An Easy Guide to Adjusting Your Summer Skincare Routine for Glowing, Healthy Skin

smartmud mask exfoliate summer skin

Summer's knocking, and it's bringing the heat! Ditch your heavy creams and 10-step skincare routine and get ready to revitalize your skin with thin layers of weightless hydration, cooling ingredients, and natural inflammation reducers like aloe vera. This no-sweat guide will help you upgrade your skincare routine just in time for the rising temps.

With just a few adjustments to your skincare regimen, you won’t have to worry about clogged pores, acne, sunburn, or dry skin this summer. 

Why should my skincare change in the summer?

When they say, “It’s summertime and the living is easy,” they mean your 10-step winter skincare routine is no longer acceptable. Summertime calls for a low-maintenance regimen we can carry in our beach or travel bag. Your skincare routine should withstand oily skin, dehydration, and sun damage as temperatures rise.

The transition to summer brings about significant changes in environmental conditions, all of which can directly impact the health and appearance of your skin. With mercury on the rise, the skin's natural oil production tends to increase, leading to a greasier complexion and heightened susceptibility to breakouts. Not to mention that the mix of heat and humidity creates a breeding ground for bacteria, exacerbating skin issues such as acne and inflammation. 

Without the right protection and care, the skin's barrier function could be compromised, leading to dehydration, sensitivity, and dull complexion. That’s why it’s so important to adapt your skincare routine to address these seasonal changes and maintain healthy, radiant skin throughout the summer months.

Upgrades you should make in your skincare routine in time for summer

From shielding your skin against harmful UV rays to preventing dehydrated skin, there are several key upgrades you need to make in your summer skincare routine. In the following sections, we'll dive into each essential upgrade in detail, providing expert insights and shouting out our favorite products to help you navigate the summer skincare landscape with confidence. 

Let's explore the top 6 upgrades you should prioritize in your skincare routine for a sun-kissed glow all season long:

  1. Find a face sunscreen you love
  2. Step up your hydration game
  3. Prioritize post-sun care
  4. Don’t forget to exfoliate!
  5. Your lips deserve a summer upgrade, too
  6. Glowy skin is the wave

It’s time to elevate your skincare game! 

Hot Tip #1: Find a face sunscreen you LOVE 

You should wear SPF on your face year round to protect from harmful UV rays, but if you haven’t been doing that, wearing face sunscreen daily during the summer months is the bare minimum.

When picking a face sunscreen, here are some things to consider: 

#1: Smell. You don’t want to smell like sunscreen 24/7. Make sure the SPF doesn’t have a strong odor. 
#2: Application. How does it go on? Does it slip around, peel, flake, or separate under makeup?
#3: White Cast. Does it coat your face with a greasy white film? (that’s a no-no)

We recommend the Supergoop! and Murad SPF collections for lightweight and scent-free options. They also double as makeup primers if you want to add cosmetics on top!

Hot Tip #2: Step up your hydration game 

You might be thinking, “But my winter skincare routine is hydrating too, why can’t I keep that?”. Vogue says summer “is all about light hydrating layers” instead of thick creams. Add weightless layers of hydration to deeply moisturize the skin without clogging pores.

Your skincare routine should include: 

  • Hydrating cleanser. Make sure to find a cleanser that won’t strip the skin of its natural oils, like this one
  • Hydrating toner.  Calming Toners are great for the summer because they penetrate deep into the skin, providing weightless hydration that won’t slip around on the skin's barrier.
  • Lightweight serum. Use a serum with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane to help quench dehydrated skin. 
  • Water-cream moisturizer. Ditch your thick creams for a light, gel-based moisturizer that will calm and deeply hydrate your skin, adding yet another layer of lightweight hydration.
  • Hydrating sheet mask. Boost radiance levels and quench dehydrated skin quickly with the SmartMud Radiance Boosting Mask made with hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid to hydrate and plump the skin, leaving your complexion smoother while attracting and retaining moisture.


Hot Tip #3: Prioritize post-sun care 

In our opinion, after-sun care doesn’t get the hype it deserves. Not only do post-sun products help calm your body after a long day outdoors, but many also have aloe vera and cooling properties that help reduce puffiness, redness, and other common summer skin concerns.

These 2 are a must-have in your post-sun skincare routine: 

Aloe vera. Aloe is known for its exceptional soothing hydrating properties. It gently nurtures your skin and provides a calm, rejuvenating sensation. You can go au naturel and use a real aloe vera to soothe your sunburn this summer, or you can avoid the pungent odor of the aloe vera plant by switching to an aloe vera sheet mask. You’ll soak up all the soothing and restorative properties in just 10 minutes to restore your skin after a day in the sun. This mask is also great for soothing sunburns!

close up details of the hydrogel eye patches

Cooling eye gels.  Under-eye patches are 100% worth the hype – if you haven’t tried them yet, we highly recommend. Read more about how eye gels work here.  Among many other benefits, Serve Chilled On Ice Eye Gels offer a much-needed cocktail of skin-smoothing, depuffing ingredients while cooling on contact for an incredibly refreshing experience. Packed with firming and nourishing ingredients like bakuchiol, cloudberry oil, and 9 different peptides, they eliminate bags and fine lines caused by summer dryness. 

Pro-tip: Pop your On Ice Eye Gels in the fridge for the ultimate cool-down when you come in from a tanning sesh!

Want more eye gel options? Check out the Cool Summer Refreshing Eye Gel Kit featuring 3 different eye gels to boost hydration, brighten dark circles, and firm under-eyes. 

Hot Tip #4: Don’t forget to exfoliate!

Exfoliation is the forgotten step in many skincare routines during the summer, but it’s arguably one of the most important things you can do for your skin. 

According to Bustle, you “[should continue] to exfoliate once per week during the warmer months” unless your routine calls for prolonged daily sun exposure. 

Don’t forget that summer can bring clogged pores, textured skin, and breakouts due to the elevated temperatures. Try using an exfoliating sheet mask or smooth exfoliating mud mask for chemical and physical exfoliation properties that will be gentle on the skin yet highly effective in removing dead skin. Exfoliating regularly will help reveal a dewy, glowy complexion underneath. Who doesn’t want that?! 

keep smiling lip gels hydrate and restore in just five minutes

Hot Tip #5: Your lips deserve a summer upgrade, too! 

When it comes to summer skincare, lips are almost always left out, but the skin on your lips is fragile and can easily get dry, cracked, and sunburnt in the summer! 

Must-have lip care for your summer skincare routine: 

  • SPF 50 Chapstick. Check out The 18 Best Lip Balms With SPF of 2024
  • Lip gels. Keep Smiling Lip Gels have the perfect balance of lavender, coconut extract, and sweet violet to soothe, hydrate, and destress the lips after sun exposure.
  • Overnight lip mask. If you’re not using a nighttime lip treatment, what are you doing?! We recommend Rosé Lips Hydrating Lip Sleeping Mask because of the soothing vitamins and antioxidants that provide essential hydration, lock in moisture, and leave lips feeling soft.

Hot Tip #6: Glowy skin is the wave during summer 

Now that we’ve discussed the fundamentals of summer skincare, let’s ramp it up so you can achieve that radiant summer glow. If how to get glowing skin feels like top-secret information, we’re here to spill the beans. 

How to achieve a radiant summer glow: 

Try glow drops. 

Drunk Elephant's D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops can be mixed into any serum or moisturizer for a bronzy wash of color while also boosting skin's elasticity and supporting healthy barrier function.

Use glowy face masks. 

Just Let It Glow with a sheet mask designed to hydrate, brighten, and even out your skin tone. This mask has pear fruit extract that helps regain moisture, seaberry extracts to deliver antioxidants, and niacinamide to help even skin tone.

Stay hydrated and eat healthy! 

The best summer glow comes from fueling your body with colorful fruits and vegetables and drinking about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of water per day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Skincare to STOP using this summer

There are some products to avoid once summer rolls around due to stronger UV rays and more frequent sun and heat exposure. 

Here are the top skincare products to remove from your summer skincare routine: 

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs)
  • Retinoids
  • Citrus essential oils
  • Face oils
  • Oil in sunscreen
  • Thick creams

Wearing acids can cause the skin to burn and oils can be too heavy for our over-productive sweat glands in the summer. Keep these products out of your routine and you’ll thrive in the hot weather! 

It’s time to glow all summer long

As you gear up for beach trips, outdoor adventures, and lazy days in the sun, getting your skincare routine ready for summer should be part of the fun! 

With this easy guide, you will have adjusted your skincare routine to keep your skin glowing and healthy all season long. From finding the perfect face sunscreen to upgrading your hydrating skincare and prioritizing post-sun care, trust that you’re in good hands!

So toss those heavy creams aside, embrace the light hydrating layers, and welcome summer with the simplicity of a summer-ready skincare routine. Gone are the days of sunburnt, peeling skin and cracked lips. Your skin will thank you when it’s radiant, glowy, dewy, and healthy.

Ready to elevate your skincare game?

Then it's time to unlock your skin's potential