By Bir Ganguly
At long last summer is here. To help you make the best of it, we have assembled a starter kit to accompany your new summer skin care regime, with suggestions for sunscreens and tanning lotions. A little birdy told us about your cousin’s pool-party last year, where onlookers scorned you for the patchy tan you sported as such, we have also addressed tricks and tools of the trade.
Before picking up the sun-in-a-bottle concoction of your choice, there are certain necessary steps to follow to avoid one of those ghastly uneven tan-jobs. Since tanning lotions work by pigmenting the upper layers of the skin, these layers need to be even and denuded of dead skin cells prior to any application. Yes, you have guessed it right. Exfoliation is the first step. To simplify things, MenScience Androceuticals have brought out Buff Body Gloves and Face Buff Brush. The body gloves are designed for using all over the body in gentle regular movements while showering. The mildew-and bacteria-resistant micromesh material ensures both cleanliness and efficacy. MenScience’s face brush takes control of buffing away dead skin cells that clog the facial skin and pores and, additionally, loosens and removes dirt and organic impurities. Even though the idea of scrubbing one’s face with a brush might seem too radical, the close-set soft bristles are anything but harsh or scratchy on the skin. Yet, it is tough enough to free ingrown hairs that may produce razor bumps. Yes, these tools can make for an effective pre-shaving preparation as for a pre-tanning warm-up. At least a couple of days of use would be a good idea before proceeding to the next step.
We chose Exuviance Skin Healthy Sunless Tanning Mousse, as it is formulated with an anti-oxidant and mild exfoliating agent. That way, the exfoliation that we talked about before, continues as you tan, to enhance the evenness and natural look. And anti-oxidant properties are super-important for the health and youth of your skin, particularly during the summer months. The mousse can be used both on the face and the body. The product is non-clogging and oil-free, and therefore, especially good if you are prone to breakouts.
Toned from all that hard work at the gym, and now, tanned, you are almost ready to show off your beach-perfect body. For the finishing touch, check out Totale Firme from Nickel. The non-sticky tanning oil makes the skin soft and smooth and gives muscle strong definition and a subtle sheen, as opposed to an ‘oil slick’ look – there is a fine line to be mindful of, if you want to avoid giving the impression of being an aspiring go-go. However, the SPF 4 index can be dangerously low and our recommendation is to apply a powerful sunblock underneath it. You will need something lightweight that would not compromise on safety. We used MenScience’s TIO2 Sunblock with SPF 30 for our experiment. The ultralight and waterproof sunblock contains titanium dioxide for a broad spectrum protection against the two major kinds of UV rays, UVA and UVB, both of which increase the risk of skin cancer, while UVA is the major culprit when it comes to aging. The titanium dioxide temporarily leaves a white pasty layer on the skin, but is fully absorbed in a minute or so to give a perfectly clean and matte finish. The sunblock also contains anti-irritants and moisturizing ingredients to keep the skin cool and fresh. It was easy to apply the Totale Firme tanning oil on top of it.
On a daily basis, for the twofold purpose of facial sun protection and hydration, Clinque’s M Protect SPF 21 serves well. A quick dab on the face and neck on your way to work takes care of essential moisturization and UV protection. The product is suited for all skin types.
If you plan to engage in serious sporting activities in the summer sun, we suggest that you look at the Sports Formula with SPF 30 or 45 from Himaya. This line of sport sunscreens meets and exceeds FDA, Australian, EEC, Japanese, and South African sunscreen manufacturing standards. In addition to being sweat- and water-proof, the sunscreens actually allows for application on skin that is wet from water or perspiration. You can even apply it under water! However, we did not test that last claim. The micronized zinc-oxide-based formula makes for an excellent broadband UV filter and is used by a number of professional athletes at this time. Antioxidants in the sunscreen help neutralize free radicals that are capable of causing serious harm to the body and skin.
The reason why antioxidants become especially important during summertime is the higher level of free radical production (oxidation) in our body. This happens due to increased exposure to the summer sun resulting from day-to-day activities as well as sunbathing and summer sports. These free radicals, among other things, can wrinkle and prematurely age the skin. To counteract the enemy reinforcements, include MDSkincare’s Antioxidant Firming Face Serum in your pre-bed routine. The serum contains a cocktail of antioxidants to act both as a protective and restorative factor against the onslaught of free radicals on your precious facial skin. The last time we checked on the MDSkincare website, the product was out of stock! But don’t despair – it is also sold at select retailers whose information has been included below.
Summer fun and cocktail parties can leave their mark particularly loud on the highly sensitive skin around the eyes. For those mornings-after, a powerful but light under-eye treatment is indispensable. We found two that fit the bill well. 2/hide from Scruff is infused with green tea, chamomile, and cucumber extracts to moisturize and smooth the skin around the eye area and reduce puffiness. Even though it contains a shot of emollients to make for deeper moisturizing, the eye balm is highly absorbent. Our other find was the Under Eye Restorative from Bullie Skincare. Dubbed the ‘Bullie Bullet,’ this almost clear liquid, packaged in an innovative roll-on dispenser, awakens and tightens the area under the eye with a triple shot of nature’s most unadulterated caffeine: Green Tea, Black Tea and Guarana.
Men’s skincare has often been the ignored step-child with the most innovative and cutting-edge ingredients going into women’s products. The Eye Rescue Formula from MenScience Androceuticals breaks this pattern. It is loaded with all the right ingredients for serious action. Slightly heavier in constitution, our suggestion is to use this at the end of the day to let it work with the greatest beauty restorer of all – sleep. There is a perceptible difference in the overall tone, texture and brightness of the skin around the eyes upon waking up.
Summer, especially the hot, humid kind that our city gets, means lots of sweat, whether you like it or not. The hottest water to keep you cool and replenished this summer is Glaceau’s Fruitwater. And certainly so, if you are on a diet. This latest product from enhanced water pioneer Glaceau is very low-calorie and completely free of artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives. Artificial sweeteners trick our bodies into thinking they are drinking something packed with sugar, increasing our dependency on sweets and very often actually making it more difficult to keep to a diet and lose weight. Light fruit flavor and low levels of crystalline fructose, a very pure, high-quality sweetener, same as that found in fruit, are the only flavoring ingredients in Fruitwater. Electrolytes are added to expedite hydration. Pick up your healthiest summer accessory in one of the five flavors, lemon, raspberry, peach, grape, or lime.
Buff Body Gloves, $11.50, www.menscience.com
Face Buff Brush, $11.50, www.menscience.com
Exuviance Skin Healthy Sunless Tanning Mousse, 3.4 ounces, $24, www.neostrata.com
Totale Firme, 6.76 ounce, $28.00, www.nickelskincare.com and Nickel Spa (14th St & Eighth Ave)
TIO2 Sunblock SPF 30, 4 ounces, $28, www.menscience.com
M Protect SPF 21, 3.4 ounces, $20, www.clinique.com, Sephora, and Saks
Sports Formula SPF 45, 6 ounces, $17, www.himaya.com, Paragon Sports (18th Street & Broadway)
Antioxidant Firming Face Serum, 1 ounce, $72, www.mdskincare.com, Nordstrom’s, and Sephora
2/hide, 0.5 ounce, $22, www.scruffnewyork.com
Under Eye Restorative, 0.5 ounce, $20, www.bulliecare.com, Barney’s New York, and Nordstrom’s
Eye Rescue Formula, 1 ounce, $32.50, www.menscience.com
Fruitwater, 20 ounces, $1.49, Pharmacies, Specialty Food Chains and other Supermarkets