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Light Effects

I’m finally packing away the quilts and sweaters, but what about my skin and hair? Should I be switching to a spring routine?

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Typically, when daylight savings kicks in, the radiators go off. Which means, beauty-wise, it’s also time for a regimen shift. Dermatologists recommend recalibrating your products when the season changes—as welcome as warm weather is, it can do a number on your skin. Besides, it simply feels good to start fresh with some new products.

“Sweat alone can lead to blocking of hair follicles and pores,” explains Neil Sadick, a clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell. “If you put a heavy product on top of that, your skin can react and break out.’’ It’s also just uncomfortable. As if in answer to this, Estée Lauder has introduced Revitalizing Comfort Creme ($115 at Bloomingdale’s), which has an air-filled, whipped texture that keeps it from being too heavy on the skin. If your skin is oily to begin with, choose a water-based product like DDF’s Organic Sunblock SPF 30 ($24 at Sephora); it’s fragrance- and oil-free, contains moisturizers, and has eleven antioxidants. In the evening, when sunscreen isn’t an issue, Freshface Primer ($30 at Fresh) has a formula containing sea algae, cucumber extract, and rosewater that smooths skin so makeup slides on evenly without the need for an additional cream. For men, Kiehl’s Multi-Purpose Facial Formula ($20.50 at Barneys New York) is lightweight and has ingredients that cool (eucalyptus), brighten (caffeine), and tone (oil-absorbing mineral clay). L’Oréal Men’s Expert line has a new SPF 15 aftershave balm ($6.99 at Duane Reade), with vitamin E to moisturize, so you don’t need to slather on another layer if you’re going to eat your lunch outside.

The pale face may be chic for winter, but in the warmer months, it should be subtly bronzed. Unlike most tanners, which use chemicals and have you radiating an orange glow, Darphin Self-Tanning Face Tinted Gel ($50 at Bergdorf Goodman) is all-natural and uses caramel as the coloring agent, so you’ll wind up with a lovely café au lait. It can be mixed with a light moisturizer (many other tanning products can’t) that controls the degree of color, and it won’t create those awful streaks.

Hair could use a change, too. Heavy wintertime conditioners “become sticky and clumpy in the humidity and tend to restrict hair’s movement,’’ explains stylist Paul Labrecque. “They also attract dirt. Any product with mineral oil is definitely to be avoided from April on.’’ Texture creams like Phillip B.’s Shin-Aid ($25.50 at Barneys) are a less-greasy alternative to traditional pomades, while the many devotees of the Kérastase line will be happy to hear that the company has a new summer-weight treatment mask, Gelée Fraîche ($36 at Butterfly Studio).

While you’re at it, why not change scents as well? Heady perfumes that seemed so enticing by the fireplace come off as overpowering in the spring. You don’t even have to veer too far from your favorites. Lots of companies do lighter versions of their regular lineup. Boucheron’s new Eau Légère (3.3 ounces, $58 at Bloomingdale’s), Opium’s Fleur de Shanghai Eau d’Orient (3.3 ounces, $50 at Bloomingdale’s), and Stella McCartney’s Sheer Stella (3.3 ounces, $48 at Saks Fifth Avenue) all fit the bill. To get in the right frame of mind, try Serge Lutens’s Miel de Bois, with its May flower notes ($89 at Barneys). And to truly shake off winter’s shackles, there’s Korres’ Body Water ($18 at Sephora). It’s even lighter than perfume, and the scents—mint tea, coriander—are pure springtime.


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