My Summer Skincare Routine | Focus: Brighten & Illuminate

A few weeks ago I posted an IGTV video (click here to watch) about my summer skincare routine that focused on brightening and illumination. The video got me a ton of DM’s asking me to post more details about some of the products I featured and specific ingredients that make them so good for my skin.

I always focus on attaining a more illuminated complexion during the summer because I sweat a lot and that often leads to some breakouts, and then those breakouts lead to hyper-pigmentation which is the bane of my existence. The 6 steps mentioned below and the products I list are what I am loving for my skin right now. If you’ve tried them let me know and share your tips with me too.⠀ ⠀

NOTE: The most important thing you can do for a bright complexion is a smile. Radiate positivity and happiness always and you will always shine. There’s no cream and toner that can replace that.⠀

Step 1: The Good ‘ol Double Cleanse

The After Show Cleanser and the The Matinee Gel Cleanser by Jordan Samuel Skin are the two cleansers I use to get my skin enjoying the benefits of a double cleanse.

For those who don’t know – a double cleanse is when you start with an oil based cleanser (After Show Cleanser) and follow with a water/gel based cleanser (Matinee Gel Cleanser). The idea is that the oil based cleanser grabs on to all the deep dirt and debris on the skin during the first cleanse. This focuses on really working through the gunk and thick layers of makeup/sunscreen and sweat which then allows the water/gel based cleanser to focus more on cleansing the skin properly and prepping it for the next steps of your routine.

Ingredients in The After Show Cleanser:

  • Sucrose Laurate — A gentle emulsifier and surfactant that also helps to thicken oils. Used to create a lush moisturizing cleanse.
  • Sugar Cane Extract — A natural fruit acid used to help exfoliate the skin and leave the complexion smooth.
  • Olive, Grape Seed and Jojoba Oils — Plant-based oils rich in antioxidants used to help melt down makeup and SPF to cleanse without stripping

Ingredients in The Matinee Gel Cleanser:

  • Coco Betaine — Used as a very gentle surfactant to cleanse without dehydrating the skin.
  • Salicylic Acid — An oil-soluble exfoliating acid that clears pores and has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
  • Aloe Leaf Juice — A cooling and soothing ingredient used to help hydrate and calm the skin.

Step 2: Buff Away with Exfoliation

The two exfoliators I use during the summer are the Lotus Scrub by AlumierMD and the Morning Expert Multi-Acid Pads by thisworks.

I’m a fan of both of these as they include exfoliating agents that I find are great with my oily skin type and working through all the sweat I build up during the summer.

Ingredients in the Lotus Scrub:

  • Lotus seed powder
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Both are unique natural biodegradable exfoliating agents that are smooth and spherical. These agents create even and gentle exfoliation to remove impurities and reveal healthy, more radiant skin.

Ingredients in Multi-Acid Pads:

  • Naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy acids to remove dead skin cells
  • Azelaic Acid to help reduce the appearance of blemishes
  • Vitamin B3 to brighten
  • Liquorice Root extract to help calm inflammation.

Step 3: Treat Yourself to At-Home Facial Treatments

For me its crucial to go for facial every few months in order to keep my skin glowing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re all experiencing, a facial at the spa is impossible. So for that I am turning to my trusted friend, the PHAT Glow Facial by Ole Henriksen.

I love this product because its a no burn, no tingle easy to use treatment that actually gets you glowing just after one use. The PHAT Glow Facial starts off as a thick pink clay mask type texture and turns soft pink/white as you rub it on the skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes and you’re done. I find that my skin texture is more even, my pores refined and my hyper-pigmentation less noticeable. With use twice a week you can see the results you want, fast!



Ingredients in PHAT Glow Facial

  • Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) – a plumper alternative to AHAs to help even skin tone and texture through chemical exfoliation
  • Nordic birch sap – helps hydrate and nourish skin
  • Pink bentonite clay – helps clarify and renew
  • Chia seed oil – rich in essential fatty acids, helps nourish and plump skin with hydration
  • Cotton extract – helps soften skin
  • Lemon, sugar cane, licorice root, chamomile and sandalwood extracts – helps condition skin

Step 4: Hydrate & Plump 

Essences are quite new to my routine so I am slowly getting used to them. Often confused for a toner, essences are a more lighter and less concentrated version of a serum. The way I see it, toners are meant to be a final step to cleansing, catching any remaining dirt and debris from the surface of the skin – anything that your cleanser may have missed. Essences in my world are a great way to infuse the skin with vitamins and power packed ingredients are a preparation step for either your serum or moisturizer.

Right now, I am using the Hydra Bounce Essence in Lotion by YSL Beauty and I think its working wonders. While the consistency of the essence is thick and sticky it lends to a very dewy skin glow and plumps up the skin creating that “bounce” effect. While the texture is sticky, the essence absorbs quickly into the skin and I find that I have a iridescent finish to my skin.

Because I sweat more in the summer, I prefer to go lighter with my skincare and often don’t follow with a serum after I use the Hydra Bounce Essence Lotion. On certain days I find that its just enough and I get exactly what I am looking for.

Ingredients in Hydra Bounce Essence

  • 100% pure Vitamins E & B3 to protect skin from urban aggressors
  • Orange Blossom from Morocco for optimal hydration

Step 5: Daily Dose of Vitamin C

Ahhhh, the Vitamin C serum. Staple skincare product. Hero sku for almost every single brand out there that carries one. I love Vitamin C because of its anti-oxidant and brightening properties. In particular right now, I am enjoying the CC Me Serum by Summer Fridays and EverActive C & E Serum by AlumierMD. With continued use, both serums have worked wonders on my skin.

I use the Summer Fridays CC Me Serum during the day because it absorbs so well into my skin without making it feel sticky. The serum is quite water soluble which means my skin drinks it like a fresh glass of orange juice. I use this one during the day for an instant brightening of my skin.

Ingredients in CC Me Serum

  • Vitamin C 1+2 – Two forms of skin-brightening Vitamin C target dark spots, hyperpigmentations and pump up the antioxidant protection.
  • Squalene – For an extra moisture boost and a protective barrier against skin damaging free-radicals keeping skin clear and healthy.
  • Peptide Complex – The peptide complex in this serum promotes youthful looking skin for that telltale snap-back.
  • Botanical Blend – Includes – soothing fruit and flower extracts, antioxidant-rich-coffee, green tea and clove to combat inflammation

The EverActive C&E Serum by AlumierMD will be the freshest Vitamin C serum you will EVER use on your skin. As we know, Vitamin C oxidizes the minute it hits the air. You’ll notice that many of the Vitamin C serums that you have purchased and tried in the past are dark amber yellow/orange – that is a fully oxidized product, meaning its not the freshest Vitamin C serum you could be using on your face.

EverActive is very unique in that sense where you can activate the Vitamin C serum at the time you use it. The product comes in three separate bottles, each once activated that can last you up to 30 days WITHOUT oxidizing and turning yellow. You’ll notice that just after 30 days, your serum will start changing in colour – further proof that this genius product is 100% at its freshest when hitting your gorgeous face.



Ingredients in EverActive Vitamin C&E Serum

  • L-Ascorbic Acid USP: The only bioavailable form of vitamin C for the skin, L-ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage caused by the sun and pollution. Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also brightens and evens out skin tone.
  • Tocopherol Acetate USP: An effective form of vitamin E for the skin, this highly moisturizing and fat-soluble vitamin protects cell membranes and acts as an antioxidant, which strengthens the effect of vitamin C.
  • MATRIXYL® Synthe’6® Derived from a peptide naturally found in collagen and laminins, MATRIXYL® Synthe’6®  strengthens skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Step 6: Slather On Sunscreen

I cannot begin to tell you the importance of sunscreen in maintaining a glowing face. While the effects might not be seen immediately, the use of sunscreen has long term benefits to the skin with its protection against UVA and UVB rays – the two main types of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface.

  • UVB rays are the cause of sunburn. B for burn. They are also known to be the biggest cause off skin cancers.
  • UVA rays are the cause for early signs of aging. A for Aging. This is because these rays penetrate deeper and more rapidly beyond the skin’s surface thus creating numerous signs of aging. These rays are also known to cause cancer as well.

Right now, I am using Esthederm‘s Photo Regul Unifying Protecting Care Cream with both UVA and UVB protection with a Broad Spectrum SPF of 25. What I love about this sunscreen is its scent and the fact that it does go on as a thick white layer on my face. This SPF absorbs fast into the skin and does not leave a white cast, which is perfect for me as a person of colour. I want the protection of an SPF but I don’t want it to be seen on my face.

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