By: Julie Jorgensen
Aaaaand summer is here. We’ll soon be complaining about the sweltering heat and humidity, but for now, the spring rain has graciously given way to the flowery, gorgeous days of one of my favorite months of the year. That said, before you head to the pool or down to the beach, ask yourself: is my skin ready for the dog days of summer? If you’re unsure of the answer or if you don’t even know what that question means, fret not, my little beach-blanket baby. You’re about to embark on a crash-course in all things summer skin!
Let’s first acknowledge the somewhat-unpleasant occurrence that can befall almost anyone in the summer: the dreaded sunburn. Not to overstate the obvious, but this can usually be avoided very simply —SUNSCREEN. Choose one utilizing a physical block like zinc oxide, and apply it literally everywhere in the buff, before you put on your swimmysuit. A cream formula is best for the neck-down for ideal product distribution (Beautycounter has been my fave for years), and a solid stick delivers fast application to your face and neck and ears. Sunscreen sticks also work lightning-quick for squirmy-wormy kids just dying to get into the water. Avoid the aerosol sprays whenever possible, they’re positively loaded with toxic chemicals. With any sunscreen, it’s crucial to reapply at regular intervals. Check the label for info on how long your sunscreen is water-resistant. A good rule of thumb is to slap on a fresh coat about every hour or so. Should you find yourself turning pink, it’s best to head inside and call it a day. Take a cool shower, pop some anti-inflammatory pills and head to the fridge for some plain yogurt. Don’t eat it, wear it: the lactic acid in yogurt can naturally cool and soothe a sunburn. Aloe vera gel and spring-water facial mists stored in the fridge help too.
Don’t even talk to me about building up a “base tan” or baking in the summer sun for hours on end, unless you love the idea of looking like a dried-up prune when you get older. As always, a sunless tan rules all when it comes to showing off a pretty glow without accumulating nasty sun damage in the process. I like to tan at home when I don’t have time to hit a sunless-tanning studio. I exfoliate head to toe with a yummy-smelling sugar scrub (brown sugar, olive oil, and a few drops of essential oil make for a perfect DIY scrub), dry off thoroughly, and apply my sunless tanner on bare skin, starting at my legs. When I use a spray formula, I apply in my shower with the curtain pulled to keep the bronzer from going everywhere and use plain old dish-washing gloves to avoid telltale tan palms. I usually “tan” before bedtime and follow up with a quick rinse the next morning. Keeping faux-tanned skin moisturized is essential for prolonging your color. Look for a gradual-tan lotion that won’t dissolve or “eat” a sunless tan. Adding a few drops of a liquid highlighter like Benefit High Beam to your body lotion will accent that gorgeous sunless glow.
Saltwater and chlorine can wreak havoc on your skin and hair during the summer months, zapping precious moisture and leaving hair both dry and fragile. Make sure to take a tap-water shower once you’re out of the pool or ocean, and apply a soothing body butter or oil. Old-school Palmer’s Cocoa Butter smells divine and moisturizes even the angriest summer skin. Shield your tresses from the elements by applying a protective spray or lotion before you head outside. Both Kerastase Aqua Seal and Beach Bum 3 in 1 Leave In treatment create a barrier and leave hair soft and shiny. A chic hat provides protection too! It may seem counterintuitive, but a shower before a dip in the pool or a frolic in the sea can actually limit the hair’s ability to absorb saltwater or chlorine. Rinse off again once you’re headed back to your beach chair. Reapply that SPF lip balm, kick up your feet, and relax in the warm summer sun! Cheers!