Essential Summer Grooming Steps

Sweat, dirt, sand, and sunshine can take a big toll on your appearance. Here's how to mitigate the damage.

Long, lazy, balmy summer days are great in theory. You can hit the beach, you can wear shorts to work, you can get a drink at a rooftop bar, you can ride your bike along the boardwalk, you can set up camp by your backyard grill – you get the idea.

In practice, though, we tend to forget that the rising temperatures can wreak havoc on your grooming. Oppressive heat leads to oily foreheads, sweat-soaked t-shirts, and a generally gross feeling when you're out in the sun for too long. So this year, plan ahead and arm yourself to look and feel fresh while you're braving the heat.

Use Plenty of Sunscreen

This is a no-brainer, obviously. But there are some details to pay attention to if you want to fully protect yourself. We've covered the specifics in full detail before, but the most important takeaways are:

  • Reapply every two hours when you're in the sun. It wears off more quickly than you think.

  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB rays.

  • Anything over SPF 30 is fine. Don't worry about the higher ratings – it's mostly a marketing gimmick.

Perhaps most importantly, don't think that this is just for long days at the beach. You should apply some sunscreen to your face every morning to counteract the rays you soak up on your commute and lunch break. It may seem minor, and skipping it probably won't leave you sunburned, but you've got to think long term. Unprotected exposure to the harsh summer sun can be a major factor of visible aging over time, so using a moisturizer with SPF or a sunscreen on top of your normal routine is important if you want to keep up your youthful appearance

If you've got tattoos, hit those with sunscreen as well any time they're going to be exposed. Otherwise, the UV rays will slowly but surely fade the ink.

Go Oil-Free

If you have oily skin to begin with, sweating is going to make your face that much more shiny. To compensate, there are a few different ways you can clear up and prevent sweaty, shiny, oily skin, with the oil-free route chief among them.

Oil occurs naturally in your pores, and there's nothing wrong with products that include the stuff – they're extra hydrating when your skin is in rough shape. But having an excess sitting on your face makes you look greasy and sweaty, and high temps and humidity exacerbate the problem. That's why you want to look for sunscreen or SPF sunscreen that's oil-free during the summer months.

Say Hello to Toner

After your shower, put a few drops of this onto a cotton swab and swipe it over your face – it'll soak up any lingering gunk, grime, or excess oil. It's especially helpful in the summer as a supplement to your normal morning face wash, since getting your pores extra clean means that they're less likely to get clogged and greasy during the day.

It can also pinch hit for a full-on wash, clearing away shine and dirt without requiring you to hop in the shower. If you've got a date in the evening or find that your face is looking rough midway through the workday, just apply a little of this and you're good to go.

Cool Off With Mint

Lathering up with a bracing peppermint soap or shampoo and giving your face a swipe of herbal mint toner will go a long way in making you feel fresher, since the cooling sensation can be a welcome relief after a muggy day spent outside. Stock up and apply liberally.

Don't Forget the Deodorant

Unless you're especially susceptible to sweating, you can probably get away with skipping a daily deodorant application in the fall and winter. Not so once the mercury spikes.

Get yourself something good, with a nuanced scent and no alcohol or aluminum to mess with your skin – that means saying no to the cheap drug store options that smell like middle school – then use it religiously. We like Baxter's citrusy and herbal deodorant, Balsem's aloe vera-infused one, and if you want something different, Prospector Co.'s grassy spray version.

Ease Up on the Cologne

When it's 95° and humid, the last thing your fellow elevator or subway passengers want to smell is a heady blend of pine resin, leather, and tobacco smoke. Save that stuff for the fall and winter.

In the spring and summer, pick out something lighter with floral, fresh, and citrusy notes. Think grass, bergamot, lilac, lavender – you get the idea.

Last but not least, don't forget to stay hydrated out there – it helps keep your skin in good shape from the inside out. And if you want to do it with a few gin & tonics or crisp pilsners in the afternoon sun, well, all the better.

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