When it comes to summer skincare, it’s tricky to find products that are lightweight but that still do something for the skin. Since sweat and heavy creams or serums go together like oil and water, here are three of my favourite items for this season that are cooling and light on the skin and won’t make you want to wash your face every five minutes.
Shark Sauce by Holy Snails (Dh106 on holysnailsshop.com): If a skincare product feels like “thick water” — which is a highly non-scientific, quite ridiculous term — I’m probably going to love it during the summer, and this serum is high on my favourites’ list. Shark Sauce, which does not contain anything from sharks, is a super hydrating serum that is so easy to use, thus making it extremely hard to stop myself from applying too much. It feels and looks watery and glides over the skin, cooling it and leaving it plump. It takes regular application to see results from the brightening ingredients — niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and N-Acetyl Glucosamine — but other things like liquorice root, green tea extracts and water-attracting hyaluronic acid will work quickly to soothe and hydrate the skin. If you’re very oily, this can be used as a moisturiser. But I do like to go on top with a gel-based moisturiser. Need a recommendation for one? Well, look no further...
Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel by Dr Jart (Dh151 at Sephora): I don’t need to tell anyone that gel moisturisers are great for summer. They sink in quickly and won’t leave the skin looking greasy; they just work. But this one, thanks to Korean skincare geniuses, comes with a (literally) cool feature. The gel itself is unfathomably light and airy — it feels like you aren’t touching anything — and when it comes in contact with the skin, the product turns into a cooling liquid that feels amazing on the skin. Because it thins out and spreads so quickly, not a lot of the gel is needed for the whole face. It does have a slight tacky feeling after application, but it goes away eventually and doesn’t affect how other products such as sunscreen or make-up apply on top. The jar packaging is messy since the gel is so thin — it would have been much better in a pump bottle — but it comes with a cute little spatula so you can avoid dipping into it with your fingers every time you use it.
Curcuma face mask by Hammamii (Dh175): When it’s hot, it’s common to use clay masks to help clear out the pores and leave the skin feeling really clean. For me, I find it too astringent and instead reach for purifying masks that don’t dry to a parched film. This turmeric-based mask is from a UAE company that uses organic, locally sourced ingredients in its spa line — if you need an excuse to buy local, this is it. The product is reassuringly yellow and has a fluffy, whipped texture that, probably thanks to the A/C blasting in my apartment, is refreshingly cool no matter when I reach for it. It’s a treat to apply, even though I could go without the small scrubby bits in it; they’re not harsh if you don’t rub it into the skin strongly, but I don’t think it enhances the product in any way. The mask dries slowly and never once feels tight, drying or itchy. Once washed off, the skin feels soft, bouncy and surprisingly moisturised. No dryness in sight. On my tan skin, the turmeric doesn’t leave a stain, but light-skinned people should probably do a patch test beforehand if that’s an issue.