Hi, lovely ladies! I’m thrilled to have a special feature for you today… Today, Kathleen Jennings of the BeautyNow Blog is here to share her recommendations for summer skincare essentials. Kathleen is someone I constantly turn to for beauty and skincare advice. She always knows all the best products!

Kathleen is a former attorney, mom, and “makeup nerd and skincare obsessive” who prides herself on giving honest, unpaid-for opinions on beauty products and services. She is also the founder & CEO of BeautyNow, a free app that is essentially like OpenTable for booking beauty appointments at over 8,000 spas and salons across the U.S. 

So, keep reading for expert advice from Kathleen on how to take care of your skin this summer… 


7 Summer Skincare Essentials

Kathleen here… Hi to all of Carrie’s lovely Wear + Where + Well readers! I’m honored to share with you today my summer skincare essentials. Now that summer is upon us, it’s time to rethink our skincare and makeup routines…

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1. Physical Sunscreen

An obvious first step is sunscreen, but here’s the rub: you should be using a physical blocker, like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, as opposed to a chemical blocker (e.g. oxybenzone, avobenzone). I was floored to learn that the vast majority of mass market sunscreens and tinted moisturizers rely on chemical blockers that break down in sunlight and lose effectiveness after two hours. Physical blockers, on the other hand, have a longer wear-time on your skin, giving you longer-term sun protection as you go about your day. For a full discussion of the important distinction between chemical and physical blockers, check out my post here.

This chemical vs. physical sunscreen revelation means that all those years I dutifully applied my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in the morning, smug about my very adult decision to use a foundation with SPF, I was unknowingly exposing my skin to sun damage.

Bottom line: not all sunscreens and tinted moisturizers are created equal!

Here are some great options with high physical SPF that I recommend:

  • For oily to normal skin I recommend Elta MD UV Clear or for gals who want to skip foundation altogether, the mattifying, blurring Skinceuticals Physical Matte SPF. I use both of these on a regular basis and love them!
  • For drier skins, or times when you need even more SPF protection, Elta MD UV Pure.
  • Fo an all-natural option that I use on my kids’ faces or for a quick swipe on the backs of my hands (avoid those old lady hands!), I always tote this sunscreen stick from Acure in my bag.

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2. Antioxidant Serum

Another little-known fact: sunscreen only protects against 55% of the environmental damage that causes premature aging. Every single day you should also be wearing an antioxidant serum like Vitamin C to prevent against “free radical damage” like pollution (yuck!) that apparently makes your skin look old before its time. For over a year, I’ve been using Skinceuticals C E Ferulic every morning after my SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and before my sunscreen.

Just to recap, the three essential aspects of your daily skincare routine should be as follows: apply an antioxidant serum, followed by a physical blocker sunscreen in the morning, and then use a retinol product before your moisturizer at night.

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3. Roll-Up Visor

Summer or not, I simply cannot live without my SPF 55 roll-up visor from San Diego Hat Company. I spotted it on a friend poolside last year and immediately ordered the “multi natural w/ natural brim” color and proceeded to wear it every day at the pool and beach. I sported my trusty visor throughout the fall as well for walks or on sunny days at the park with my kids. If you can’t tell from my post thus far, I am a fanatic about sun protection on my face. Melasma and sun spots, be gone!

Oh, how I love my San Diego Hat Company visor, let me count the ways:

  • It is inexpensive ($24) and comes in 20 colors
  • It has a huge brim that perfectly shades your face with UPF 50+ protection
  • It rolls up so you can easily travel with it without it taking up space or getting crushed
  • The tightness is adjustable, so it won’t blow off your head on a windy beach day
  • You can pile your hair on top of your head and avoid the dreaded summer hat head

The one downside? You won’t look quite as cool in your visor as you do in your fashionable Panama hat (sorry, Carrie!) But the visor is so effective and protective that I don’t care.

4. Foundation With Physical SPF

To me, summer beauty is about scaling back your makeup routine and looking like your best self with as few steps as possible. If that’s your goal, then It Cosmetics CC Cream Illumination is your jam. It Cosmetics CC Cream Illumination is the one makeup item I will not leave home without applying. The coverage is full and glowy, but not cakey and obvious, and covers a multitude of skin problems in one fell swoop.

Why is It Cosmetics CC Cream my favorite foundation on the market? In addition to its fantastic coverage, it has a high concentration of physical blocker sunscreen– Titanium Dioxide 9.0% + Zinc Oxide 6.3%. It is also moisturizing, with Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Silk, Grape Seed Oil to provide hydration benefits. I can’t count the number of friends and readers I have turned on to this hero product!

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5. Bronzer Drops

Everyone knows the best Summer accessory is a faux bronze glow! Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster is a genius, innovative product from Clarins– just add three drops of this liquid to your normal moisturizer for a natural, non-orange glow.

Have you ever noticed that when you get a spray tan (booked on BeautyNow, of course!), it fades more quickly on your face than on the rest of your body? The Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster is the perfect solution: I mix three drops of the Clarins with my Elta MD sunscreen in the palm of my hand, and then apply to my face and neck. (PS, wash your hands afterward!) Within an hour or so, I have a golden, glowy, realistic tan on my face that matches my body.

6 & 7. The Double Cleanse

Hot, sticky summer weather means an extra buildup of sweat, oil and sunscreen on your skin. I’ve recently taken to the Asian method of cleansing before you cleanse (stay with me here!), and it has greatly reduced the number of random zits I have popping up.

First apply Bioderma Crealine H20, a French pharmacy cult-fave, with a cotton pad to remove your makeup. Bioderma is a micellar water that is similar in consistency to a toner, but it contains no alcohol and does not dry out skin. Next, I wash my face as I normally do with a cheapo cleanser I’ve used for years (I use Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser). The double cleanse process ensures you have removed all traces of the makeup, sunscreen, and oil that can clog pores.

Thanks for reading along! I’m happy to answer any skincare questions you might have. If you enjoyed my post, please head over to the BeautyNow Blog for more real, honest beauty advice and follow along on Instagram @beautynowapp!

Carrie here… Big thanks to Kathleen for educating all of us today. I, for one, will be buying up all of her recommendations. As I mentioned before, she’s my go-to, trusted source for all things beauty and skincare related. Be sure to check out her BeautyNow app!

I hope you enjoyed this beauty feature. Let me know your thoughts! Have a great day. 

Photos and graphics by Ashley Cardoza


  1. Bella B says:

    I must try this stuff Carrie, Sounds lovely. I have such bad dry skin in the summer!


    1. Carrie says:

      Same here, Bella! Ugh.

      I believe everything Kathleen says about skincare, so I can’t wait to incorporate some of these tips into my routine.

  2. Sarah W. says:

    Kathleen, you have such beautiful skin! Love your picks! I’m already fearing the old lady hands, so I’m glad you gave tips about making sure to put sunscreen on the backs of your hands. Thanks so much for sharing!

    XO, Sarah | http://www.thebellainsider.com/ | http://www.instagram.com/sarah_thebella

    1. Carrie says:

      Right? The proof is in the pudding! With skin as good as hers, I’m all ears to her advice! 😉

  3. Jennifer says:

    Such a great post and thank you for introducing BeauyNow! Always looking for great beauty finds and it appears that Kathleen is also fair complected so I’m super excited to check out her blog!

    xo, Jennifer

    1. Carrie says:

      You’ll love Kathleen’s recommendations, Jennifer! Plus, check out her app. I bet she has some good spas and salons from Chicago on there.

  4. ashley says:

    I LOVE Elta! I need to try some of these other products too. 🙂

    1. Carrie says:

      Oh good to know! I need to check it out.

  5. sheri says:

    I ordered the Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen but since I am in Canada, I couldn’t order from the website that you are linked to, so I had to go to Amazon.

    Great skin care tips!


  6. Amazing beauty products, I just use some simple products in summer, nice idea!

    1. Carrie says:

      Hi Carol. I definitely need to step up my summer skincare game. I’m glad you too liked Kathleen’s recommendations.

  7. Isabella says:

    Great products. This is a must follow routine. Thank you!

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks for visiting, Isabella! I’m glad you liked.

  8. Brenda says:

    Such a great post! Will have to try some of these. Summer skin needs lots of love.


    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks, Brenda! I really appreciate you stopping by.

  9. Sunscreen Always
    Exfoliate All Over
    Drink Up
    Hydrate With Lotion
    Summer Glow
    Love Your Toes

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