I don’t view our summer as something that needs to be endured. The Coachella Valley is great in the hottest months. There’s the euphoria of driving down 111 at (or above) the speed limit. The joy of leisurely browsing the empty aisles of Whole Foods. Nighttime dips into pools as warm as bathwater. And, my favorite thing about this time of year? I will not wear a closed-toe shoe, nor a garment with sleeves, until sometime in October. You might not either. Here is a summer-ready skin guide. It’s time to get your soon-to-be-exposed parts ready for public viewing.
Freshly exfoliated skin is like an unmarked sheet of paper. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Body Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($65; Sephora) is a good place to start for a smooth, refreshed look. This scrub employs pumpkin and papaya enzymes that devour dead skin cells, lactic acid to polish, lavender and bergamot oils to smooth everything, and caffeine to perk up the skin’s appearance. This scrub is exclusively for the body; it’s too intense for the face, and you also might want to keep it away from your sensitive bits.
Self-tanners have long promised me a sun-kissed look free of the telltale self-tanner smell — a gritty aroma oddly reminiscent of wet biscuits. The trouble is the very ingredient that chemically reacts with the skin to make it darken, DHA, is also the culprit that produces the funk. St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturizer ($30; www.beautylish.com) hasn’t banished the offending scent completely, but it has minimized it. Use it with the Applicator Mitt ($6.50) for a streak-free, even tan.
Clinique For Men Aloe Shave Gel ($17; Macy’s) isn’t just for men, and it isn’t just for beards. Shaving cream contains moisturizers that lubricate and soften hair, making it easier to cut. Want an incredibly close shave on your legs or under your arms? A little of this gel foams a long way. The scent is neutral and doesn’t linger, so you won’t smell like a dude.
For evenings out, or special events, I like to top off with Charlotte Tilbury’s Super Model Body Slimmer Shimmer Shape, Hydrate & Glow ($65; www.beautylish.com). This body makeup is designed to accent and highlight, so you can’t use it to cover a blemish. Don’t fret. It’s so good at what it does that no one will be paying attention to your imperfections. Slide the product’s wide metal roller along your shins, across your collarbone, and down your arms, and the lotion’s light-catching particles will draw the eye, making limbs look longer and leaner.
A foot peel for foot appeal? Yes! Baby Foot ($25; www.babyfoot.com) is a product that will gross you out and change your life. After an hour of wearing the gel-filled booties, it feels as though exactly nothing has happened in the effort to slough off dead skin and rough patches. Around day five something does happen. The peeling and sloughing of skin continues for days until every bit of foot skin has turned over. It isn’t painful — although the experience is surely odd, a bit like recovering from a sunburn you never had — but most important? It’s effective.
Using these products will get you summer-ready, but one more word to the wise: Be sure to lather yourself in SPF, on the parts you show and the parts you don’t, to protect yourself all year long.