June 19, 2018
Winter weather can do a real number on one’s skin, and sudden
meteorological changes through spring leave our faces feeling a little
confused. Then, summer rolls in, with its bright rays and sleeveless tops
aplenty, and longer days spent soaking up the sun. City-dwellers,
fuhgeddaboudit – the city’s air can carry a ton of toxins that land on your
skin the same way you breathe those “lovely” smells in.
With each ray comes the increased risk for sunburn and skin cancer, but there are a few things you can do regularly (and some even every day) to make sure your skin is protected and prepared.
We’re here to help with these seven summer skincare tips that are sure to leave your skin feeling bright, fresh and ready for fun in the sun. Whether your skin is oily, dry, combination, hormonal, normal, young or aged, scroll down for some tips, tricks and even a couple recipes to help you get started.
The best way to start any skincare routine is with a slightly deeper clean about once or twice a week. Depending on your skin type, this can mean using an exfoliating scrub to lift dead skin cells and product buildup that might have been missed in a daily wash and rinse, or something as gentle as a soft facecloth and a simple cleanser to buff away the duller areas for more sensitive skin. There are tons of exfoliating products out there on the market, but if you’re not sure if you’re ready to spend the kind of money to invest in an elaborate skincare routine, you can give this home recipe a try:
DIY Shower Scrub
1/2 cup raw sugar (or coarse salt)
1/2 cup coarsely ground coffee
(optional: 1/4 cup oatmeal to replace 1/4 cup coffee)
2-3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted but not hot
(optional: 1 tbsp. cinnamon and/or vanilla extract)
Mix the dry ingredients together first and slowly add the melted coconut oil until fully incorporated. Store this scrub in an airtight container and use as much as you’d like for your hands, face, or even as a body scrub in the shower.
You don’t have to stop with your cheeks and bod! Check out this DIY Lip Scrub recipe from our co-founder, Sarah, that helps lift dead skin and give yours lips a little TLC:
DIY Lip Scrub
2 tbsp. almond oil
1 tbsp. brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
A few drops of vanilla extract (or another flavor of choice)
Mix the ingredients together and be sure to store in an air-tight container. Once a day, or as often as you’d like, take a pinch of the sugar scrub and rub it onto your lips. You can press your lips together and move them around to really lift the surface skin, and rinse the excess off with warm water or a damp facecloth. Bonus – it’s all food-grade ingredients, so feel free to give your lips a lick!
And here’s one of our absolute favorite exfoliants across the team:
You’ve heard it before, and we’re here to say it again: Wash your face before bed, and make sure you take all your makeup off, too. When you’re washing, make sure you’re using lukewarm water instead of very warm or very cold water; hot water opens pores but can cause damage to the surface of your skin if too warm, while cold water closes pores and prevents your cleanser from doing its job.
Coconut oil is a great, natural makeup remover and as long as you’re using a cleanser afterwards that is free of sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates or drying ingredients like isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol 40 and ethyl alcohol, your skin will stay healthy and happy. Be careful you’re not over-washing, though. Just once a day is enough if you’re using a cleansing product and plain water in between to rinse off sweat. This will keep your skin from overworking itself.
Here are some of our staff’s preferences for cleansing and makeup removal:
Masks are a great way to give your skin a deeper level of conditioning, pull toxins from your pores, and really focus on problem areas that regular cleansers may not be able to work against. This is where knowing your skin type is super important because you don’t want to use a drying mask on skin that is already thirsty or a highly moisturizing mask on skin that is oily to begin with. Because these masks are a little more intensive, we suggest masking just once or twice a month and offer some homemade ideas below:
Honey-Banana Mash Mask
1/2 of banana
2 tbsp. Manuka Honey
(optional: 1/4 cup of oatmeal, ground to a powder)
Mash, mash, mash! The banana helps soothe dry, sensitive skin-types and offers natural nourishment and protection while the honey works to clarify and brighten the surface layers of your skin, evening skin tone. Apply as much of the mixture as you can and allow the mask to air-dry for about 30 minutes. Rinse with a gentle cleanser, and voila!
If DIY doesn’t interest you, don’t worry. Our team takes masks very seriously and we have a ton of suggestions for this type of skin care product:
Dirty Lamb Turkish Coffee Face Mask (yes, again!)
Toners are a type of astringent cleanser that help to reduce the size of your pores. It’s generally used after a face wash and before a moisturizer to lift any soap or makeup remnants that might not have washed off completely and to protect your pores from absorbing too much of the environment (which, if you live in a city, can be pretty polluted.)
Did you know our co-founders are queens of the DIY scene? Our co-founder, Jess, suggests learning about your skin's individual needs and making a toner at home. Hers, which helps with her combination skin, includes apple cider vinegar instead of alcohol, rose water, witch hazel, aloe water and various essential oils.
And a product we trust for your precious pores:
Moisturizers are important for locking in moisture and nourishing your skin after removing all the natural oils with cleansing and exfoliating. Skin-type is important when picking a moisturizer, just as when picking a mask, because you don’t want something too greasy for your already oily skin or not hydrating enough for dryer types. Another thing to consider is what time of day you’ll be using the moisturizer. There are creams and serums for the morning, the evening, for a mid-day boost, and we’re here to help you pick a place to start and choose a few.
Morning moisturizers should be light-weight, easy to blend into your skin, and may even already be included in your make-up routine as some foundations include moisturizers in them. The purpose of most morning moisturizers is to help wake your skin up a bit, even out the tone, and offer hydration throughout the day, so look for things with citrus oils or Vitamin C, which helps to neutralize free radicals with its high antioxidant potency. This will perk up your pores.
Evening moisturizers are much heavier and often go on at night, and the goal of primetime lotion is to keep things calm by getting deep and nourishing the skin from within. Look for lavender, chamomile or olive oil in the ingredients list for some added natural benefits.
Duross & Langel (local to Philadelphia and offered for a limited time)
*Serums: Serums are light-weight, deep-acting moisturizers that help deliver a lot of nutrients and active ingredients with just a little drop or two. Unlike moisturizing lotions, serums do not protect your skin and lock those nutrients in, so it’s important to put the serum of your choosing on below your layer of moisturizer to ensure best results.
DIY Matcha Serum
(recommended for combination or oily skin)
1 tbsp. Matcha (powdered green tea)
3 tbsp. Rosewater
1 tbsp. coffee bean oil
Mix the rosewater and coffee bean oil together and then add the Matcha, making sure to incorporate it fully. This serum is extremely moisturizing and offers a boost from the caffeine in the coffee oil and green tea. A few drops will go a long way, and it’s safe enough to use every day.
SPF – if your moisturizer or make-up of choice does not include SPF already, or you have very fair skin, here is where your sunscreen becomes important. While it’s recommended to apply sunscreen every day, it’s especially crucial in the warmer months because the sun is closer to the earth and the UV rays are touching on more exposed skin than colder times of the year.
Did you know the average sunscreen user actually under-applies their sunscreen? SPF, or sun protection factor, is a number assigned to sunscreen that measures the amount of protection you will have from UVB rays while using it. An SPF of 15 would allow for 1/15th of the sun’s rays to reach your skin. Most brands protect against the “burning rays” (UVB) and unless the bottle says “broad spectrum,” you are still at risk for skin damage caused by UVA rays, which we will get into a little later.
When picking which SPF to use, there is an easy trick to determining the protection you’ll get with each application. Remember, the suggested “dose” for sunscreen is about one ounce for exposed skin, applied every two hours, and a little more or less depending on your size and clothing choices. This quick trick requires a little math: If you are someone whose skin burns under the sun (unprotected) in about 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 would protect you for about 150 minutes from 14/15ths (or 93 percent) of the sun’s UVB rays.
If you burn more quickly, say in five minutes, this same SPF will only protect you for 75 minutes. You’re better off using SPF 30, in this case, for equal protection, as five minutes times SPF 30 equals 150 minutes of protection. (Don’t forget to reapply at the 120-minute mark, or sooner for sunscreens that are not water-or-sweat-proof.)
A final point to note: broad spectrum coverage. Most brands, as mentioned, focus on protecting your skin from burning, which is caused by UVB rays. When it comes to aging, skin cancer, and general skin damage, we can blame UVA rays. If your concern is complete protection, we recommend going for a broad spectrum sunscreen which ensures you’ll be protected from both.
Did you know our bodies are constantly losing water through sweat and urine? If we don’t replace those lost fluids, our organs can become dehydrated and cause our bodies to work harder than they have to. This can cause us to look more tired, and that makes perfect sense when you consider your skin is your largest organ.
While there is no magic formula for water consumption to hydration levels, it is important to keep your body hydrated by drinking water and/or beverages with low sugar and sodium, or by snacking regularly on foods (like fruit!) that have high water content. The rule used to be – eight glasses of water, 8 oz. each – but this theory was disproven in the early 2000’s. There’s water in a lot of stuff, and a conscious diet can help support your hydration.
If your water-drinking goals seem tough to keep up with, here are a few tips to encourage more sips:
Adding fruit and/or herbs to your water bottle
(rosemary, lemon and blackberry is our favorite combination!)
Mixing in Apple Cider Vinegar for a healthy boost
Using a splash of 100% juice (with no added sugar) for extra flavor