It's happening. Sweat is creeping down your back, your hair is curling with frizz and every piece of clothing you own is starting to feel like it's made of lead. D.C.'s short-lived spring is bleeding into summer and the humidity is virtually unavoidable for the next several months. As a California transplant, I was woefully under-prepared for humidity - my first summer here, I had heatstroke twice because I didn't really get how much you sweat when you're in a humid heat as opposed to a dry heat. I also spent several nights sleeping on the kitchen floor of my first apartment because it didn't have AC or adequate ventilation. Fortunately, I've since learned how to survive the brutal D.C. summer - here's how to get through it.
1. Clothes and accessories
- It may seem like a no-brainer, but skip the unnatural fabrics that don’t breathe! Instead opt for cotton, linen, rayon and silk.
- I hate to say it, but it’s time to put your skinny jeans away. Look for wide-legged pants, flowy skirts and dresses. Fortunately for us, the trends currently favor all of those looks, so you’ll have plenty of options in stores.
- D.C. can be a suit and tie town, so if you can’t break the dress code, opt for lighter colors.
- Invest in a good umbrella! Sudden storms can definitely wreck a cheap, flimsy umbrella and you don’t want to get caught in a downpour.
2. Skincare, makeup and more
- More sweat means more clogged pores! If you haven’t done so already, consider incorporating a chemical exfoliant into your routine to combat acne and closed comedones. Although PIXI Glow Tonic is wildly popular because it contains a mild, but still effective dose of Glycolic Acid, beginners may want to opt for something even more mild, like The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid serum.
- The deodorant you regularly use may not cut it during summer, especially if you haven’t adjusted to a humid climate just yet. Although there’s no real proof that men’s deodorant is stronger than women’s, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it's more effective at combating sweat. If you’re a woman looking to make the switch, I’ve found this deodorant doesn’t smell especially masculine, but it won’t quit, even on the sweatiest days.
- If you’re wearing makeup, prime your face like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s a tutorial we did on this last year.
- If you just can't get your eye makeup to stick, you may want to try playing up another feature instead. Long-wear lipsticks like this velvety (and cheap!) option from Peripera, a Korean brand, are a lot less likely to melt off than even the best waterproof liner.
- My skin is naturally alligator-like if I don't slather my body in lotion regularly. However, heavy lotion can make you feel even stickier when you head out the door. Instead, opt for a moisturizing body wash. If you absolutely must put some lotion on, do it at night.
- Mattifying powder can start to look cakey when it's humid outside. If you're feeling a little shiny, try blotting papers instead.
- Slathering yourself in minty body soap after a suffocating day is literally the most satisfying feeling imaginable. My roommates and I all stock up on bottles of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Pure Castille Liquid Soap the second we pack our winter parkas away.
- I'm fortunate enough to work in a place where I have some flexibility with my appearance, but I got an undercut last summer and it changed my life. My head is a lot cooler and you can't tell when my hair is down.
- If you have bangs and you're not married to them, consider growing them out. They're not easy to maintain in humid, sweaty conditions.
- If you are married to your bangs, I've found brushing them out when they're still wet helps them maintain their shape. Pulling on a fabric headband will also keep them in place, so will dry shampoo.
- My hair naturally frizzes up, but R+CO's High Dive Shine Creme keeps my hair looking slick. It may seem like a high price point, but I've had a bottle for a year and I've barely made a dent because you don't need that much product.
- It's okay to admit to yourself that all you want to eat is mint ice cream and nothing else. We've all been there and downed that pint of Ben and Jerry's.
- DRINK WATER. More than you think you need.
- It's okay to bribe your friends into using their pool.
- It's okay if you want to take two icy showers a day. You do you.
- It's the perfect time of year to bust out the sun tea. Just saying.
- You can definitely buy four fans and horde them in your room like a sweaty, overheated dragon.
- It's okay if you want to just lay on a cold tile floor for a while. Just maybe not at work, because that would be weird.