Two months of heat and humidity and the “can’t wait for summer” excitement we had in May easily transforms into “it’s too hot out” crabbiness — and it doesn’t just affect our mood. All that time under the sun and in hot, humid air takes a toll on our skin, hair, and clothes too! So we asked top beauty and fashion pros for their simple solutions to preventing (and reversing!) common summer woes for a sunnier you the rest of the season.
Sidestep sweat stains.
When temperatures soar, it seems no matter how much antiperspirant we apply, we’re still left with sweat stains on our clothes. The secret dermatologists tell their patients? Use an antiperspirant that contains 15 percent aluminum chloride just once a week. “The compound absorbs into skin and forms a ‘plug’ in glands to limit perspiration, and the higher concentration ensures sweat won’t seep through,” says New York City dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D. Use just once a week (at night, when sweat glands are less active, giving ingredients more time to penetrate), and you’ll be sweat-free for seven days!
On-the-go fix: Toss deodorizing wipes like Dove Deodorant Wipes Cucumber and Green Tea (Buy on Amazon, $18.45) in your bag and swipe on if you feel sweaty or smelly for fresh in a flash.
Tame frizzy hair.
Too much time in the sun can leave our locks super dry, causing them to self-hydrate by grabbing moisture from humid air. This then swells strands for a frizzy mess, says hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein, who’s worked with Sofía Vergara and Kate Bosworth. Her solution: Use the heat to your advantage by doing an argan oil treatment before going outside. The fatty acid–packed oil rehydrates parched hair so it won’t seek out strand-swelling moisture, and the sun’s warmth opens hair’s cuticle, allowing the oil’s nourishing compounds to penetrate better. To do: Rub a nickel-size amount of argan oil (like Kate Blanc Certified Organic Argan Oil, Buy on Amazon, $13.99) on hair from the ears down, place hair in a bun, and enjoy some time in the sun. Repeat twice a week for soft, frizz-free tresses within two weeks.
On-the-go fix: Place some dryer sheets in your bag and rub one on frizzy hair. Its surfactants and oils coat strands, lightly weighing hair down to smooth it fast.
Keep clothing wrinkle-free.
We rely on breezy silk, linen, and cotton fabrics to keep us cool on extra-hot days — it’s too bad these lightweight materials tend to wrinkle so easily. To prevent creases from forming, spritz clothes with a de-wrinkling spray like Downy Wrinkle Releaser Spray (Buy on Amazon, $13.38 for a two-pack) before heading out, says celebrity stylist Samantha Brown, who’s worked with stars like Candice Bergen and Jennifer Nettles. Dimethicone, a silicone-based compound in the spritz, relaxes fabric fibers to smooth wrinkles and creates a barrier over clothing so it’s less likely to become creased. Simply mist (to dampen, not soak) onto fabric and give it about five minutes to dry.
On-the-go fix: For some added wrinkle-free insurance while you’re out, tote along a travel-size bottle of wrinkle release spray and use it for touch-ups as needed.
Mattify shiny skin.
Heat and humidity put oil glands into overdrive, causing makeup to melt and skin to look and feel slick. What can help? Prep skin with milk of magnesia (Buy on Amazon, $11.89, Amazon), suggests makeup artist Julianne Kaye, who’s worked with Laura Dern and Brooke Shields. Its magnesium hydroxide creates an absorbent shield on skin to prevent oil or sweat from causing makeup to melt. To do: Rub a pea-size amount onto the face and wait 2 minutes to dry before applying makeup. Use just twice a week, as overuse can dry out skin.
On-the-go fix: A DIY toner made from cucumber juice and apple cider vinegar can help mattify skin in a pinch. New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., explains that astringent properties in both skin-calming cucumbers and pH-balancing apple cider vinegar temporarily tighten pores to cut down on excess oil production for a natural, shine-free complexion. To do: Puree half a cucumber in a blender, strain the liquid and mix it with 2 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar and 2 Tbs. of water, pour into a travel-size bottle; store in the fridge. Throw in your tote on your way out and apply to shiny skin with a cotton pad when needed.
Thwart greasy roots.
An accumulation of sweat and oil on the scalp can weigh down even the thickest of tresses, sapping volume for a limp-locked look. Restore bounce to hair and eliminate excess moisture quickly with a dry shampoo foam, says hairstylist Gregory Patterson, who’s worked with Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. “Standard dry shampoos use powder to help sop up oil and sweat, but they tend to leave behind a gritty residue that sits on top of the scalp.” The lightweight foam formula in a dry shampoo like Waterless Dry Shampoo Foam (Buy on Amazon, $7.47, Amazon) absorbs into strands instead of sitting on top of them. It uses tapioca starch and silica to soak oil and sweat up off the scalp’s surface, and a pop of caffeine “props” strands up at the roots for added fullness and lift. Simply massage a dollop of the foam into roots with fingers and brush through to ends.
On-the-go fix: Toss some coffee filters into your bag. If hair starts to look greasy and flat when out and about, the filter’s absorbent material can quickly sop up any moisture.
Soothe a sunburn.
Ouch! It happens too often that the day after enjoying some much-needed fun in the sun, we’re left nursing red, painful burns. To heal scorched skin in a flash, dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D., advises rubbing skin with an ice cube made of milk. The lactic acid in milk has soothing properties to reduce the sting associated with burns, and its protein helps repair damage and speed healing, says Dr. Peredo. Using it in ice form helps calm inflammation, while also constricting blood vessels to decrease redness. To do: Pour milk into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. Pop out one cube, rub onto burned skin for five minutes; rinse with cool water. Repeat as needed until skin is healed.
On-the-go fix: Slip on a UV-tracking wristband (like Sunburn Alert UV Wristbands) to prevent a sunburn in the first place. How it works: When you apply SPF to your skin, make sure to rub it onto the wristband too. The band will change to a bright red shade when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen (around one to two hours after your first application of SPF).
Worried about slipping into a pair of shorts, a skirt or even a bathing suit on a hot day because you’re scared of causing chub-rub or aggravating already chafed skin? Nipple cream to the rescue! According to dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., many nipple creams (like Lansinoh, Buy on Amazon, $7.72) are made with lanolin, an emollient that soothes sensitive skin post-breastfeeding. Simply rubbing a dime-size amount of the cream onto the inside of thighs before getting dressed can work just as well to heal and repair irritation and protect skin from the friction that causes it.
On-the-go fix: Place the cream in your bag to reapply if needed throughout the day.
Erase tan lines.
Argh! Your go-to swimsuit left pesky tan lines that look awkward when donning your favorite strapless sundress. Make them disappear with this easy two-step technique from makeup artist Amy Zdunowski-Roeder, who’s worked with Kristen Wiig and Malin Akerman. First, whip up a scrub made from 2 Tbs. of baking soda, 1 Tbs. of water and 1 Tbs. of lemon juice. While showering, massage the mix onto the pale lines for one minute; rinse and pat skin dry. “The scrub gently exfoliates to slough off dead skin cells, leaving a smooth surface.” Next, rub a self-tanning towelette (like Tournesol SunPop Tanning Towelettes, Buy on Amazon, $12) onto those same pale lines to blend them in with already-tanned skin; let dry for two minutes before getting dressed. The tan will develop in two to four hours, leaving skin line-free and uniformly bronzed.
On-the-go fix: Tote a spray-on bronzer (like Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, $11.79, Amazon). It’s a temporary fix, but spraying it on instantly blends in lines with the rest of skin. Plus, if you sweat, the waterproof formula won’t transfer onto clothes.
Calm heat rashes.
“Excess perspiration can result in blocked sweat glands that trap sweat in skin, leading to inflamed, itchy red bumps along the chest, arms, belly or legs,” says Dr. Jaliman. The soothing save: an oatmeal, black tea, and honey lotion. “Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that relieve pain and stop itching along with reducing swelling or redness.” Black tea’s tannins have an astringent effect that helps unclog sweat ducts, and humectant honey nourishes and moisturizes skin while its antioxidant polyphenols repair it for faster healing.
To do: Mix 2 Tbs. of old-fashioned oats, 2 Tbs. of cooled, brewed black tea and 1 Tbs. of honey. Apply onto irritated areas and let sit five minutes; rinse. Use once a day until the itchy bumps disappear.
On-the-go fix: Toss a tube of hydrocortisone cream (like Cortizone 10 Anti-Itch Creme, $8.86, Amazon) into your bag and rub onto the rash when it flares up. The anti-inflammatory topical steroid thwarts itchiness and shrinks bumps on contact.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.