My Summer Beauty Routine Is All Brand-New: 23 Products So Good I Could Scream
I’ve talked about my signature beauty look time and time again: that red lip, winged eye, matte foundation, retro vibe I am famous (to myself) for. If it’s not already obvious, I don’t really stray from it, but things have seriously taken a turn for me this year. I’m doing things to my face I’ve never even dreamed of! Okay, it’s not anything drastic to anyone else except me, but wearing a nude lip or plain gloss is basically the same as someone who has never done anything to their hair before and suddenly dyed it bright blue. It’s a big change for my red lipstick-obsessed self! Who IS she?
Aside from my lip game, I’ve embraced other things, like lighter coverage foundations, wearing multipurpose sun protection, and wearing fruity-floral perfumes instead of dessert gourmands. Is this the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or, am I, gasp, opening my mind (and my beauty cabinet) to new horizons?
The thing is, even though I’ve found products (and makeup looks) that I love and work for me, I still enjoy trying new things (kind of has to come with the job as a beauty editor)—and it’s paid off. My skin is in its best shape. I’ve had fewer breakouts, the texture of my skin is smooth and fantastic, and I even see fewer fine lines (even though I’m seriously overdue for a Botox appointment).
If you’re in the market for some new summer beauty products, I’ve got tons of recommendations for you from all different categories. Keep scrolling to learn about my entirely brand-new summer beauty routine, which contains 23 products, from acne and sunscreen primers to a must-have, chest zit spray, and the mid-coverage foundation I can’t stop wearing.
As I mentioned, over the past few months, I’ve had a lot of trial and error with my sunscreen routine. I found that I can’t use anything too thick on my face, otherwise, I break out. This is why I’m so glad there are more SPF/serum options, especially ones that are mineral and contain zinc oxide, like this one from Murad. It has a milky texture that immediately absorbs into my skin, without leaving a white cast that I have to violently blend in like other sunscreens. It protects against UVA and UVB rays as well as blue light pollution. I’ve noticed that my skin looks brighter and more “alive” since I’ve been using it, which is probably due to the carotenoid combination of jojoba, squalane, and tomato fruit extract blend that not only absorbs and reflects UV light but also gives the skin an enhanced glow.
Renowned dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, and his wife, Cori, launched their very own skincare line aimed at adult acne called Jori (cute, right?). As a 40-plus-year-old woman still dealing with dem pimples, I had hoped this was going to be a game-changer, and am happy to say it is! I’ve been using this on the acne scars and bumps around my chin and have noticed them getting lighter and less frequent. I also love the Daily Leave-On Acne Treatment Mask ($52), which I’ve tried as a spot treatment. I had this gnarly zit on my forehead and applied the mask and it was flattened the next morning. The same thing happened again with a zit on my cheek. With both of these products, I’ve experienced way fewer breakouts. There are weeks where I don’t even have a single zit—this is big, as I usually always have one hanging around and torturing me. Also, the pink and red packaging (which speaks to me as a person of Valentine’s Day colors persuasion) was inspired by Mandy Moore’s dress at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Love it.
Ever since I got my hands on this moisturizer, I haven’t used anything else. I love using vitamin C products in the morning, and everything from the smell (neroli) to the gorgeous, bright yellow hue from the presence of marigolds, helps me feel ready to start the day. It’s a lightweight, gel consistency, which is best for my combination skin. Another star ingredient is lutein, which helps defend the skin from blue light, aka my computer all day long.
Switching the type of foundation I use was something I did on the regular, but I have literally only been using this La Mer foundation, and this alone, for the past few months. It’s also surprising because it’s medium coverage, and I used to be such a full-coverage devotee! The foundation has an SPF of 20, is lightweight and comfortable to wear, but gives me enough coverage without hiding my freckles.
I also like that it’s super easy to build if I want to cover my acne scars. I usually start with a primer, then apply it with my favorite Artis Elite Mirror Oval 7 Brush ($75) because it’s such a quick and flawless application. The only thing to point out (besides the price) is that it has a noticeable fragrance, but I like it and I can be sensitive to scent (I recently threw away a facial cleanser that was too strong for me).
This is another serum-like sunscreen that I’ve been wearing a lot since I got it. It’s formulated with zinc oxide for sun protection, but doesn’t leave a white cast. It also contains squalane for plumping the skin, and an antioxidant complex that protects the skin from free radicals.
If you’re sensitive to squalane and don’t mind a higher price point, another option for a silky sunscreen with added skin benefits is this one from Tatcha. I was a huge fan of the brand’s original sunscreen for years, but now I find that it’s a little too thick for my face, so I use it on my arms and the rest of my body. This one contains 10 percent zinc oxide, plus protecting red algae extracts, alongside silk extracts to prime the skin, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and the ever-popular niacinamide, which helps even out skin tone.
Some people can’t be bothered by pouring a shot glass worth of sunscreen onto their body, and I feel that. This sunscreen stick is quick to apply, which is necessary when my dog is ringing his little bell (loudly) to go outside for a potty break and goes on clear. It’s travel-friendly too, so I keep one in my purse at all times.
When I’m not wearing foundation but still want something more on my face than just sunscreen, I turn to this 5-in-1 from Iris and Romeo, a brand that is new to me. It works as a sunscreen, serum, moisturizer, sheer coverage product, and a blue light and pollution protector. Call her a Renaissance woman! You can easily apply it with your fingertips but sometimes I’ll use my Artis brush and end up with a dewy, fresh face. Gorgeous!
I think a lot of us forget about our lips when it comes to SPF, especially if we’re wearing lipstick. Vacation is one of my favorite sun care brands—it's absolutely brilliant with its products, including its dessert-flavored lip balm. From the fun flavors (After Dinner Mint and Bombe Alaska are amazing) to the SPF 30 protection to the '70s food-inspired packaging, this whole set is a must. It also makes an amazing gift if you’re feeling generous. I actually get really excited to apply this balm, so it helps me not to forget this important step.
I’ve been testing Image Skincare’s products and enjoying everything, especially this face wash. This is another product that’s taken over my morning routine. The orange peel scent smells heavenly and makes me energized and ready to start the day (which I desperately need because I pretty much gave up coffee, don’t ask). It contains vitamins A, C, and E to give radiance to the skin while cleansing.
With all the sunscreens and tinted moisturizers I use, I need a really good cleanser to slough it off at the end of the day. Dam Dam, a Japanese skincare brand, is another one of my new faves. At night I’ll use this exfoliating cleanser, which has Japanese konnyaku root. This antioxidant ingredient helps to improve elasticity in the skin and reduce dullness and irritation while purifying it. It also has tea tree oil (good for breakouts). This is another product that has a fragrance I can’t get enough of, most likely due to orange peel and ylang-ylang.
After all these years of hearing about this essence, I can finally say that I understand the hype. I am in love with it. After I cleanse my face at night, I’ll splash this baby on like Macaulay Culkin did in Home Alone with aftershave, but without the scream. This treatment is supposed to help soften skin, improve texture, even out tone, and more. I know that all of my products, including my foundation, have been working better with my skin ever since I started using this regularly. It’s pricey, but I can honestly say that it’s worth it to me. I never miss a night without my SK-II!
During the summer, I like to switch things up with my perfume of choice and go for something fresher and more vibrant than my usual warm, gourmand scents (though those do tend to sneak in some days). The star of my perfume collection this summer is Sun Fruit from Ellis Brooklyn. It’s inspired by tan lines and vacation, but while it does contain coconut it’s not syrupy and overpowering like other vacay-inspired fragrances. Instead, you get a lot of the fruity scents: fresh fig, bergamot, and handpicked jasmine. Divine.
I love Shiseido’s Waso line, and this new collection focuses on sustainability—not only through upcycled and recycled packaging, but by using locally sourced ingredients specifically for what they do to the skin. I’m a huge ingredient nerd, and the pore scrub mask containing Satocane, aka satokibi, a Japanese sugarcane from Miyakojima that helps prevent clogged pores, caught my eye. I will admit, at-home face masks are something I haven’t been using as much as usual, so I’ve been trying to incorporate them more into my routine. This mask is great because it does a lot without demanding a lot out of me (LOL). You only leave it on for five minutes, and then massage the skin, letting the sugarcane, mineral clay, and exfoliating betaine do their job.
I’m so excited to have a new product from Filipino beauty brand Pili Ani to add to the lineup this summer—and its body lotion! This moisturizer is made with the signature pili and elemi oils, which are high in antioxidants, protect, hydrate, and firm the skin, and so much more. But this also has Sampaguita, which is Philippine jasmine, and lavender for a soothing and relaxing combo. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping again, so calming scents are key. I love taking a night shower then slathering this all over. It has really helped me fall asleep.
Where do I even begin with MegaBabe, my hero brand of the year? I could write an entire story on how many of its products I now use on the reg, from The Smoothie Deo Fruit Enzyme Daily Deodorant ($14) to its legendary Thigh Rescue ($14) anti-chafing stick, but today I will talk about a very important, summer-related subject: boob zits. Ever since I began working out more regularly, I’ve sadly experienced more breakouts on my chest and back. (Insert classic Kim K crying meme here.) But once I began using the amazingly named Chest-o Presto, my breakouts ceased! (I still have some remaining scarring to deal with though, ugh!) I usually wipe my chest, neck, and back with the Cucumer Mint Shower Sheets ($12) then spritz on the Chest-o. It’s always in my gym bag!
Facial sprays are a godsend anytime, but especially during the summer in this crazy L.A. heat. My current go-to face spray is from Caudalie, and it’s the Grape Water Mist (though, the Beauty Elixir $49 is a forever-till-the-grave fave). Not only does this mist hydrate and soothe the skin, while reducing redness, but it also delivers a wake-up punch, specifically when I apply it during my 3 p.m. crash. I have to have it on my desk at all times.
My love for liquid blush is still going strong; they work so much better on my skin than powders these days. My newest go-to is Cheek Slime (best name ever) from Freck Beauty, the brand famous for the freckle pen. It’s made with liquid plant collagen and is highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. My favorite is Fever Dream, a bright red shade.
I’m still floating from the joy that the Filipino makeup brand Sunnies Face is now available in the U.S., especially after falling in love with Fluffmatte, the brand’s high-performing matte lipstick. Unsurprisingly, its newest lipstick launch is just as good. Lip Treat is a shiny, buttery lip product that’s formulated with all the nourishing goodness, like shea butter, collagen, vitamin E, and meadowfoam seed oil to bring a hydrated swipe of color (or sheer look) to your lips. Poppy, the orangey-red shade, is my number one.
As I’ve said a million times before, nude lipstick shades are still a new thing for this queen of red lipstick. And while I’ve found ones that I ended up really liking, I still hadn’t actually worn them as regularly as I do now. Rare Beauty recently came out with a matte lipstick collection and they are all nudes. At first, I was like, excuse me, Selena? Where is my matte red? But lo and behold, I’ve been loving the shade Bold, a deep berry rose. It isn’t a liquid lipstick so don’t expect it to last through a whole meal, but it wears comfortably and has a nice matte finish and pigmented formula.
Lip oils are another huge summer surprise product for me! When I tell you I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone, I really ain't kidding. This cherry lip oil from Fenty Skin makes my lips look plump, hydrated, and juicy. The cherry scent is light, so don’t worry about it smelling or tasting like cough medicine like other cherry-scented products. I’ve been rotating this one with Haus Labs by Lady Gaga PhD Hybrid Lip Oil ($24) and Dior's Lip Glow Oil ($38), the latter of which has a minty-vanilla flavor if you prefer a stronger taste/scent.
Because my hair is almost down to my waist, I’ve been putting it up in a top knot or space bun most days so my neck isn’t soaking wet with sweat in the hot L.A. weather. Flyaways are usually a major annoyance, but even less now that I’ve been using this anti-frizz serum. It contains watermelon extract, jojoba oil, and avocado oil so your hair gets nourished while helping it stay in place—and with this bleached-blonde hair, I need all the help that I can get! I love that my hair isn’t all crusty and stiff at the end of the day (which is what it used to be like when I used gel to tame my flyaways).
I stopped getting gel pedicures a while back but had hoped to find a quick-dry nail polish that wouldn’t chip to use instead. Well, folks, I found it in Dazzle Dry. This polish brand uses a simple system that allows you to have a high-performing manicure that lasts long and doesn’t chip, but without having to use UV light or a formula with harsh chemicals. My favorites are a neon pink called Pretty Things (currently on my toes) and a pool turquoise blue called Moon Age. It’s also a Filipino-founded brand! They offer full-size bottles or minis, which are great if you want to experiment with more colors since there are over 300 shades to choose from.