The products that’ll get you through this sweltering season looking (and feeling) amazing
When Marcia Kilgore founded the NYC spa Bliss in the early 90s, she never imagined it’d turn into an international juggernaut. That brand cemented Kilgore as a major name in the skincare and wellness industry. (She pretty much set the stage for the modern spa experience.) So when it comes to beauty and wellness, she’s one to trust.
That’s why we asked Kilgore to be our expert for KCM’s summer beauty series: We’ll be asking her for advice on skincare in sweaty months, the deal with vitamin C products, and the ingredients we should all be hunting for.
Kilgore’s experience in the wellness world didn’t end at Bliss: She founded FitFlop, Soap & Glory, and in 2016, brought the world her new brand, Beauty Pie. It’s a membership-based “buyer’s club” for high-end beauty fans who want luxe products without paying for big-ticket marketing. “I’ve been developing beauty products for 25+ years,” says Kilgore, “and I’ve worked with the same labs that make products for everyone from La Prairie, to Shiseido, to Laura Mercier. I felt like it was time that women (and men) stopped paying $100 for something that cost less than $10 to make,” says Kilgore.
Here, Kilgore gives us her advice for how to adjust your hair and skincare routines for summer, including ways to fight frizz, and all the tips and tricks to keep you looking glowy (not sweaty) this season.
How should people adjust their skincare routine for the summer?
First, it’s all about sunscreen. I recommend an SPF30+ if you’re spending time outdoors. But also I recommend getting into the habit of wearing sunscreen every single day, as long as there’s light outside.
If you’re oily, you should exfoliate a little more often in summer to prevent dead cell buildup which can cause your pores to clog. If you’re breakout-prone, you should exfoliate more and add in regular oxygen treatments (to keep bacteria at bay). If you’re worried about fine lines and aging, and you usually use a lot of retinol (which can make your skin photosensitive) you may want to dial down the regularly of retinol, and dial up ingredients like Vitamin C and Niacinamides and anti-aging peptides. Think about your moisturizer like an overcoat: You’ll lighten it up when it gets warmer. And in the daytime, just use sunscreen over a hydrating Vitamin C serum, when the mercury is really rising.
And if you’re applying a high SPF in the morning, you should also be reapplying it in the afternoon. Regular and generous application beats a higher SPF not reapplied, any day.
Which products do you recommend?
Of course, what I can recommend (knowing what I know) are Beauty Pie products: Wonderscrub is probably the world’s best facial exfoliator, and gentle enough for all skin types. We import lots of skincare formulas with active Vitamin C (from capsules to Superdrops, moisture lotions and serums), incredible no-irritation slow release Retinol serums and night creams, Niacinamide in either Superdrops form, or in our Dr Glycolic toners, superlight sunscreens, and more. Plus, for the ADHD beauty product lovers, a spectacularly effective ‘all-in-one’ Super Healthy Skin Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream that includes everything but the kitchen sink, in the name of saving face.
How do you feel about the mineral vs chemical sunscreen debate?
While I love the idea of all-mineral sunscreens, I have yet to find one that doesn’t leave a visible film on my face — if it’s mineral, you can always see it. I like a less made-up look in the summer, so for me it’s about all year-round high-performance skincare, and a lighter-look sunscreen in the summer. So either a blend of chemical and mineral — or straight chemical, if you’re wearing a foundation on top.
More importantly, we can’t forget that many sunscreen ingredients have question marks around their effects on ocean reefs. And while the jury is still out and cosmetic chemists the world over are trying to solve this problem, I like to err on the side of caution in terms of what we’re washing down the drain. If you’re swimming in the ocean, even some zinc oxides (which are mineral) are suspected to bleach coral reefs. So when you can, wear a hat and a rashguard and a truly ‘reef safe’ formula, to minimize what you leave behind on the beach.
What products do you recommend for avoiding frizzy hair in humidity?
Frizzy hair is a huge problem for many. On one hand, I’d like to suggest that people just run with their natural hair type — and find a good silk protein cream to shape and embrace those waves. It’s so much less stressful! But I’m fully cognizant that the grass is always greener when it comes to your hair type.
The hot new ingredients to look for in anti-frizz are hydrolyzed vegetable proteins (pea protein is getting the biggest buzz right now), which can temporarily repair the cuticle of your damaged hair strands. And almost everybody has damaged hair strands, because if you color, blowdry, iron, or otherwise heat-style your hair, you’re damaging it. The proteins will lock moisture both in and out, to help hair both lay flat and stay shiny. I really love the Moon Landing Anti-Humidity Spray by R&Co (anything Garren makes is pretty much perfect) and for really curly hair, Ouidad makes a great heat & humidity gel.