Summer Skincare Essentials
I have super-sensitive skin. From cheap sheet masks to scented lotions, it seems like I can't put a toe out of line in the beauty department without breaking out in hives. So I'm really particular about what I will and will not put on my body.
During the summer, this routine gets particularly hard to master since I want to be tan but not dry, and smooth but not razor burnt and bumpy. I've tried and failed to find success with plenty of products, and granted everyone's skin is different, but I've finally narrowed down a specific skincare regimen that has been working so, so well for me, and hopefully will for you too.
And the best part? None of these products come with a $300 receipt from Bloomingdale's. I've tried high end products- some are amazing. Most didn't blow me away. What I've discovered over years of trial and error in the beauty department is that if your skin is as sensitive as mine, simplicity is key. Most items in my medicine cabinet come from the grocery store or the Duane Reade on 65th street, and my skin has never looked better.
Step 1: This is the closest I come to splurging when it comes to skincare lately, and this entire tub of exfoliating scrub only costs like $30. As far as I know Rituals doesn't have many US stores (I think there are about 10 in New York and 2 in Cali) but if you happen to be near one, I highly recommend doing your shopping in person. The stores are beautifully designed and the staff is incredibly helpful. You're offered a chai as soon as you walk through the door, and their skincare specialists will offer to give you a brief consult before you shop- take them up on it! They'll ask about your skin type and the things you'd like to improve. They'll test products on you over a beautiful, commercial-glam looking bath while they help you decide which scents and serums are best suited for you. The entire experience is purely helpful, they aren't pitching products so much as steering you in the right direction. My secret weapon for silky smooth, healthy-looking legs is this organic rice and cherry blossom body scrub (the picture up top is from newlifenstyle). The organic sugar is what exfoliates and removes dead skin, but it's also rich with softening oils that nourish even the driest of legs like mine. It's infused with rice milk that really wakes my skin up and it smells beautiful. I use this about twice a week, always right before shaving.
Step 2. Sensitive skin needs to be babied, so that's exactly what I do- very literally. New parents are so concerned about keeping dyes, perfumes and chemicals away from precious baby skin. My question is, why in the world should that sentiment disappear as we get older and our skin needs all the help it can get? Baby wash is the only thing I'll use in the shower outside of a simple, all-natural organic exfoliant like the one I mentioned above. I just recently tried a foaming shave gel product (also from Rituals), but haven't been using it long enough to give great feedback. In the meantime, this is my yearlong go-to. I use it as a body wash (I don't use anything on my face, just water and a washcloth, or coconut oil to remove stubborn mascara).
Step 3: (First of all I absolutely love the speckled black, gray and white durable granite found throughout my apartment's bathroom.) But this is about the aloe.
My skin, particularly on my legs, gets unbelievably dry and itchy, especially after a day in the sun. I've had a hard time finding a lotion that doesn't leave me feeling greasy and perfumed. I like to lather moisture on before bed, but something about certain lotions felt counterproductive to the shower I had just taken to get clean before climbing under my fresh sheets.
Aloe is totally natural and packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants that your skin absolutely absorbs like a sponge. I massage this into my face, my legs, chest and on my shoulders after showering and by the time I get into bed my skin is completely dry to the touch. It's so all-natural, so my skin is never even remotely irritated by it, and it heals any subtle irritation I might get from shaving. The skin on my face has been positively glowing all summer since I added this into my routine, and that big bottle only costs like $6. When this bottle is empty I'm buying something bulk-sized with a pump- it's seriously that good.