Spring’s Fresh Face
By Caitlin Brown
This first week of spring represents a shiny bookmark to a bright next chapter. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s are making an appearance, and before you know it the crocuses will be popping up, making it feel truly official.
So, with the new season, guess what time it is, ladies: Time to put on a happy face and change up the beauty/skin routine.
Switching out the old is a cause for celebration in my book, so open-up those vanities and let’s get to it.
First, let’s say our goodbyes — or see you next year’s (if the expiration label on the packaging says it lasts that long) — to the rich, creamy balms and salves we lathered on to defend our skin from the cold and soothe the dry itchies.
While we’re all ready to sprint into the sunshine of spring, our skin needs a little time to adapt first. Changes in humidity, sun, and outdoor exposure require a product/routine change-up, yes. But gradual changes do the skin good. (Don’t throw everything out. It’s okay to finish the tub of cleansing balm or super-rich moisturizing cream.)
If you didn’t include sunscreen in your beauty repertoire throughout the winter months, it’s time to add it in. Another thing to consider, the humidity and higher temperatures ahead and a lighter approach: Tinted moisturizers, hydrating sprays, the list goes on…
Here are some tips to put our best faces forward. Get ready, things are looking bright… if you remember to exfoliate!
If you’re not already, start exfoliating
Women with dry skin may feel conflicted about exfoliating in the winter months (I am not one of them), but in the warmer months all should do it. If you want the glow, you must go with an exfoliator, as it wipes the dead skin away and unblocks the pores.
In warmer weather and increased humidity, skin is better able to tolerate acids and stronger active ingredients. That said, you probably don’t need to do it every day (if your skin is sensitive, try every two or three days). Chemical exfoliants — AHAs/BHAs/glycolic acid/lactic acid — are less abrasive and safer to use. Unlike physical exfoliators, they don’t break and damage the skin. A chemical exfoliator is the product in your arsenal of tricks that gets that glow, not makeup products that tout it.
Some favorites: Dr. Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (Sephora, $88); REN Skincare’s cult favorite, Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA tonic (Sephora, $38). Note: Acids (mentioned above) are sun-sensitive, so be sure to wear sunblock and try not to sun worship.
Switch to a lighter moisturizer
When the weather is cold and dry, we need to use good emollients and occlusives to reduce water loss and protect the skin barrier. With temps rising and humidity to boot, heavy moisturizers just feel heavy and greasy. Swap them out for lighter ones with humectants and emollients (many have sunscreen in them now, but).
Upgrade your SPF
Sunscreen is an <always> but step it up in the warmer months. There are many great new ones out there that come in a variety of forms: drops, creams, gels, sprays.
Some favorites with added benefits: Supergoop’s Glowscreen SPF40, which gives a sun-kissed glow to the face ($36), and they also make one for the body ($42). Their equally amazing Unseen Sunscreen ($44) is a great one under makeup.
Springclean your beauty arsenal
If you haven’t done a skincare cleanout in the last few months, now’s the time. That means clean and/or swap out washcloths, sponges, makeup brushes (wash in warm water with soap at least once a week), and applicators; all of which are breeding grounds for bacteria, yeast, and mold, which, unsurprisingly, cause breakouts and infections. It seems obvious, but there are many among us who simply don’t think to do it. Do it!
Nobody likes pigmentation, especially when it’s sun-induced (sunspots are notoriously difficult to erase). Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, niacinamide, resveratrol, vitamin E, PHA’s, can — and should — be used year-round, but they are particularly helpful during the spring and summer months to avoid sun damage. Think of it them as an insurance policy on your sunscreen.
Some favorites: Maelove Skincare’s, The Glow Maker ($28); Skin Inc.’s My Daily Dose Serum ($65); Avène Skincare’s, A-OXitive Antioxidant Defense Serum (Net-a-Porter.com, $44); and Versed Skincare’s, Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum ($19).
Restrict the retinols
They make your skin hypersensitive to sun, so, if you are using them, use sparingly, slather on sunblock, and wear a hat. If that sounds a bit too high maintenance, probably best to take a break.
Whether you spritz on facial spray as a toner, a setting spray, or just a boost of hydration, any way is a skin treat. With hydrating ingredients like aloe, rosewater, glycerin, herbs, what’s not to love? Some favorites: Caudalie’s, Grape Water ($10), Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with aloe, cucumber, and green tea, ($7); Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir ($49).
Things are looking up, Beauties. Let your face shine.