In the beauty world, not being able to withstand a retinol product is an Achilles heel. Touted as one of the strongest and most effective products to treat fine lines, uneven texture, discolouration, and even acne, retinol is basically the Holy Grail. It also happens to be the only ingredient the skin either absolutely can not stand, or it loves it. About an hour after putting on a retinol–even the gentlest ones on the market–some people’s skin begins to peel, develop bumps all over the face, and it’s a general mess. BUT…
“This texture is so smooth and hydrating, which is always a good sign, since retinol products are notoriously drying. After layering it with a moisturizer, I went to bed and prayed I woke up to a decent face. To my immense surprise, my skin felt silky smooth, I wasn’t having a bad reaction at all, and I even felt confident to try it again, two nights later.” – ELLE Beauty Editor
This product is a blend of retinol with fatty acids derived from sunflower seeds–which makes it less irritating–along with line-reducing stevia extract and hydrating mongo grass root extract.
As the days get shorter and the temperatures creep lower, your skin needs warm and cozy layers, too. Come fall, products with gentle, hydrating formulas help prevent dryness caused by both indoor and outdoor air.
“As we head into fall, temperatures get lower and humidity decreases. There can also be brisk winds and dry heat from heaters — and all of these factors can contribute to drying out our skin,” says Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “In low humidity environments, we lose more moisture from our skin into the air.”
The shift in seasons can also exacerbate inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema, that are associated with dehydration in the skin. “You can begin to counteract these changes by taking some initial easy steps such as turning down the water temperature to lukewarm when bathing, using a more emollient soap, and switching to a heavier moisturizer,” adds Dr. Carlos Charles, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of 4.5.6 Skin.
Ahead, the two dermatologists help us breakdown what skincare products to use in your fall skincare routine to help prevent and repair dryness, along with what to shelve until next summer.
Add: Creamy Cleanser — Drop: Gel or Foam Cleanser
Look for a creamy cleanser that will support and cushion skin as fall weather settles in. “A creamy cleanser that supports the skin barrier while it cleanses may be helpful as the weather gets drier,” says Dr. King. “Avoid harsh detergents that strip natural oils from the skin.”
Dr. Charles adds that gel and foam formulas may fall into the drying category. “Gel and foam-based cleansers that are meant to decrease oil production and increase cell turnover may become overly drying and strip away much of the essential and innate protection of the skin as we move into the fall months,” he says.
Add: Hyaluronic Acid Serum — Drop: Chemical Exfoliant Serums
For an extra layer of moisture, Dr. Charles recommends incorporating a hyaluronic acid serum into your routine. “When evaluating serums for the fall, thicker hyaluronic acid-based serum can help lock in moisture as opposed to the lighter water-based serums that you may use in the summer,” he says.
But depending on your skin type or concerns, you may still want to use a serum with chemical exfoliants or anti-aging benefits. “Proper formulations and usage of ingredients like hydroxy acids and retinols can still be helpful, depending on your skin,” says Dr. King. “So this means that depending on your skin type, it may be best for you to decrease exfoliation in colder weather — frequency and strength. And look for exfoliators that support the skin barrier while they exfoliate.”
Given that retinol is considered the gold standard of skincare ingredients, because it can treat a number of common issues like fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne, and uneven texture, you might want to use it year-round. Dr. Dennis Gross’ Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Acid Texture Renewal Serum has supporting ingredients that help prevent irritation and dehydration.
Add: Rich Moisturizer — Drop: Lotion
“Moisturizers should always include a combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives, but heavy occlusives may feel like too much when the weather is hot and humid,” Dr. King explains. “Lower humidity may make heavier occlusives more important to lock in moisture.”
Dr. Charles seconds this. “Cream-based moisturizers are heavier and therefore are more effective in sealing moisture content to the skin. A lotion is lighter with more water content and less oil, whereas creams have more oil content and less water which is ideal for the dry season.” He recommends the Day Hack Matte Moisturizer from 4.5.6. Skin.
Add: Moisturizing Mask — Drop: Clay Mask
While clay masks can be effective at drawing the extra gunk out of your pores, they can also leave skin feeling dry and tight. That’s why if you’re looking to indulge in a face mask during the fall, Dr. King recommends reaching for a hydrating formula.
Topicals’ Like Butter mask is designed to soothe and minimize irritation, while strengthening the skin barrier.
Add: Hydrating Toner — Drop: Exfoliating and Alcohol-Based Toners
If you’re a fan of toners, you guessed it: ditch ones with harsh exfoliants and alcohol during the fall. “Toners are always optional, but if you want to use one, you may want to switch to a more hydrating and soothing formula that is alcohol free,” says Dr. King.
Fashion months are upon us, which means that summer is well and truly over. As a result, your holiday glow has started to fade; your skin is left dry and patchy, dehydrated from long hot summer days, and you may experience an increase in pigmentation – melasma, dark spots, or freckling – from all that sun exposure. And the worst part? We’re moving into autumn, which means a whole new set of problems to worry about.
The first is the drop in temperature. “Cooler temperatures usually bring a drop in humidity,” explains A-List facialist and founder of Skinesis skincare, Sarah Chapman.“This can cause the skin to become dehydrated, which can damage its natural barrier, leading to even more moisture loss and sensitivity, while strong winds can ‘wick’ moisture away from the skin, resulting in sore, chapped complexions.”
On top of this, you have your central heating and your hot baths, which, warns Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at 55 Harley Street, can dry the skin out further. “Skin can feel irritated, dry, or tight and may even be more prone to redness,” she explains.
It’s a lot to take in. The good news? You can avoid all of this with a few preventative measures. Here are the six golden rules for protecting your skin this autumn.
1. Start layering your serums
To add more hydration to the skin, Mahto recommends layering a hyaluronic serum under your regular moisturiser. Chapman’s Skinesis Hydrating Boost combines hyaluronic acid with actives to strengthen the skin’s barrier. It’s also oil-free and featherweight, which makes it perfect for the transitional months. Another great alternative is 111Skin Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster, which delivers moisture with its blend of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.
2. Pay attention to your nighttime routine
To kickstart your skin’s natural night-time repair mode, you may want to invest in some nourishing overnight formulas. Supercharge your skin health with Skinesis Overnight Facial, which contains a blend of anti-inflammatory omegas, protective antioxidants, and vitamin-rich botanical oils. Or heal your skin with Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum, which will leave your skin looking plump and radiant by the morning.
3. Always remember to use SPF
Despite deceptive weather conditions, UVA rays are just as strong in the colder months as they are in summer, and are, therefore, just as likely to cause serious damage. So remember to wear daily sunscreen.
4. Keep up to date with your treatments
As well as your daily and nightly skincare routines, it’s good to carve out some time for regular treatments. “Facial massages boost the supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells and bring vitality to a dull complexion,” explains Chapman.
Mahto also recommends microneedling, peels, and laser therapy, but consider seeing a cosmetic dermatologist first to assess your individual needs and skin concerns.
While you’re at it, now is a great time to book yourself an annual mole check with a dermatologist. “Many people notice new moles and skin lesions after the summer due to wearing less clothing,” says Mahto. “This should be part of preventative health screening.”
5. Maintain a healthy diet
When it comes to protecting your skin against seasonal elements, maintaining a healthy diet is essential. “It may be tempting to reach for comfort food when it’s getting colder,” says Chapman, “but green vegetables and oily fish will support your skin from the inside with vital vitamins and antioxidants.”
You may also want to incorporate some boosters such as the Skinesis Omega+ Booster, which helps the skin to hold onto moisture and maintain its lipid content, and, as Mahto recommends, a vitamin D supplement, which will play a vital role as the days gradually grow shorter and (good) sun exposure becomes rare.
6. Drink plenty of water
While it may sound obvious, to combat the dehydrating effects of central heating, it’s so important to keep hydrated, which means drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Sure, it may be pumpkin spice season to some, but others are still trying to cling to the last bit of summer. And the new Glow Recipe serum delivers that sunny, tropical goodness plus brightening and hydrating benefits to help bring your summer shine into fall and beyond.
The brand’s latest fruity offering, the Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum, aims to lighten dark spots and dullness with a combination of antioxidants and tranexamic acid, a relatively new ingredient in over-the-counter products. But the guava serum doesn’t just contain one form of vitamin C (a notoriously unstable ingredient), it has five, including both water- and oil-soluble formulas. While vitamin C is a go-to ingredient for brightening skin, different forms work best for different types of skin and some are easier to keep stabilized than others, so this product is covering all its bases here.
Glow Recipe paired all that vitamin C (including some derived from guava-seed oil and guava-fruit extract) with antioxidants vitamin E and ferulic acid. That’s an all-star combination of ingredients often seen in much pricier products. Glow Recipe’s previous vitamin C serum, the Pineapple-C Bright Serum, contains exfoliating ingredients as well as the star antioxidant. In turn, the guava serum doubles down on gentle brightening ingredients.
The serum also contains 1.1% tranexamic acid, which has been studied extensively over the past several years in oral formulations in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, including melasma. There’s generally more evidence showing that tranexamic acid can help reduce melasma when taken orally than when used topically. But a growing body of evidence suggests that topical formulations could have some benefits too. With the addition of glycerin and hyaluronic acid, the formula will also help keep skin feeling hydrated and plump.
Glow Recipe’s new guava serum, with a light gel texture and bright pink color, absorbs into the skin easily. As of today, it’s available on the brand’s site and at Sephora.
Getting chapped or dry lips is truly one of the greatest humbling experiences — and one that nearly everyone can relate to. After all, I’m yet to meet anyone, regardless of gender and age, who doesn’t own and use a lip balm (even if it’s just seasonally) when the going gets tough, or when temperatures start to drop.
“Lips are highly specialized mucosal skin that take a beating from overuse during speaking, to being the frequent target of trauma — biting,” says dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. “They are prone to dryness and easily irritated by both the environment and products that are used on the face for anti-aging, like retinols and hydroxy acids.”
And those of us prone to dry or chapped lips understand the delicate dance of autumn and wintertime hydration, but not all lip balms are created equal. Here, we asked three dermatologists for their take on what makes a lip conditioner effective, as well as their favorite ones currently on the market. Read on for your softest lips ever.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
Have chapped or chronically dry lips that just won’t go away? Try an overnight mask, says New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Morgan Rabach. “We lose moisture overnight as we sleep, especially with AC or heat,” she explains, pointing out that we aren’t hydrating (as in drinking water) as we sleep, either — another key issue for the driest lips. “A sleeping mask really helps trap moisture and prevent lips from getting overdried.” She recommends the antioxidant and vitamin C-rich Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask to her patients to help soften and hydrate lips. Bonus: it has an eight-hour time-release, so you’ll get layer upon layer of the juicy goodness while sleeping your way to softer lips.
When it comes to supporting the skin’s moisture levels, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that’s as good as it gets to “drive hydration and provide a source of continued moisture,” says Dr. Hartman. Brimming with a mighty blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts, mixed with hyaluronic acid, topical melatonin, and Persian silk tree extract, this heavenly-scented formulation of chamomile and lavender plumps, protects, and provides anti-aging benefits while you kick back, relax, and go to sleep.
Data doesn’t lie: In a clinical four-week trial, people using this lip balm daily described improved hydration, smoothness and lip plumpness, which is not at all surprising when you consider that the formula is filled with hyaluronic acid, konjac root, and water-attracting vitamin E. But if your lips still don’t seem to improve, it may be time to see a dermatologist, says Dr. Rabach. “It could be a precancerous spot called actinic keratosis, or other skin cancer.”
This dermatologist favorite — all three dermatologists InStyle spoke to recommended this product — proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your lips healthy. In fact, Houston-based dermatologist Dr. DiAnne Davis calls it her “go-to moisturizer” for lips, thanks to its glycerin-filled formulation that draws in moisture, as well as other derm-approved ingredients, like shea butter and beeswax. “It provides a protective barrier for overall lip health,” the MD adds.
Is it pricey? Yes. Is it also worth every penny? Also, yes. Velvety soft with a minty aroma, this balm delivers hydration and healing instantly with an infusion of glycerin. “It’s a great humectant because it works to pull water into the skin and lips like a sponge,” raves Dr. Davis. The formula is brewed with aloe leaf, seaweed, eucalyptus, and algae extracts, along with castor, sesame and sunflower seed oils, which is basically like a tall glass of water for parched lips. To boot, it also strengthens the natural moisture barrier to protect against future environmental damage.
“Maintenance of a good skin barrier and constant hydration of the lips are paramount to keeping the lips luscious and plump,” explains Dr. Hartman, who prefers balms over other textures. When in need, he reaches for one from Laniege (the brand’s second appearance on this list — they know lip conditioners!) on the daily to keep the hydration pumping. “Go for a lip balm with shea butter and ceramides,” he suggests. And if you don’t know when to start, the appropriate time is right now. “It’s better to get ahead of lip dryness because once it starts and gets bad, it can be difficult to control,” he cautions.
Just because the seasons are changing doesn’t mean we can stop forgetting about sun protection. This lip protectant boasts 30 SPF, along with petroleum, making it a solid option for summer, winter, and every day in between. “Apply it nightly to seal in moisture and smooth the lip surface overnight,” suggests Dr. Hartman.
With an unbeatable price and more than 80 years spent helping the world repair dry and chapped lips, Carmex’s classic balm glides onto lips with the greatest of soothing ease. Lanolin, beeswax, petrolatum, cacao seed butter, and camphor — an anti-inflammatory oil distilled from the bark and wood of a camphor tree — are the heavy hitting ingredients that work to calm angry lips and fight against further moisture loss.
This ultra-smooth, vegan lip butter is just what the doctor ordered to relieve chapped lips. Literally. “Use a thick moisturizing balm with shea butter or petrolatum,” recommends Dr. Rabach. And lucky for us, this creamy emollient is mixed with heavy doses of both to instantly moisturize and protect.
A brand adored by nearly everyone, dermatologists included, Vaseline’s petroleum jelly is a fall and winter classic for a reason. “If your lips get chapped, Vaseline is a favorite amount dermatologists,” says Dr. Davis, noting that the formulation contains 100% petroleum jelly, making it one of the purest and simplest — but completely effective — lip conditioners. “[The jelly] soothes the irritating symptoms someone may have, while also adding hydration,” she says.
Gemma Chan definitely knows how to make an impression. Her turn in 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians was unforgettable, and we’re waiting with baited breath for Don’t Worry Darling to land next year (Chan, Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine star). In the meantime, Chan is working on a podcast about Asian American civil rights, and using her position as a L’Oréal Paris spokeswoman to promote self-care’s role in building confidence and asserting equality. To that end, the actress and activist recently revealed her full beauty routine — and the intel is juicy.
In a video for Vogue released earlier this month, Chan walked viewers through exactly what she relies on to maintain her glowing skin. As expected for any celebrity, she invests in some pricey finds like Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream, celebrity aesthetician Joanna Czech’s Facial Massager, and Foreo skincare tools. Yet alongside those triple-dollar-sign buys — The Rich Cream fittingly goes for $265 a bottle — are two hard-working products in the under-$20 range.
The first? L’Oréal’s Revitalift Derm Intensives Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, an all-important base layer. Hyaluronic acid is in tons of products these days because, as researchers say, it has a “unique capacity” for retaining hydration — it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, which keeps that dew-making moisture on your skin. With that power, it’s no wonder Chan says the serum “works really well” to wake her face up on tired mornings after late nights, or that the serum’s garnered over 18,000 five-star Amazon ratings.
“I’ve been breaking out so badly from constantly having to wear a mask,” writes one 30-year-old with skin they describe as extremely sensitive and dry. “I added this serum to my skin care routine, and I got instant results overnight. My face is so dewy and moisturized, I’m literally glowing for the first time in years.” Others write that it instantly fills in deep wrinkles, and more still say that after trying “everything on the market,” the Revitalift serum gave them silky, glowing skin.
That efficiency is rivaled by the next steal in Chan’s routine. “My secret weapon is a caffeine eye cream,” she explains. “[I] just very, very gently dot under my eyes. Hopefully [it] encourages a bit of drainage of the puffiness,” Chan says of The Inkey List’s $9.99 Caffeine Eye Cream. Reviewers say it does the trick: They credit the formula with taking puffiness down quickly and keeping it down all day, on top of brightening under-eyes and dark spots.
“Holy crap, it really does reduce puffiness,” writes a shopper of the impact. “I’ve been using this product consistently (AM and PM) for just over a week, and I already notice such a difference. I don’t look like a zombie anymore.” Others say the cream’s moisture lasts all day, even for dry eyes — and at $10, it bests even more expensive products. Shop it at Sephora, and keep scrolling to see the rest of Chan’s routine for blockbuster-ready skin and makeup.
When it comes to skincare, there always seems to be a hot new ingredient of the moment. Does anyone remember salmon milt? The latest It ingredient? Humble jojoba oil, harvested from the seeds of a North American bush, is a multi-purpose has withstood the trends and test of time. Rose Ingleton, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, frequently recommends jojoba oil to her patients. (The Jamaican-born derm also has her own skincare line, which is spiked with superfruits from her native home). Here are the five reasons she loves it so much:
It’s just like human sebum (and that’s a good thing).
It may be weird to think that the oil made by pressing jojoba plant seeds is so close to those produced by the human body, but nature is wild! “This means it can actually absorb into the skin rather than sitting on top of it like most oils,” Ingleton says.
Sensitive skin will love it.
“If your skin is particularly sensitive and irritated by active ingredients, pure jojoba oil is a good option for moisturizing your skin,” she adds. Anybody who suffers from eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, or just plain old finicky skin can benefit from slathering their face and body with the golden oil.
You can truly use it all over.
Hair, cuticles, even to soothe chapped lips—jojoba can be an all-body experience. Ingleton’s tip for maximum hydration and absorption? “As with any oil, applying it to slightly damp skin and hair is always going to work best.”
No clogged pores, here!
Jojoba oil’s bio-similarity to human sebum means that it’s non-comedogenic. “Acne-prone skin types may also see a benefit because it has some anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties,” Ingleton adds. (Hint: coconut oil is comedogenic, so jojoba oil is better if you’re looking for an oil-based makeup remover.)
It plays nice with harsher ingredients.
Retinol? Don’t be scared of it you’re using jojoba oil in your routine. “Because jojoba oil helps with dryness and irritation, it’s a great match for pairing with prescription topicals or with retinol serums,” Ingleton says. She suggests using Retxurizing Retinol Booster Serum from her own line (which has been designated as Clean at Sephora).
If you struggle with dehydrated skin and fine lines and wrinkles, you’ve probably tested serums that promise to solve those skin concerns — and you’ve probably struggled with them, too, if they didn’t contain superstar ingredients that treat signs of aging, like hyaluronic acid. Luckily, Amazon shoppers have pinpointed a powerful formula you can add to cart right now.
Over 6,100 of them would likely recommend the La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, if the number of five-star reviews says anything. It’s crafted with pure hyaluronic acid, which deeply hydrates the skin by holding in moisture and helps it to look plumper. “Hyaluronic acid is widely used in skincare as a humectant, [a substance that helps the skin hold onto water] and can often be found as the key ingredient in serums, oral supplements, dermal fillers, and eye drops,” Dr. Lian Mack previously told InStyle.
La Roche-Posay’s formula blends it with vitamin B5, which moisturizes and helps to reduce acne inflammation. According to the brand, the dermatologist-tested serum is suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin.
The hyaluronic acid serum has a rich texture that doesn’t feel greasy or weigh down the skin — instead, according to shoppers, it’s light and refreshing, absorbing instantly. You can expect immediate plumpness after use and an overall reduction in fine lines over time, says La Roche-Posay.
Reviewers on Amazon are practically drinking it up. “This serum actually worked beautifully. And I am seventy!” one wrote. “What I like best are the results. About two months in, I looked in the mirror one morning and noticed my little eye wrinkles were just plain gone… I use it generously at bedtime, and in the morning, always over clean skin. I don’t notice any scent at all. It literally glides on like silk. Afterward, It feels a little sticky at first, but that dissipates. I’m so pleasantly surprised by the obvious results. It really did exactly what it claimed it would! My complexion looks tighter, very moisturized, soft, and smooth.”
Another shopper added, “I have a small amount of rosacea on my cheeks that comes out in the winter and if I use certain face products. I did research on switching my skincare routine and, honestly, have fallen in love with this stuff. It’s gentle, and my skin has been looking better and better. A small amount does go a long way, but I for sure will be buying again.”
And they confirm that the results the brand promises really come through. One shopper wrote, “it revived the plumpness of my skin and smoothed fine lines. Just love the La Roche-Posay line of products because it is ideal for sensitive skin! Just recently started using this product and immediately saw great results in a few weeks.”
Even if you think you’ve tried it all before, try La Roche-Posay’s hyaluronic acid serum on Amazon for only $30 and watch your fine lines and wrinkles disappear.
Ah, retinol. When it comes to defense against fine lines and maintaining a healthy glow, there’s no ingredient in skincare more lauded. The irony? Even though the revolutionary youth-enhancing active is a mainstay of drugstores, department store counters, and dermatologist offices alike, it still manages to mystify. And thus, it’s often underutilized or misused.
What is retinol?
To bring it back to the basics, retinol—alongside other retinoids, such as retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate—is essentially a derivative of vitamin A, which is one of the body’s key nutrients for boosting cell turnover. “It’s added to topical skincare products to promote skin renewal, brighten skin tone, reduce acne, and boost the collagen production,” explains New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD. “It also functions like an antioxidant to help address free radical damage, which leads to visible signs of aging.” The way dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, sees it, it’s the ingredient that does it all in dermatology, both cosmetically and medically. “I consider it a gold standard in skincare and often explain it to my patients as something that sweeps away dead skin cells, clogged pores, and dull skin,” she explains.
Here, experts break down how to carefully incorporate the powerhouse ingredient into your regimen to achieve a supernaturally fresh-faced complexion, now and for decades to come.
Begin in Your Mid 20s or Early 30s
Thirty has long been the banner year for introducing retinol into one’s routine, but many women are starting before then, motivated by early signs of aging, such as sun spots or crows feet, or simply eager to get a head start and utilize the latest technologies—under the careful watch of their dermatologist. “Your mid-twenties are a great time to start using retinol,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D. “Many patients who have used it for years swear by it.”
Integrate Retinol Slowly and Gently
“Balance is critical,” cautions Bowe. “Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin.” She recommends starting off with a pea-sized amount of a low percentage over-the-counter formula (.01% to 0.03%), and using it “two times per week, slowly increasing the usage to give the skin a chance to acclimate.” Moreover, you should skip your retinol product on the day before you exfoliate (Bowe recommends exfoliating two to three times per week). “Exfoliating is abrasive and irritating, and you do not want to compound the skin irritation by heightening your skin’s sensitivity,” she says, adding that if you’re getting certain in-office treatments like lasers, microneedling, microdermabrasion, you will want to take a break from your retinol. In the spirit of not overdoing it, there’s a spate of new time-release formulas fit for skin types prone to redness or breakouts. “They’re a good option for people who have sensitive skin,” explains Fusco. “It releases the active ingredient over time and may offer less irritation.” In terms of prescription retinol versus something over the counter, the former is much more potent with a higher percentage of retinol and one may graduate to it over time, says Bowe.
Watch Out for Harsh Side Effects
While certain side effects, such as mild irritation, dryness, and sun sensitivity are normal as your skin adjusts to the active ingredient, intense flaking, redness, and burning are not—and those with especially sensitive skin, or who struggle with conditions like rosacea or eczema, should be wary of retinol or shy away from it all together. “If you cannot tolerate retinol, don’t worry,” says Marmur. “It’s not the only anti-ager! There are plenty of amazing anti-aging ingredients, such as wild indigo, that work beautifully without any irritation or sun sensitivity.”
Use Retinol Only at Night and Wear SPF Every Day
“Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product,” explains Bowe, who instructs patients to only use retinoids at night and be diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher during the day. Moreover, with retinol use, one should always be conscious of the weather forecast and trips to hot locales. “It should not be used during seasons or vacations when individuals will be spending extended time in direct sunlight,” warns Fusco.
Don’t Stop at Your Face
When applying a retinol-infused elixir, don’t neglect your neck or décolletage, which are areas notorious for showing the signs of aging, yet often overlooked. “If those zones seem too sensitive for your current formula, add a squirt of ceramide-enriched moisturizer before smoothing it on, or pick up a separate retinoid made specifically for the area in question,” says Bowe. “They typically contain a lower dose of vitamin A, zero fragrance, and loads of soothers.”
Whether you’re about to jet off to a green-list tropical island or settle into a staycation, it’s time to make sure your summer skincare routine is at its tip-top shape. From dehydrating heat and pore-blocking humidity to those extra strong and damaging UV rays, sunny climes can have myriad effects on our skin.
So, what can we do to protect it? To find out more, VOGUE asked some of the industry’s leading K-beauty and skincare experts for their tried-and-tested tips.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #58 series on my blog.
1. Sarah Oh, founder of skincare and K-beauty blog, Oh My Gloss
“Heat and humidity make our pores produce more sweat and oil, so skin can feel grimier and dirtier than usual [in the summer]. However, it’s important to keep our skincare routine gentle, even when washing our skin. People tend to over-wash and use harsher face cleansers around this time — these strip the skin, causing dryness and sometimes prompting the skin to produce more oil.”
“Using a low-pH cleanser is a gentle yet effective way to wash away daily impurities while keeping the skin healthy. In K-beauty, cleansing is the most important step, so doing this properly will set your summer routine for success in motion. Technique tip: work on sections of the face for up to a minute, make small rolling motions with your fingertips.”
“My husband and I love using the 107 Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser. It washes off clean, doesn’t leave behind a film, and the crushed green tea leaf powder and the aged vinegar in the formulation give your skin a mild exfoliation.”
2. Elisa Lee, founder of K-beauty product website,Dot Dot Skin
“Sunscreen is a must, every single day, even if you stay indoors or you go out for a few minutes. I like Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream as it doesn’t leave a white cast, it’s not sticky and it looks great under make-up. Reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is also needed. I recommend putting it on your neck and hands too, and using a lip balm with SPF — these are the areas that people forget, but they’re so important. Also, wear caps or hats to protect your face from the sun.”
“During the summer, I love using cooling products — I suggest storing sheet masks and eye patches in the fridge for an extra cooling effect. I love using skincare tools and I put those in the fridge as well, such as Fraîcheur Paris Ice Globes. My favourite tool is the icing roller that I massage over my sheet mask.”
“My biggest skincare tip for summer is a three-part mantra, but honestly it’s a bit of a no-brainer. Keep it cool, keep it simple and keep it calm! First of all, for me, everything that comes after cleansers lives in the fridge during summer. There’s nothing more refreshing than a chilled sheet mask or a gel eye patch. When my skin is hot, it’s also red and angry, so cooled-down products help soothe it. I’m obsessed with sprays, but since I have dry skin, I want my mists to be more than just water. The Farm Stay It’s Real Collagen Gel Mist is like a moisturizer in a spray, and I love it.”
“Warmer months aren’t the time to use chemical exfoliants. A good philosophy is that summer is for maintenance, winter is for treatments. Sunscreen is always key, but it’s of utmost importance when we’re spending more time outdoors.”
“My skin gets a lot of heat, and that’s one of the areas that the aestheticians at Shangpree Spa in Seoul helped me understand how to treat. Ms Joo-Eun Kim, the spa director, explained that when my skin is hot, I should only use my hands to apply skincare as cotton pads and other tools can cause further heat friction. She also made me aware that red, dry skin makes moisture leave much more quickly, so it’s important to rehydrate with toners and cooling sheet masks.”
5. Sarah Lee, co-CEO and co-founder of beauty brand Glow Recipe
“Growing up in Korea, we would always observe our mothers and grandmothers perform their beauty rituals. It was a common practice for them to rub cold watermelon rinds on our backs in the hot summer months. It would instantly soothe and heal our heat rash, so this superfruit became the inspiration behind our first product — the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask — and has since become a Glow Recipe signature to achieving natural, glowy skin. Watermelon is rich in water content, vitamins, amino acids and anti-inflammatory minerals, which is why it works as a skin hydrator and soother.”
“This mask is a great calming treatment after a day out in the sun — you can use it as the last step of your bedtime routine as an overnight mask, or as a 10-minute wash-off treatment for instantly soothed and plump skin. As well as watermelon, it has hyaluronic acid and AHAs to gently exfoliate and hydrate the skin, which makes it ideal for all skin types. I love putting it in the fridge at least 30 minutes before application for an extra cooling experience. Our early beauty memories have driven the innovations that we bring to Glow Recipe and they remind us of the efficacy of natural ingredients.”
“Another tip to beat summer skin buildup is treating yourself to a clay-infused facial treatment. Traditionally, clay masks can be too harsh for all skin types, especially sensitive or dry complexions — which is why we recently launched the Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial. Our hyaluronic-acid-infused whipped clay frees skin of cell buildup and draws out impurities, while chemical exfoliants, watermelon enzymes, BHA and PHA help clear congested pores. Combined with gentle, exfoliating blueberry-seed powder, this five-minute facial encourages softer, brighter, and clearer-looking skin.”
6. Christine Chang, co-CEO and co-founder of beauty brandGlow Recipe
“Watermelon is a soothing and calming ingredient that blends beautifully with a range of active elements. We love formulating products that intend to hydrate, smooth and balance the skin with watermelon extract, leveraging its calming and soothing properties.”