Summer is in full swing and if you haven’t yet had a sunburn or an over-scratched mosquito bite then I’d say you’re doing great. Now, the shelves of your favorite beauty store are filled with products that mimic a ‘sat-by-the-pool’ life — bronzers, highlighters, dewy bb creams, etc. But as hard as you try, sometimes you just can’t fake the glow. If you’re not taking care of your skin from the inside out then it will inevitably look stressed, not supple.
Rather than reaching for a new serum, start with what’s in your fridge and pantry first:
It’s no wonder that beauty brands are now looking towards plant power to market their products. For over a decade, veggie-centric skincare lines have been incredibly popular in Asia (South Korea, especially) and the trend is catching on stateside.
Make this trend more than just some flash-in-the-pan hype by testing it out at home. If you have breakouts or want to lighten dark spots (like acne scars), make an overnight mask by mixing two teaspoons of tomato juice with some coconut oil. Massage the mixture into skin and wash off in the morning. If you’d like to try a more temporary mask, add a teaspoon of oatmeal flour to micro-exfoliate your skin safely. Apply and wash off after 20 minutes.
In hotter months, my desk is littered with jars of cold brew and iced coffee. As a result, my skin gets dull pretty fast. Skin brightening lines tend to make your skin lighter in an aggressive way. If you want to tackle that dullness but maintain your skin tone, try a turmeric mask.
Mix one teaspoon of turmeric with a couple of tablespoons of coconut or plant milk. Thicken the mixture with an 1/8th of a teaspoon of agave nectar. Keep the mask on for 20 minutes and then remove with a warm, moist towelette. Add this little step into your nightly skincare routine just once a week and you will certainly see a difference.
Tip: Turmeric can seriously stain! Use a synthetic brush or organic cotton ball to apply the mask, for easy clean-up. Similarly, some discoloration may occur but can easily be removed with coconut oil. Leave the mask on for just 10min your first time to get a feel for how strongly it might affect your skin tone.
If it’s the height of the summer season, you ought to be thinking about water — in a glass, not the pool. Staying hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do for your skin year-round. It doesn’t matter how amazing your favorite vegan lipstick is if your lips are dried out. Invest in a great balm, sure, but also start your morning with a glass of water with lemon juice. Invest in a quality canteen, like this one, and keep it filled all day long. If plain water doesn't keep you jazzed, try adding some natural flavorers, such as mint.
Plus, drinking lemon water before meals can help soften glucose spikes, keeping your energy more even throughout the day.
Few things are worse for your skin than sugar; it breaks down collagen and elastin (leading to premature aging) and will aggrandize acne and other skin conditions, making them worse. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet doesn’t mean saying no to the occasional cupcake or vegan milkshake, though. Just keep an eye out for added sugar, which can hide in sneaky places like salad dressing, pita bread, pasta sauce, etc. Seemingly healthy smoothies and juice can also carry a lot of cane sugar, as well. Once you start paying attention to it, your intake is bound to go down.
WATERMELON ET AL
Did I already mention that hydration is important? Well, it is, but most people know this and still can’t commit to eight glasses a day. So, let’s say you’re a rebel in dire need of some moisture. The answer? Choose watery foods. Fill your plate with watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and peaches. These tasty seasonal fruits will keep you hydrated and satiated. But do try to sneak a little lemon water in there all the same.
Tip: This is a great way to abate your sugar cravings if you’re trying to cut down!
Finally, if your skin is feeling sun burned and not sun kissed, then you might want to help speed the healing along. Purchase an aloe leaf at your local health store or supermarket (or pick a piece from your garden) and split it in half with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, hull out the viscous center. Mix the aloe jelly with some cold coconut milk and pulsed chia seeds (optional). Allow the mixture to thicken in the fridge. After 15 minutes, apply the cold mask to your skin and let it set and tighten for about 20 minutes. Wash off immediately with cool water and moisturize accordingly.