This story is part of our Summer Gear Guide issue, covering everything from cold brew to grill hacks to the perfect outdoor projector. For the full list of stories, click here.
Your summer body is the same body you have all year, except it exists between June 21 and September 23. It doesn’t need to have any additional abs or glowy skin. But it does require some preparation for the summer sun and heat — for your own safety and comfort — most of which can be solved with the right grooming products.
Regardless of how hairy or hairless your back is, you should stock up on the right summer grooming essentials to deflect UV rays, keep skin hydrated and feel your best, in whatever summer body you’ve got. Here are eight types of products that will get you there fast, along with our favorite in each category.
Body Scrub: Osea Salts of the Earth Body Scrub
Your skin always feels smoother after the beach, since those sand crystals gently buff away all the dead cells resting atop your skin. If you’re far from the ocean or looking to start summer on the right (smooth) foot, get a full-body scrub like Osea’s that busts through dry, rough patches and will have you looking and feeling fresh. This scrub uses salts from the Dead Sea and Himalayas, infused with seaweed and oils of acai, shea butter and passion fruit. Together, these ingredients hydrate, nurture and rejuvenate everything in their path. (Just avoid the face, in favor of a facial exfoliant.)
SPF: MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50
Mineral sunscreens don’t rely on potentially harmful chemicals (that is, harmful to you and the environment alike), and the best ones wear lightly on the skin without leaving white, chalky residue. MDSolarScience’s eco-cert SPF 50 sunscreen is one such sunscreen: With high concentrations of zinc oxide (17 percent) and titanium dioxide (2 percent), it shields you from damaging UV rays. It is water and sweat resistant up to 80 minutes, protects the skin’s moisture barrier thanks to a ceramide- and humectant-rich formula, and is chock-full of antioxidants to neutralize any skin-aging toxins.
Post-Sun: Coola ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion
After a full day of sun exposure, your skin is parched and compromised, even if you lathered on the sunscreen. Help it recover quickly with a post-sun lotion — something packed with aloe, agave and soothing oils. That’s the recipe for Coola’s eco-cert lotion: Use it in hours and days after your sun spell, to help skin bounce back and to neutralize any redness or dehydration.
Sunburn Recovery: Grown Alchemist Soothing Body Gel Lotion
If you got a proper burn, then you need not endure days of suffering as it recovers and peels. That is to say, you do need to wait for it to recover and peel, but you can minimize the pain and suffering meanwhile. Rub on some cooling gel immediately after the burn, and as needed while everything heals. Grown Alchemist’s formula is surprisingly void of aloe vera but innovates the cooling recovery with allantoin (to speed up cellular regeneration) and azulene (extracted from chamomile to soothe irritation). Use it as liberally as you need on the road to recovery.
Body Hair Trimmer: Panasonic ER-GB80-S Beard, Hair and Body Trimmer
There’s no shame in having body hair, nor any in showing it off. By all means, please do. But, like the hair on your head and chin, you’ve got to keep most body hair in check. It grows too long for its own good around the groin and above the waist, so get a trimmer that cleanly and steadily manages the task, less you end up with all kinds of patchwork, or a bare chest simply because your trimmer head rolled back and took out an entire strip of hair. It happens to the best of us. But it won’t ever happen again if you swap in a trimmer like Panasonic’s beard, hair and body hair trimmer, which allows for up to 39 trimming settings and rinses clean under the tap. You can trim precisely to the length you want — and switch it up from one furry spot to the next — and make no mess in the process.
Post Shave Recovery: Fulton & Roark Aftershave Cloths
Just as you need to treat a freshly shaved face, so too do you need to apply after-shave to your freshly bare back. This disinfects any bacteria that might be trying to live inside your newly opened pores and soothes any irritation at the same time. It’s as easy as using a disinfecting post-shave cloth, like the ones from Fulton & Roark. These witch hazel, eucalyptus, sage and bergamot-packed wipes help disinfect, nourish and cool the skin, and they come in individually-wrapped pocket-friendly packets.
Body Lotion: The Lost Explorer Environmental Protection Lotion
While the summer heat brings humidity and more self-produced moisture, it’s not a bad time to apply a nourishing, lightweight cream before bed or a dual-purpose product during the day. This can come as a vitamin-packed SPF or, in the case of Lost Explorer’s Environmental Protection Lotion, a body lotion, which combines citronella and cedar oils to naturally repel bugs. Its use of lavender flower calms skin and senses alike. You can even apply this lotion to your face if that’s your thing.
Body Wash: Nécessaire The Body Wash
Many soaps and body washes are as abrasive as detergent on your skin. And while there’s never a time to compromise on a bottom-barrel body wash, summer is a perfectly good excuse to justify a more elevated shower experience. Get a body wash with vitamins and nutrients, so that nourishment is reinforced in the shower, rather than lost. Nécessaire’s wash builds a lather and comes in three scents — one of which is an intentional lack thereof — and it uses oils of marula, cacay and meadowfoam to soften the skin while pulling grime and grease from the surface.
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