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Summer Skincare Guide: Oily Skin vs. Dry Skin Routines

Summer Skincare Guide: Oily Skin vs. Dry Skin Routines

When it comes to seasonal skin care, it’s perhaps summer that’s the trickiest to perfect. Achieving that perfect glow feels extra important in summer, yet this is the season when we have humidity and sweat to contend with. How do you find the right balance, putting enough products onto your skin so that it stays hydrated and protected, but not so saturated with creams and lotions that your makeup has slipped off by noon?

The perfect summer skin care routine for you will depend on your skin type. Oily and dry skin types face different types of challenges when the mercury rises, so below we’re sharing some must-know summer skin care tips plus two example routines to make this summer (and all summers to come!) your best skin days ever. But first, let’s go over the absolute basics which should be in your summer skincare kit no matter your complexion or skin type.

Summer skincare kit essentials: CeraVe sunscreen

The Top Two Summer Skincare Essentials

Sun protection

When it comes to skincare dos and don’ts, sunscreen is always a do. Any dermatologist will tell you that you should be wearing sunscreen year round, but of course it’s most crucial of all on those bright, cloudless summer days when you’re receiving increased UV exposure. And it’s not just about preventing skin cancer either – sun exposure can also lead to premature aging and hyperpigmentation issues.

Body sunscreens are typically too ‘heavy’ to use on your face and might lead to breakouts, so pick a lighter-weight formula developed specifically for facial use. Sunscreen needs topping up every few hours to stay effective, so it can be helpful to choose a mist or powder version for top-ups which you can easily apply over makeup. Not planning to wear foundation? A tinted sunscreen is a great way to subtly enhance your skin tone.

How can we protect your skin in summer besides using sunscreen? Invest in some fabulously oversized sunnies plus a chic, wide-brimmed hat which will shade much of your face and match with all your summer outfits. Limiting how much UV light lands on your skin is the best sun protection of all!


With summer air less dry than winter air, it can be tempting to skimp on this step, especially if your main summer skincare focus is staying matte. But your skin needs proper hydration just as much as the rest of you. Plus, thirsty skin will produce extra oil to compensate, making you look shiny rather than fresh and dewy.

The solution is to have a separate moisturizer for summer and winter. While in winter, our skin craves deeply-quenching creams and oils, the best summer moisturizer is very lightweight – think a runny liquid or a gel consistency. Try out a few testers at the local mall to see which ones really sink into your skin, versus those that leave a ‘film’ on top.

Example skin care routine in summer for oily skin

Summer Skincare Guide: Oily Skin

What’s a good skin care routine in summer for oily skin? It’s all about going easy on your skin. By that, we mean lightweight hydration, gentle (and not too regular!) cleansing, and careful exfoliation. We’ve already discussed what to look for in a moisturizer for summer, but for oily skin in particular, search out sebum-controlling ingredients such as salicylic acid and niacinamide.  

Now… what’s this about infrequent face washing?! Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you stop cleansing. You should still wash your face morning and night, something that’s especially important if you’re prone to blemishes. However, when your skin feels extra oily or sweaty in summer, it can be tempting to give it a mid-day wash or two too. Don’t do it! This will actually strip your skin of essential hydration which can exacerbate acne and oil production, so if your skin is starting to reflect that sunlight a bit too much, simply use blotting sheets instead. Bonus: they won’t mess up your makeup!

After cleansing, use a toner which helps to shrink open pores, controlling excessive oiliness. A particularly good summer toner for oily skin is Thayer’s Original Witch Hazel Toner.

Now, exfoliation. Over-exfoliating also ‘strips’ the skin which can ramp up oil production, however it also helps to unclog pores and improve moisture absorption. So the key is balance. For oily skin, we recommend exfoliating once, or at most twice, per week.

Example summer routine for oily skin:

Day – Gentle cleanser, toner, 2-in-1 moisturizer and sunscreen (to minimize number of products on skin), mattifying powder sunscreen for later top-ups.

Night – Gentle cleanser, toner, water-based moisturizer.

1-2 times weekly – Gentle exfoliator.

Woman with dry skin in summer

Summer Skincare Guide: Dry Skin

Suffering from dry skin in summer? A good summer routine for you revolves around ensuring your skin receives plenty of hydration throughout the day to combat water loss from evaporation, so it’s a great idea to pop a hydrating face mist into your purse which you can spritz on whenever your skin starts to feel a bit parched.

Even with dry skin, you’ll likely find that a lighter-weight day moisturizer is best compared to the one you’d use in winter, to avoid your makeup sliding off. Look out for deeply-hydrating and soothing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or aloe vera. You can still use a richer cream as part of your summer night routine if your skin needs it, as well as add an intensive hydrating serum and/or face mask into your skincare regimen for an extra blast of moisture.

When it comes to cleansing, micellar water is great for dry skin. It lifts dirt and oil from the skin without the need to rinse with water, helping skin to stay plump and hydrated. A bonus tip is to keep your showers cool. Not only will it feel wonderfully refreshing, but it will help to prevent your skin from becoming overly dried out.

Finally, a good exfoliator is absolutely vital to your summer routine. Dry skin in particular requires regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and avoid looking dull or flaky, although overdoing it can dry the skin out further. So use a gentle face scrub or chemical exfoliator about two to three times per week. And if you’re wondering how to get summer ready skin all over, don’t forget to make exfoliation part of your regular body skin care at home too, for skin that’s soft and glow-y from head to toe.

Example summer routine for dry skin:

Day – Micellar water cleanser, hydrating toner, lightweight moisturizer, sunscreen, hydrating face mist (preferably with SPF) for moisture top-ups through the day.

Night – Micellar water cleanser, hydrating toner, hydrating serum, night cream.

2-3 times weekly – Gentle exfoliator, hydrating face mask.

Summer beauty tips - woman applying lip gloss

Summer Beauty Tips – Now Let’s Talk Makeup

Regardless of whether your skin is dry or oily, it can be difficult to keep your makeup in place during the summer months. As the seasons change, you’ll probably find it helps to modify your makeup routine as well as your skincare one. Here are our top summer beauty tips for sweat-proofing your makeup:

Use fewer products on your skin

Your makeup will move around in summer, but the less you have sitting on top of your skin, the less obvious it will be. For example, instead of using a moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation, look for a 3-in-1 tinted moisturizer with SPF. If sheer coverage is not enough, replace the foundation and sunscreen steps with a colored mineral powder sunscreen. Go easy on products such as concealer, highlighter and eyeshadow too.

But don’t skip primer!

Not only does primer help to blur out imperfections and wrinkles, but it also ‘grabs onto’ your makeup to make it last much longer. Plus, it’ll help to prevent makeup settling into creases such as on your eyelids, so invest in a good eye makeup primer too if you can’t bear to give up shadow.

Choose waterproof formulas

Sweat is mostly just water, meaning waterproof versions of your favorite makeup products are less likely to wear off on hot days. No one’s idea of cool summer makeup involves panda eyes or mascara that needs reapplying by lunchtime, and this swap is an easy solution.

Finish with setting products

setting spray or setting powder does exactly what it says on the tin. If you have oily skin, the powder will also help to keep your skin matte; just remember that you only want a fine layer for summertime. On dry skin, powder can end up looking cake-y so choose a spray instead.

Woman doing her summer skin care routine

Now you know how to glow up over the summer as far as your face is concerned, but what about your hairstyle? Be sure to check out our guide to the hottest hair color trends of 2022, or browse our blog to learn even more about achieving your best skin days or hair days ever!

Need a few new products to level up your summer skin care routine? Remember that at Editors’ Pick, you can shop with total confidence: we offer free US shipping, and if you’re not satisfied, you’ve got 30 days to send it back in any condition and at zero cost to you.

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