A sunburn, peeling skin, and blisters from your cute new sandals won’t require an EMT but are still cause for panic. Here, a guide to the quickest, cleverest ways to address every hot-weather beauty emergency.
Summer Beauty 911
Your skin is so slick, you could solve the world’s oil crisis by Labor Day.
Put down your powder puff—”you’ll just create a cakey mess,” says makeup artist Mally Roncal—and use blotting papers instead (we likeBoscia Green Tea Blotting Linens“>. “They soak up oil without removing makeup,” says makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci. The next time you know it’s going to be a scorcher, apply a thin layer of mattifying lotion (we like Estée Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer“> under makeup—the tiny silicas will absorb oil throughout the day.
At home, try a cleanser with 2 percent salicylic acid (such as Clearasil DailyClear Daily Facial Scrub“>, and use a retinol cream (try RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream“> at night: “Retinol minimizes oil production and prevents clogged pores,” saysJeannette Graf, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
MORE: Read This Before You Dye
Your skin is so blotchy from the heat, people are mistaking you for a royal (Charles, not Kate”>.
Graf’s magic bullet: Grab an evening primrose oil capsule, puncture it, and smooth the contents on clean, flushed skin at night. “It’s very high in the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which restores the moisture barrier and reduces the redness in a few hours,” she says. To cover blotches or large areas of redness, Graf suggests mineral makeup. “The minerals help calm skin but still cover redness, because the pigment is concentrated,” she says. We like Revlon ColorStay Aqua Mineral Makeup.
A Sunburned Nose
The importance of sunscreen is as plain as the red nose on your face.
“The nose is one of the most exposed and vulnerable areas on the body—and one of the most common areas for nonmelanoma skin cancers,” says Graf. Even if you apply sunscreen, the skin there tends to be oilier than the rest of the face, so sunscreen breaks down faster. First, protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat. Then frequently reapply a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection (Graf likesEau Thermale Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50, or tryShiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PA+++“>.
Pimples From Breakouts
You slathered on sunscreen to prevent wrinkles, but the pimples it caused make you look like a teenager.
To prevent pimples and calm existing ones, wash skin with a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide face wash at night, says Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist in New York City and Miami. (One with benzoyl peroxide:Proactiv Renewing Cleanser.“> Let it sit on the skin so it absorbs before rinsing.
The fastest way to clear skin is to apply a prescription-strength acne treatment overnight (Brandt likes Duac Topical Gel, a blend of 5 percent benzoyl peroxide and the antibiotic clindamycin”>. The next best thing is a 5 to 10 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion from the drugstore, such as Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Vanishing Treatment Cream. Avoid future breakouts by switching to a light, oil-free sunscreen—Brandt praises Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55.
You decided to walk to work during a heat wave, but once you got there, your makeup had called in sick.
First, hide out at your desk for a few minutes until you cool down, then use blotting paper “to absorb the excess perspiration,” says Ciucci. Don’t reapply foundation; just redistribute it with a damp sponge (Ciucci swears by the egg-shapedBeautyBlender“> using bouncy, tapping motions. Wipe off any rogue eyeliner, mascara, or shadow with a cotton swab. And if you need more lip color or blush, choose creams, which blend evenly; for durability, go with waxy eyeliner or eye-shadow sticks.
You waxed to get smooth, not to get red bumps.
Immediately after waxing, swab the area with an astringent containing salicylic acid (like Tend Skin Liquid or Clean & Clear Deep Cleaning Astringent“> to dissolve the dead skin that can trap hairs. Then layer on a hydrocortisone cream or aloe gel to reduce redness and swelling. If the red dots don’t go away after a week, you may be looking at an all-too-common case of folliculitis—an inflammation of the hair follicle frequently caused by bacteria. Washing with salicylic acid cleansers daily can help (Avon Clearskin Blemish Clearing Acne Body Wash has 2 percent of the ingredient”>. If there is pain, tenderness, or swelling, see a dermatologist to rule out bacterial infection.
Really, Really, Bad Sunburn
You screwed up. You got scorched. Now move on.
Take two ibuprofen to dull the pain and reduce swelling, says Brandt. Jump in a cool shower, gently pat skin dry, and then place bags of frozen peas over the burned areas. Dab on a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, and then keep skin well hydrated with a fragrance-free after-sun lotion (Graf likes Aveeno Skin Relief 24HR Moisturizing Lotion with cooling menthol and natural colloidal oatmeal”>. “Aloe soothes the skin and helps with inflammation, too,” says Brandt, who recommends staying out of the sun—as in, you are now a vampire—until the burn heals.
So you no longer resemble a lobster. Now you’re a walking biohazard zone, shedding dead cells.
First, hands off. “The worst thing you can do is pick at peeling skin,” says Jeffrey Dover, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “You’ll cause even more damage.”
Allow scaly skin to shed naturally, and focus on keeping the area well hydrated by slathering on a moisturizer rich in ceramides, such as Curél Sensitive Skin Remedy Fast Absorbing Daily Lotion for Dry, Sensitive Skin. “It will replenish the lipids you’re losing from the upper layers of skin that are peeling off,” says Brandt, who also recommends upping your water intake. “You lose more fluids when you’re recovering from a burn.” And avoid anti-aging ingredients until your skin returns to normal or you could develop a sensitivity to an ingredient.
Your skin feels so hot and prickly, you’re considering actually crawling out of it.
The key is to chill out, literally. Take a cold shower, change into loose-fitting clothes, and avoid thick, heavy moisturizers, which can exacerbate a heat rash. Speed your skin’s natural recovery process by dabbing the affected area with calamine lotion—”the combination of zinc and ferric oxide helps keep it cool,” says Brandt. One thing to skip? Makeup. It can prolong the rash by blocking sweat ducts. The good news: You won’t have to stay in hiding for long. “Cool down, and the rash should clear up within a day or two,” says Brandt.
You picked bottle bronze over the sun—resulting in one streaky mess.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto a loofah and start scrubbing away dark splotches in a warm shower. If you have a few days before the area is revealed, smooth on a layer of body lotion containing alpha hydroxy acid (like AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion“> both morning and night. “It increases the natural turnover of the skin cells, which will speed the fading process,” Brandt says. If there’s no time to spare, disguise streaks with a mix of half self-tanner and half moisturizer to lighter areas only once a day until they catch up with the rest of your bottle bronze.
Swimsuit Strap Marks
Even the most meticulous applier of SPF occasionally winds up with strap marks.
Makeup artist Jake Bailey recommends exfoliating the edges of the strap marks to soften the borders, then dabbing a full-coverage body makeup, like Dermablend Leg and Body Cover orM.A.C. Face and Body Foundation, in a shade that matches your tan, along the pale skin, blending extra well at the edges. To finish, dust the area with a shimmering bronzer, such asPhysicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer. “This reflects the light and makes it harder to spot where the makeup ends and tanned skin begins,” says Bailey.
Ow. Ow. Ow. Your blisters demand swift attention.
As much your blister may hurt, resist the urge to pierce it, says Rock Positano, a foot specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, because it will increase the risk of infection. To speed healing, wash your feet in mild soap and water, then cover the blister with a bandage (Brandt likes theDuoDerm bandage“>. If the blister breaks on its own, cleanse the area with an iodine solution, dab on Neosporin, and cover it up again. Next time, place a soft, gel-like blister guard (such as Band-Aid Blister Block“> or a blob ofChapstick on the part of your foot where the shoes rub to prevent blisters.
Dry, Brittle Hair
You’ve been making hay while the sun shines…right on top of your head.
The combination of salt and chlorine is usually behind strawlike hair. To camouflage the damage, grab a cream or pomade with a waxy texture (we like L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Overworked Hair Putty“> and dab it on the last two or three inches of hair to fuse split ends.
Then start a rigorous regimen of conditioning treatments; “they penetrate the hair and strengthen it from the inside,” says hairstylist Odile Gilbert. Once a week, she recommends massaging a walnut-size blob of deep conditioner (something like Pantene Medium Thick Hair Solutions Intensive Restoration Treatment mask“> into wet hair. Cover with a damp towel and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing away any residue. And (please”> consider a trim. “It’s the only way to get rid of split ends,” says hairstylist Garren.
Your long, blunt bangs are sexy; your Sunkist-colored highlights are not.
Wash hair with a violet-tinged shampoo, likeClairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo, and let it soak in for a few minutes in the shower before rinsing. “The formula has enough violet pigment to start neutralizing the unwanted warmth and makes your blonde look crisper straight away,” says hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins. Then develop color-protecting habits: Don’t go into the sun without spritzing hair with a UV filter (Hawkins likes Phyto Plage L’Originale Protective Beach Spray“>, and always wet hair with tap water before you take a dip (so it doesn’t soak up the chlorinated or salty water like a sponge”>. And be sure to rinse well afterward.
You’re sick blonde highlights are now sickly green.
The green tinge comes from mineral deposits in pool water, not chlorine, says cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. To remove that color from hair, Hawkins recommendsMalibu C Swimmers Natural Wellness Treatment. A shampoo with gold tones, such asBumble and Bumble Color Support Shampoo The Golden Blondes, will also help counteract the Nicki Minaj vibe. If that fails, many salons offer deep-clarifying treatments that can help. Next time, coat dry hair in oil (baby oil will do, or try Kérastase Oléo-Complexe Versatile Beautifying Oil“>, and then rinse with tap water before and immediately after swimming. “To be safe, processed blondes should wash hair twice with a clarifying shampoo at the end of the day, too,” says Hawkins. We like Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo.
Your hair crossed over from shiny to oily between your morning latte and lunch.
Target greasy roots with an oil-absorbing dry shampoo, like Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potionor Redken Powder Refresh 01 Aerosol Hair Powder/Dry Shampoo.“It absorbs oil without depositing color, so it’s suitable for brunettes as well as blondes,” says Hawkins. You can also press facial blotting papers along your part. On a daily basis, wash with a gentle shampoo (we likePureology Hydrate“> and only condition the mid-length and ends of hair. Then choose the right styling products: “Thickening sprays and volumizing mousses counteract greasiness,” says Hawkins. (We likeSally Hershberger Plump Up Collagen Thickening Mist and John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Mousse.“> Hawkins’s favorite trick is misting roots with sea-salt spray (we like Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray“> before styling. “The minerals act like an astringent, keeping roots dry and textured,” he says.
Faded Hair Color
Your faded denim shorts are a reminder of the long summer days; so is your faded single-process color.
“You’re crazy if you color your hair but don’t use a shampoo and conditioner to protect it,” says hairstylist Kevin Mancuso, who likes Nexxus Color Assure Replenishing Color Care Shampoo.Mancuso also suggests using the color-refreshing treatments included in many at-home semipermanent hair-color kits, like Clairol Natural Instincts. “It takes five minutes in the shower and will buy you a few more weeks,” he says.
By the end of the day, your hair is as limp as a Dane Cook monologue.
Before clocking out, “flip your head upside down and blast the roots with some good old-fashioned hair spray,” says Mancuso. (Try Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray.“> At home, prevent lethargic hair later in the day by conditioning before you shampoo, says Hawkins. “You still get the moisture boost, but you’ll wash out the residue that can weigh hair down.” Limit your hair products to a little detangler (like Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler Lightweight Detangling Spray“> spritzed just on the ends in the morning. Alternatively, you can lift up random sections of hair and smooth in a small blob of volumizing mousse (likeDove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse“> on the roots before finger-drying.