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Summer Survival Kit: The Beauty Products That’ll Prevent a Meltdown This Season

Don't let humidity ruin your vibe.

Endless Summer
summer beauty

I'm an August Leo, so I'd describe summer as the peak of my entire year. The long days, the longer nights, the sweltering heat; if any season truly embodies the vibrant and over-the-top spirit of a Leo, it's summer. Given all of that, I have to be honest with you—summer is hard on your hair…and your skin…and your face. It's a season that deserves its own arsenal of products to help you deal with the intense heat and stifling humidity; heavy moisturizers, full-coverage foundations, and thick body creams should be swapped for lightweight gel lotions, skin tints, and SPF body mists. But where to start? Don't worry—we've got you covered when it comes to creating a summer survival kit stocked with all of the skin care, haircare, and makeup essentials. Below, we've rounded up some of our favorite beauty products that'll help you get through the season.

What Should You Change about Your Skin-care Routine for the Summer?

When it comes to your summer moisturizer, you want to switch out your rich creams for a lighter, water-based formulation. Reach for products that feature ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin; because they're both humectants, they help to pull water back into your skin (this is super helpful if you're dealing with dryness).

For acne-prone skin, a moisturizer with exfoliating ingredients, like salicylic acid, should be added to your skincare arsenal; they'll help keep zits away, while also controlling your oil production. Be careful not to load your skincare lineup with too many exfoliants—it can trigger your skin to produce even more oil.

If your skin type falls squarely in the "dry" category, consider a featherlight facial oil. The right formula won't leave you looking greasy, I promise. Plus, when you layer an oil over a cream, it locks in moisture to prevent water loss—a major bonus for dry skin.

How Do You Fade Dark Spots and Keep New Ones from Forming?

The best routine for fading dark spots is a targeted one with products that work well together. Before introducing a product into your routine, 1) ask yourself if you really need or if you already have a product in your lineup that does the same thing; and 2) check out the ingredient list to make sure that you're not putting anything that's too intense on your skin. If you don't go in with a clear plan, you run the risk of aggravating your skin, causing inflammation and irritation.

Typically, you want to include a chemical exfoliant, a serum, a retinoid, and, of course, a sunscreen in your routine to fade, and prevent, dark spots.

Chemical exfoliants with a blend of gentle acids (think: glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids) tend to be less aggressive than physical exfoliators, like a gritty face scrub. The liquid exfoliants work to breakdown the dead skin cells on your face, getting rid of dark spots and smoothing out skin's texture over time.

Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Serums are filled with a high percentage of active ingredients that allow you to target specific skincare issues. For evening out your skin tone, look for a formula with kojic acid, niacinamide, or vitamin C that best fits your specific needs. Kojic acid interferes with your skin's melanin production, so it blocks new dark spots from rising to the surface; niacinamide—a form of vitamin B3—balances out oil production which helps to curb breakouts; and vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your skin from environmental aggressors that cause inflammation.

Retinoids boost collagen production and increase cell turnover for smoother and more even-toned skin. Start slow—apply it two to three times a week for a month or so, see how your skin reacts to the product, and then increase your frequency from there.

Retinol Reform

Shani Darden Skin Care

SPF is a must all year 'round, but you have to be more diligent with your application during the summer, especially when you're using chemical exfoliants or retinol; when overexposed to the UVA/UVB rays those types of products make your skin more susceptible to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and could worsen your dark spots.

On-the-Defense Sunscreen SPF 30

Eleven by Venus Williams

How Do You Minimize Flyaways during the Summer?

If your hair type falls somewhere in the middle of "super thick" and "extra fine," a hydrating cream can help keep your hair smooth and defined in the heat, says Renato Campora, Fekkai's Artistic Director. You can also use a texturizing spray to build volume and help your hair stay in place, says Campora. "Build it up in the roots and through the hair section by section, using a brush or your hands to create texture," he says.

Need more control? Reach for a moisturizing styling gel; it'll provide maximum hold and definition without drying your hair out, says Renee Gadar, Aveda's Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair. A leave-in conditioner is also a must, no matter your hair type; it'll help lock in moisture, keeping your hair smooth and hydrated when it's hot and humid outside.

What are the Best Lightweight Makeup Products for Summer?

When it comes to summer makeup, I recommend going as light as possible; anything too heavy and you're increasing the odds that your makeup will turn cakey and slide off your face. Instead, reach for buildable tinted moisturizers, gel cream blushes that won't budge, and a comfortable lip oil, stain, or gloss to round out your look. Once you step out in the sun, they'll give you a naturally dewy glow.

What Body Products Should I Use?

I've been a long proponent of treating the skin below your neck just as well as your face, so I have a pretty extensive body-care routine. But when it comes to the body basics that'll get you through the summer season, I'd suggest regularly using a physical or chemical exfoliant to keep ingrown hairs at bay and smooth out KP bumps; a hydrating body moisturizer that absorbs quickly; a body oil that'll lock in moisture; and a body SPF that protects your exfoliated legs from sun damage.

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