Are you ever scrolling through Instagram when someone’s gleaming, glowing skin stops your fingers dead in their tracks? This happens to me all the time, and it peaks in the summer. Shiny shoulders are my catnip. The thing is, I suck at summer skincare. Or body skincare in general. It’s rare that I even lotion up after a shower; my routine tends to stop around my clavicle.
In an effort to curate a summer skincare guide of sorts, I reached out to nine women on Instagram whose skin may or may not be featured on my private 10-year plan. First, I confessed my admiration and tried not to make it weird. Then, I asked them to tell me what their ultimate skincare product is during the summer. Below is what they told me.
Sable Yong, @sabletoothtigre
Her pick: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid (for face)
“It’s a chemical exfoliant, similar to a toner, but not exactly. I use it as one would use a toning step. It gives me that pore-less, shiny, dewy look and gets rid of all those pesky milia and teeny blackheads. BHA (a.k.a. salicylic acid) loosens dead skin from your pores so it doesn’t clog them, revealing all the new, plump skin cells underneath.
It’s one of those products that gives me instant gratification. It has an immediate effect. If I use it at night, I wake up with smooth, soft, glowing skin. I alternate between using it once and twice a day, depending on whether I’m using another kind of AHA at night.”
Her pick: MAKE Face Gloss (for face and body)
“I’m the queen of the 10-step skincare routine, and my obsession with pristine skin drives my makeup aesthetic as well. I have a thing for makeup that gives the illusion of great skin: smooth, plump, dewy and with a little bit of natural sheen. That’s why I love MAKE Face Gloss. When strategically applied, the colorless gloss revives tired skin.
I apply it to my cheekbones as a natural highlighter. I love that it doesn’t add color or sparkle, it just enhances my natural skin tone. And it’s not just for face…I also love it for my collarbone, shoulders and down the front of my legs for added glow.”
Eva Alt, @evaalt
“1. Sunscreen and 2. Self-tanner! This pairing is key. I love how I look tan, but tanning is dangerous and I want to look young forever. Also, I’m extremely fair and burn in the sun. For sunscreen, I use La Roche-Posay Anthelios. It has a milky consistency that doesn’t feel chalky like most sunscreens. For self-tanner, I use Vita Liberata Gradual Self Tan Lotion. I apply it with a mitt (always use a mitt!) on my body. It’s the perfect tan shade for a pale lady: not too dark, never orange.”
Tina Leung, @tinaleung
Her pick: St. Tropez’s Gradual Tan Lotion (for body)
“I use this every few days all year long so that I have ‘summer skin’ all the time. Most tanners make me a little orange, but this is great for my skin tone. If I’m getting a little too tan or if I’m tanning a lot, I’ll just use it a little less and vice versa.”
Leandra Medine, @leandramcohen
Her pick: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Cream (for body)
“My skin is pretty dry, especially in the summer. I start to look like a reptile on the loose in airy silk shorts. This cream does a pretty good job at combating dryness but the real reason I’m a fan is a) it smells delicious (like a combo of rose petals and coconut, which is niche and specific and very particular) and b) I’ve convinced/deluded myself into believing that guarana tightens your skin. This is based on zero research or evidence. The jar is pretty enormous, so even though it’s $45, you can rest assured it will last you a long time. If you don’t want a big tub, you can get a smaller one, but half the fun is dipping your hand into what feels like a vat of pudding.”
Micaéla Verrelien, @micaelaverrelien
Her pick: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula (for body)
“Cocoa butter is the best product I’ve found to combat dry skin. It works wonders; I’ve used it since I was a kid. Whenever I switch to other lotions, I find them to be far less moisturizing and end up coming back to this one. A lot of new products have so many chemicals in them, but Palmer’s is so simple — a lot of island women use it. I trust it. I don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to have a nice, natural glow. People ask me all the time what I use on my skin and why I always smell like a coconut.”
Nadia Josse, @nadiajosse
Her pick: Chanel Solution 10 Moisturizer (for face)
“In the summer I adapt my routine to lighter products just because of the heat. In the morning I have quite a long routine but at night I keep it simple with Chanel Solution 10 Moisturizer. It’s the simplest cream made with only 10 ingredients. I love it so much, and there’s no smell. I’ve made all my girlfriends try it and they love it. My boyfriend steals it, too!”
Jasmin Aujla, @jasminaujla
Her pick: Supergoop’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist (for face)
“I have combination skin than leans oily. In the summer, my T-zone can double as a mirror. I usually blot it with tissue, but then that also means my makeup and SPF come off. The Supergoop spray covers all my bases: it mattifies my face, goes on clear and is SPF 50. It also smells really good. I keep it in the fridge so when I spritz it on my face, it’s cold and refreshing.”
Her pick: La Mer’s The Reparative Skin Tint (for face)
“It’s my go-to skincare product for summer. I have pretty good skin with the occasional breakout. As a woman in her (very) early 40s, I appreciate a product that provides nice sheer coverage for summer with an SPF of 30. The tint evens out my skin and adds a subtle bronze glow, and the scent is heavenly. I can’t resist a multi-purpose product that delivers. After trial and error, I’ve found the best way to apply it is to blend it in the palm of my hand with La Mer Moisturizer. On days that my skin is not cooperating, I’m more generous with the amount of tint.”