Finance & Money
Damaged Summer Skin? The Best Skincare Products To Use Now — And All Year
Our favorite products you can use for summer skin damage, and year-round. Don’t miss out on these beauty essentials
Skin care: Necessary but daunting. Expensive? Not always. So much out there, so hard to choose. So. Much. Out. There!
I’ve always loved trying new beauty products, even when I was a kid. As a lifestyle writer, I still like to see what’s new, and yes, publicists sometimes send me skincare products and beauty essentials to try. Some good, some not-so-good. (FYI: I never write about products I don’t like or wouldn’t personally buy.)
Finding the right product for your skin, however, is kind of like finding the right running shoe. You have to try stuff on. But, how? For one, see if you can get samples, which are often available at department store beauty brand counters or cosmetic specialty stores. Some brands and stores (Sephora, Elta MD, and CVS, for example), allow for returns on opened goods — check their policies before you buy. Another solution is to order mini or travel sets; this allows you to try products without making a major financial investment because, as you probably know, some skincare products are pricey. While your skincare needs may change seasonally, there are some terrific products that can be used year-round.
Here, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite recently launched or forever favorite skincare products that have carried me through this summer. These products can be used to prevent or treat summer skin damage. The added bonus is that you can use them anytime.
I’ve been using it on days when I don’t wear sunscreen, like if I know I’m not going outside or in the evening before a night out. It absorbs instantly into my skin and feels sheer, the same way a primer does.
The gel uses three ceramides (yes, that’s where the brand derived its name), complex lipids (fats) that act like glue and hold cells together. It also contains CeraVe’s unique multivesicular emulsion (MVE) technology, which is like a timed-release method of hydration. And it has moisturizing hyaluronic acid and niacinamide — a kind of vitamin B3 that builds keratin and hydrates, soothes, and brightens skin — and glycerin, all which help make it my new go-to when I need something light and easy.
Everyday, I use the tinted UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 ($41), a mineral and chemical sunscreen, having switched this summer from the original non-tinted version. I cannot speak to the debate over the benefits of mineral versus chemical sunscreens; I do know that you want a good amount of zinc oxide as a mineral barrier because it reflects UVA and UVB sun rays — the UV Clear contains 9%.
I’m also a huge fan of Elta MD’s mineral spray sunscreen, recently reformulated as the UV AOX Mist Broad Spectrum 40 SPF ($45). Because it’s water-resistant, it is the only sunscreen that works for me when I’m outside on hot days playing tennis or other sports, and sweating. Of the many sunscreens I’ve tried, Elta’s is the only one that doesn’t burn my eyes when sweat drips down my face and doesn’t make my racquet handle greasy.
You know you should be wearing sunscreen daily and year-round, right? The tint in this sunscreen is barely there — I don’t notice the color as much as I see how it unifies my skin tone. You should sample facial sunscreens whenever possible. Depending on one’s skin type, they can be very oily — like how my dermatologist’s other fave, Isdin, feels on my skin — or they can leave a matte or glistening white sheen like some of Supergoop’s popular products do on me. By testing different sunscreen options, you will likely find one that looks and feels good. This will encourage you to apply it year-round too.
C You Later!
Good riddance, dull, uneven, and sun-damaged skin: vitamin C-loaded BeautyStat to the rescue. Launched in 2019, the BeautyStat skincare range was founded by cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, who created products for some of the world’s best-known beauty companies, notably Clinique, L’Oréal, and Avon. BeautyStat claims to use the highest percentage (20%) of L-ascorbic acid in the industry and the company developed innovative technology to stabilize this purest, most active form of vitamin C. Why should you care? Well, according to the Cleveland Clinic, vitamin C can protect your skin from free radicals including pollution, UVs, and pesticides; be an anti-aging agent by increasing collagen production; and reduce dark or sun spots when used regularly.
BeautyStat has a terrific skin care system which includes the Universal Microbiome Barrier Balancing Cleanser with medical grade silver, $29; the Universal Triple Action Daily Peel exfoliating pads with AHAs and BHAs, glucosamine, moisturizers, and botanicals, $29 for 10 pads; the Universal C Skin Refiner serum, $85 (the company’s star and debut product) and accompanying Universal C Eye Perfector cream, $65; the Universal Microbiome Purifying Clay Mask, $65; and the 24-hour Universal Probiotic Moisture Boost Cream, $32.
Earlier this year, the company introduced a 100% mineral broad spectrum SPF 50 version of its best-selling serum refiner, $85, complementing the high dose of L-ascorbic acid with 17.5% of zinc oxide. It’s more a treatment product than a sunscreen you’d slather on before heading to the beach and it has a lightweight, airy feel.
After a few days of using these products, my skin felt super clean and super smooth. A relief, since my skin can feel rough with dryness or a bit bumpy with clogged pores.
Most skin care serums are liquid and vary from being a lightweight fluid to something more creamy thanks to high water content. But native Frenchwoman Natacha Bonjout, who holds a doctorate in French pharmaceutical science and spent years researching skin radiance, just debuted a solid serum, Le Balm, $120, using a scant amount of water.
For her new company Bonjout Beauty, she formulated the “2.6.60 protocol” for the balm, meaning it has more than 60 active ingredients that deliver six specific actions that work on two skin levels, all fueled by the strength of 1.5 million native plant stem cells. Her top performing ingredients include prickly pear, which protects against sun damage and helps to unify skin tone, among other attributes; blue bird hibiscus, which stimulates cell regeneration and decreases wrinkles; and ceramides derived from grapeseed oil, corn, or fermented yeast.
I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the macaron-shaped recyclable tin of the solid serum. Do I just poke my finger in it? Yep. It felt like smushing lipstick (so gratifying). I took half a pea-sized blob, rubbed it between my hands to warm it up, and spread it around my face.
It enveloped my skin reassuringly, reminding me of the French word doudou, which means cuddly toy or security blanket. Bonjout says the balm can be used day or night, but for me, it is a bit too heavy for daytime use, and now it’s part of my nightly routine.
I’m a skeptic and didn’t believe that Sio Beauty’s dimethicone beauty patches could iron out the creases on my décolleté, which during the summer can resemble the mud cracks of California’s Mojave Desert (I love hyperbole!), but they actually work! I applied the Chestlift one afternoon on bare, clean skin — as directed — and my skin was smooth and felt taut in time for my notch-neck poplin shirt that evening.
The miracle ingredient in Sio Beauty’s Chestlift, $36, as well as the brand’s other patches for the face, is medical-grade silicone. It is a skin protectant that helps seal in moisture and contributes to the spreadability of many beauty products.
Sio explains the science behind its patches best, noting that the patches work by occlusion. They draw moisture up through the layers of skin to the surface and create a “microclimate that deeply hydrates and visibly smooths wrinkles…this closed environment seals in moisture, intensely hydrating and plumping up the appearance of lines.” The patches also gently compress the skin, flattening out wrinkles and preventing new ones. I’m sold.
In addition to patches, Sio Beauty also has a Cryo Skin Care collection with hydrating and soothing products for the face and body. These will surely be a year-round go-to for me and I love that the patches can be reused up to 10 times.
Another one of my hands-down beauty faves is the new 7-Acid Daily Glow Peel lotion ($80 for 120ml) from Clark’s Botanicals launched this past spring. With seven different exfoliating acids, including lactic, salicylic, and glycolic, the magic potion also contains fruit and botanical acids and extracts, notably jasminum officinale, a key ingredient across many of Clark’s Botanicals beauty products. But there’s hyaluronic acid as well, which helps hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Using this skincare product regularly has kept my skin smooth and clean, thankfully, because my pores get clogged in the summer due to the constant application of sunscreen.
It’s also very refreshing to use after washing your face at the end of a hot, humid day!
The Clark’s Botanicals collection was developed by Francesco Clark and his doctor father after a diving accident left Francesco paralyzed from the neck down, shutting down his sweat glands, which wreaked havoc on his skin. His story is amazing and I love his Francesco’s Fridays on Instagram for inspiration.
If you haven’t yet heard of neurocosmetics, time to read up. It’s a relatively new category in the beauty industry whereby brands incorporate ingredients traditionally found in mood regulating or enhancing supplements into their topical formulations.
One such company, A.P. Chem, describes its approach to skin care as “Alt Pharma” and uses neuropeptides, nootropics, and adaptogens in its launch collection of the Microdose Magical Moisturizer, $75, the Dopeamine Uplifting & Smoothing Serum, $125, and the EyeAhuasca Enlightening Eye Treatment, $85.
For example, the moisturizer features the company’s AdaptoGEN8 complex of eight mushrooms that, in supplements, increase stress resilience and sharpen focus, among other believed benefits. Used topically, mushroom extracts can “energize, hydrate, and protect the skin with antioxidative and nutritive properties.”
The brand was co-founded by beauty veteran and ketamine for mental health advocate Sandra Statz, CEO, who worked with notable brands including La Mer, Guerlain, and Clinique, and dermatologist Dr. Sherwin Parikh, Chief Science Officer, the founder of the Tribeca Skin Center, who grew up in a family that embraced ayurvedic medicine.
The Today Show’s Hoda Kotb is also a fan… so we’re in good company.