As a native Californian, Jess takes her summers very seriously. Usually during the months of May through August, you'll find her by the beach with her boys, enjoying some time in the sun and out in the water. But, all that surf and sand comes with some not great side effects for her skin, which is why once those beach days end, she transitions her routine over to a post-summer repair focus.
The month of September for her is all about reversing the damage caused by those hours in the sun, plus lots of exfoliation and moisture to combat the dryness and dead skin that builds up. These are two concerns that are relevant to everyone post-summer, no matter your age or skin type, which is why we sat down with Jess to have her take us through her repair and restore regimen.
Keep reading to get the scoop on the products she uses and her best skin tips during this transitional time.
What is your main goal with a skin routine once summer is over?
"My biggest post-summer concern is sun damage. I'm a huge advocate of SPF, but my California roots make me a sun worshipper. As much as I try to stay out of it, there's nothing that puts me in a better mood than laying out in the sun and going in the salt water. I also focus on taking away all that dead skin and letting the new skin come to life — I think of it as shedding the old so that I can nourish what's underneath."
How does your post-summer routine differ from your summer one?
"I definitely focus more on my routine once summer is over and spend more time on it. During summer I am usually running around in the heat with my kids, but once school starts I have a bit more time, especially in the morning or evenings. I love applying thick creams, oils, and a ton of extra serums dedicated to reversing the damage I caused over the past three months."
Walk us through your post-summer routine — what are you using and how are you using it?
"I start with the new Augustinus Bader The Cream Cleansing Gel in the morning and evening. It's a bit creamy, a bit foamy, and an all-around gentle cleanser that clears dirt and grime and helps with skin elasticity —which I need as I enter my late 30s. The proprietary TFC8 complex supports cell renewal, which is key to repairing sun damage.
"I love Dr. Barbara Sturm's Face Mask all year round, but I've found I love it most for the transition from summer to fall because it has so many great benefits that are specific to your skin after the hot months. It's a really cool product because you apply it like a regular mask, but instead of washing it off, you wait for it to dry and then rub it off with your hands. It gives you this super gentle exfoliation to help boost your natural cell turnover and leaves your skin moisturized with all these great ingredients. It's super calming to the skin and incredibly hydrating — not like other clay masks. The aloe and chamomile help to calm redness and inflammation, the purslane helps with anti-aging, and the kaolin clay helps to pull out all the gunk clogging your pores without drying out your skin.
"Hydration is the key to good skin for me, so I do a double dose of it with Skin Design London Hydrating Serum followed by Bynacht Moonlit Meadows Moisturizer. The Hydrating Serum is amazing because while other products can take 28 days to see results, this one I see the benefits from after just seven. It has hyaluronic acid and cell-renewing copper bio-active proteins to bind skin back together — think of it like wrinkles being sewn up. Ok, it doesn't actually do that but that's what it looks like to me. It also has rose to brighten skin and what I really love is that the founder Fatma made sure that this has only active ingredients — no fillers — so everything in it does something beneficial for your skin.
"The Bynacht Moonlit Meadows Moisturizer goes on after the serum and that is packed with a special hyaluronic acid complex that is unique to the brand and gives your skin so much extra hydration. It's thick (but not too thick), unscented, and adds a kind of barrier against the external elements. It reminds me a bit of La Mer's cream, before I knew how full of mineral oils and not great ingredients that was. Moonlit Meadows has a similar texture but doesn't clog my pores and absorbs really well, instead of just sitting on the skin. I've also found it makes a really fabulous makeup base.
"I got the Bynacht Reverse Sun Radical Recovery Serum back in May, before it hit the market and I've been using it all summer. I noticed such a big difference using it daily right after sun exposure. It has such a unique texture — it feels almost like a powder drydown, but it absorbs instantly into the skin. It really looks like it's reversing the damage from the UV rays and it adds all this extra hydration.
"Obviously I have major pigmentation issues due to not taking care of skin as a child and all that sun worshipping. Which is where Environ's Mela-Fade Serum System comes in. It takes a bit of time to work, but I can tell you after two months using this regularly, my skin had little to no hyperpigmentation issues. It comes with two serums, A and B, and you pump one of each into your hands and mix them together to activate. I use it all over to even out my skin tone, but you could also just use it as a spot treatment. I apply it first, after I cleanse, and It doesn't leave a residue. Then I just follow up with the targeted serums I talked about above.
"Sometimes I get pimples that pop up from when the dead skin doesn't turn over fast enough; for those I use the Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask either as a spot treatment or all over face mask, depending on the severity of the breakout. It's organic and also has copper in it, which is a natural detoxifier for the skin. I've been using it on my pre-teen son's face as he's starting to get the breakouts that come with the hormone changes at that age and it helps him a lot, too.
"Finally, sunscreen. It doesn't matter the season or weather outside, I wear EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. This is my god and non-negotiable for me. I like this one because it has niacinamide, which helps with breakouts. I feel like a lot of sunscreens actually cause me to have clogged pores so I like that this one not only doesn't cause breakouts, but actively helps stop them from happening."
What are your post-summer skin words of wisdom?
"Don't obsess over the damage that you've done. You want to focus on fixing it, yes, but don't be too uptight about every little fine line and sunspot that's there. They are signs of a life well lived and something we all have. They add character. Work on every day skin health and maintenance like exfoliation, hydration, and keeping your skin healthy rather than staring in the mirror scrutinizing every pore."