It's a cruel, cruel summer—if you're not prepared for it. From chlorine-green hair to itchy bug bites, we have expert solutions to summer's stickiest problems
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We've all been there: Your makeup looked perfect when you left the house, but by the time you arrive at your destination, your eyeliner has slid half-way down your cheek and your flawless foundation has morphed into an oil slick.
Your strategy: "When you're dealing with humidity, it's important to cut down on your layers," says Jamie Greenberg, an LA-based celebrity makeup artist for Mark Cosmetics. "The less product you have on your skin, the less greasy skin will be." She suggests using multitasking products such as a tinted moisturizer with SPF. Try Mark Get A Tint Tinted Moisturizer Lotion SPF 15 ($12; meetmark.com).
For eyes, try a bronze or colored long-wearing cream or gel liner, which can double as a crease-proof eyeshadow. One we love: Tarte EmphasEYES Waterproof Clay Shadow Liner ($24; sephora.com). While switching to waterproof mascara will keep your lashes from smudging, we know it's hard to part with your favorite tube. The solution: Do one coat with your regular mascara, and then seal the deal with a waterproof formula like bareMinerals Locked and Coated Waterproof Lash Topcoat ($12; bareescentuals.com).
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When the sun goes away, the mosquitos come out and play—leaving you with itchy, red welts that last for days.
Your strategy: Think twice before you wear that bright floral sundress. "Mosquitos are attracted to vibrant colors or anything that looks like a flower," says Ruthie Harper, M.D., founder of SkinShift Skincare. Your body odor also plays an important role. Researchers at Yale University found that female mosquitos are attracted to human sweat, so try to keep your cool during peak mosquito time (dusk till dawn).
Bug sprays containing DEET will repel mosquitoes, but if you prefer chemical-free solutions, try Harper's simple recipe: Mix two teaspoons of any of the following oils: catnip, basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose geranium, or rosemary with one cup of 190-proof grain alcohol. (If it's illegal in your state, substitute with the highest proof clear, flavorless alcohol you can find.) Place in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Then transfer to a spray bottle and spritz liberally.
Excessive Sweat. Everywhere
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Few things are worse than arriving at work feeling like you need another shower. And it's not just due to high heat. If you're crunching to meet a big deadline, you might feel extra wet. "We also sweat during times of stress—it's part of our body's fight or flight response," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Your strategy: The best over-the-counter solution still remains antiperspirant—in both regular and clinical strengths—that contains aluminum salts to plug up your sweat glands, Zeichner says. Try Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response Antiperspirant/Deodorant ($8; pgestore.com). It works for more than just your underarms. Swipe it wherever you get sweaty—under your bra strap, your cleavage, behind your knees, etc.
Also essential: "Antiperspirants work best if applied during a time that you're not sweating," Zeichner says. So right after a warm shower is probably not your best bet. Instead, glide it on before bed. "Our sweating rates are lower at night than in the morning." If this doesn't do the trick, consider Botox injections, which blocks the sweat-producing signals sent to sweat glands. It lasts for three to six months and costs around $1,000 for both armpits. Talk to your doctor if you think this might be a good option for you.
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It happens to even the most diligent protector. You waited a little too long to reapply and now you're left with painful red splotches—and the fear of future sun damage (hello, wrinkles and sunspots).
Your strategy: To banish the burn, apply a cold, whole milk compress to skin for 10 minutes, says Zeichner, who explains that lactic acid found in milk is a powerful anti-inflammatory. You can also take an oral NSAID like Advil to reduce inflammation from the inside out, or apply an OTC hydrocortisone ointment twice a day to stop the sting.
To ward off any potential sun damage, apply a topical antioxidant to the area daily. "UV light causes oxygen-free radicals that damage skin cells, collagen, and elastin, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancers," Zeichner says. "Antioxidants are like fire extinguishers that put out that damage." Try a serum that contains vitamin C and E such as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($153; skinceuticals.com). Just don't apply to broken or blistery skin—it'll burn!
RELATED: The Best Sunscreen for Your Skin
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The itching and burning you feel in your lady parts might actually be due in part to summer. "Warmer temperatures lead to tighter clothing, increased sweating, and wet bathing suits," says Sara Gottfried, M.D., an OB-GYN in Berkeley, Calif. "And yeast loves moisture."
Your strategy: To prevent infection, change out of your damp suit or spandex immediately after you swim or exercise and slip into some 100-percent cotton undies and loose bottoms for better air circulation, Gottfried says. Another lesser-known tip: Limit refined carbohydrates. "Yeast thrives in sugary environments," Gottfried says. "Time at the beach or pool sometimes means Popsicle and extra fruit (and fructose), and this can predispose you to a vaginal yeast infection."
If you do get an infection, Gottfried suggests cutting out all sugar from your diet and trying an OTC anti-yeast vaginal cream like Mycelex or Monistat. "If your symptoms do not resolve promptly, contact your clinician for the correct diagnosis as well as oral medication or prescription suppositories," she says.
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Anytime you've got something rubbing against skin, you've got the potential for chafing, Harper says. But add moisture (sweat) into the mix and it makes it that much worse. Chaffing can occur from skin-on-skin contact (like your inner thighs rubbing together as you walk or run), fabrics like your bra, or the straps of your shoes.
Your strategy: "The most important thing is to stay dry," Harper says. When working out, wear moisture-wicking materials, not cotton. "Cotton holds the wetness against your skin," she says.
Dust chafe-prone areas with baby powder or swipe on a silicone-based product to give skin a little slip, preventing the friction. Try Bodyglide For Her Anti-Chafing Stick ($8; drugstore.com). If you're feeling the burn, apply a thick, occlusive ointment such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($9; cvs.com), which will seal out the outside environment and soothe the sting.
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Being green in the summer is easy if you're a swimmer—and a blonde. "Blonde hair is porous from bleaching, so it soaks up the chlorine and takes on a green tint," says Laurie Daniel, lead colorist at Eva Scrivo, The Studio in New York City. But it's not just blondes who get to have all the fun: Chlorine-exposed brunettes and redheads are at risk of seeing their color fade faster and having dull, dry strands.
Your strategy: Before you take a dip, apply conditioner to dry hair. "This fills open cuticles so your hair will absorb less chlorine," Daniel says. Then wash your hair shortly after a swim. If you're already seeing green, try a clarifying shampoo meant for swimmers such as Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo ($10.50; malibuc.com). "Be sure to use a conditioning treatment afterwards as clarifying shampoos tend to be drying," she adds. For severe cases, an in-salon treatment that contains chelating ingredients, such as Redken Pre-Art (redken.com for salons), will help pull the buildup out of hair.