As summer draws to a close, you can rely on a few things to keep its memory fresh: photos, videos, friendships, your sun-scorched skin and hair. Well...maybe those last ones are better left in the past, actually. Don’t wait for daylight savings, dark mornings, and way-too-early sunsets (*shudder*) to reverse the damage that this summer’s done to your face, body, and tresses. Instead, master the art of the seasonal beauty transition and adapt your routine effortlessly with our top tricks and tips.
Correct Sun Damage
The unfortunate downside to spending all that time at the beach? Serious sun damage to your skin. A couple of “whoops, I forgot to reapply the sunscreen” moments over the course of a few months and you’ll find yourself with some fine lines and spots––whether they are visible right now or not. Help your skin repair itself with silky serums that include proven ingredients. Example: formulas with vitamin C to combat free radicals, which are not, in fact, political dissidents (we always get stuck on that, too) but actually chemically reactive split atoms that cause harm to the body. Other strong ingredients to look for include hydroquinone, a powerful spot eraser, and licorice root extract, which inhibits skin discoloration. If this seems like a lot of science to keep track of, just picture how great you’ll look in a decade from now if you put in the minimal sun damage-reversal work today!
Cut Back on Harsh Exfoliation
A good slough is at least a weekly requirement during summer, when oil, sweat, and pollution are out in full effect and distress skin the most. But as the heat recedes and temperatures cool, your skin chills out, too, so maybe you need to dial down that 3-times-a-week scrub ritual. We’re not saying to skip exfoliation all together, but it’s probably wise to cut back a bit, perhaps to once a week or even every other week. You could also drop your stronger exfoliant for the time being, especially if you use one with a chemical exfoliator like glycolic or alpha-hydroxy acids. Instead, opt for a milder version with physical exfoliants such as rice bran or corn beads (we promise they aren’t cereal). These ultra-fine particles are known for being less reactive than a chemical exfoliant on sensitive skin, something that you might have acquired from the many months of sun exposure––no judgements, though.
Pamper Sandal-Ravaged Soles
Heels looking like heck? In that case, your soles and toes could probably use some love, too. If you can’t go for a pedicure in your city or state yet, or you simply prefer to do it yourself, we have good news: you can achieve similar salon-level bliss at home with the help of a good soak. We recommend one infused with baking soda to break down tough skin, but you can also treat your feet to a plunge with Epsom salt, which decreases swelling and aching. After that’s done, go at ‘em with a natural pumice file to smooth out calluses and remove any lingering detritus. Summer is officially blister season, and we know we’re not just talking about ourselves when we say that the “ghosts of bandages past” have ruined more than one sandal situation. Remove any gunk that simply won’t budge with a swipe of nail polish remover to dissolve the adhesive, then rinse the area off gently with soap and water. Finally, finish with a foot treatment or mask to replenish the thicker skin on the bottom of your feet. You’ll only need to keep it on for about one episode of the show you’re currently bingeing and the results––amazingly soft, supple, and moisturized tootsies––are so worth it.
Restore Parched Hair
Saltwater, chlorine, snag-tastic ponytails, hours upon hours in the hot sun...these things definitely add up when it comes to your hair. Summer’s heat, salt, and chemicals leach the natural oils that make tresses glossy, while scalp buildup increases due to things like dirt, sweat, sand, hair products (we’re looking at you, dry shampoo), etc... you get the idea. You can remove buildup with plain old baking soda––yes, it’s coming in handy once again––by rubbing it into the scalp before a normal cleansing. Alternatively, shampoos with tea tree and peppermint oils also help get rid of buildup and impart a refreshing tingle to the scalp. If dryness is more the issue, stick to a restorative shampoo that won’t strip your hair, preferably something without sulfates. Sulfates, which produce foamy suds, are particularly harsh on hair and scalp. These days, many brands proudly forgo them completely and state clearly on the label that their products are “sulfate-free,” so keep an eye out for that! Instead of applying plain old conditioner after washing, nourish your strands with a more intensive moisturizing mask or oil treatment. Be sure to read the label, as many deep conditioning treatments require at least 10 minutes on the hair to be effective. Washing it out quickly right after you slather it would be missing the whole point.
Switch to A Heavier Moisturizing Routine
This one is a no-brainer. As the weather gets colder, your skin produces less of all the good stuff that keeps it plump and healthy during the warmer months. Replacing your summer moisturizer with a heavier one will keep that precarious balance of hydration right. Look for products with humectants like hyaluronic acid and other more recognizable ingredients such as honey, aloe vera, and seaweed. Formulas with emollients like jojoba and argan will also help keep moisture locked in. Richer moisturizers work particularly well when applied to ever-so-slightly damp skin. That way, they sink in deeper and provide moisture to more layers of your skin while it dries. A more moisturizing routine need not be relegated to one thicker lotion, either. Patting in a serum, an oil, or both in addition to a moisturizer after cleansing your face at bedtime gives the heavy-duty elements more time to work their magic. At night, they can function uninterrupted by external factors that are hard to control during the day, like pollution and sunlight.
Trim Dead Ends
Hair tends to grow faster in the summertime, so you probably have more inches of length now that the season’s coming to a close. That doesn’t mean it’s all healthy growth though. Remember all those summer hair-decimators we mentioned above? They also wreak havoc on your ends, splitting and fraying them every which way. Start fall with a clean cut. You may or may not be able to get to the hairdresser, either because of a certain virus that’s making the rounds, or any number of other factors in play. If you’re trimming your hair yourself, invest in a quality pair of sharp hairdressing scissors, since household scissors aren’t going to cut it, literally or figuratively (har har). A word of caution here: be conservative with your clipping, because you can always lop off more later, but you’re out of luck if you chop too aggressively on the first go. While “homecuts” are definitely cheaper on the wallet, they often come at a higher price to your hair––asymmetrical bangs aren’t a thing, folks. Professional hair stylists are preferable if it’s safe and possible to go to them.
Consider a Humidifier
That crisp fall air everyone talks about? It’s also much, much drier. With summer humidity long gone, there’s less moisture in the air available for your skin to soak up. Consider rehydrating that dry air with a humidifier where you can. By literally adding water to the air, you’ll not only quench your skin, you’ll also hydrate the sensitive tissue in your nasal passages, lips, and throat––and this is why humidifiers are often recommended for allergy sufferers. Try putting a small humidifier near your bed on a nightstand or side table at night while you sleep to reap the maximum benefit from it. PS: it’s not just humans that love a humidifier in the fall, either. Your indoor plants will also get a noticeable boost from it, too. There is one important thing to note about humidifiers, though. They must, repeat must, be regularly and thoroughly cleaned, otherwise you could be misting mold and bacteria into the air along with the extra water (ew).