Summer skincare: how to protect your skin during a heatwave

If you hadn’t noticed, it is rather hot out there. Whether you’re stuck at home, or ricocheting between a humid commute and an air-con-filled office, Stylist reveals how to protect your skin from summer’s extremes.

This is not a nation designed for a summer heatwave: the average UK flat is single aspect (with windows on one side only, so light can only enter them from that side) and a snug 46 square metres, while poor ventilation on public transport (remember that?!) sees some journeys reach up to 35.5°C. Even looking at a freshly mown lawn sets off sneezing and watering eyes, and attempting anything more than a light jog in the gym can get seriously sticky. And don’t even mention the make-up slippage. 

And if you are someone who has returned to the office, there’s no doubt you practically weep with joy to be safe in the air-con. But while the release – and being able to sit down without your thighs sticking to the chair – does feel incredible, these extremes in temperature can wreak havoc with your skin.

And with the very warm weather set to continue across most of the UK (not to sound too much like a Met Office announcement), there are also rainy spells and some chilly breezes incoming – just when you thought you had this heat thing pegged.

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Perspiring through your Réalisation Par dress for 40 minutes will make your skin oily and greasy, then spending eight hours under a vent can further throw your natural moisture balance off-kilter, leaving that same skin feeling tight and irritated. And as for those of us sweating it out at home, switching between a stuffy living rooms and a sweltering park offers skin no relief either.

“Any moisture produced under your make-up will make it slide, but overzealous air-conditioning can dehydrate the skin because it’s just cold air with no humidity,” explains aesthetic doctor Dr Maryam Zamani. “It increases the rate of water evaporation, even though you’re cooling down.” That means, for those of us who do travel to work at least, while your commute might take your make-up from Degas to Dalí, your day in the office will likely make your complexion patchy and dry. 

Your products can’t be fairweather friends in these conditions, so we’ve put together an edit to target every concern, from oil control and hydration to heavy cleansing and longevity. Heatwave, you will not beat us. 

8am: no sweat

Body heat, poor ventilation and wearing a mask on your commute all result in increased sweat production. Adopt a two-pronged approach to keeping your make-up intact: the light texture of Origins Original Skin Pore-Perfecting Cooling Primer, £27 will give you some breathable hydration, while a spritz of Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, £26 over your completed look will help to lock it in. 

Staying at home? Swap make-up for regular SPF application and pop your favourite face mist in the fridge for hourly cool-downs.

Origins Original Skin Pore- Perfecting Cooling Primer, £27

 Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, £26

10am: stay fresh

“Hot weather calls for lighter formulations with in-built SPF,” says Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at The Cadogan Clinic. Or use a mineralbased powder to help keep oil at bay. Try BareMinerals SPF25 Mineral Veil in Original, £23, a translucent powder that absorbs excess oil and protects against the sun’s rays. Not bothering with make-up? Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Papers, £13 throughout the day to keep shine at bay. 

BareMinerals SPF25 Mineral Veil, £23

Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Papers, £13

12pm: cold comfort

By lunchtime, your skin will be feeling the harsher effects of the air-con. Refreshing though it may be, it saps moisture levels, which can leave your skin feeling dry and your make-up patchy. Replenish both by spritzing your face with Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle Hydrating Mist, £21. It’ll reinvigorate skin and leave it feeling refreshed. And don’t forget: lips need SPF too. We love Maybelline Baby Lips SPF20, £3.99. If working from home, may we suggest a surprisingly satisfying lunchtime shower

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle Hydrating Mist, £21

Maybelline Baby Lips SPF20 Sun Protection Balm Intense Care, £3.99

4pm: outdoor security

Safeguard your afternoon snack run from the four horsemen of the hayfever apocalypse (that’s watery eyes, sneezing, itchy nose and coughing for the uninitiated). Applying Make Beauty Marine Salve, £18 will soothe a sore, red nose. It’s also worth keeping a mini bottle of Living Proof’s clever No Frizz Humidity Shield, £15.50 in your bag to protect hair from frizz. 

Make Beauty Marine Salve, £18

Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield, £15.50

7pm: hello hydration

It’s hard to stay hydrated in this weather, when even a walk to the shop makes you sweat. Dry skin types will benefit from a dab of soothing La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume, £20 over any bothersome parched patches. 

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+, £20

10pm: wipe out

Whatever your day involved, it’s important to wipe the slate clean each night to get rid of the day’s make-up, grime and SPF. Paula’s Choice Pore Normalising Cleanser, £17 mops up oil while glycerin soothes dryness. Add a layer of Murad Nutrient- Charged Water Gel, £50 to keep skin hydrated. Packed with peptides, vitamins and minerals, it’ll help strengthen your skin’s barrier, too. 

Paula’s Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser, £17


Murad Nutrient-Charged Water Gel, £50

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