9+ Products to Freshen Up Your Summer Skincare Routine

Summer is just a few days away which means days spent lounging by the pool, outdoor adventures and vacays to the beach! You’ve spent all Spring transitioning from flannels, sweaters and cold weather to tank tops, shorts, and warmer days filled with heat and humidity. But your wardrobe isn’t the only thing you should be switching up . . . Your Summer skincare routine needs to freshening up as well! No, it is not necessary to change every single item. A few adjustments and you’ll be showing off glowing, flawless skin all season long.

Sure, Summer is practically made for kicking back and relaxing. But it’s definitely not a time to slack off on your skincare routine. And as much as I love a sun-kissed glow, I also care about the health of my skin and the products that I use. Clean and clear skin is the first step toward having an overall healthy looking glow that so many of us crave. And while makeup can definitely help, without a good canvas to start on, makeup can only do so much.

Taking care of your skin can be quite the challenge: What do all those products do? How often should you use them? How do you pick what is best for you? Here’s my breakdown of some key products you totally need this Summer + how to use them correctly so you can keep your skin fresh, protected and glowing all Summer long! From weightless sunscreens to hydrating mists, scroll through for all the ways to freshen up your Summer skincare routine.

Freshen Up Your Summer Skincare Routine | Original Caroline

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Daily Summer Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanser

Acne can happen year-round. But the extra oil, heat and sweat make acne prolific during the Summer. So when it comes to your Summer cleanser, keep the “less is more” mantra in mind. Stow away the heavy creams and serums, and use something more lightweight, like a gel or foam cleanser. In a VOGUE article, New York City-based dermatologist, Dendy Engelman, M.D., “advises patients to skip products with fragrances or additives, since both may cause irritation.”

I switched to Fresh Rose Cleansing Foam last month and I love it! For someone with acne-prone combination skin that’s more on the dry side, this cleanser gives me that clean feeling without making my skin dry out. It smells absolutely amazing and it really helps to wake me up in the morning. It’s a great first step for summer skin, because it’ll keep skin from getting too dehydrated, but will also take care of any uneven tones. You’ll look forward to cleansing your face with this foam and love the fresh fragrance of rosewater it leaves behind.

Step 2: Toner

Guaranteed to boost your beauty routine and provide you with that luxurious glow you crave, toner is a skincare essential you should definitely add to your Summer skincare routine! Packed with the kind of skin-loving ingredients that reinforce your cleansers and moisturizers you’re already loyal to, toners feel like something you want to use rather than something your mom swears by.

Simply put, toner removes all the debris left behind after cleansing  such as makeup, excess oil, impurities, dead skin cells and even residue left from your cleanser — and helps to cleanse + tighten up your pores. By wiping all these pore-cloggers away, you reduce acne and prevent future breakouts!

In May, I switched to Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner ($44). First off, there are actual rose petals in this toner and it’s definitely the prettiest beauty product that I own! This fresh toner aims to gently cleanse the skin while refining the appearance of pores, helps soothe irritated skin (perfect for skin that’s been out in the sun) and will moisture + balance your skin tone. We all have stressful days and to start it with the scent of lavender and rose really puts one at ease to face the day!

Or Face Mist

But toners have come a long way from the three-step cleanse, tone and moisturize regimen. Now, most of your favorite toners can be found masquerading as a facial mist! The value of a face mist is its ability to deliver a major dose of hydration and nourishment to your skin. Basically, if a miracle concoction meant to destress, refocus, freshen and generally revive your skin were to exist, it’d probably be packaged as a face mist.

Face mists are toning made easy, without the need to buy cotton balls in bulk, saving the planet and your skin, one spritz at a time. And while toner is a post-cleansing-only task, facial mists are more like a lipstick: To be kept with you at all times and reapplied often!

So this Summer, keep a face mist (or five) on your desk to uncap, spritz and ahhh for a midday makeup refresher, 4 PM pick-me-up, or just to take a second to chill. My favorite facial mist is the Fresh Rose Floral Toner Mist ($40) and Tarte Face Mist. You can use them as your regular toner or you can just spray this directly on your skin throughout the day to re-hydrate your skin and add a mood-enhancing dimension to your Summer skincare.

Step 4: Moisturizer

After I cleanse my face and apply toner, the next step in my skincare routine is applying moisturizer. Even with the warm weather, it’s super important to keep using a great quality daily moisturizer for healthy glowing skin. But you definitely want something more lightweight to accommodate the weather shift, like a gel! “To capture the same indulgence found in creams, chemists have tweaked gels’ consistency [and] they excel at delivering skin-repairing plant extracts and water-soluble antioxidants, like vitamin C, into the skin.”

New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., says gels are “such a saving grace in the warmer months when the air is humid, and we don’t need or desire a heavy moisturizer.” One that I really like to use is Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel, ($52). This hydra gel quenches and brightens skin with an invigorating mix of pineapple ceramides, bearberry, and watermelon ring that practically begs for a cocktail parasol! It keeps my skin hydrated all day and isn’t oily or greasy + it combats signs of aging to imrpove skin tone and texture.

A cheaper alternative is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, ($19.99). Formulated with hyaluronic acid, this unique lightweight water gel instantly quenches and locks in hydration so skin stays hydrated, smooth and supple day after day. Applies effortlessly, absorbing quickly into the skin without leaving behind an oily or greasy residue. Just be sure to use a product that is formulated to work with your skin type in order to get the best results!

Step 5: Sunscreen 

SPF seems to be the trending topic lately. Which is actually super helpful because I’m definitely guilty of skipping it occasionally. But finding your perfect SPF number and knowing exactly where to apply it, when you need to reapply + how often can be a little overwhelming. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is apply a sticky sunscreen when it’s a million degrees outside! But, daily protection is as important as drinking water or washing your face. So if you’re still consider protecting yourself from the sun more of a chore than a necessary step in your skincare routine, it’s time to break that bad habit. And sunscreen is not what it used to be!

With all the recent innovation in sun protection, complaints like inconvenience and unflattering residue are not longer working excuses. Chances are, the reason you don’t like wearing sunscreen is because you haven’t found the best product for your skin type! Farmacy Green Screen Protector Daily Environmental Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($36) is actually one of the newer formulas I’ve been testing out and really like for my combination acne-prone skin. It’s free of skin-irritating chemicals, doesn’t break me out and has a creamy, smooth texture. This green screen also shields the skin from overexposure to sunlight and pollution + helps guard against free radicals emitted from smart phones and computers (which can lead to accelerated photo-aging). It doesn’t leave behind any residue, doesn’t pill and dries down to a semi-matte finish that works well under makeup.

Step 6: Primer (Optional)

Primer is equal parts skincare and makeup, but an optional step if you aren’t planning on applying any pigmented products after your sun protection. Primer not only allows for a more flawless application of foundation, but it is the last barrier of protection for your skin. Plus there’s so many options depending on skin type, SPF and more! It just depends on your skin type and preference.

The primer I really like is Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($44)This moisturizing primer is the perfect blend of skincare and makeup + protects my skin from damaging rays and environmental factors. It’s powered with sodium hyaluronate to hydrate my skin and the light to medium coverage with a subtle glow gives me that fresh, healthy-looking no-makeup look.

Step 7: Lip Balm

Chapped lips are not only an issue during the Winter months. Drier climates can still cause your lips to shrivel and time outdoors unprotected can lead to burning. To keep your pout luscious and kissable, start with a richly textured lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher and reapply regularly — especially when you’re outdoors or when wearing a high-shine gloss (which tends to attract more UV rays because of its reflective shimmer). Skip medicated menthol- or camphor-based balms. The tingle is intoxicating, but these formulas can dry out your lips over time. Instead, look for salves and glosses with soothing ingredients like shea butter, beeswax and aloe vera. Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 ($25) keeps lips hydrated and can be used on the rest of your face to shield the sun’s rays. Add Benefits Cosmetics Lollibalm Hydrated Tinted Lip Balm ($18) for a nice tinted finish!

Weekly Summer Skincare Routine


The summer damage we inflict on our skin due to sun exposure and swimming can create a build-up of dry skin cells. Exfoliating will slough off dead skin cells and refresh your skin for the new season. Not only does exfoliating slough away dead skin cells, but it also unclogs the oil and dirt that lives in your pores and causes breakouts. But too much exfoliating “can increase sun sensitivity by about 45 percent,” says celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. And with Summer comes more bare skin.

So to keep it looking soft and glowing, you should exfoliate depending on how you plan to spend your Summer. “If you’re a sworn sun-shunner who always covers up and takes sun protection seriously, then you can keep your exfoliation habits as is,” says Deven Hopp in an article for Byrdie. “But if you plan on being outside more often than you were in the Winter . . . then you need to take a step back from your usual two-to-three-times-a-week exfoliating plan.”

Most store-bought exfoliating products contain harsh chemicals and dozens of questionable ingredients that have unknown benefits, so make sure to check the ingredients or try making your own homemade exfoliant. I like to use Farmacy New Day Gentle Exfoliating Grains ($30) twice a week on my face. This naturally-derived exfoliant cleanses, scrubs and clarifies all at once while still being gentle on your skin. All the ingredients are hand-picked and farm-grown. The Rice Barn Powder loosens up dry skin cells + absorbs excess oils and surface impurities while a complex of White Willow Bark, Green Tea, Carrot, and Marshmallow soothe, protect and calm the skin. Then every time I shower, I like using Burt’s Bees Renewal Refining Cleanser ($10) on my whole body.

Face Mask

Our Summertime activities tend to involve robbing our skin of natural oils. From tanning to swimming to showering twice a day when it’s unbearably hot outside. Take time to replenish your skin with a face mask two to three times a week. A good quality face mask can give your skin an added boost that a normal cleanser-toner-moisturizer regimen can’t. And the great thing about masks, like most beauty and skincare products, is that you can easily find one that caters to your exact needs! For example, clay masks help absorb excess oils and clear out your pores; cream masks give parched skin the moisture it so desperately needs; and gel masks can temporarily lower your skin’s temperature to reduce redness and sensitivity.

For a little TLC, I love to treat my skin to Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask ($62) at least two times a week. This mask is all about restoring the skin to a more harmonious state. The mineral rich clay composition is essential in skin vitality and works to balance, purfiy and clarify complexion. My skin feels a bit tight right after rinsing off, but the sensation goes away quickly. I also like to use it as a spot treatment for pesky blemishes. I definitely recommend this for troubled, blemished or acne-prone skin.

Related: The Mask Lover’s Guide To Every Summer Skin Issue

Applying these products, or similar ones, to your Summer skincare routine will give you the look and feel of healthier skin. Keep in mind the “why” behind your products instead of concentrating on the “what.” Just because Tatcha Women’s Pore Perfecting Sunscreen, ($65) is all the rage doesn’t mean it will work for you. You may find better products for your specific skin type, but the impact of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, hydrating, and protecting your skin is important and universal for all skin types.

If you want glowing, healthy looking skin, the first thing to do is analyze your current skincare routine. At what point do you wash your face every night? If it’s normally a last-minute thought before bed or you end up sleeping in your makeup most nights, try switching things up by making it the first thing you do when you get home. When I get home, the first thing I do is remove my makeup. The hardest part is making changes. Habits can only be changed by changing the routine.

By making yourself more aware, you can improve your skincare routine and take the best care of your skin for a long-lasting healthy and glowing complexion.

+What products are you adding to your Summer skincare routine? Are you using any of the ones from this post? I’d love to hear what your favorite skincare products are for Summer, so tell me in the comments below!

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