Now that we’ve had a taste of the heat and humidity to come this summer, I must confess that my resolve to forego self-tanners in favor of embracing and enhancing my paleness has been tested; there’s nothing like the first exposure of months-undisplayed limbs to make a lady rethink her epidermal strategy. So far, however, this lady remains true to Operation Pale Fire, and here’s why: I’ve been slathering myself nightly with fantastic exfoliating products for face and body at every price point. (Never exfoliate in the daytime! You’d be revealing new fresh layers of skin and then exposing it to the perils of environmental and sun damage at its most vulnerable.)
Evenly-exfoliated skin translates to a sleeker, more reflective surface that really gets you glowing, and fruit acid exfoliation is essential to creating uniform tone and texture. I’ve always been an enthusiastic user of glycolic, lactic and other acidic processes (AHA/BHA ingredients) rather than scrubs on my clients’ skin. With a scrub, no matter how smooth and polished the little granules are, they can cause unevenness and microscopic tears on the skin’s surface—and who wants that? Yikes. And, more importantly, since the Microbead Free Waters Act was passed in December of 2015, everyone gets to partake of more sophisticated and uniform exfoliators and not destroy a universe of water-dwelling critters in the process. It’s the very definition of every body wins.
For noticeable, legit-visible results, there are three steps: cleanse, treat and hydrate. Make this trifecta your nightly routine, and you’ll see and feel a difference starting in a week. My hands-down favorite exfoliating cleansers are from Mario Badescu: Their Glycolic Foaming Cleanser for face and AHA Botanical Body Soap are perennially superior and are super affordable; at $16 and $14 respectively (both at mariobadescu.com), they are the perfect first steps to smooth, even-toned perfection. For the most dramatic results, Dr.Dennis Gross’ Web site has a genius feature that describes each of the brand’s trailblazing, pre-measured enzyme peel pads. The system is a clear and concise way to choose your perfect peel on your own .
If you’ve got to have that rough texture in your unguents or if you’re super-sensitive to fruit-acid-based products, fret not—plain old superfine sugar mixed with grapeseed oil is a great way to slough away scaly skin on elbows and knees. Make a thick paste, and here’s the key: get into the shower, and BEFORE you turn on the water, get to work on those rough areas. Scrub in small circular motions for about three minutes, then turn on the water and rinse off. Follow up with a good moisturizer—my favorites are Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream ($65, katesomerville.com) for face, and Eucerin Intensive Repair lotion ($11.33, drugstore.com) for body. Get your skin-polishing routine down pat, and you’ll wake up every morning feeling smoother and looking increasingly more even.
Keep things progressing by slathering yourself head-to-toe with a sunblock infused with vitamin C. I’m loving Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30. ($60, Murad.com). It’s pretty much the perfect daytime product and I can’t do without it. Put together your own perfect-and-protect regimen, and you’re well on your way to the smoothest, most even summer ever.