Presenting Our Beauty Editor’s Head-to-Toe Summer Skincare Shopping Guide

In a sea of skincare products, how do you decide what to try next? I’ll walk you through some tried-and-true classics, as well as some new launches that are especially nice to use during the sweaty summer days that await us.

I Never Thought I'd Try This Beauty Trend Again as an Adult, But Here We Are

1. Innisfree Hydrating Cleansing Oil With Green Tea

Best for: Removing makeup and/or sunscreen

A friendly reminder that when you’re using a cleansing oil, you want to apply it to dry skin and massage it in with dry fingertips to break apart any makeup or sunscreen that’s sitting on the surface. Then, add water to emulsify the oil before rinsing all the residue away. OK, now that that’s settled, I love this formula from Innisfree because it’s easy to spread and it leaves my skin feeling soft and supple.

2. Murad Essential-c Toner

Best For: A refreshing boost of moisture

If you’re looking for a non-astringent toner that smells like a citrus grove and leaves your skin plump and juicy like a perfectly ripened orange, I recommend this classic from Murad. It has vitamins C and E, plus coneflower and licorice root extracts to replenish moisture and lay the foundation for a nice glow.

3. Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Brightening Face Serum

Best For: Skincare newbies and pros alike

You know, there are a lot of fancy vitamin C serums I’ve tried over the years, and many of them end up feeling too sticky or smelling like a boiled hot dog. Olay’s Vitamin C + Peptide 24 serum is neither sticky, nor does it smell like meat. Rather, it has a silky, lightweight texture and a pleasantly fresh scent. And it doesn't pill underneath my sunscreen or makeup, which is why I’m on my second (soon to be third) bottle.

4. Ilia C Beyond Triple Serum

Best for: Those days when you want to do the very least

Through some trial-and-error, I’ve found that Ilia’s Triple Serum works best on its own, rather than layered over other skincare products, which can cause pilling. The good news is it already has a bit of everything in it. Along with encapsulated vitamin C, mineral SPF 40 and niacinamide, it has sheer pigments that prevent the chalky cast you might otherwise get from a mineral sunscreen, making it an ideal product for those days when you want to do the bare minimum.

5. Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Face

Best for: Targeting T-zone breakouts

When life gives you a cluster of small whiteheads on your forehead or chin, get thee a large hydrocolloid patch. Rather than having to apply individual patches to each spot, you can just plop one of these on the entire area that’s breaking out and marvel at their oil- and gunk-absorbing superpowers.

6. Biossance Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub

Best For: Keeping your limbs silky

Over the past couple of years, I’ve become a lot more invested in body care. In addition to moisturizing (gasp) regularly after I shower, I’ve also started using a scrub every few days to keep my legs from getting scaly and my upper arms from getting bumpy. My favorite scrub right now? This lavender-scented formula from Biossance, which features both enzymatic and physical exfoliants to gently dissolve and buff away dead skin cells without being aggressively scratchy. It makes my limbs feel so soft that I find myself absentmindedly rubbing my arms sometimes. I also love that it’s packaged in an easy-squeeze tube, as opposed to a giant tub.

7. Versed Skincare Back-up Plan

Best For: Treating body acne

Between the heat-induced sweat and my hair finally getting long enough to reach my back, I’ve noticed that I’ve been breaking out below the neck more recently. Since I started using this salicylic acid spray daily, my back is slowly but surely clearing up. I appreciate the 360-degree continuous spray nozzle, which basically means I can spray the bottle from any angle—ever upside down—to reach areas that I couldn’t normally on my own.

8. Naked Sunday’s Spf 50+ Hydrating Glow Mist Top Up

Best For: Actually reapplying your sunscreen

Who here is actually good about reapplying their sunscreen throughout the day? If you are, I applaud you. Despite knowing better, I rarely re-up my spf after putting it on in the morning, largely because it’s messy. All this to say that it didn’t take much arm twisting for me to try this mist from Naked Sunday’s, which—fun fact—is Australia’s #1 sunscreen brand. The superfine mist has SPF50+ and other skin boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, watermelon extract and Kakadu plum. Use it to set your makeup and to refresh it; either way, it’ll leave you with a glow.

9. Olive & June Heel Balm

Best For: Keeping your feet sandal-ready

If you can hear your feet scratch against your sheets, you definitely need this buttery heel balm by your bedside. As Marcela Correa, a licensed medical pedicurist and owner of Medi Pedi NYC Practice once told us: “Maintaining a regular foot care routine is key. Ideally, you should be moisturizing your feet twice a day.” Listen, we’ll settle for once a day, and this balm makes it easy to comply since you don’t even have to get your hands greasy to use it. Just glide it over dry heels and slide some socks on to lock in that crucial moisture.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...