Summer 2023's Biggest Skincare Trends Include Makeup Hybrids and Streamlined Routines

woman wearing clay mask


Each summer, better weather rolls around, and so does a wave of new beauty products and trends to help update your routine. Whether you prefer to stick to what you know, or love to experiment with new products, understanding the latest trends will help you edit your routine with intention. This year, many brands are emphasizing targeted treatments for the body, multi-tasking hybrids, and sunscreens inclusive of many skin types. Keep reading ahead to discover the skin care trends worth considering this season. 

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Brian Hibler is a board-certified and Harvard-trained cosmetic dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology.
  • Dr. Marisa Garshick is a board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell.
  • Dr. Joshua Zeichner is a board-certified dermatologist and the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai.
  • Krupa Koestline is a cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants.
  • Shuting Hu, MD, is a dermatologist and founder of Acaderma.

Targeted Body Care

Now more than ever, brands are providing solutions for body care beyond the scented body washes and lotions we're used to. We're seeing a wide range of skincare with highly effective ingredients that target active conditions like hyperpigmentation, acne, and keratosis pilaris. 

Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common body skin concerns and can impact your underarms, inner thighs, knees, and elbows. Inflammation, sun damage, hormonal changes, and friction are the most frequent causes of body hyperpigmentation. Consistently wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or above can help prevent further skin darkening.

Vitamin C, retinoids, niacinamide, and exfoliating acids like glycolic and lactic acid are effective treatments for body hyperpigmentation. These ingredients gently resurface, brighten, and smoothen skin texture and tone over time.

For Dryness and Exfoliation

More brands have been tapping these powerful ingredients to target consumers' concerns. Necessaire's new Body Lotion ($28) and Serum ($45) are formulated with facial-grade ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and ceramides to deeply plump and hydrate dry skin. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Glycolic Body Lotion ($28) and Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow A.H.A. Pink Dream Body Cream are both great options for exfoliation if you have hyperpigmentation or acne. 

Dr. Brian Hibler, a board-certified and Harvard-trained cosmetic dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology, also recommends using azelaic acid and tranexamic acid for body pigmentation, found in his favorite products like the Ordinary 10% Azelaic Acid Suspension and Skin Ceuticals Discoloration Defense. If friction is your concern, you can combat it with a product like the First Aid Beauty Anti-Chafe Stick, which can also help prevent thigh hyperpigmentation.

For Acne

Dr. Hibler recommends using products like the CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser ($16) and CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser ($14) for body acne and discoloration along the chest and back. "Salicylic acid acts as a gentle exfoliant to help cell turnover and reveal a brighter skin tone," he says. Naturium Salicylic Acid Body Spray ($17) and Neutrogena Stubborn Acne Body Spray ($20) are also convenient options to target body acne.

For Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris (KP), often described as "strawberry skin," is a common skin condition characterized by small, rough bumps. To treat keratosis pilaris, a body skincare routine should focus on hydration and gentle exfoliation. Dr. Marisa Garshick, board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell, recommends exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid, which all help to reduce dead skin cells and improve rough and bumpy skin. She also recommends using retinol, which can help regulate skin cell turnover and leave skin feeling softer and smoother. A few of Garshick's favorite KP skincare products include Amlactin Daily 12% Moisturizing Lotion ($15), Glytone KP Kit ($69), and Eucerin Roughness Relief Lotion ($12). 

"Skin Streaming" Your Routine

Skin streaming is the latest buzzy skincare trend, which involves streamlining routines to include only essential products. Think: maximum benefits with the minimum number of products. While the term may be new, this has been a fundamental concept that skincare experts have sworn by for years.

Garshick agrees that an effective skincare routine should be simple, focusing on sun protecting, hydrating, and boosting collagen. For starters, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, and wear it consistently. Incorporating a vitamin C serum can help protect the skin from free radicals in the environment while brightening the skin.

Garshick recommends retinoids for those concerned about acne or skin aging because they help regulate skin cell turnover and prevent buildup that leads to clogged pores. It's important to note that all skin types can benefit from hydration, not just those with dry skin; products with hyaluronic acid or other humectants like glycerin are ideal for boosting moisture in the skin.

Skincare-Makeup Hybrids

Multi-tasking beauty products are evolving with many innovations transforming your skin at the surface and on a deeper level. As various iterations of the "no-makeup makeup" grow in popularity, so do innovative formulated products. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai, some multi-tasking makeup products give "antioxidant, hydrating, calming, strengthening and even brightening benefits besides the cosmetic effects." He views these products as "biphasic, giving immediate cosmetic results while the long-term skin effects occur with continued use." 

For example, Bareminerals Strength and Length Serum-Infused Mascara ($22) is rich in peptides to nourish and grow healthier lashes. Packed with caffeine, vitamin b5, peptides, and hyaluronic acid, Kosas Revealer Concealer ($30) brightens, soothes, and plumps under eye skin. Merit's Day Glow Highlighting Balm ($32) creates a dewy glow while restoring the skin barrier with squalene, vitamin E, and amino acids. 

Makeup products targeting skin concerns are also beneficial, so treating your skin in the process. For example, Clinique's Acne Solutions Liquid Formula ($34) is a medicated formula with salicylic acid that helps cover blemishes while clearing and preventing new ones from forming. The ColorEScience SPF Corrector 3 in 1 Renewal Therapy ($79) for dark circles corrects color at the surface and prevents further hyperpigmentation with SPF 35. 

Inclusive Sun Care

Sunscreen formulas become more innovative and elegant every year, making protecting your skin a step you won't want to skip. From new tinted formulations with a wide range of shades to invisible formulas that leave no white cast, sun care is continuing to get the upgrade it deserves. 

Zeichner says, "Sunscreen is important across all skin tones, all the time. You may not think you are in the sun, but even incidental UV light exposure from daily activities adds up." In his clinical experience, Zeichner finds that pigmentation disorders are common in melanated skin and are strongly impacted by UV light and visible light exposure, including blue light. 

He recommends Eucerin Age Defense Face Lotion SPF 50 ($15) because it rubs invisibly across all skin tones; besides broad spectrum UV protection from the sun, it contains an antioxidant blend that defends against pigment-inducing visible light.

Other tried and true, well-blending sunscreens include the Shiseido Clear Stick UV Protector ($30) and Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 ($19). Popular tinted SPF skincare such as the Saie Slip Tint SPF 35 ($36), Tower28 Beauty Tinted SPF 30 Foundation ($32), and the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF40 ($48) are multi-tasking products available in a diverse range of tones; all of them contain zinc oxide, a physical sun blocker, and iron oxides, which protect against visible light damage. 

Also fun for summer is glow-enhancing sun-care products like Kopari's new Sun Shield Body Glow ($39), which leaves behind a shimmery finish, ideal for bikini season. Hero Cosmetics recently launched its Superbeam Sunscreen SPF 30 ($20), a mineral formula with pearl and apricot pigments that leave a subtle shimmer. Supergoop! also expanded its cult-favorite Glow Screen ($38) range to include two new shades, Dawn, an iridescent pearl, and Sunset, a rich copper. 

Freeze-Dried Skincare

You may have heard of (or tried) freeze-dried snacks before. Well, that same concept is now being applied to skincare. Here's how it works: "It's done by first freezing the ingredient at a very low temperature and lowering the pressure to remove any water or solvents, which allows the ice to bypass the liquid phase and go directly from solid to gas or steam," Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants. Then, once the ingredient returns to room temperature, it achieves the freeze-dried result.

Brands like Saro de RúeOxygenCeuticalsABI Dermaceuticals, Acaderma, and Rael have all debuted freeze-dried products in recent months—and we expect more brands to experiment with the technology as it is highly beneficial for the skin. Shuting Hu, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Acaderma, says it "maximizes the efficacy of active ingredients and allows the active ingredients to be more potent, making the product overall more effective." 

Biotech Skincare

Biotech beauty has the potential to be the "next phase of beauty innovation and sustainability." Essentially, implementing biotechnology in beauty involves practices like fermentation, tissue culture, GMOs, cell cultures, and artificial intelligence. It can potentially improve sustainability, ingredient effectiveness, formula safety, and more. For example, the Icelandic skincare brand Bioeffect is leveraging biotechnology to create genetically modified barley plants. The plant produces epidermal growth factor (EGF)—a highly efficacious skincare ingredient often derived from animals—which the brand processes in its nearby headquarters. Bioeffect's closed production loop helps to reduce the brand's environmental impact further.

Related Stories