summer beauty routine

How to Take Your Beauty Routine From Winter to Summer

One beauty routine just doesn’t cut it year-round.

As you swap out your winter clothes for lighter layers, your skin and hair could also use a seasonal update. Ahead, pro-recommended tweaks to keep your complexion and your strands healthy and flawless as you transition from winter to a summer beauty routine.


Double up on SPF

“Summers are usually forgiving on your skin, but there’s one thing you have to be careful about: A lot of women and men experience hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Sheetal Sapra, director of dermatology and co-founder of ICLS in the Greater Toronto Area. And don’t assume you only need SPF in the scorching summer—by April, the UV Index can hit or surpass 3 (considered moderate), and sun exposure is a trigger for stubborn dark spots. For daily protection year-round, Sapra favours mineral sunscreens, but these are often not adequately water-resistant. His pro trick? If you’re working up a sweat outside in spring and summer, layer a chemical sunscreen over your mineral one.

Ditch the rich stuff

Once you’ve put away your winter woollens, you can likewise lighten up your moisturizer by trading your jar of rich cream for a gel-based hydrator or a hyaluronic acid serum. Pores tend to get bigger and produce more oil in warmer weather, says Sapra, noting that guys tend to get slicker than women do and they’re also more acne-prone. “In the winter, I’ll use a very gentle cleanser—no exfoliants,” he says. But in the summer, to de-gunk pores, you can switch to a stronger face wash, like one with salicylic, glycolic or lactic acid. If retinol, the all-star anti-aging ingredient that also keeps pores clear, is too drying for you in glacial winter conditions, you could try easing it back into your nighttime lineup now.

Add in brighteners

A vitamin C treatment has multiple benefits, including defusing free radicals and encouraging collagen production, and it’s key year-round. Plus, in the sunnier months, it will help fade any hyperpigmentation you do develop, says Sapra. He also suggests incorporating a face wash with azelaic or kojic acid; both of these ingredients help even out skin tone. For those who need an extra brightening boost, he’ll often do bespoke corrective serums, like a SkinCeuticals Custom D.O.S.E. mixing vitamin C with arbutin, another potent spot reducer.


Swap in a hair oil

Winter’s ravages dehydrate hair on a surface level, whereas hot weather and sun exposure make it more strawlike and brittle deep down. “While serums are better for winter, oils penetrate the outer layer of the cuticle, so they’re great for summer,” explains David Nadicci, L’Oréal Professionnel portfolio artist and founder of the new Toronto hair studio We Are We Are. If your easy-does-it summer styling involves dousing your hair with sea-salt spray for beachy texture, Nadicci suggests a combo technique to avoid overdrying: If you’ve got straight hair, apply leave-in conditioner before your salt spray; if you’re naturally curly, cocktail the two.

Exfoliate on the regular

Just as your face cranks out more sebum in warm weather, so, too, does your scalp, which can result in greasy roots but still-arid ends. To deal, shift to a balancing shampoo in the transitional season, says Nadicci, who also recommends reaching for a scalp scrub once a week. (Guys with beards should exfoliate as well, he adds, to avert facial flakiness or dandruff.) Stimulating the scalp with a good old-fashioned brushing—if your hair isn’t too curly or coily for it—is underrated but also important. “I recommend using a wide paddle brush in a circular motion on your scalp to remove dander and any buildup,” says Tracy Newton, a stylist at Vancouver’s Poppy Hair Salon who was recently named Canadian Hairstylist of the Year at the 2020 Contessa Awards. “It pulls sebum down toward the ends to help moisturize, too.”

Rethink your hair-washing strategy

While warm weather equals more sweat, most of us don’t necessarily need to wash our hair daily. “It’s a good idea to rinse with water and just kind of do shampoo motions,” says Newton, who is also an educator with Aveda’s North America Artistic Team. If you’ve got very thick or curly or coily hair, space out your shampoos to once every four days or so; this will help ensure it doesn’t get too dried out, she adds. But since it’s trickier to scrub your scalp if you have one of these hair textures, she endorses a doublecleanse when you do shampoo: Divide hair into two sections (everything in front of your ears and then everything behind) for thorough sudsing.

Here’s four products to add to your summer beauty routine:


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