Summertime means plenty of opportunities for your skin to take center stage. But if we don't take the best care of our skin in the months leading up, we'll have a lot of repairing to do. This means remedying dryness, exfoliating away dead skin cells, applying ample sun protection (a constant must), and perhaps faking a bronze glow (which, for those of us with fair skin, is the safest alternative to being kissed by the actual sun).
Thankfully, these are all relatively quick fixes that can be achieved with all-star products, many of which Team Byrdie has cemented into our daily rotations. In fact, when I asked the team to share their top picks, it was hard for them to narrow down their favorites. Below, we share the body products that give our skin a rich glow and make us feel even better naked.
Hallie Gould, senior editor
We usually liken SPF 50 products with gluey, chalky formulas, but such is not the case with Moroccanoil Sun Lotion. Says Hallie Gould, senior editor, "Its texture is so soft and silky, and it smells so good. It yields the exact opposite of the usual sunscreen experience, in that I actually want to apply it. The formula is really hydrating (courtesy of argan oil and vitamin E) and applies glossy on your skin. It protects you from harmful UV rays, which is the main thing, but it also slicks and highlights my body in a way that feels really great."
Gould accidentally discovered that this chic-as-can-be skin oil is actually an effective bug repellent, too. "Monoï oil is a natural bug repellent," she writes. "Though the internet doesn't say much about why or how it works, there are tons of personal accounts and reputable sources singing its mosquito-defying praises." She also notes that its intended purpose—to hydrate the skin—is eminent immediately after application. "It's the type of luxurious body oil that offers up a glisten-y, glowy dew factor that is second to none.
The scent, the result of macerating a native tiare flower in refined coconut extract for at least 10 days, is heaven-sent," she says.
Faith Xue, editorial director
"I use it after the renewing scrub (which you use on dry skin before showering, and then rinse off), and I like that it's light and sinks in instantly and is just made with really hydrating ingredients with no added scents," says Faith Xue. "I use it the night before I get a spray tan or use a self-tanning product because I always wake up with really soft, hydrated skin (and I don't even have keratosis pilaris, which is what it is also supposedly good for!)."
"I've usually avoided self-tanner because of some unfortunate streaky nightmares I experienced in middle school, but the latest crop of at-home products has been seriously so impressive," explains Xue. "This one from Bondi Sands is a new favorite because it's so incredibly easy to use, and also feels like you're slathering yourself with shaving whipped cream. Unlike other mousses, it's actually a thick foam--like a shaving foam consistency--which helps it sink in instantly without any sticky feeling.
I swipe this on my body post-shower with a tanning mitt, wait a few minutes, then get dressed (you shower it off a few hours later depending on how deep you want your tan to be). It gives me an instant tan that gets deeper as the day goes by, never leaves streaks, and leaves my pasty legs looking like they just spent a week in St. Barts."
"How genius is this—imagine a self-tanning product that gives you an instant glow..without any DHA, so you can just rinse it off at the end of the night like a faux-tanned Cinderella leaving the ball at midnight. This line was founded by Ariana Grande and Ashley Graham's spray tanner, Kristyn Pradas, so you know it's legit. You pump the mousse into a tanning mitt and apply it all over our body for an instant bronze-y tint. Because there isn't DHA in it, you don't have to worry about rinsing it off in a few hours, or worrying the color might be too orange once it develops--what you see is what you get.
It's my favorite thing to use before an event when I don't want to have to deal with the logistics of self-tanner. Just swipe it on, and look instantly tanner. It won't streak or fade until you rinse it off."
Olivia Hancock, editorial intern
This oil is a new addition to my summer body routine, but it's quickly proven to be an effective alternative to body lotion. It's made from 11 oils including organic jojoba oil and soothing organic hemp seed oil and has a rich, sweet scent that is absolutely addicting. After a shower, I apply a few pumps of this lightweight oil all over my wet skin. It leaves my skin feeling softer and intensely moisturized. Needless to say, I love it.
Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
A fellow beauty editor waxed poetic at the amazing skin-clearing prowess of this multi-acid body peel, and as someone who consistently breaks out on her shoulders and upper back every summer without fail, I was desperate to give it a try.
The instructions say to apply the peel to the skin using a fan brush (it's quite potent and can potentially peel the skin on your fingers), but as a byproduct of laziness and impatience, I just dumped it onto a cotton pad and swiped the solution quickly before washing my hands well with soap and water. I kid you not, within a day, my back breakouts were practically history. There were still some remnants of discoloration and slight inflammation, but after consistently following up for several days, my breakouts were gone.
I stockpile this stuff now and consider it insurance if/when future blemishes resurface.
As a perpetually fair-skinned individually who burns at an alarming rate, I rely on self-tanner year-round. And since so many innovative, user-friendly iterations pop up each season, it's safe to say I've tested a few dozen (not exaggerating) in search of the perfect formula. My current favorite is Isle of Paradise's Express Extra Dark Mousse which delivers even, believable color via a chic holographic mitt.
Admittedly, I was nervous the color would be too deep for my natural coloring, but after rinsing in the shower the next morning, I was left with a lovely bronzed, streak-free tone. And based off of the fact that the brand's tanning water lasts me well over a week, I'm fairly certainly this is going to have just as attractive amount of staying power.
Up next, take a look at the best body exfoliators.