How To Avoid A Shiny Face This Summer
Mr Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
The sun is shining, the weather is sweet and your face is so oily that your T-zone has been declared a hazard for the local wildlife. The summer brings welcome change with it for many reasons, but the inevitability of greasy skin is not one of them.
“During the warmer months when there is more moisture in the air, the skin can look more shiny because of the abundance of natural oil production on the surface of the skin,” says Dr Dennis Gross, a New York-based surgeon and dermatologist. “Those oils exist to keep the skin naturally moisturised, but in hot and humid weather our sebaceous glands tend to produce more sebum. When heat liquefies sebum, which is semi-solid, it converts into a more liquid consistency.
“Additionally, with more humidity in the air, the excess lingers longer on skin, as opposed to moisture being pulled into the environment,” he says. In other words: say hello to a face greasier and sweatier than the cast of Top Gun.
Fortunately, unlike Lieutenant Bradley Bradshaw, you probably aren’t spending your summer in a fighter jet – which brings us to your first line of defence. “Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse,” says Ms Victoria Bond, a London-based makeup artist. Doing so first thing in the morning and last thing at night, she promises, will ensure any build-up of grime is blitzed away, meaning less likelihood of blackheads and sustained oiliness throughout the day.
To do it well, Bond recommends combining your regular cleanser with a muslin cloth in hot water (also known as hot cloth cleansing). This will work to not just remove the gunk in your pores, but gently exfoliate skin to make it look immediately healthier.
“Every day, dead skin cells, sebum and debris build-up on the skin surface. We can remove this build-up with a two-step peel”
As well as cleansing, consider a chemical exfoliant that contains salicylic acid, which will work to regulate the skin’s oil production, says Dr Gross. “Every day, dead skin cells, sebum and debris build-up on the skin surface, but we can gently yet effectively remove this build-up and deliver smoothing, clearing ingredients with a two-step peel.”
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Alpha-Beta Daily Peel has become something of a cult product in the skincare world and is comprised of two wipes. The first is soaked in an acid solution, which works to breakdown oil and sebum on the skin and pores. Meanwhile, the second neutralises the acids and delivers essential vitamins and minerals for healthy and vibrant-looking skin and improving cellular turnover.
While it might sound counterintuitive to pile cream on already oily skin, not keeping skin sufficiently moisturised will only make things worse. Still, you’ll want to keep it lightweight. For a soft touch serum that’s still effective, Bond recommends 111SKIN’s Celestial Black Diamond serum – “It’s a really good base” – which will quickly melt into skin and leave you with a glow without the grease.
Follow this up with a mattifying moisturiser. Unlike your average moisturiser, a mattifying moisturiser contains astringents that work to stem your sebum floodgates, meaning skin will be nourished and look fresh rather than oily.
“Not all sunscreens contribute to looking greasy”
If you want good skin in the long term, SPF is non-negotiable at any time of year (sorry folks), because it helps to prevent skin cancer and sunburn, stave off fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and basically everything else that ages you. The good news is that wearing it needn’t leave you with a shiny face.
“Not all sunscreens contribute to looking greasy,” Gross says. He recommends looking out for an oil-free sunscreen, such as his own brand’s All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, which protects skin without feeling the least bit sticky. Bond, meanwhile, swears by Dr. Barbara Sturm’s SPF50 Sun Drops, a non-greasy formula which comes in a small glass pipette and can be mixed with your regular moisturiser.
Now you’ve got the skincare down, you should be able to see summer off without melting into a puddle, but there are a couple of extra measures you might consider to bolster your routine. Bond’s secret weapon for her red-carpet clients come summertime? “Good old-fashioned blotting sheets.” Discreet enough to keep in your pocket and dab at your T-zone throughout the day, they work to absorb excess sebum and take any shine away in a pinch – whether you’re facing the paparazzi or just trying to enjoy an afternoon in the park.
Bond’s last insider hack to avoid looking hot and sweaty is to invest in an eyebrow gel. “It keeps everything well-groomed, neat and in place.” No doubt a grooming tip Lieutenant Bradshaw would appreciate.