Outside of applying my favorite moisturizer post-shower (when I remember to) and slathering my body in SPF before paddle boarding, I've largely ignored my skincare routine for years—at least, when it comes to my body. In summer, I'm usually outside as long as the sun is up and work is done, so my skin takes a beating. I was beginning to notice subtle queues that I could be taking better care of it, like dull and sometimes dry skin on my legs and shoulders. When I told my friend Kate, who owns an organic skincare company, about my skin woes, she literally stood up on her chair in a video call to show me her legs. Even through the video screen, I could see how much healthier—glowier, even—they looked than mine. Since then, I've adopted a full body skincare routine that's left me feeling healthier than ever, even with my affinity for summer activities:
1. Use a dry brush: On my call with Kate, one of the first things she said was, "You dry brush, right?" Unless owning a dry brush that I never used, up to the day I gave it away counts, then nope. "I'm sending you one right now," she said, before walking me though its benefits: It exfoliates the skin, sloughing off dead skin cells to promote cell renewal, while stimulating lymphatic drainage and increased circulation. In short, it makes your skin look great and only takes a few minutes: Brush lightly for three to five minutes in small round strokes going in toward your heart, all over your body. I use Kate Mcleod's The Dry Brush ($20).
2. Wash with a gentle body wash. I've used Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap Bars for years since they're available at Trader Joe's, the right price for a natural product, and packaged without plastic. You may want to seek out something gentler if you have sensitive skin, as it can be stripping. I use Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap ($4 at Trader Joe's) but Kosa Sport's Good Body Skin is great for treating blemishes ($18).
3. Exfoliate once to a few times a week. Exfoliation in moderation is great for your skin—just be sure not to overdo it, so you don't end up damaging the outermost layer of your skin, or the moisture barrier (more on that here). To err on the side of caution, I exfoliate my skin with a sugar scrub once a week. I use True Botanicals Pure Radiance Sugar Exfoliating Body Scrub ($38).
4. Use a shaving cream. In the past, I've used soap as my shaving cream, but that can actually be a recipe for irritation and small red bumps. It's best to use a product with glycerin and anti-inflammatories like aloe. I use Flamingo Foaming Shave Gel ($6) and Billie Razors ($9 for the starter kit) but this is a helpful list!
5. Moisturize. Body serums and oils are great (I love OSEA's and Emily swears by Necessaire's!), but during the week, I like to keep things more minimal, since I'm often running straight out of the shower to dinner or to work, with an all-in-one moisturizer. For the past several years, I've used Kate Mcleod's Body Stone (I fell in love with Kate's Body Stone before I even met Kate herself). It's made with cocoa butter and oils from other fruits and nuts (it's so pure, you could eat it, though I don't recommend it...), and is waste-free. Plus, by dry-brushing before the shower, your body is primed to absorb all of the Vitamin E and good ingredients in the stone. I use Kate Mcleod's Body Stone ($38).
6. Spritz on a salicylic acid spray (if you have breakouts). I've raved about Paula's Choice Clear spray for years, which I spritz onto my back once a day to eradicate blemishes on my body, which I get from working out and sweating. Using this, and showering the moment I'm done working out, has completely cleared up the blemishes I used to get on my upper back. I use Paula's Choice Clear spray ($25).
7. Apply SPF. I apply SPF to my face, decolletage, forearms, and hands every day. But I only apply SPF to other exposed parts of my body, like my legs or stomach if I'm in a sports bra, before sunny activities. I keep a big bottle of Supergoop's PLAY lotion in the car, but prefer their body butter if I'm only using it for my arms and hands. I use Supergoop's Body Butter ($38).
8. Apply self-tanner every few days. Because I'm a nut about SPF, I don't naturally tan in the summer. I'll sometimes add a layer of Vita Liberata Gradual Self Tanning Lotion if I want proof that I go outside sometimes... I use Vita Liberata Gradual Self Tanning Lotion ($20).
*I don't have keratosis pilaris (little bumps that often appear on tops of arms), eczema, or sensitive skin, but I recommend approaching any new skincare routine or advice carefully if you do!