How to change your skincare routine for spring

It may not feel like it yet, but officially, it is spring — finally.

The days of cold weather, snow and biting wind are gone for good, as the start of the season brings with it balmier temps, sunshine and lots of rain. While April showers are great for the plants, this sort of transitional weather can be a little bit of a shock on your skin — especially if you’ve been layering on the same rich, hydrating skincare products you used during winter.

You may already know that it’s a good idea to switch up your skincare routine every season, but it’s tough to know exactly what sort of products you should be using as the days grow longer, hotter and sunnier — just switching out one facial oil for another isn’t going to do the trick. Luckily for you, we’ve got the 411.

Ahead, learn everything there is to know about transitional skincare, so you can look your best throughout the long, hot days ahead:


Switch to a lightweight moisturizer.

During the wintry months, even the oiliest among us sometimes suffer from dryness, redness and chapped skin, thanks to the cold weather and dry wind. But while layering on ultra-rich moisturizers may keep dryness at bay, they’re often far too heavy to use during the spring.

As dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D., tells Vogue, “Swapping your moisturizer for something a little lighter is key.” Skin tends to retain more water during the warmer months — anything too heavy will just end up leaving the skin greasy. If you tend to suffer from oiliness, opt for a water-based formula (or one with hyaluronic acid, which can hold more than 1,000 times its weight in water) for extra hydration, but never skip moisturizer — thirsty skin produces more oil, which can lead to breakouts.

Amp up the SPF.

As the weather gets warmer, we’re naturally inclined to spend more time outside and in the sun. This means it’s crucial to be protected from the sun at all times — you never know when you’ll be invited to an impromptu rooftop happy hour. Though you should be wearing at least SPF 15 year-round, look for a stronger formula for the spring and summer months (and, if possible, opt for makeup with SPF for added protection). A broad-spectrum SPF 30 formula, dermatologists agree, is ideal for daily use.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.

Getting rid of that residual dryness from winter requires a one-two punch of exfoliation and hydration (plus, well-exfoliated skin absorbs products up to 20 percent better than non-exfoliated skin, according to dermatologist Jeanette Graf). Chemical exfoliants —such as glycolic acid or alpha-hydroxy acid — are great, but if you’d rather use a scrub, look for something non-abrasive, such as Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimizer ($10), which uses powdered charcoal to slough off dead skin. Anything too rough will do more damage to your complexion than good.

Swap full-coverage foundation for a lighter formula.

Just as you switch out your heavy-duty moisturizers for lighter-weight formulas, it’s a good idea to do the same with your makeup: Using heavy, full-coverage foundation during the spring — when we tend to be a little bit oilier — can lead to clogged pores and acne (plus, a full matte face can look a bit unnatural against the dewiness of the rest of your skin). Try thinning out your current foundation with moisturizer, or custom-blend your own lightweight formula with Color FX’s Custom Color Drops ($44).

Toss beauty tools and products over six months old.

Tossing beauty products can be a total drag — especially if they’re pricey. Unfortunately, it’s necessary (Dr. Wexler recommends tossing anything older than six months). Aim to clean your brushes and makeup sponges at least once a week in soap and warm water to stave off bacterial growth, and throw out anything questionable; Dr. Wexler insists using clean products can “have a huge impact on the overall health of [the] skin.”