A few months ago I did a post explaining every single skincare product I use and why (sometimes it’s as simple as ‘I got it in a beauty box, so now I put it on my face’), but I thought it would be a good idea to show you guys how I adapt my skincare routine for the summer months. Here’s my summer skincare routine!
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. This post does not contain affiliate links.
My Summer Skincare Routine
About my skin + my environment
I have normal to dry skin that gets a little oily in the summer months. My skin concerns are acne, hyperpigmentation, texture, and anti-aging. I live in Las Vegas, so my climate is extremely hot, frequently dry, and experiences sudden changes in humidity due to summer thunderstorms. For my summer skincare routine, the changes I make are reducing the number of layers I use, choosing products with little to no residue, and eliminating facial oils.
I always get questions about what order to use products in. It varies a little bit depending on what products you’re using, but you typically want to go from thinnest texture to thickest. Vitamin C should be applied right after you wash your face, followed by any acids, and/or acne medications. Essence next, then serum, then moisturizer. During the day, sunscreen should be the last step of your skincare routine, but if you prefer you can apply it underneath your moisturizer.
My summer night routine:
Farmacy Green Clean > Farmacy Clean Bee > Maelove The Glow Maker > AHA or BHA every other night > Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb > Differin > Stratia Rewind > Moisturizer > Lip Balm
My summer day routine:
Farmacy Clean Bee > Maelove The Glow Maker > Moisturizer > Sunscreen
This step doesn’t change at all in my summer skincare routine. I’m very loyal to Farmacy Green Clean because it makes removing my makeup a quick and painless, dare I even say enjoyable, step. I have a full review of Farmacy Green Clean up on the blog already.
Similar to my makeup remover, I don’t switch up my cleanser for summer. My skin is very sensitive to cleansers, so I have to be very particular about what I use. I’m currently using Farmacy Clean Bee, but I also like Stratia Velvet Cleansing Milk and Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. I’ve already reviewed Clean Bee and Velvet Cleansing Milk.
Farmacy Clean Bee $28 for 5 oz at Sephora
Stratia Velvet Cleansing Milk $15 for 4 oz at StratiaSkin.com
Fresh Soy Cleanser $38 for 5.1 oz at Sephora
I use actives much less than I did prior to starting Differin, but I do still consider them an important part of my routine, especially in the summer when my skin gets oilier.
I still use my trusty Alpha Skincare Intensive Rejuvenating Serum to help exfoliate my skin and stimulate collagen production. I’ve used this serum for several years now and would definitely recommend it, but you should know that at 14% glycolic acid, this serum is best for experienced acid users. I’ve found that using chemical exfoliators regularly really helps to prevent acne, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good strategy for everyone. The reason why this approach has worked so well for me is because my skin is a “lazy exfoliator” meaning that it doesn’t do as good of a job as it should when it comes to getting rid of dead skin, sebum, etc., which in turn leads to clogged pores and acne formation.
The reason why I like this particular AHA so much is because it’s effective, fragrance-free, an appropriate pH (3.7), and it doesn’t break the bank. A word of caution though, I wouldn’t recommend this serum if you have sensitive skin or you’re just starting out with acids because it will almost certainly be too much for your skin. Opt for something with a lower acid percentage if your skin isn’t used to chemical exfoliators. Trust me, you don’t want to overdo it and deal with months of trying to heal a compromised moisture barrier.
I do also love Sunday Riley Good Genes and recommend that as well, I just haven’t repurchased it in a while because I’m focusing my skincare budget on trying new products.
I’ve been on a quest to find a BHA that doesn’t feel heavy and greasy on my skin, but it’s kind of an impossible task to an extent because BHAs are always going to be oil-soluble. That’s how they get into the pore and lift sebum and other debris out, something that water soluble AHA can’t do. However, that doesn’t mean I have to live with something that makes me want to wash my face all over again. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing this is actually kind of a funny situation because I love facial oils, but for some reason the texture of BHA serums just really irks me. It’s a bit illogical, but it is what it is *shrug.*
Anyway, what I’m taking far too many words to explain is that Julep Dream Big Nightly Renewal Pressed Serum is my BHA of the moment. I’ve also tried Paula’s Choice BHA serum (highly effective but too heavy for my liking) and CosRx BHA serum (great, budget-friendly, pretty lightweight as far as BHA serums go). I’ve been testing out Julep’s BHA over the last few months and here’s what I’ve discovered:
- can be very lightweight, but it’s easy to over-apply since it’s in stick form. Don’t get carried away.
- highly effective, great for bringing stubborn pimples to a head. In my experience, it works on cystic acne with steady use over 3-5 days, and regular pimples within 1-2 days.
- does a good job of brightening the skin and improving skin texture
- it’s a little temperamental and will pill if you don’t let it absorb fully before applying your next step
As far as a summer skincare routine goes, this is probably tied with CosRx’s serum for texture and effectiveness.
Vitamin C is a newer step for me, but it’s made a significant difference in the evenness of my skin tone and has been a huge help in reducing the visibility of my fine lines. The one I’ve been using and would highly recommend is Maelove The Glow Maker. In addition to providing the benefits of vitamin C, it’s also full of other great antioxidants that help to prevent signs of aging. I just did a review on it, so go check that out if you want all of the deets!
$27.95 for 1 oz at Maelove.com
The only retinoid I’m using at the moment is Differin. In the colder months, I also like to use Sunday Riley Luna Oil but I don’t like to use oils at all in the summer. I have an extremely detailed post on my experience with Differin, but in case you don’t want to read that, here’s the TLDR version: I’ve been using it for about a year and a half. We had a tumultuous relationship at first that caused my skin to purge like crazy and become very sensitive. Over time, my skin cleared up and became less sensitive. I love Differin and will continue to use it either for the rest of my life or until my skin decides to quit being a jerkface and stop producing pimples.
$25 for 30 g at Amazon.com (also available at most drugstores)
I’m always on the hunt for fun new serums, but the only one I’m using at the moment is Stratia Rewind, which is a serum that addresses fine lines and hyperpigmentation. It took me a while to see significant results from this serum, but I can honestly say that it’s improved my skin at this point. The combo of Stratia Rewind + Differin gel + Maelove The Glow Maker is an anti-aging powerhouse. (note: Differin adapalene gel is a retinoid that’s mostly for acne, if you’re looking to use retinol purely for anti-aging benefits I would recommend trying something different) Stratia Rewind is lightweight, has a silky texture, plays well with other products, and doesn’t take too long to absorb.
$16 for 1 oz at StratiaSkin.com
I got rid of most of my eye creams and have only been using Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb for several months now. I haven’t felt the need to change this step of my routine up for summer because it has a texture that works great year round. Although I like it, it’s not my favorite Belif product. I reviewed it awhile back over here.
$48 for 0.84 oz at Sephora
I’ve been alternating between two moisturizers this summer. The first is a tried and true staple from Belif: The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. It’s hydrating without being heavy, which is exactly what my skin needs. I also love Aqua Bomb, which has a gel texture and is better suited to oily skin.
$38 for 1.68 oz at Sephora
$22 for 0.84 oz at Sephora
$38 for 1.68 oz at Sephora
$22 for 0.84 oz at Sephora
The other moisturizer I’ve been using is Farmacy Rise ‘N Shine Daily Moisture Lock. It seems like everything I try from Farmacy ends up being something I absolutely love, and Rise ‘N Shine is no exception. It makes my skin feel hydrated and protected, plus it provides antioxidants for anti-aging. I’ve noticed it also has a calming effect on my skin, which is perfect for when my acne starts to flare up. I personally haven’t experienced any pilling from this product, but when I went to find a purchase link I noticed several people mentioned they’d had that problem with the product. I wanted to be sure to mention it just in case.
$40 for 1.7 oz at JC Penney
*note: I couldn’t find links for this at Sephora or Farmacy, so it may be discontinued or being reformulated?
I think the Anthony Oil Free Facial Lotion is also great for summer because it has such a thin, lightweight texture. My bottle is about to expire, so I’ve mostly been using it on my body to try to get my money’s worth out of it.
The one I use is discontinued, so I’m not going to mention it. However, I wanted to make sure I still included a sunscreen step in here to remind you to use it! Protect your skin!
I don’t do a ton of masking in the summer, but when I do it’s typically a clay mask like Origins Clear Improvement mask to help manage my skin’s oil production.
As usual, I’m committed to my TokyoMilk Dark Lip Elixir (and super peeved that they’ve stopped selling it at Sephora). I’ve also been loving Farmacy Lip Bloom to prep my lips for color. Glossier Balm Dot Com is nice too, but I don’t find it to be that hydrating. I love the way it feels on my lips though, so if I want a balm to go over lipstick that’s usually what I reach for.
TokyoMilk Lip Elixir: $7 for 0.70 oz at Tokyo-Milk.com
Farmacy Lip Bloom: $12 for 0.25 oz at Farmacy
Glossier Balm Dot Com: $12 for 0.5 oz at Glossier
That’s it for my 2018 summer skincare routine! I know it’s a little late in the summer, but hopefully this was still helpful. Now raise your hand if you’re excited for fall!
If you missed my previous skincare routine post, you can check it out here.
Thanks for reading!
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