Summer skincare tips & top picks

A few of my friends have asked me for tips on getting rid of acne or basic skincare maintenance. Skin is either too oily or too dry; there’s almost never a happy medium. We all have this problem (even me!), and of course it varies with the seasons. I thought I’d share my summer skincare routine with you, along with some of my go-to products.

summer skincare tips and top picks - poor and pretty

1. I notice my skin is the clearest when I wash my face at night. Right now, I’m using a cream cleanser I’m developing myself, but my favorite retail cleanser is the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. It’s made entirely from natural ingredients and doesn’t include harsh chemical detergents that cause your skin to dry out.

2. I always, always, always follow up with my homemade rosewater and witch hazel astringent. I used to be terrible at using astringents, but now that it’s a part of my routine, my skin stays much cleaner. It’s super easy to make — you can find most of the ingredients at your local health food store, or online. After using your cleanser, put a few drops of the astringent on a cotton ball and swipe over your face (avoiding your eye area, of course). I sometimes use the astringent throughout the day to freshen up.

3. Exfoliate at least twice a week. Admittedly, I’m still working on this one. When I do remember to exfoliate twice a week, I get less acne. My favorite exfoliating masks are both homemade: DIY strawberry mask (strawberries contain salicylic acid, which fights off acne-causing bacteria) and DIY oat & cornmeal exfoliating facial scrub & mask (this one’s easier to keep on hand).

4. Traveling is no excuse not to take care of your skin! If you need a good on-the-go cleanser, try the Yes to Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes. Infused with aloe vera, cucumbers, and green tea, these babies remove makeup, soothe, and clean your skin. Plus, they smell great, too!

5. Now that you’ve got the cleaning part down, don’t forget to moisturize, even if your skin is typically oily. One of the biggest reasons why skin becomes oily is because we wash it with all of these harsh cleansers, strip its natural oils, then we don’t bother replacing any of those oils. This makes our skin work extra hard to compensate for those missing oils, pumping them out and resulting in shiny, slick, yucky skin. Gross, right? So always replenish those oils — just like you would drink water after sweating. My favorite moisturizers are both from DressGreen: Purifying and Blemish Controlling Face Serum (best for drier skin) and Calming and Clarifying Face Cream (better for oilier skin). Like most people, I have combination skin, so I use these interchangeably. They’re both 100% natural and free of toxic chemicals.

6. Of course it’s Summer, so we can’t forget the sunscreen. Dermatologists suggest wearing sunscreen on your face daily because our facial skin is most susceptible to sun damage. My natural sunscreen of choice is Naked Bee’s Face & Body Moisturizing SPF 30 Sunscreen, which contains 70% organic content and is enriched with Vitamin C. It smells lovely and has no Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Laurel/Laureth Sulfates, or alcohol.

Be safe, don’t forget to drink lots of water and share your Summer skincare tips in the comments!

Bonus: want naturally beachy hair without going to the beach? Try making my DIY sea salt hair spray!

This post is a part of Independent Fashion Bloggers Project #104 Summer Essentials.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.


DIY: At-Home Spa Day

home-spa-lgSure, a weekend spa getaway or even just a few hours at a day spa can be super relaxing and you can feel its effects for days. But, that’s just my problem with professional spas — you spend hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on supreme bliss that is only temporary. I challenge you to spend much less money and allow yourself to have temporary bliss more often, in your own home. Yes, I understand living situations can be difficult. Maybe you live with a boy/girlfriend or roommate who is always around which doesn’t allow you much alone time. Or, if you’re like me, you live with your parent(s), older sister, her husband, and their 7-year-old daughter on top of living with your boyfriend, so you never get so much as a minute alone unless you’re showering or peeing (I know, it’s rough). But there will still be times when, miraculously, everyone is gone from the house. Or, if your roommate is a total loner and never leaves the house, ask them nicely to step out for an hour or two, tell them you’re treating yourself to an in-house spa day, and offer to do the same for them when they need it. While you have the whole place to yourself, here’s how to create a spa-esque atmosphere in your own dwelling without breaking your bank:

  • Bubble bath~ I am a huge, huge fan of bubble baths. I try not to take them often as they are a huge drain of resources, but there’s nothing like half an hour or so of soaking up warm, bubbly water. Bubble baths, especially if coupled with a few burning candles around the bathroom, are a great way to de-stress, if only for a little while. bubblebarsYou can find bubble bath almost anywhere, but my favorite bubble makers are the LUSH natural Bubble Bars, which range from around $6-11, depending on the scent you choose. The LUSH Comforter Bubble Bar is by far my fave, and even though their website says you can get two baths out of it, I’ve gotten three and have enough left for at least another two! And it smells so yummy! Disclaimer: if you’re prone to yeast infections or urinary tract infections, bubble baths are probably not for you. May we suggest taking a long, warm shower and using a LUSH Emotibomb instead?
  • Self Mani-Pedi~ The average cost for a good manicure and pedicure duo can range from $30~$100+! While I agree that we all work our hands and feet pretty hard, most of us have the right tools in our own homes to give ourselves manicures and pedicures; a pretty nail polish, nail file, warm & soapy water, a good body lotion, and something to exfoliate with (loofah, pumice stone, or exfoliating gloves/brush). I found a great DIY manicure & pedicure guide on the Better Homes & Gardens website, here
  • Face Mask~ You can buy face masks almost anywhere, but you have to know what type of skin you have. Have Mark_Calm_Yourself_Hydrating_Maskoily skin? Get an oil-free mask, ones made with clay are best. If you have dry skin, make sure you get something that will moisturize it. Remember the strawberry acne-fighting face mask I wrote about here? My friend Sani and I made it from scratch and it cost us around $6, plus we had ingredients left over for more masks (or for eating strawberries while you’re taking that relaxing bath!). Other than my own homemade masks, my favorite one to buy is from mark (a line of Avon products for teens/college kids). It’s called Calm Yourself hydrating mask (I have dry skin).
  • Massage~ I realize that, unless you know a masseuse, nothing can compare to spa massages, and this is the one thing that I can justify spending big bucks on. However, if you have a boy/girlfriend or even a best friend you’re close with, I see no reason you couldn’t ask for a massage. I would offer to give one in return, so you’re helping the other person relax, too. You could even pick up a book of massage tips and practice on each other.
  • Relax~ The most important thing to do is relax. After you take your bath, sit on the couch for a while in your bathrobe and watch your favorite show or movie and just chill out. Or, better yet, meditate. If you’ve never had experience meditating, I suggest turning off your phone(s), sitting down and lighting a candle on a table in front of you. Take deep, calming breaths and just focus on the candle flame for a while, letting all of your thoughts flow away. I’m no expert at meditating, but this certainly helps me :)

Everyone needs a little time to themselves, but there’s no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on pampering yourself if you have the necessities available to you in your own home. And, if you’re broke like Mish and I, spas just aren’t an option, but we make do anyway! <3