10 Epic Summer Beauty Fails and Exactly How to Fix 'Em
Why is it that in order to partake in all the Summer fun that comes with warmer months we have to suffer through some truly epic beauty fails? Destroyed feet, puffy curls, never-ending breakouts — it's hard to enjoy the season when you're internally cursing it for causing you all manner of beauty grief.
But just because these pains-in-the-you-know-what can happen doesn't mean they have to. Because we want you to have the delightful Summer you deserve, we've rounded up 10 of the most common Summer beauty fails and asked the experts how to prevent them and what to do if you don't manage to evade them in time. Keep reading to learn the secrets to having your most beautiful Summer ever.
The “Greasier Than a Vat of French Fry Oil” Skin Fail
If it seems like your skin is a massive oil spill in the Summer months, you’re not imagining it. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, explained that all of that heat and humidity causes you to sweat, which mixes with your natural oils and causes a sticky, greasy film on your face.
The best way to sop up that excess oil, said Dr. Zeichner, is to use products that mattify, like blotting sheets and specially formulated primers. To get rid of the oil before it gets out of control, he recommended clay masks, salicylic acid lotions, and charcoal, which the skin doc calls the “hot new ingredient for treating oil.” He loves it for its absorption and shine-busting powers, two things we all need on those sticky, sweltering Summer afternoons.
Swap your Sunday mask with Boscia Luminizing Black Mask ($34) to detoxify your pores.
The “But I Put On SPF!” Sunburn Fail
Applying sunscreen is kind of a given at this point. We know we need it, we do it, we avoid burns. Easy, right? Well, it is until you somehow still manage to get fried even after slathering your sunscreen on. What gives?
According to Dr. Zeichner, the likely culprit is that you didn’t reapply. “Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time because chemical blockers degrade and mineral blockers clump on the skin,” he explained.
He recommended applying sunscreen, such as Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100+ ($13), at least every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. “Thinking that your morning application of sunscreen is enough for a full day increases your likelihood of getting a sunburn because you have a false sense of protection,” he added.
To be extra safe, he also advised practicing good sun habits like wearing a hat, staying in the shade as much as possible, and avoiding being in the sun between the peak hours of noon and 2 p.m.
If you do wind up with a gnarly burn, grab yourself some aloe moisturizer and pop an Advil to reduce that inflammation from the inside out, Dr. Zeichner advised.
The “Why Won’t This Stuff Come Off?” SPF Fail
So you know you need to reapply and you’ve chosen an SPF that’s water-resistant and sweat-resistant. Fantastic. The end of your fun-filled day comes, you pack it in, head home, and hop in the shower to wash away the day. Except that heavy-duty sunscreen you diligently reapplied all day doesn’t seem to want to come off.
“While sunscreen can help protect you from the sun, some can be difficult to wash off the skin because they are designed to stay in place,” notes Dr. Zeichner.
Rather than scrub your skin Lady Macbeth style, Dr. Zeichner suggested a double cleanse. “Try an oil-based cleanse,r which helps dissolve dirt and oil, to remove the majority of sunscreen left on the skin,” he said. We like L’Occitane Shea Butter Cleansing Oil ($24). “Then use a foaming-based cleanser to finish the job." Out, out damn SPF!
The “Green Is Not My Color” Blond Hair Fail
There’s really nothing quite as welcome on a hot day as a dip in a refreshingly cool pool. However, if you are a blonde or have recently gone blonde, then you are all too familiar with the dreaded swamp monster tint.
According to Colleen Flaherty, a color specialist at NYC’s ultrachic Spoke & Weal salon in NYC, the best defense against this type of color damage is to wet your hair before you get in the pool. Your hair will absorb less of the chlorinated water if the shaft is already full of clean water.
When you get out of the pool, rather than sitting in a lounge chair to dry off, immediately go and rinse out your hair with a color-safe cleanser, such as Aveda Sun Care Hair & Body Cleanser ($22), that will gently remove buildup and replace lost moisture.
If the great greening has already happened, Flaherty said to grab yourself a packet of Malibu C Hard Water Weekly Demineralizer, a weekly treatment you apply to hair after cleansing to minimize the brassiness, discoloration, and damage that chlorine can cause to your ‘do.
The “Ew, Is That Me?!” Sweat Fail
Sometimes you’re walking along, wondering if 10 a.m. is too early for an ice-cream cone (it’s not) when you get smacked in the face by a malodorous funk. What in the heck is that awful smell? Then with growing horror you realize it’s you.
We know odor happens — it’s just how our bodies work. But picking a great deodorant can go a long way toward making that stink a little less, well, stinky.
We like Secret Outlast Extend Clean Lavender Invisible Solid ($4) because it’s both an antiperspirant and a deodorant that covers up any underarm smells with a refreshingly herbal lavender aroma.
More of a natural deodorant kind of girl? Check out Meow Meow Tweet’s Underarm Primer, a lightweight lotion that you apply underneath your deodorant to give it a little extra staying power. It’s also great as a transition aid if you’re making the switch to natural.
If you do fall victim to eau de armpit, there is a fast, simple remedy. The Ban Total Refresh Restore Cooling Body Cloths is a portable packet of wipes that are like a deeply satisfying mini shower. Pop them in your purse and whip one out when that sweat starts to trickle down your side.
The “Why Is My Eyeliner on My Cheeks?” Makeup Fail
Your ice cream isn’t the only thing that’s melting in the heat — soaring temps can lead to a full-on makeup meltdown. But, before you go buy stock in makeup primers, let us clue you in on a very easy trick that will help you keep that turquoise cat-eye look you put on this morning where it belongs. And when we say simple, we mean simple. All you have to do to lock your liner in place is layer a powder over top. No, seriously.
Apply your liner like you normally would, then dip a liner brush with a matching eye shadow powder and draw it over top of the line. Just like how face powder helps keep your foundation from sliding off, a powder shadow will grab onto that creamy liner and create a stay-put shield that makes smearing a thing of the past.
Try Tom Ford Beauty Cream and Powder Eye Color ($62) as your go-to powder.
The “Stop With the Breakouts Already!” Pimple Fail
Remember that increase in sweat and oil we talked about earlier? Yeah, it does a bit more than just cause you to look shiny. That uptick, said Dr. Zeichner, can trap dirt and dead skin cells in your pores, which leads to breakouts on not just your face, but your back, butt, and chest.
“To minimize the risk of acne breakouts,” advised Dr. Zeichner, “make sure to shower after workouts and don't sit in wet workout clothing for too long after exercising. Use a salicylic acid face cleanser in the shower to help remove excess dirt, oil, and makeup as well as exfoliate dead cells from the skin surface.”
We like Clean & Clear Triple Clear Bubble Foam Cleanser ($8) to get the job done.
The “Flip-Flops Are the Devil” Destroyed Feet Fail
When sandal season rolls around, our feet rejoice. No more being crammed into boots or suffocated by socks! But then reality comes crashing down when we see the toll all that open-toed frolicking takes on our feet.
“One of the biggest issues we see at Tenoverten in the Summer is overly dry skin on their heels,” said Nadine Abramcyk, cofounder of Tenoverten nail salon in NYC.
Hard, cracked skin around the heels is very common in the Summer and is typically brought on by wearing flip-flops or open-back sandals that rub the edge of one's foot over and over again.
The best way to keep your heels from getting rock-hard and scratchy, said Abramcyk, is to treat your feet before the problem gets out of hand. “Use a foot file while you are in the shower to work away the hard skin, then apply a super moisturizing cream overnight to help soften skin.”
We love Lather Lavender & Eucalyptus Foot Crème ($18) for its aromatic properties as well.
The “Why Do I Even Bother Styling My Hair?” Humidity Fail
If your hair has any semblance of curls, waves, bends, or natural texture, then you know all too well the misery of humidity. You can try to fight it with every strong-hold styler known to man, but at the end of the day, your hair is going to revert back to its au naturel state. Likely, it will have the added bonus of frizz galore and puffiness that erases any type of style you might have had at the start of the day.
Generally speaking, humidity is moisture in the air. While moisture is usually great for your hair, Pantene celebrity stylist Danilo explained why this is not a good thing. What humidity winds up doing is essentially rewetting your hair, reverting it back to its organic state. This is why your curly hair emerges when you walk outside, even after you've spent half an hour using a flatiron on it.
“Hair loves moisture and it has a hard time getting it and keeping it,” he noted. But as moisture moves in and out of the hair, that motion is what causes frizz to crop up. According to Danilo, the best way to fight that pesky moisture is with . . . more moisture?
“What I’ve found is that by moisturizing your hair, it balances it out it out because there is no moisture movement [from the air to your hair and vice versa],” he said.
He suggested prepping wet hair with a conditioner before styling. He likes Pro-V Smooth & Sleek 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner ($4, originally $5). “It’s important to have moisture in your hair to deal with moisture in the environment,” he said.
In addition to taming frizz and defending against humidity, using an intensive conditioner to style your hair is also a sneaky way to treat any damage and keep your strands strong, healthy, and hydrated.
The “Legs on Fire” Shaving Fail
If you like your body hair of the nonexistent variety, shaving is a quick and inexpensive way to keep your legs, underarms, and bikini line fuzz-free. But, unlike waxing, that hair grows back relatively quickly, meaning you usually have to shave again in a day or two.
Whipping a razor over skin you legitimately just traumatized can result in razor burn, bleeding, and ingrown hairs. If you don’t want to trade a sprinkling of bikini-line body hair for a painful patch of raw skin and ingrowns, you need to bring your shaving A game.
“The best time to shave is towards the end of your shower — warm water can help hydrate the skin and soften hair so that it easily can be [removed],” said Dr. Zeichner. He stressed the importance of using a shave gel or cream (or hair conditioner, if you’re in a pinch) to further soften the hair and make sure your razor glides over your skin rather than dragging on it.
“Take single strokes in the direction of hair growth and clean the razor every two to three strokes to remove residue that builds up between blades,” he advised.
Equally important as how you shave is what you do afterward. That means you must maintain that healthy skin barrier function by using lightweight lotions post-shaving.
Dr. Zeichner recommended using gentle moisturizers with petrolatum to help seal in that hydration and further protect your extradelicate skin. Try Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Unscented Lotion ($9). And if you do manage to give yourself razor burn? Calm down the inflammation with an over-the-counter one percent hydrocortisone ointment and an Advil, he said.