For as glorious a season as summer is (as a Leo I will be taking zero questions about that statement), by the time you reach the cusp of fall, there are a few issues that your skin is likely facing. Think dryness, dark spots, rough texture — three months of sunshine and heat (not to mention the occasional chlorine-rich pool or salty dip in the ocean) has rendered your skin a little lackluster. TZR editors know your pain, which is why my colleagues and I have spent the season testing the absolute best skin care products for summer. Think hydrating cleansers, potent vitamin C serums, and of course the absolute best mineral sunscreen that leaves zero white cast and leaves you looking like a dewy vixen.
The real secret to keeping your skin in tip-top shape no matter the season, however, is maintaining a consistent skin care routine, even if that means a bare bones cleanse, moisturize, and SPF situation. All the fancy products in the world won’t help banish those pimples or that pesky patch of hyperpigmentation if you don’t use it daily (or as recommended). So whether you’re looking for a new addition to your roster of products, or need a boost of inspiration to kick your beauty regimen into gear before fall’s arrival, these are the 16 skin care products TZR editors have tested and loved over the past few months. Consider them our wholehearted recommendation for a healthy, happy summer complexion.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
This vitamin C serum is the industry’s best-kept secret. Every beauty editor I know raves about everything from the potent formulation to the air-tight packaging (which is courtesy of a facility that is also used by NASA, and keeps the notoriously unstable ingredient as potent as possible). I always keep a bottle in my product cabinet, but the summer is when dark spots and melasma rear their ugly heads, so I make sure to stay diligent about applying one pump in the morning to keep my skin protected from free-radicals and fade any uneven tone. — Hannah Baxter, Deputy Beauty Editor
This serum is so gentle, that you don't realize its power until one day you look in the mirror and go "wow." I apply it daily in the evenings and noticed that my skin was balanced and hydrated with a lot of my irritation and pesky red bumps gone. — Aemilia Madden, Senior Fashion Editor
I’m not diligent in applying facial sunscreen and that’s because I’ve had trouble finding one I liked. This summer, however, I’ve experimented with a few products, with my current favorite being this Kate Somerville option. The mineral sunscreen isn’t super viscous and spreads evenly on your face without taking much effort to be rubbed in. It doesn’t make me look pale as a ghost and even holds up when I’m sweating from the summer heat (i.e. it doesn’t get into my eyes and sting them — an incident that occurred with another product I tried). I should disclose that I have sensitive, overly dry and hormonal acne-prone skin, so I was worried this sunscreen would clog my pores, but I’ve encountered no such issues thus far. I actually look forward to putting on sunscreen every day now (as opposed to only once every few months). — Marina Liao, Senior Fashion News Editor
This has worked wonders in reducing the redness of my skin. I've been applying it every morning after my vitamin C serum and find that my skin is noticeably less red throughout the day. I'm now more confident to go out without foundation on! — Kelsey Stewart, Beauty & Fashion Writer
The hydration is instant when it comes to this small but mighty mist. I tend to spray on directly after my sunscreen for an enhanced glow. — Natasha Marsh, Beauty Writer
I discovered this gentle micro-peel recently and it’s been a game-changer. My skin tends to get congested during the hot, summer months, and this detoxing formula is so helpful in fighting buildup in my pores and keeping my skin refined. — Angela Melero, Executive Editor
I’ve tried every mineral SPF under the sun, and this one from Deepica Mutyala’s brand Live Tinted has truly blown me away. The formula is light and silky, and comes out in a mustard yellow tone so that it doesn’t leave any white cast behind. It’s actually shocking that it’s taken so long for someone to develop a mineral SPF that blends in so well and feels as light as a lotion. It’s been my go-to SPF for summer and it’s so enjoyable to apply, I’ll even remember to use it throughout the day. — Faith Xue, Executive Beauty Director, Lifestyle
I’ll forever and always love an essence to douse my skin in hydration directly after cleansing both morning and night. This formula has a patented blend of fermented Japanese rice, green tea, and algae to nourish your skin, minimize fine lines, and gently resurface your skin (courtesy of the alpha-hydroxy acids). If you’re struggling with lingering dryness, I can’t recommend it enough. — Baxter
I'm not necessarily a mask person, but I've tried to add this one in to my routine. I keep it in the fridge and when I put it on my face its instantly cooling and has a soothing scent. Once I wash it off, my skin feels squeaky clean and any irritation is instantly reduced. — Madden
My friends have been raving about Biossance’s products, so I grabbed this off the shelf on a whim as I was checking out at Sephora. I have zero regrets about this spur-of-the-moment purchase as it’s been a wonderful addition to my nighttime skin care routine. I wanted a hydrating vitamin C serum (I have extremely dry skin) that would reduce the redness and acne scars I had on my face.
This one has been great in helping to repair my skin little by little. After using two pumps every night for the past few months — I put this on after I pat in my rose toner — I noticed my skin looks less dull and more even in texture. (According to the brand, the white shiitake mushroom in this product fades dark spots.) It’s even gentle enough to use when I have my hormonal acne breakouts — it doesn’t clog my pores or make my face feel overly sticky and oily. I love that the product comes in a travel-friendly weight, too, so I can bring this with me onto the plane. — Liao
I've been reaching for this new lightweight moisturizer all summer. I find it provides my combination skin with the perfect amount of hydration. Plus, it gives my complexion a nice glow that lasts for a good portion of the day. I'll typically just use it in the morning as I lean towards thicker formulas for nighttime. — Stewart
I love an overnight product, and this resurfacing peel from Kate Somerville is my go-to whenever my skin starts looking dull during the summer months. It’s made with retinol, glycolic acid, niacinamide and vitamin E, so it’s a powerhouse that works overnight and helps me wake up with noticeably brighter, bouncier skin. It’s the ultimate lazy-girl skin care staple. — Xue
When it comes to cleansers, I always prefer a gentle formula that doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped or dry afterward, especially for the morning. This lightly foaming sulfate-free formula is ideal for super sensitive skin (the added chamomile essential oil soothes redness and irritation like a dream) and I never feel like I have to rush to apply my various serums or moisturizer before my complexion turns into the Sahara desert. Try it, love it, thank me later. — Baxter
The last two months I've had four flights that were either delayed or interrupted with screaming babies and chatty flight mates, that have left me exhausted in-flight and post flight. I was introduced to Summer Friday's jet lag mask a month ago and it has done wonders to my on-the-go schedule. The thick formula absorbs into my tired and stressed out skin seamlessly. It's got niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants that makes my skin look like I haven't even stepped into an airport. — Marsh
It’s always a struggle to find the right amount of moisture in the summer without feeling like my skin is suffocating under a thick cream or oil. This lightweight formula is rich with pre-, pro-, and post-biotics to improve skin texture and repair your microbiome, and my skin feels nothing but smooth and supple after months of testing. The glass bottle is also fully recyclable. — Baxter
I can’t get enough of this skin tint, and it’s particularly magical in the summer when I like to keep my makeup minimal. In addition to SPF, it also provides a light tint that gives me just enough coverage for any occasion or event. — Melero