We Asked Skincare Experts: What On Earth Should I Be Doing In a Heatwave?

"SPF is your BFF!"
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
Skincare Tips for a Heatwave
Image by VICE

Bloody boiling out, innit? And where there is sun, there are many skin-related issues: redness, burned patches, insect bites, sweat and faces so oily you could probably fry an egg on them (please keep me in your thoughts and prayers at this time). 

Skincare can be a bit of a minefield – I spent many years plagued by such questions as: how much stuff should I use? In what order? And what the fuck does retinol actually do? – but during a heatwave, when products are melting off faces quicker than a Mr Whippy dropped on a steaming hot pavement, it becomes nigh on impossible to navigate. 


This would be fine if stuff like SPF and aftersun weren’t so important when it comes to keeping skin in prime condition in the heat. So to help you navigate our current spell of extreme sun (and hopefully future spells too), I asked three skincare experts some quick-fire questions.

Are there any products, ingredients or techniques that are especially effective at cooling the skin down after a long day in the sun? 

“Always cleanse with cool or tepid water – hot water will promote inflammation or heat in the skin. Use a hydrating and calming mist – I love the Skin and Tonic ‘Be Soothed’ rose mist and the Nini Organics ‘Rain’, which smells like cucumbers. Both are super refreshing and keep skin nice and cool throughout the day. Using a tool like a gua sha is amazing for keeping skin nice and chilled, as the tool stays cold at room temperature, which feels amazing.” – Katie White, facialist and founder of the skincare company re:lax

“Avoid layering face products and wear sheer coverage makeup, as this helps to allow the skin breathe more without blocking the pores.” – Howey Ejegi, fashion, skincare and lifestyle blogger

What should I look for in an SPF?

“Thankfully, brands are beginning to make products with SPF in them that target different areas with SPF – for instance, face creams, body lotions, lip balms. For the body and face, which tends to be more exposed to the sun, an SPF of at least 30 is recommended.” – Howey


When should I apply SPF to my face? Do I need to do this more than once a day? 

“SPF should always be applied last in your skincare routine. This is to ensure your skin is fully protected from the sun’s UV rays. Never mix your SPF with moisturisers or oils: this reduces its efficacy. SPF should be reapplied consistently throughout the day to keep up protection, but sometimes I forget to do this!” – Roshanne Dorsett, founder of natural skincare brand The Glowcery

I've got facial hair. Do I still need to use sunscreen? 

“Yes, although beards form a good layer of protection and provide warmth in the winter. Thick beards may block UV rays, but thin beards maybe not so much.” – Howey

What does a good, protective morning skincare routine look like in a heatwave? 

“For me, I’d keep it simple and start with a hydrating toner with juicy ingredients, such as glycerine or hyaluronic acid, which help draw moisture to the skin, preventing it from drying out. Then I’d apply a lightweight moisturiser and lock it in with a nourishing oil like The Glowcery ‘Clean Greens’ superfood serum, and then an even but thick layer of SPF.” – Roshanne

I want to protect my skin from the sun, but I’d rather use natural ingredients. What do you recommend? 

“There are many natural SPF brands out there, but I wouldn’t advise using natural ingredients such as coconut, carrot or sesame oils, as while they do contain natural SPF, it’s too low to offer full skin protection.” – Roshanne

How should I clean my skin after a hot day? 

“Double cleansing will help to refresh and clean the skin after a long hot day. Start with an oil based cleanser to dislodge excess oil, daily build-up and impurities. Next, follow up with a water-based cleanser that’s going to wash off excess sweat. Then follow up with your normal skincare routine.” – Roshanne

What about moisturising? My usual go-to is just melting off!

“If you find skin is becoming congested from sweating a little more, I would recommend swapping out heavier creams and oils for a light hyaluronic acid serum instead. My very favourite is Nini Organics ‘Crimson Beauty.’” – Katie

What else should I incorporate at night?

“Vitamin C products will help to repair and protect the skin from sun damage at night time. You can use this in the form of a serum, oil or moisturiser – whatever you prefer. I love the Mad Hippie range, and I also love the Orgaid vitamin C sheet mask as a post-sun cool down treatment.” – Katie


I got sunburn. What should I do now? 

“Putting an aloe vera leaf in the fridge to cool and squeezing out the gel to the sun burnt area is a natural and effective way to ease the redness and irritation caused by sunburn. It goes without saying: stay out of the sun whilst your skin heals, and next time remember to apply Sunscreen. SPF is your BFF!” – Roshanne

What’s your absolute top tip? 

“Use SPF daily and reapply every couple of hours throughout the day. It is so important to find an SPF that suits you, as it is an absolute essential – yes, even in the UK!” – Katie 

“Besides wearing SPF, hydration is key, as our skin loses so much water with sweat. Staying hydrated allows replenishment.” – Howey