When I think of summer, I think of backyard barbecues and long days spent by the ocean. But the reality is that I, like many New Yorkers, spend most of my summer in the gritty city heat, with open pores absorbing pollution and sweat, instead of that salty air. Sometimes my “glow” feels more like grease and I tend to breakout more in summer than any other season. A less attractive picture, I realize. But with extra care and thorough but gentle cleansing, you can still maintain a clear complexion all season long. 

My first rule of summer is protection. It’s non-negotiable and rest assured, your older self will thank you for your diligence. So protect during the day, cleanse at night, and soothe your sun-exposed skin while you sleep. Oh, and mask once or twice a week while you’re at it. 

I’m all about the double cleanse before bed. I start with Tata Harper’s Nourishing Oil Cleanser and usually follow up with her Purifying Cleanser, which feeds your skin nutrients while pulling out the bad stuff. Both work best applied to dry skin, so just pat dry between cleansers. The Purifying Cleanser might feel a little thick at first, but as you rub it in it breaks down to a milky oil and glides across the face. Spend extra time massaging your skin with it and rinse off with warm water, following up with a splash of cold to close the pores. 

About once a week or so, I switch out the Purifying Cleanser for this powder-to-foam matcha based cleanser from Odacite. Reason being that for my skin type, I think too frequent use might dry me out. Wear an old tee shirt when using it to avoid any green stains from drippage. The chlorophyll in the Green Ceremony Cleanser is a great detoxifier and the foaming texture makes you feel squeaky clean afterward. This is a good one to use on especially sweaty, grimy summer days. 

After cleansing, follow up with toner to rebalance the skin and prep it for moisturizer. The COQ-10 toner from Indie Lee is a favorite of mine (it’s super gentle, soothing, and hydrating) and the packaging recently changed to a spray applicator. This is excellent news because I used to go through the pour bottles so quickly and also found that they leaked a tiny bit when traveling. Mist it on a cotton pad and wipe off any excess cleanser (there’s usually a little matcha residue I miss when rinsing the Odacite cleanser!). After the face, be sure to wipe your neck off as well. It’s often a neglected area but it needs your love too.

Follow up with face mist and serum. Then apply moisturizer and facial oil at night if that’s your thing. You can also skip moisturizer and go right to oil if you prefer, or simply stick to the former. The Lapis Oil from Herbivore is great for soothing irritated skin, and it’s ideal for oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin. The blue tansy it contains can help reduce redness from irritated skin and aid in clearing the complexion. It’s sold in a set with the Blue Tansy mask for $29 - a real steal for both products. The oil in the set is travel size which is great for A) travel (of course) and B) taking it for a test drive.

During summer days, I skip facial oils and apply spf on top of my regular moisturizer. I  just ordered the SPF 30 elemental sun balm from AKT Therapy and am already in love. It’s a non-nano zinc oxide formula with a subtle tint (if you can even call it that...I find it goes on clear and the tint simply cancels any white cast) in a luxurious, moisturizing balm formula. It is the polar opposite of a thick, chalky sunscreen; it leaves a dewy sheen that lasts all day and has zero signs of whiteness often associated with zinc. Mineral sunscreen provides a physical barrier between the sun and your skin, and as soon as you put it on, you’re protected, unlike chemical sunscreens which require a waiting period before fully effective.

For masks, lately I’m loving the aforementioned Blue Tansy from Herbivore, which comes in the nifty little set. I’m also enjoying the Radiant Glow Mask from Evolve Organic Beauty, a UK brand. This mask contains coconut shell powder to gently slough off dead skin and cacao for an antioxidant boost. It also smells like brownie batter so it feels very indulgent sans the calories! It’s a real treat without compromising the beach bod. 

I hope everyone's summer is off to a fabulous start!