Moisturizing Through Summer
Midsummer’s one of my favorite times of year, but’s also when my real battle against skin and dryness happens: It’s when flaky skin syndrome sets in and hair starts looking a little fried from being in the sun. For lots of us, dehydrated skin can be itchy and uncomfortable—and not exactly a model of glowing beauty, to boot. So if things have gotten dry enough to the point where I need to do some real triage in order to get back to a naturally soft state, I give my dermis some therapy for a week or so with moisturizers and lotions that contain glycerin and petroleum jelly (like a Eucerine or Vaseline), which keep in moisture and heal.
In the meantime, while you’re getting your skin back on track, it’s time to exfoliate gradually. Every day, our whole body sheds about one layer of dead skin. And as the weeks add up, those layers block pores and clog the skin’s surface, so it looks dull and flat. Sloughing off that the dead skin carefully and gently day after day will uncover fresh, glowing results underneath. (Eve Lom has packages of 3 for $20 at amazon.com).
For body, in the summer I love the freshness of sugar scrubs, which wash off easily in the shower and leave a subtle head-to-toe glow. Fresh has a fabulous one ($67 at fresh.com) made of brown sugar, and beautifully perfumed oils like primrose, apricot, and sweet almond. Or you can whip up your own by mixing equal parts sugar with an oil of your choice—it doesn’t have to be anything rare or fancy; even canola and olive oil work. On rougher spots like elbows and knees, scrub gently with a loofah after applying the sugar scrub.
For the face, I go for a gentle approach. If you’ve never tried muslin cloths, give them a shot. Plenty of A-list celebs swear by them for their all-natural, non-irritating simplicity. Just use them with your favorite cleanser (cleansing and exfoliating aren’t the same thing and still need to be done individually, but this approach combines both), and when you’re done, pop it in the laundry and reuse them again and again.
We all have our favorite body lotions, of course, but even those can sometimes leave an annoying tacky, sticky feel. The new in-shower lotions manage to avoid that—you just apply them after washing and rinse them off before you turn the water off. Nivea’s version is packed with sea minerals for dryer skin.
And before we forget about our hair, at-home treatments have come a long way in the last few years. Those of us with thick hair can have an even tougher time than usual keeping it controlled and conditioned this time of year, and I’m a big fan of Dove’s Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask. It uses Buriti oil (full of Omega-9) to reduce frizz and breakage and define and smooth out curls.
On a more D.I.Y. note, here’s one super-easy and equally inexpensive way to restore the damage done to hair by the sun and beach elements: heat a half cup of olive oil until just warm and massage it slowly throughout your hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap or a plastic bag, then wrap a towel over. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before shampooing and conditioning your tresses to a hydrated, utter softness.