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  • Writer's pictureVingt Sept

An Essential Guide to Summer Skin Part 2


Summer is finally here, and with warmer weather comes a new set of skincare challenges. Sun exposure, humidity, and increased sweat production can all take a toll on your complexion, making it more important than ever to have a solid skincare routine in place.

To help you navigate the summer months with ease, we've compiled a list of editor-approved and tested products that are specifically designed to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. From lightweight sunscreens to hydrating serums and refreshing mists, these summer skincare essentials will help you achieve a healthy, glowing complexion all season long.

So, whether you're planning a beach vacation or simply looking to refresh your daily routine, read on to discover why these products are a must-have for any summer skincare regimen.


Created by professional MUA Cara O'Shea, who has created iconic catwalk looks for TOD's, Ralph Lauren and JW Anderson, PROSHINE came from the need for a quick and practical product for skin. Gone are the days of slathering messy moisturisers, and instead we welcome a balm-to-oil stick, packed with natural ingredients and perfect for travel.

PROSHINE High Shine Body Oil (£30) delivers catwalk-ready shimmer and doesn't leave any residue on application, so you no longer need to wait for your skin to dry before slipping into your perfect summer dress. Not only is the application speedy, but it is also great for hand luggage and is vegan. Most importantly, you get to experience and enjoy the flawlessly shimmering skin seen on supermodels, that will last day and night and leave you looking great.

Kora Organics

Created by supermodel and Australian native Miranda Kerr, who is known for her flawless skin, we tried three products from the range to see if we could gain an improvement in troublesome uneven skin texture.

As Down Under is known for soaring summer temperatures and natives with unblemished skin, we knew that Kora Organics would consider this within their wide product range.

We started our 28-day regime using the Kora Organics Turmeric Glow Foaming Cleanser (£38). Use both AM and PM to benefit from its fantastic healing properties for acne and notice lightening with hyperpigmentation and a reduction in dark circles.

This was followed by the Noni Night AHA Resurfacing Serum (£67). A perfect alternative to our usual pads that are on the tingly side, this serum is gentle and contains natural peeling agents Sicilian white grapes and caviar lime (known for improving elasticity, and dull skin, and as a natural brightening agent). We used this AHA serum two to three times a week.

We completed the routine using their Vitamin C Serum (£63), which leaves skin simply glowing. There are many celebrity skincare lines on the market but Kora Organics appear to be results driven. Not only do their products show improvement following one skin cycle, but they are incredibly gentle and natural.

REN Clean Skincare

Another three-step product regime at HQ comes from REN Clean Skincare.

The East London brand founded more than 20 years ago is known as an early pioneer of transparency in safe ingredients that are natural, cruelty-free, and suitable for all skin types and concerns.

When banishing blemishes you may find that the routine you nailed down no longer works. There are many reasons behind this but the main factor is that your skin has acclimated to certain additives that mimic piling. Piling is when the products stop being absorbed into the skin efficiently due to carrier agents in the ingredients of those products. You won't have this concern with REN products due to the potency and level of natural ingredients incorporated in their lines.

We start our new routine with their Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic (from £28) which is our new skincare saviour. Whether your skin is congested or clear, by using this gentle toner daily you will notice a glowing complexion and reduced pores. For stubborn breakouts, we combined the Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream (£53) and Non-Drying Spot Treatment (£14) to reduce blemishes and further tighten enlarged pores. The formulation gave a brighter complexion and we saw an overall improvement in acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

Dr. Jart+

Dr. Jart+ (which stands for doctor joins art) is known for its innovative K skincare.

We adore their award-winning Cicapair cream, but this time around were keen to explore three new products from the range, with a focus on a good dose of exfoliation. Why? Well during the summer, heat and humidity create an increase in oil and sweat production that can lead to clogged pores and acne. Even those with flawless skin can fall victim to these issues. To gain maximum effect and allow your skincare essentials to do their job efficiently we recommend starting the day with the Dr.Jart+ Pore Remedy™ PHA Exfoliating Serum (£36). It contains 7% HPA (which inhibits melanin production and reduces excess oil), which will help decrease some of the factors that contribute to clogged pores and blackheads.

The Pore Remedy™ 5% Multi-Acid Radiance Peel (£30), best used on alternate days, is a gentle formulation infused with hyaluronic acid to dissolve dead skin. This is a great step down from the earlier mentioned PHA exfoliating serum once excess oil is controlled.

Now we all know when our skin feels congested before it visually shows, and Dr Jart+ has a solution in the form of a mess-free Pore Remedy™ Purifying Mud Mask (£29.50). Their most innovative product yet, the K-Beauty sheet mask is penetrated with green mud - a powerful agent for drawing out impurities, healing blemishes and removing excess oils and dead skin. It also contains sea salt for exfoliation and dries when placed on the skin. Surprisingly it doesn't leave the skin feeling dry at all, instead skin feels soft and pores are refined. We also love the fact that it's a mess-free solution to our usual clay and sheet masks.

Laboratoire SVR

We all know that when the sun is out we will bask in the opportunity to build that healthy tan. However, if you already have existing pigmentation and dark spots the sun's exposure will make these appear darker, often making them difficult to conceal, so we reviewed two star products from the Laboratoire SVR range that we think are game-changers.

The French skincare company with more than 60 years of dermo-cosmetic production offers derm-grade skincare (found in the doctor's office) at the tip of the fingertips. Not only are their products suitable for all skin types and sensitivities, but they practise what they preach and we noticed fantastic results following just one skin cycle.

Starting with the CLAIRIAL Pigmentation + Dark Spot Serum (£29.60), this lightweight creamy serum can also double as a spot-on treatment. Although it does smell a little clinical, it is a game-changer as you will notice a visible reduction in hyperpigmentation in less than two weeks of daily use. It also prevents the formation of new marks due to it being a potent dermatology-strength serum.

Next up is the Laboratoire SVR UK Ampoule [C] Anti-Ox Concentrate (£29.60). Containing 20% Vitamin C (which we know is great for brightening), the brand's offering is different from the standard serums on the market. It is optimised, making it a more stable form of Vitamin C, that is highly absorbing allowing for faster results.

You will notice a significant improvement in texture, a reduction in fine lines and a more even skin tone.

Sisley Paris

Sisley Paris is widely regarded as a luxury beauty industry pioneer due to its innovative approach to skincare and cosmetics. The brand's founder, Hubert d'Ornano, was one of the first to recognise the importance of plant-based ingredients in skincare, and Sisley Paris has since become renowned for its use of natural botanical extracts. Additionally, the brand has been at the forefront of research into the effects of environmental factors such as pollution and UV radiation on the skin, leading to the development of cutting-edge formulas designed to protect and rejuvenate the complexion.

Healthy pore-free skin begins with an effective makeup removal process. Makeup removal wipes can contain harmful levels of alcohol and chemicals that can not only irritate the skin's barrier but also disturb its natural PH balance. This can make your skin susceptible to microtears and premature ageing. Aside from wipes, Micellar water (following continued use) will not only strip the skin of its natural nutrients that provide a healthy barrier but can also be problematic for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. This is because they leave a pore-blocking residue on the surface of the skin and contain alcohol.

You're probably disappointed to hear that the most important step in your regime can be the biggest contributor to your skincare concerns. So, we suggest that you stop using these products and read the ingredients in your choice of makeup remover.

One item we trust to not only nourish, prep and purify your skin barrier is the Sisley Paris Gentle Make-Up Remover (£100). Although you may be staring at the price point, a little does go a long way - ours lasted two months.

The three in one gentle makeup remover is enriched with plant-based saponins that enable the gentle breakdown of makeup, dirt and dead skin and avoid stripping the natural barrier. Not only does this act as a cleanser, toner and makeup remover, it also contains relaxing properties including Neroli water (which guards against breakouts and tightens pores), and Provitamin B5 which maximises hydration whilst protecting the barrier of the skin.

This is the most innovative and impressive product to enter HQ and a great preventer of an unnecessary trip to the dermatology office.

Dr. Barbara Sturm

Dr. Barbara Sturm is a brand that has quickly gained a reputation for producing some of the finest skin care products in Europe. Founded by Dr. Barbara Sturm, a renowned German aesthetics doctor, the brand is known for its innovative and science-driven approach to skincare.

Dr. Sturm's products are formulated with high-quality ingredients that are backed by scientific research and are designed to provide real results for a variety of skin concerns. The brand has gained a following among celebrities and beauty experts alike, and its products have been praised for their ability to visibly improve the texture, tone, and overall health of the skin.

For younger skin, optimum hydration during seasonal transitions can help keep concerns such as Pityrosporum Folliculitis (aka sweat acne) and skin conditions (such as eczema from overheating and sun damage) at bay.

Your skin needs food and you need to be sure that you're providing it with just the right amount to keep summer concerns at bay.

Although we are no strangers to Dr. Sturm's products and treatments, this summer we wanted to try and test four specific products that were suitable for younger skin that becomes problematic during seasonal changes.

First up is a new contender in the form of Dr. Barbara Sturm's Microbiotic Cleansing Balm (from £35). At just £35 and part of a new range from the skincare giant, this gentle gel-to-milk cleanser nourishes the skin and removes makeup. It is also results-driven when it comes to hormonal and adolescent acne, due to being packed with important pre and probiotics that balance the skin’s good and bad bacteria. The cleanser is nutrient packed with oils and contains Silkworm-tree extracts - a powerful antioxidant that stimulates the body's toxin elimination systems.

Follow up your cleanser with Dr. Sturm's holy-grail Hyaluronic Serum (from £85) and Clarifying Serum (£180) and you indeed have a triple threat system for a variety of seasonal concerns.

We also recommend the addition of Dr. Barbara Sturm's Clarifying Mask (£120). Use one to two times per week to help reduce sebum production and mattify your skin. Results with this regime include noticeably tighter pores, a reduction in breakouts and a reduction in painful cysts by the end of your skin cycle.


L'Occitane is a unique brand for several reasons. Inspired by the natural beauty and traditions of Provence, France, the brand has a strong commitment to using natural, ethical ingredients from sustainable sources, with many of its products certified as organic.

L'Occitane is also known for its luxurious and high-quality products that are effective in addressing a variety of skin concerns. The brand is committed to giving back to society through its various philanthropic initiatives and has established several programs to support disadvantaged women and children in developing countries, such as providing access to education, healthcare, and clean water.

Now when it comes to this brand we are the first to run to L'Occitane to address the dryness of our talons and tootsies, but they also have an impressive cleanser addressing a variety of issues that is presented in the French company's classic indulgent packaging.

L'Occitane's Anti-ageing Immortelle Precious Cleansing Foam (£25) is a great solution for those living in big urban areas due to its ability to eliminate free radicals and impurities. Following 28-days of use, we noticed a reduction in breakouts, a reduction in enlarged pores and blackheads, and a more even complexion. Packed with antioxidants and resurfacing lentil extract, the foam-to-lather cleanser tackles a variety of issues caused by city living and leaves skin feeling hydrated.

A skincare review is not complete without hand cream and L'Occitane's award-winning 25% Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm 150ml (£26.50), is not only our go-to item on our desk in between hand-washing but is also a staple in our salle de bains, infusing much-needed moisture whilst looking great at the same time.


For over eighty years and with a mission to make all women happier, we can attest that Lancôme's premium products do make you feel confident and beautiful in your skin.

The French cosmetic house, despite its grandeur, gives consumers a diverse range of products that feel amazing on their skin. We decided to see if their Gel Éclat - Clarifying, Foaming Facial Cleanser (£27) alongside their Tonique Doucéur Facial Toner (£32) and Rose Face Sugar Scrub (Gentle Exfoliating Scrub) (£35) could exceed expectations by addressing sensitive skin concerns.

Let's start with the infused sugar scrub, a warming gel texture infused with antioxidant-rich roses. Not only does this item neutralise free radicals but it also restores the skin's PH balance and is great for lightening pigmentation. It also contains soothing Acai honey which will speed healing due to its antibacterial properties and provides the skin surface with a protective barrier.

Next is the gentle and effective Gel Éclat cleanser paired with their toner. This duo is ideal for those needing a non-drying cleansing experience within their routine. Just a small amount is needed for a decent amount of lather and the alcohol-free toner leaves skin feeling fresh and pores refined whilst adding an injection of hydration. This is a great duo for those with sensitive skin and who want a new gentle-yet-effective skincare system this summer.

Odile Lecoin Paris

The French are always ahead of the curve when it comes to amazing skin, perhaps due to the renowned botanicals found in fields across the countryside and En Provence, or their no-nonsense approach to skincare formulas (that use fewer but premium ingredients that focus on hydration).

Odile Lecoin Paris is often referred to as Paris' best-kept secret, embodying the key principles of French beauté and is the legacy of a legendary facialist. The four principles of smoothing, moisturising, nourishment and protection lie at the heart of all of their products. Ensuring less complication and more pleasure is injected into our skincare routines, the brand recognises that looking after our skin should never be an arduous task.

We decided to try the OR, je m'envole - The Extraordinary Water (Toning Lotion) (£35). This elegant toner allows for a generous serving of botanicals including sage (which helps close pores and is great for oily skin) and antioxidants. The Extraordinary Water arrives in spray form for a controlled application and also helps regulate sebum production and can double as a primer.

This is a great essential for skin lacking in collagen and for those struggling to blur deep or fine lines.

Sassy Saints

2023 appears to be about obtaining perfect brows. Experts agree that we are no longer seeking overfilled HD brows and instead are preferring a fluffy natural brow. Of course, this is great news for those of us with a lot of hairs to play with (yes, you, Cara Delevigne), however, some of us have not been so genetically blessed, and need a little help to create that catwalk look.

For this, many people have jumped on the current trend of brow lamination. A service that is usually performed at a reputable salon, it can cost between £45/$57-£100/$125 which is repeated every six to eight weeks for maintenance.

Eyebrow lamination, sometimes referred to as 'brow sculpt' or 'brow lift' is a safe treatment that involves straightening and lifting the hairs, essentially mimicking a perm. It gives brows a naturally fuller appearance which is then 'set', otherwise known as laminated, in place.

Benefits include the obvious - healthier thicker brows which appear natural and easily allow the creation of a desired eyebrow shape. It is also a painless experience and does not damage your brows so it is understandable why it is a popular beauty treatment this year.

The downside due to popularity is the constant reminding yourself to book a follow-up appointment since the results last up to eight weeks.

We found a premium brand, Sassy Saints, that allows you to achieve perfect salon-grade brows in no time at home. Their stunningly presented DIY Brow Lamination Kit (£48) is cruelty-free, vegan and soft on your skin. It's not surprising that Sassy Saints are taking the beauty industry and social media by storm.

The instructions come in a quirky luxury newspaper arrangement and are easy to follow. You can also watch numerous Instagram videos or access their step-by-step guide on YouTube if you are more of a visual person.

Despite each kit containing enough product and accessories for six treatments, very little is needed on application and we predict that you could potentially get eight treatments - not bad, as one kit could potentially last an entire year. At present customers can get up to 40% off their first purchase with a kit costing as little as £48 - this equates to less than one salon session and you see the same results!

We loved that there was minimal fuss or mess with this method and most importantly our brows were indeed 'on fleek'. The at-home process took less than 20 minutes and we did achieve catwalk brows just in time for those important summer festivals.


Focusing on brightening dark under-eye circles, we turned to PIXI to see if they could inject a little glow into our skin and firmness to our tired, puffy work-from-home eyes.

Created by Petra Strand more than 20 years ago in London's Soho, PIXI today has a loyal following worldwide and can count supermodel Jourdan Dunn as a fan, who swears by the brand's glow tonic for her flawless skin.

Starting with the PIXI Peel and Polish (£26), it's a great contender for those who are seeking a lift for dull and tired skin. Similar to a professional salon treatment, PIXI uses fruit enzymes, sugar extracts and lactic acid within their formula to gently exfoliate and polish your skin. This is the best prep essential ahead of a holiday and we recommend using it two to three times per week to begin with if you suffer from problematic skin.

Next, we needed to inject a little Vitamin C to maintain that glow and we were impressed with the brand's Vitamin C Capsule Care, coming in at a reasonable £22. Initially used daily over two weeks, we noticed a significant improvement in hyperpigmentation and dark under-eye circles appeared less noticeable. Not only do they arrive in biodegradable capsule form (handy for short and long-haul trips), but each dose also provides protection from sun damage and gives eyes and skin a needed boost of Vitamin E (a potent formula for reducing swelling and puffiness).

The final step (and our favourite) in our eye revival regime is PIXI's FortifEYE Toning Eye Patches (£22). We use these eye masks for everything including right before makeup as a prep before applying concealer. Admittedly they also can be a godsend following a heavy night or party too and are extremely soothing. Whilst using, your under eyes receive a gentle boost of collagen and the additional caffeine ingredient is also responsible for giving the area a boost of energy whilst aiding any puffiness. Each box arrives with a convenient spatula for a mess-free application. Our top tip is to keep your PIXI eye masks in the fridge to really experience a full soothing effect.

Words by Jheanelle Feanny


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