We’ve still got almost a month left of summer—it ain’t over ‘til it’s over!—and so it’s time for me to share all the skincare products that I’ve been using and loving this season.
For this routine, I tried to find a balance between protecting my skin from the sun, but still preventing summertime breakouts (which I often get from sweat, excess oil and occlusive sunscreens!). So I’ve prioritized oil-controlling products, lightweight textures and keeping my skin and pores super-clean.
Read on to find out what I’ve changed up versus my spring routine, the reason why I chose these products, and how I’m using each one.
My Summer Skincare Routine: Overview and What’s New
SPF Lip Balm
Red Light Therapy
Here are the main changes in my summer routine:
- Niacinamide and zinc: If you've been following my routines for a while, then you know that niacinamide is one of my staples. I took a break in the spring to try this serum, which I wanted to love... but just didn’t. (I found it too heavy/greasy for daytime, and there just wasn’t a place for it in my nighttime routine.) So I’ve happily returned to niacinamide along with zinc, which are ideal for summer because they’re lightweight and work to minimize excess oil production.
- BHA and retinoid: I’ve upped my exfoliation to help prevent summer breakouts. On most days, I’m using my favourite BHA morning and night, and my skin is tolerating it nicely. At night, I’ve also gone back to a stronger retinoid. Don’t get me wrong, this one was lovely, but it’s hard to downgrade when you’re used to a more potent treatment!
- Multimasking: I often used to chill out with a face mask in the evenings, but I’ve been so busy lately, that hasn’t been happening. So I started applying my masks at breakfast, a few times a week, so that I could at least fit them in before my morning shower. I use a clay mask on oilier areas, and a brightening mask everywhere else.
- Makeup remover towel: Although I’m a die-hard micellar water lover, I’ve been meaning to try one of those makeup remover towels for ages, and I finally got around to it in this routine! Not only are they more eco-friendly, they’re also surprisingly effective.
Now, on to the nitty-gritty of this routine!
Note: If some of these products look untouched, it’s because I either have doubles and keep a pristine version for photography, or because a little goes a long way and I only need a small amount for each use! Everything you see here was purchased by me, with the exception of Dr Loretta, CyberDerm and Ava Isa (PR samples).
My Morning Skincare Routine
1. Micellar Water
If I’m going to apply my face masks in the morning, I do a light cleanse with some micellar water first. I use Bioderma Sensibio H2O on a Shiseido Facial Cotton pad. Most people use this product as just a makeup remover, but it can actually replace a regular cleanser. It never irritates, stings or strips.
2. Face Masks
Then, two or three times a week, I’ll apply some NIOD Myrrh Clay to my T-zone. I’m not using it as directed—the brand says it’s meant to be applied at night, only once a week, and that it’s for “signs of aging.” Based on the ingredients, I’m not so sure. It’s highest in peat, which is antimicrobial, astringent and anti-inflammatory, and Fuller’s Earth (solum fullonum), which absorbs excess oil. So I feel like this mask is an upgraded version of the famous Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. Supposedly the myrrh has firming benefits, so if that happens to my T-zone, I’ll consider it a bonus!
On the rest of my face, and sometimes my décolletage, I’ll use Agent Nateur Holi (Bright) Resurface Glass Face Mask. It has a higher price point, yes, but you get what you pay for—in this case, silk peptides, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid in an aloe base. It spreads easily and you don’t need a lot of product, so the jar should actually last a while (can you tell I’m trying to justify repurchasing this when I run out?!). Some brightening masks make my skin red, but this one is actually calming.
If I’ve applied my face masks, then I just rinse them off in the shower—I don’t wash my face afterward. But if I haven’t done the micellar-mask routine, then I use Agent Nateur Acid (Wash) Lactic Acid Brightening Cleanser. Just about everything from this brand speaks to me, and I’m on my second bottle of this cleanser! It’s a gel, but it doesn’t really lather. It’s super-gentle and never makes my skin feel “over-cleansed.”
4. BHA Exfoliant
Most mornings, I’ll do a light layer of COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid to keep my skin smooth, clear and bright. How many times have I mentioned this product (reviewed here)? I’ve never found anything that my skin likes better for exfoliating and deep-cleaning pores. The active ingredient, 4% betaine salicylate, gives you all the benefits of salicylic acid, but isn’t as drying.
5. Eye Gel
I like to let my BHA sit on my skin for about 30 minutes before I put on anything else, but since I don’t use it near my eyes, I can apply my Dr Loretta Tightening Eye Gel right away. I love gel textures, and this product is great underneath makeup. I find it plenty hydrating, and it also has ingredients to counteract dark circles, crow’s feet and puffiness.
6. Niacinamide Serum
After about half an hour, I apply Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum (which is coming to Sephora next year, in case you haven’t heard!). I chose this particular niacinamide serum because of the zinc, which has added oil-controlling and anti-inflammatory properties (in addition to niacinamide’s long list of benefits). I’ve really come to love this formulation, as it sinks in fast and doesn’t feel like anything is on your skin!