When the hot, sunny weather finally hits, it can sometimes feel as if we’re coming out of hibernation. Well, our skin is too! While there’s no need to completely overhaul our beauty toolkits, our skin can benefit from a bit of fine tuning with some fresh new natural products.
Good quality SPF
Wearing sunscreen in the summer is a no-brainer, but do you know which to choose? The Environmental Working Group recommends mineral-based SPFs in a creme formulation—rather than powder or spray—as the safest option. Rate your current brand at ewg.org/skindeep.
And while it may seem counterintuitive, higher SPFs aren’t necessarily better and can even be misleading, tempting us to stay outside for too long without reapplying. Instead, choose a lower SPF and reapply often.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe has been used by humans for millennia—rumour has it that aloe plants were depicted on ancient Egyptian carvings that are more than 6,000 years old!
One of today’s most common uses of aloe is on the skin in the summer. The gel can help cool and soothe skin after exposure to the hot summer elements. It’s a great just-in-case staple to stock up on before you need it.
Conventional chemical-filled insect repellants have many people concerned about their harmful impacts on human health and the environment. Luckily, some essential oils, including eucalyptus, clove, and citronella, can act as natural insect repellents.
Essential oils are not for everyone—those with a health condition should consult a health care practitioner before use. And keep in mind that essential oils are not meant to be ingested or applied undiluted onto the skin. Instead, blend a small amount with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond, and apply to the skin. Some health food stores even carry natural repellants made with essential oil blends that can be applied directly onto skin.
Choose a natural bronzer for a chemical-free, sun-kissed look. Simply apply it to the parts of your face that would naturally be touched by the sun, such as your cheekbones, forehead, nose, and chin. Ask the beauty and skin care expert at your local natural health retailer to help you find your perfect shade.
For all-over colour without the risks of skin cancer and sunburns, a natural sunless tanner is the way to go. First time? Here are some tips from the pros.
- Exfoliate first to remove any dead skin cells.
- Apply in sections, in a circular motion.
- Wash your hands as you go to avoid orange palms!
- When in doubt, less is more.
SPF lip balm
When it comes to sun safety, many people neglect their lips, but skin cancer can form there too. Although dry, cracked lips are usually associated with the cold weather, the hot summer sun can actually make chapping worse. Opt for a natural lip balm with an SPF, and remember to reapply.
Hair masque or leave-in conditioner
Chlorine residue from swimming pools, harsh salt water, and the sun can stress out our locks. The solution? Extra moisture in the form of a natural leave-in conditioner, which coats and replenishes hair. A hair masque can offer added help. Look for products that contain vitamins, added botanicals such as camomile or lavender extracts, and nourishing plant oils.
Body and foot creme
While many of us focus more on moisturizing skin in the winter, it’s also important to nourish and hydrate skin in the summer. Plus, it’s also time to get ready for sandal season, so our neglected feet require heavy-duty moisture.
Coconut oil acts as a great moisturizer for dry skin—it can be used on its own or found in various lotions and skin cremes. It has been used for centuries to soften and moisturize dry and irritated skin.
Tinted moisturizer is lighter for the summer months than the heavy foundation that we often reserve for winter. The lightweight, sheer coverage is great on its own or with a natural facial powder on top. After all, who wants thick, cakey makeup while lounging on the beach?
The age-old summer beauty dilemma is how to deal with the shine on our faces caused by the heat and humidity. While those with oily skin may experience this year-round, even those with typically normal or dry skin can have occasional shine in the summer.
Blotting tissues can absorb shine and are gentle enough for sensitive skin. Just dab onto skin (rubbing may smear makeup) throughout the day as necessary, and no one ever has to know!
Changing seasons, changing skin
If you sometimes feel as though your skin is oilier in the summer than in the winter, you’re not imagining things. Researchers have found that our skin types can actually change with the changing seasons, producing more oil and sebum in times of higher humidity.
Thankfully, we can easily modify our skin care routines to deal with these changes. If you use a facial creme in the winter, switch to a natural oil-free lotion in the summer.
Protect your vision
Look like a celebrity while protecting your vision and helping to prevent wrinkles? You can’t beat sunglasses!
Choose them wisely by ensuring they block UVA and UVB rays (generally try for 99 to 100 percent protection as long as they don’t reduce vision), and avoid the term “cosmetic,” which means they’ll lack in UV protection. Bigger lenses are better, and the wraparound variety is best.
It’s always worth repeating: there is no such thing as a safe tan. Tanning beds are classified as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Using tanning beds before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by up to 87 percent, and using them even once can increase the risk of melanoma by 15 percent.
While there’s a rumour that tanning beds can provide us with vitamin D, they emit UVA, which is actually ineffective at synthesizing this healthy vitamin so our bodies can use it. Diet and supplements are a much safer and more effective source.