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While the weather sure feels like it’s summer, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is putting a damper on everything from backyard barbecues with friends to music festivals. However, we can still enjoy a few warm weather rituals (socially distanced, of course), including heading outdoors to hike, swim and even picnic. Which is why now is the time to take stock of your summer wellness and beauty routine: Are you applying enough SPF? Can your natural deodorant really banish body odor? And are you moisturizing your hands, as well as cleaning them? If you’re looking to update your day-to-day summer regimen, keep reading for our top product picks.
The Right Deodorant
Finding a deodorant that doesn’t stain your clothes, damage your skin, and counteracts underarm odor is an exhausting task. That’s why Denver-based James Bauer, a former finance professional with a background in physics and engineering, formulated Mineralized—an eco-friendly, unscented deodorant powder. This gentle, spring water-based formula incorporates food-safe ingredients, including the essential minerals magnesium and calcium, while also free of all the things we don’t want in a deodorant: Baking soda, aluminum, parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, and additives. Just apply the powder with the included sponge applicator and you’re set for the day. It cleanly rinses off in the shower and leaves no residue on clothing. Bonus: Mineralized was developed as a zero-waste product, and refills are offered in biodegradable packaging, making this product both safe to use and sustainable. $22; mineralized.com
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing is destined to leave your hands feeling dry. Luckily, the fix for dehydrated skin is Denver-based Bota’s Age Defying Hand Lotion with Apricot Kernel Oil + 150 mg CBD. The combination of natural emollients (shea butter) and essential fatty acids (coconut, apricot, argan, and avocado oils), along with rice bran and hemp extract soothes and hydrates skin. It even helps prevent signs of aging by fading age spots and fine lines. Bota Age Defying Hand Lotion + Apricot Kernel Oil – 150 mg CBD, $15; botaskin.com
Body Cleansing Oil
Cleansing oils are a great way to remove makeup and oil build up from the face, so why can’t it work for the body? Aura Cacia’s Bodi Cleansing Oil produces a foam that gently washes away the day’s dirt and sweat. Its combination of sunflower seed and sweet almond oils nourishes and moisturizes skin, while anti-inflammatory rosemary leaf extract soothes and Vitamin E protects skin from UV damage. Best of all, this cleanser is formulated with just seven ingredients and not one of them is water (H2O in skincare usually is an indication that the majority of the product is tap or distilled tap water). Sensitive skin will love the unscented version, but if fragrance is your thing, choose from energizing citrus, calming floral or relaxing lavender. $14.99; purchase from Aura Cacia or from Amazon
All Day SPF
If you thought that using SPF daily was a one and done thing—apply it to your face in the morning, and you’re good to go for the day—you are mistaken. Unfortunately, to keep your visage protected, you need to reapply SPF throughout the day (ideally, every couple of hours). That’s why Ilia’s Radiant Translucent Powder with SPF 20 is a favorite. Compact enough to toss in your handbag, this powder and brush duo banishes shine, while simultaneously pampering skin with aloe leaf extract for hydration and soothing rosemary oil. Use it anywhere you need added sun protection – face, décolleté and even hands. $34; Aillea, Cherry Creek Shopping Mall, 3000 E. First Ave., 303-551-0564, aillea.com. Or purchase from Amazon
Protect Your Peepers
The skin around the eyes always requires extra special attention, but Denver’s altitude and high desert climate makes this delicate area even more prone to early signs of aging—especially if you’re out in the sun a lot. Vinésime uses Pinot Noir grapes from the Burgundy region of France, which contain the highest concentrations of polyphenols in the world, making them an ideal ingredient to repair skin and protect it from further sun damage. Using a combination of vine stem cells, Burgundy black Cassis bud and ice wine extracts, along with seawater and silk tree extract, this smooth, lightweight serum helps build collagen, reduces the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet, as well as lightens dark circles and diminishes puffiness. Bonus: Besides being almost 100 percent entirely natural, the red clover extract in the formula improves the length and thickness of lashes and brows, so apply the serum daily from lash to brow bone. $65; purchase from Vinésime or from Amazon
DIY Face Masks
Even if you were never a beauty DIYer, lockdown may have made you a bit more self-reliant. One of the best ways to make your own face mask—and even body scrub—is with herbal teas. All tea varietals are packed with antioxidants and an array of essential nutrients, making them nourishing for your skin, as well as a source for addressing specific concerns. For example, matcha can help in reducing redness and inflammation, tighten pores, and combat signs of early aging and dullness. If you want to try your own DIY skincare, check out Vahdam Teas, which sources premium, handpicked teas from the best tea gardens in India and then sells them direct to the consumer. I tried their Moringa + Matcha Superfood Green Tea powder in a mask combined with water and honey, and it made my skin glow and smelled divine. $9.99; purchase from Vahdam Teas or from Amazon
That positive feeling you get from being outdoors has been found in medical studies to have real physical benefits for humans. Being in nature lowers stress and blood pressure, improves immunity and increases overall happiness. The Japanese have even developed a practice around it: Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. Considered a form of nature therapy, Shinrin-yoku is about consciously being in and connecting our senses to nature. But what do you do when you can’t actually go outside?
That’s a question husband and wife team Claire and Nathan Adams asked when they began dividing their time between Jackson Hole and New York City three years ago. Their demanding jobs and frequent travel schedules didn’t give them enough time outdoors, so they started a tree essential oil practice to relieve stress. It came in especially handy once the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine hit.
The duo decided to develop their regimen into a user-friendly mist that distills the scientifically proven benefits of being outdoors by combining modern aromatherapy with self-care. Their spray, I’m Outside, gives a healthy dose of forest air (phytoncides, shown to lower cortisol levels, manage stress and anxiety, and boost the immune system), the sunshine (vitamin D3) which helps prevent seasonal depression, and microalgae which improves the microbiome by encouraging good bacteria to flourish. At a time when we’re being asked to stay at home to keep our families, our communities and ourselves healthy and safe, I’m Outside gives you the benefits of being in nature even if you can’t actually get outdoors. $28; im-outside.com