Alright, I have been working on this post for weeks over here and it’s finally ready! Every time I think I’m done, I think of something else… and so this post has taken me a bit longer to write than I thought. Alas, here it is… my guide to your prettiest summer yet! Enjoy, friends! (And feel free to leave your favorite summer beauty tips in the comments… I’d love to hear ’em.)
GET A PEEL!
If you do one thing for yourself to get your skin ready for summer, I would suggest a peel. In my opinion, it’s the best thing you can do. Before your mind jumps to that scene in Sex and the City, hear me out. Years ago, getting a peel meant lots of redness + seeing your skin literally peel – or flake off. The ones I’m going to tell you about do no such thing. The newest developments in technology allow peels to gently exfoliate and brighten.. leaving your skin completely glowy, smooth and gorgeous, with no downtime. While a peel won’t get rid of wrinkles, it will help to diminish fine lines and any roughness (my skin gets really patchy and rough during the cold winter months if I don’t regularly exfoliate).
If you are in New York there are two that I love:
- The BeautyRx Peel Bar in Flatiron takes all of five minutes and leaves your skin glowing. It takes two minutes and costs $50, and makes such a huge difference. I was validated when I had lunch a couple weeks ago with my friend Brittany (an editor at Stylewatch Mag). She’s always had great skin but she was positively glowing at lunch. I asked her for the details and sure enough… regular trips to Butterfly.
- For something more substantial + indulgent (more like a facial), head to Dr. Wells for his signature facial. He is a plastic surgeon, and so I initially had reservations about trying his facial. (I was worried that he was going to scare me and start telling me all the thing I needed done), but that was completely not the case. The treatment was done in a spa-like environment. My aesthetician, Lubya, cleansed my skin and then applied a treatment that contains lactic acid, AHAs, + urea. She then placed a layer of clear plastic over my face to seal it all in for ten minutes. The rest of the treatment was more like a facial. My skin was so soft afterward (with no irritation or redness) and it glowed for days. Dr. Wells calls this his “red carpet facial” as celebs often come in and see him the day of a big event. I can see why… you can totally do this the day of something special.
At home, though… there are three great products that I alternate between:
- On the all-natural front, GOOP Skincare’s Instant Facial is magic. I wrote more about it here, but this stuff is no joke. In a matter of minutes, your face starts tingling and dead skin is dissolved. I’ve never seen an all-organic product with such potent results. I have said it before though… under no circumstances should you leave it on for longer than three minutes… the first time I tried it, I left it on for five minutes and my skin was really red afterward. Luckily it was before bedtime, and when I woke up the next day, my skin was back to normal (and so, so smooth!)
- For something ultra luxurious (and effective), try Natura Bisse’s Glyco Extreme Peel. This one is pricy but also highly effective. It leaves skin baby smooth and glowy, without irritation. Apply once a week (leave on for fifteen minutes and then rinse with warm water). I rationalize the price tag by saying that there are at least ten treatments in the bottle, which works out to about $25 per peel.
- For something you can do every night (and it’s easier on the wallet), I really love Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate. I apply a thin layer after cleansing, let it sink in, and then apply moisturizer over it. In the morning, my skin is glowing and gorgeous. If you can remember, this is a good thing to apply after an evening of drinking… my skin looks dull and ashy if I’m hungover… that won’t be the case if you use this. 😉
Important: After getting a peel (whether at home or at the derm/salon), be sure to apply SPF. Your skin will be at its most vulnerable state after a peel, so you want to make sure that it’s protected.
I am a bit obsessive about exfoliation right now. I dry brush almost every morning (read my tips for dry brushing here) and do a body scrub almost every day. While that sounds crazy, my skin has always been very dry and was especially bad this winter… I feel like I’m still sloughing off scaly winter skin! It’s also important during summer to exfoliate after a day at the beach or pool… sunscreen can really build up on your skin, resulting in clogged pores and yucky body breakouts. I personally like to alternate between a coffee scrub (they smell so good and help to minimize the appearance of cellulite… This one is my favorite, but I also love this one!) I also love this amazing all natural scrub from Arcona. My only complaint about the Arcona scrub is that I wish the bottle were bigger. It’s got this bright pink color and super minty smell and does such a good job exfoliating. It exfoliates two ways (chemically with fruit + salicylic acids and manually with jojoba beads).
After a good scrub-a-dub, I moisturize with a hydrating oil. My preference these days is good old fashioned organic coconut oil (this one from Kopari is amazing – it glides on so smoothly… but any old coconut oil does the trick). I also just started testing this new-to-me organic body oil (Gwyneth is a fan and named it one of the best body oils). Lastly, if I have an event or want to sparkle a little bit I will use May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff. I have to ration myself with this one.. it smells incredible and imparts just a little bit of golden shine wherever it’s applied (legs, collarbone, shoulders). It’s a magical product.
You might notice I only featured organic body products here. This is something that’s important to me. I’ve ultimately settled on an 80/20 rule… 80% of the products I use are natural/organic… the rest aren’t. I’m not perfect and a lot of my favorite anti-aging products aren’t organic/natural. Adhering to this rule is a lot easier when you only use natural body products… then, on my face, I can be less restrictive + experiment more with which products I use.
Blow-out addicts rejoice: now is the time to embrace your natural texture. I still blow out my hair prior to a blog photoshoot (my natural waves just look frizzy in photos) but the rest of the time I let it air dry. It’s a nice break from all of the heat styling I regularly put my hair through, and also it’s so humid outside that it just feels silly torturing my waves when the results won’t last. I am SO happy that John Frieda brought back his Sea Waves spray. It’s a drugstore product and truly better than any other wave spray I’ve tried. I am dating myself here, but I used it fifteen years ago, when I was in college! It smells amazing too. My other favorite natural texture product is ARROJO’s Styling Whip (it’s a mousse that tames my hair without any stiffness).
My hair gets so dry in the summer, especially if I’m spending time at the beach in the salt water. I try to do a mask once or twice a week. My two favorites are from VERB and Klorane. Both hair leave my hair hydrated and silky, and the Klorane one is especially great for blonde hair as it contains magnolia. Fun/nerdy fact for you… Klorane discovered that the protective wax on the magnolia leaves *which makes them more resistant and shiny), can also be used to smooth the hair cuticle and protect the hair fiber… resulting in super shiny hair for us.
In keeping with the hair theme, less is more! I mean, you’re spending all your time exfoliating + doing peels… so your skin is probably looking pretty good. My summer beauty routine is so simple. My everyday routine is really just seven products.
- I use Bare Minerals’ Complexion Rescue with this brush. My shade is “natural.”
- On my cheeks I apply little bit of this cream blush from RMS. You can also use it on your lips… it’s so pretty!
- To highlight, I apply my favorite luminizer from Becca (with the same brush that I use to apply the Complexion Rescue). You can read more about why I love this luminizer here, but it is probably my favorite thing in my makeup bag – such a great product!!
- On my eyes I’ll apply two coats of mascara. I’m always switching it up but my tried and true fave is this one from L’Oreal. I can’t believe it’s only $3.99… ha!
- I’ll apply dark brown eyeliner just at the waterline. (I stopped using black eyeliner after learning some tricks from the pros.)
- To tame brows, I use Glossier Boy Brow (read my full review here)
- I’ll wear gloss (love this one), balm, or a pale pink lipstick. Chanel Boy is my perma-favorite… it’s so pretty and natural.
Try a sheer wash of color! I’ve long been a big fan of Dior’s Nail Glow as it imparts just the tiniest bit of pink, making the nail look healthy and really pretty. Jin Soon just released two really beautiful (super shiny) new shades, inspired by the local custom of young girls in her South Korean village (they’d crush the petals of the balsam flower into a natural nail tint)! Blush is a sheer soft pink (Taylor Swift is a fan), and Crush is a bright translucent orange. I love Blush on my fingers and Crush on my toes… Crush is sort of like the pedicure version of wearing jelly shoes. As an added bonus, both shades smell (faintly!) like flowers.
Right about now is when I start to see that my Baby Foot Peel post is getting a lot of traffic. If your feet are rough and calloused… try this. It will all at once revolt you, amaze you, and change your world.
I love getting my lashes + brows tinted in the summer. This way, you still look pretty at the pool or beach… and it saves you a step the rest of the time. I swear by Neulash (read my full, in depth review here) to keep my lashes long and healthy… if I get them tinted, I can skip mascara altogether.
This post is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form, but I am obligated by FTC guidelines to inform you of my long term partnership with L’Oreal anytime I mention the brand. I was not paid or obligated to mention L’Oreal, I just genuinely like the products.