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5 must-have steps for your summer skincare routine

Sun-kissed skin under sunny skies, the sweltering heat and cooling off with frequent dips in the salty sea are what the warmer seasons are all about. Just as we strip off our winter layers, making room for dreamy linen sets, breezy dresses and no-fuss slip on footwear, it's equally important to get your skincare routine spring and summer ready. So read on for our step-by-step guide for the best summer beauty products you'll need for the sunny months ahead.

Here's our 5-step skincare guide to healthy, glowy skin this spring and summer.

Step 1: An oil cleanser or cleansing balm

Makeup, sebum and sweat are a combination for blackheads and breakouts. Despite common belief, an oil-based cleanser is the best way to slew away the gunk from the day (or night). If you have oily or combination skin, look out for oil cleansers that are comedogenic, meaning the formula won't clog pores. The oils present in an oil cleanser or cleansing balm bonds to dirt, makeup and sebum for easy removal without excessive rubbing or over drying your skin. As oil cleansers allow you to melt away the grime from the day more gently, they can be more friendly towards sunburn, dry skin and acne-prone skin.

Image: Estee Lauder ANR Cleansing Balm, available at David Jones

Image: Clinique Take The Day Off Balm Charcoal, available at David Jones

Step 2: A chemical exfoliator

A must-have step for keeping skin bright, clear and squeaky clean in the summer is to exfoliate 2-3 times a week or whatever the product recommends. Perfect for when your skin needs an extra clean pick me up, especially after sweaty workout sessions or heavy makeup. For that, we suggest a chemical exfoliant containing AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid), like glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid. If you have sensitive skin, you'll want to go for a gentle exfoliator, containing PHAs or fruit enzymes like papaya, and with all chemical exfoliators, the trick to work them slowly into your skincare routine. First, using it once per week and upping the frequency as your skin gets used to it. Don't forget to skip this step if you're sunburnt or have had prolonged exposure to the sun until your skin heals. Chemical exfoliants are also best used at night, as some can make your skin sensitive to the sun.

Step 3: Lightweight serum

Think of serums as the supplements to your skincare regime, and for spring and summer, you'll want to opt for lightweight products that deliver hydration without heaviness or that sticky factor.

When it comes to serums for your daytime skincare routine, look for products containing antioxidants which will work in unison with your sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Common antioxidants that are perfect for daytime include vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, niacinamide (or vitamin B3 which plays a dual role by also controlling oil production) and coenzyme Q10. If you prefer botanical based beauty products, try looking for ingredients like green tea, rosehip and parsley seed oil which are all rich in antioxidants. While you're at it, don't forget the under eyes. Products that brighten and cool will add an extra refreshing dose to your summer skincare routine.

Image: L'Occitane Immortelle Reset Collection

Image: Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, available at Mecca

Image: Tula Rose Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm, available at Mecca

Serums for your nighttime skincare routine should be about renewal and revitalisation – enter your active heavy weights. These largely depend on your skincare goals. For the most part, actives should be used separately on different nights to avoid sensitivity and using a version of skin cycling could work for your skincare routine. For this, you would 'cycle' through a different active each night while keeping all other steps consistent. An example could be cycling through a retinol (or retinol alternative like bakuchiol) on your first night, an exfoliant on your second, and using day 3 and 4 to infuse your skin with healing serums, and repeat. This will maximise the benefits gained from each active whilst reducing the risk of irritation. The best actives for your nighttime skincare routine could include retinol (or vitamin A), glycolic acid and other exfoliants if you choose to use a leave on product, peptides and healing ingredients, such as panthenol (or vitamin B5), allantoin, centella asiatica (or cica) and ceramides.

Image: Ella Bache Spirulines Lift Intensive Firming Serum, also available at David Jones

Step 4: Lightweight moisturiser

The penultimate step to your skincare routine – moisturise. The best moisturiser for hot weather calls for something lightweight, non-greasy and non-sticky while delivering just the right amount of hydration. Look for products like 'water creams' or 'gel creams' for something ultra-light, formulated to glide on and immediately infuse into the skin. An alternative would be a 'cloud cream' with a whipped, soufflé-like texture. Keep an eye out for non-greasy hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, lactic acid (yes! It's a gentle exfoliant and acts as a humectant too), squalene or snail mucin. To keep breakouts at bay as well as soothe sunburn, products containing tea tree and aloe are a must for their antibacterial properties.

Image: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, also available at Mecca

Image: The Ordinary skincare range

Step 5: Protective SPF layer

For day, nothing is more crucial to your spring and summer skincare routine than sunscreen. UV rays can be high even on a cloudy day so it's best to apply at least SPF 30 daily and top up every few hours. SPF has come a long way and many brands now stock lightweight, non-greasy sunscreen and primer formulas that sit nicely under makeup, so there's really no excuse and SPF is your best friend when it comes to fighting premature aging. While it can be tricky to reapply, try looking for either powder foundations that contain SPF or powder sunscreens. These not only dust away unwanted shine but give you a renewed layer of sun protection. If you have oily skin, try a moisturiser containing a high level of SPF, and voila! You've combined two steps in one!

Image: Results Skin Active Protect SPF50+, available at Results Laser Clinic

Bonus tip for your night routine: Face oil

For night, a soothing yet light face oil or for a more sustainable alternative, a facial oil bar is the perfect way to seal in hydration and revitalise after exposure to sun, heat, air conditioning and other environmental aggressors that seep moisture out of your skin along the course of a day. For dry to normal skin, you'll likely be able to use the same face oil product throughout the year. However, for oily to problem skin, try a non-comedogenic, calming yet clearing face oil that will not only nourish but help prevent and soothe breakouts.

Image: Lush Argan Facial Oil

Image: Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50+ Hydrating Skinscreen, available at David Jones

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