Summer is by far my fave season. Even when the weather is up-and-down like it’s been this year, I still relish the long hours of daylight and not having to dress like an Arctic explorer to venture outside. But while I love how summer makes me feel, I’m not always as enamored with how it makes me look. By the time August rolls around, I’m talking about a parched-hair, blotchy-skin and neglected-nails trifecta. If you have similar seasonal fallout, check out these ideas for a late-summer beauty tune-up:
Treat your tresses
Did you know that the sun’s UV rays can actually cook your hair shaft? And you thought “fried” hair was just an expression… So if you’ve been going sans chapeau this summer, chances are your hair is a little worse for wear.
The late summer beauty tune-up? When you have some extra time to wash your hair, treat your tresses with a conditioning treatment. Whether it’s a hair masque or this eco- and wallet-friendly avocado conditioner from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green, leave it on for 20 minutes, covering with a towel or a shower cap.
For long-term conditioning benefits, try using an argan oil treatment after washing your hair. I’ve been using Moroccanoil for a few years and have found it’s really helped my locks stay hydrated and manageable. While not cheap, the 100 ml bottle costs $43 (CDN and U.S.) and lasts about a year when used daily, I’ve found it superior to other argan-oil hair products.
Initially I was hesitant to use oil on my baby-fine hair, but have found it absorbs into my locks without weighing them down. I’ve since transitioned to the brand’s light formula, which works on both fine and light-coloured hair.
While I’ve drunk the sunscreen Kool-Aid and faithfully wear SPF 60 daily, I’ve recently noticed the hyperpigmentation on my right cheek has become darker. As I’ve written about previously, an esthetician once told me she believed hyperpigmentation is worsened not just by sun exposure but also by heat. So, it’s no surprise that even with sunscreen, summer can bring out the colour you’re not looking for.
My short-term fix on the patchiness will be to go back to using a weekly exfoliating masque to help brighten my skin. In my experience, professional chemical peels and laser treatments are the most effective hyperpigmentation blasters, but they can make skin more sun-sensitive. As a result, don’t book these appointments until the fall.
Beyond sun spots, you may also have clogged pores. Sunscreen that’s too heavy for your skin, perspiration, smoggy summer air and hormones can all contribute to congested, oily skin, even if you’re closer to menopause than puberty.
If you’re using a creamy facial cleanser, try switching to a foaming or gel-based one until your complexion settles down. Also consider treating yourself to a professional cleansing facial (i.e., with extractions) to help clear up that summer skin. Note: don’t get your facial right before a big event, as the skin-detoxification process can cause breakouts.
Part of the beauty of summer is being able to dress more casually and put ourselves together in a less formal way. But I don’t think that means we should totally relax our grooming. A 20-something may be able to get away with chipped nails but with the “hands” of time, it’s not so pretty…
So take a look at your hands and feet. Chances are the pedicure you got at the beginning of the summer is looking a little tired, and your hands may be sporting more “freckles” than a few months ago.
If your hands are splotchy, make sure you’re applying at least SPF 30 to them daily. And if you have an exfoliating masque, treat your hands to it at the same time you apply it to your face.
If you’re feet need freshening up, get thee to a salon or do a DIY pedi. Applying a rich cream to your feet every morning and before you go to bed will help your feet stay smooth in between pedicures.
You may also want to get a jump on fall nail trends by painting your toes in one of the hot shades for next season: oxblood or metallic.
But if you’re not ready to rush the season and instead want to refresh summer’s glow, perhaps a trip to the beauty counter is in order.
Beauty in the Middle reader Candise alerted me to a self-tanner that gives natural-looking colour without that funky self-tanner smell. Vita Liberata is a line of self-tanning lotions and mousses from the UK with no fragrance or parabens that also promises to create a tan that lasts two to three weeks.
And if you’re looking for a quicker way to get your glow on, two fashion heavyweights are launching makeup lines this month.
Michael Kors is debuting his new line of 24 products exclusively at Macy’s. It’s only fitting that the perpetually-tanned New Yorker would want to give women that “just back from St. Tropez or St. Barts” look. Until you can book those flights, Kors is helping you fake it with three powder-based bronzers and a self-tanner.
Marc Jacobs, for his part, will bring his brand of downtown New York cool to Sephora with the launch of his new 120-product beauty line on August 9. Brighten up your late-summer look with Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl, a range of lip glosses that includes some festive hot pinks.
I hope these ideas for a late-summer beauty tune-up will help you salute the end of the season in style and get ready to face fall beautifully.