Sienna Miller’s facialist reveals how to really care for your skin in a heatwave

Even the most carefully assembled skincare routine can suddenly seem unfit for purpose when the thermometer hits 40°C. Smart heatwave skincare and a few well-planned tricks can, however, make all the difference.  

Right now, skin has a lot to contend with. Unforgiving rays of sunshine, oppressive humidity and poor ventilation on public transport, means skin can get seriously sticky. Not only that, but the likelihood of pores becoming congested with a paste-like mixture of oil, SPF, makeup and dead cells also increases.

If you’re in an office, your skin doesn’t fair any better, either. Those arctic blasts of air-conditioning may feel gloriously refreshing, but the extremes in temperature can sap skin of moisture and leave it feeling the thirstiest it’s ever been.

So we asked A-List facialist and Dior’s new Global Skincare Expert, Teresa Tarmey, who counts Sienna Miller and Julianne Moore as clients, to share her heatwave skincare secrets. Ahead how to rethink your products for a desirable middle-of-the-road sheen when the Mercury rises – plus, how to get your skin to chill out in every sense of the world.

Cleanse – but avoid oils

“Focus on avoiding congestion as all that stickiness on the skin’s surface is begging for breakouts. When cleansing, stay away from heavy oils or cleansing balms and use a face wash instead. It’s what I personally prefer, which is why I created my Teresa Tarmey Cleanser, with both glycerin and hyaluronic acid so it won’t dry out the skin. Besides, in this weather, it’s refreshing to feel water on the skin. You’ll also feel like you’re washing away the day’s dirt and sweat instead of clogging the pores up again with oil.

Double cleansing at night is really important, too. The first cleanse just moves the day’s dirt, sweat, SPF and makeup around the face and removes the first layer of grime. But it’s not until the second cleanse that you properly clean the skin. People worry about stripping away the skin barrier. Over-treating the skin does that – cleansing properly won’t.”

Incorporate a lactic acid

“It’s a sensible guideline to back away from retinol in summer as it can make skin sensitive to sunlight. But don’t be scared of using lactic acid, as it’s a gentle exfoliator and it won’t break down the skin barrier. When people suffer from clogged pores they immediately reach for salicylic acid but it’s actually quite drying for the skin when treating the whole face. The best way to use salicylic acid is as a targeted spot treatment or on small areas like the nose where you get really congested. Everywhere else, apply a liquid lactic acid like Biologique Recherché Lotion P50, to clean skin every other night as a treatment before serum.”

Always wear SPF

“It goes without saying that an SPF is essential to protect your skin in a heatwave. I’m a big fan of Heliocare products as they’re affordable; they don’t congest the skin or leave behind a white cast on darker skin tones and they’re not one-size-fits-all. There are loads of choices, from oil-free to tinted and mineral formulas. Plus, they each contain a built-in potent antioxidant for another layer of protection. If you’re out in a heatwave, reapply your sunscreen every two hours. But if you’re in an air-conditioned office, I’d cover my skin in an SPF50 in the morning then reapply it once during the day.” Try the Heliocare Water Gel, which leaves skin feeling nearly bare.

Stick to lightweight layers

“Moving from the heat outdoors to an air-conditioned room the next can be really drying for the skin. In a heatwave you don’t want to layer up heavy products so use a hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid which pulls moisture from a humid environment into the skin and apply SPF over the top. I love the Dior Capture Totale Potent Serum for its lightweight consistency.”

Take the heat out of melasma

“A lot of people think melasma is just uneven pigmentation and don’t realise that the sun can make it worse, especially on the forehead. As well as wearing a hat and sunglasses to shade against direct UV rays, keep a cooling gel face mask in the fridge as heat can also aggravate melasma by causing inflammation.” Teresa says she’s obsessed with the Dior Capture Dream Skin 1-Minute Mask “as it’s super hydrating”. Also good is TikTok’s beloved Skin Proud Frozen Over Gel-to-Ice Hydrator, laced with deliciously chilly, anti-inflammatory aloe vera and brightening lemon extract to keep hyperpigmentation in check.

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