a lobster-red sunburn by just applying a little SPF, especially to your face–one of the first areas of your body the sun reaches. Because the only time it’s okay to be a lobster is if you’re quoting Phoebe from Friends.
Choosing the right face sunscreen is crucial for all skin types to help protect your skin from the sun. Not sure which sunscreen is best for your skin type? It feels like there are so many kinds that fuck up your skin, so here’s a quick cheat sheet.
If you have acne-prone skin, finding any sunscreen that doesn’t completely irritate your skin probably seems impossible. Sticking to an oil-free sunscreen will save you from a horrendous breakout.
UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF
This fragrance-free sunscreen is specially made to provide light hydration and broad-spectrum sun protection. It contains lactic acid and sodium hyaluronate which helps clear pores, moisturize the skin, and prevent any further dreadful breakouts.
Shop it: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF, $41, Dermstore
Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen
This dry-touch formula sunscreen is made with perlite, which is a powder that comes from volcanic rock and is known for it’s oil absorbing properties so your skin won’t look greasy AF.
Shop it:La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60, $19.99, Dermstore
Any sunscreen made with chemical UV blockers can aggravate your face, which is a nightmare for anyone with sensitive skin. Nobody wants stinging, burning, or redness. So if you’re on the sensitive side, look for a mineral sunscreen.
PLAY 100% Mineral Lotion
Made with zinc oxide, this 100% mineral sunscreen will protect your skin from the harsh sun, while the clean, plant-based ingredients will help nourish and shield your skin from all angles.
Shop it: Supergoop PLAY 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 30 with Green Algae, $14, Supergoop
Oil Control Moisturizer
Hydrate, repair, and protect your sensitive skin with this non-comedogenic (aka won’t clog your pores), dermatologist-tested, and synthetic fragrance-free SPF. This 4-in-1 formula helps absorb oil, reduce shine, hydrate and provide sun protection. Get yourself a sunscreen that can do it all.
Shop it: Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer, $17.89, Target
With dry skin, you want to look for a sunscreen with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate. Also, you should avoid anything with fragrances—they can be irritating.
Water Drench Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Hyaluronic Cloud Moisturizer
The extremely lightweight sunscreen shields your skin against harsh UV rays. Once applying, your dry skin will feel moisturized, hydrated and feel silky soft – all without irritating your skin.
Shop it: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench® Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Hyaluronic Cloud Moisturizer, $55, Dermstore
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30
This cult-favorite sunscreen is clinically proven to increase your skin’s hydration while also reducing the appearance of wrinkles, which makes it totally worth the price tag. Bye-bye sun damage, hello glowy skin.
Shop it: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF, $132, Dermstore
When you have oily skin, you should use an SPF that has a high concentration of Zinc Oxide—at least 5%. This is important as it helps mattify oily skin.
Block Star Daily Mineral Sunscreen
This lightweight, silky, 100% sheer mineral sunscreen blends into skin effortlessly without clogging your pores or leaving behind streaks or white residue. It’s made to help control excess oil that may get worse over the summer and minimizes the appearance of pores.
Shop it: BlissBlock Star Daily Mineral Sunscreen, $21.99, Target
Acne Control Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF
Murad’s SPF is made with oil-trapping microspheres that mattify your skin and deliver smooth, soft skin. It’s formulated to control oil and shine for 10 hours while protecting your skin against the sun.
Shop it: Murad Acne Control Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $49, Murad
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
One of the downfalls of basking in the sun is how much it can age your skin. Luckily, using a broad spectrum formula sunscreen everyday can protect your skin from the sun’s rays and delay damaging and premature aging effects of sun exposure.
A Perfect World SPF 40 Moisturizer
This SPF moisturizer will hydrate your skin while helping delay any signs of aging. It’s antioxidant-rich white tea-infused formula will nourish your skin and further protect its youthful appearance.
Shop it: Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Moisturizer, $52, Target
Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid
A daily hydrating, broad-spectrum SPF that works to promote healthier, younger looking skin. The water-light formula visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles while helping to prevent further signs of aging.
Shop it: Paula’s Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50, $37, Dermstore
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new information in April 2023. It was originally written by Sydney Wingfield
Image: Pansfun Images / Stocksy.com
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.
Laneige Cream Skin Mist
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.
Caudalíe Pink Limited Edition Beauty Elixir
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.
Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream
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.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench® Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
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.
Supergoop! Glowscreen (SPF 40)
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.
TULA Protect + Glow (Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30)
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.
Peachy Prescription Retinoids
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.
Kosas Tinted Face Oil
“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 Lip Butter Balm
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.
YSL Beauty Rouge Volupte Shine Oil-in-Stick
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.
SheaMoisture African Black Soap
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.
Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub
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
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.
Summer is hands down the best (and betchiest) season for many reasons: day drinking, tans, cute summer clothes—I don’t need to convince you. But let’s be honest, summer has its downsides. It’s the little things, like feeling the need to shave every five seconds because your legs are always on display, and then shaving so much you end up irritating your skin, and having those awful bumps around your bikini area. The worst. It can also be really tricky to navigate how much makeup is too much at a beach party. Also, a sun-kissed glow may be easy for some to achieve naturally, but for others, it can end in a disaster (sunburn). I am the latter. Since we deserve to flaunt what we’ve got in the summer without botching our skin, we asked celebrity makeup artist Carrie LaMarca, who has worked with top models like Ashley Graham and Emily Ratajkowski, for her best summer beauty hacks.
What are your top tips for achieving glowing, smooth skin?
Glowing skin is my favorite, and there are several steps I take to achieve that. One: drinking lots of water is key! Second, I strongly advise using a power serum. Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C serum is my current must-have product. It evens out your skin tone and brightens and plumps fine lines all in one, leaving your skin supple and glowing. Finally, I always make sure that my face is free of any “peach fuzz,” because this helps your foundation to go on super smooth and even. For this, I love the Clio Beautytrim, a personal facial groomer, which is super gentle and small enough to keep in my makeup bag.
What’s the one thing we should be doing this summer to avoid ingrown hairs, bumps, and redness?
A big way to avoid ingrown hairs is to exfoliate before you shave. It helps to soften and loosen the hair, making it easier to get a clean, smooth shave. For bumps and redness, it helps if you use witch hazel on the area after shaving, and follow up with a light moisturizer.
What’s the one item you have to have in your beauty bag when working with celebs?
My number one, can’t-live-without item is the Cle De Peau concealer sticks. They are expensive but worth every penny! They work wonders on covering any red spots and under eye circles and are so lightweight and smooth that they look like your skin.
What’s the craziest beauty bind you’ve gotten into behind the scenes at a Sports Illustrated shoot, and how did you fix it?
This wasn’t a Sports Illustrated shoot, but it was a swimwear shoot, and somehow the model didn’t get the memo and showed up unshaven “down there!” Thankfully, I always keep the Clio bikini trimmer in my kit! I make sure to pack it for swim or underwear shoots because it quickly removes hair, but doesn’t leave any redness or irritation that shaving with a razor can cause. I was able to clean her up quickly and got her right on set to start shooting. Crisis averted!
Any cool summer beauty hacks you can share for those of us who will be showing off our legs all summer?
A tan always makes your legs look better, so I’d recommend using a self-tanner like St. Tropez—one of my faves. But if you are too scared to commit to tanning yourself, or if you’re in a last minute pinch, mix some of your foundation with your body lotion, and it works great for evening out the skin tone on your legs and covering up any redness.
As a top celebrity makeup artist and skincare expert, Carrie LaMarca has worked to prep top models like Nina Agdal, Ashley Graham, and Emily Ratajkowski for their close-ups. From shoots on exotic beaches to the catwalk, Carrie is a pro when it comes to grooming and keeping the skin looking camera-ready.