After months of travelling, I can confirm these 6 simple steps eradicated any skin shininess but kept my glow

These anti-shine products and tips withstand even 40-degree heat

Anti-shine products
(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)

At the beginning of April, I left the UK to embark upon some travels for the summer. I started in two ultra-hot, humid destinations: Sri Lanka and Singapore. As a glow-loving gal in her thirties, I was not ultra-concerned about how being in this kind of heat would impact my skin. In fact, I was looking forward to some extra radiance. But being there made me realise there is a serious difference between glow and greasy shine. And I was experiencing a hell of a lot of the latter. 

Luckily, through trial and tribulation, I learnt how to manage this so I could avoid shine but still look dewy and healthy. All it took was a few skincare routine tweaks (my go-to anti-shine products really came into their own) and extra hacks, all of which I've shared with you below. So if you're heading on a hot holiday (or are just crossing your fingers for some good old UK sunshine), you might want to take a look at these first.

1. Skincare prep is essential (and routine tweaks are necessary)

Whenever I'm asked about how I achieve my 'glowy' base make-up look, my response is always the same: it starts with the skincare prep. And this also applies to avoiding excess shine or grease in the warmer weather. When your skincare prep is right, everything else will follow. 

I spoke with Emma Lewisham, founder of my new favourite skincare brand (of the same name), who agrees that your routine is essential. "A consistent skincare routine is important in avoiding excess shine as it helps maintain optimal skin health," she says.

She recommends using an effective cleanser and a probiotic serum: "Using a live probiotic serum that is proven to help balance the skin microbiome has a significant impact. A balanced skin microbiome is essential to skin health and will help avoid the overproduction of sebum in the first place."

"In addition to this, cleansing morning and night is important in avoiding excess shine, as it removes excess sebum from the skin. However, while you want to cleanse the skin of excess oils, it’s important to use a cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of its essential oils. If a cleanser is drying, it will prompt the skin to produce more oil to help rehydrate your skin and repair the skin barrier," she adds.

As tempting as it is to strip back the hydration, this can often have the opposite effect, as skin begins to overcompensate for the lack of moisture by over-producing excess oil. So don't ditch your hyaluronic acid serums just yet. However, Emma says, "If you don’t feel your skin needs quite as much hydration as usual, opt for a hydrating serum as opposed to a thicker moisturising crème."

2. Invest in a facial SPF for oily skin

The SPFs I usually use in my normal UK daytime routine have dewy finishes that contribute to my overall glowy look. While I love them, I realised pretty early on during my travels that they weren't the best options for hotter destinations. 

Even if you prefer something illuminating, investing in more of a mattifying, blurring SPF for oily skin is a great idea for summer. This sets your base if you then apply make-up, or if not, once you've been out in heat for a while some of that natural radiance will begin to shine through rather quickly anyway, meaning you strike the perfect glowy/zero-shine balance. 

Both Q+A and Glossier have new formulas out that focus on protecting the skin from damaging UV rays while also balancing the skin and never leaving a greasy film. 

3. If wearing make-up, primer is essential 

It may sound obvious, but primer is an essential buy for summer months or hot destination holidays. And being a bit of a bad beauty editor, it's not something I tend to use often, instead always reaching for my Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter before my base. 

Being in extreme heat and humidity quickly had me rethinking my whole life in this way, and speedily investing in a blurring primer to help my make-up stay on and to avoid shine for a few hours outside. While in Sri Lanka, I often stayed away from make-up, so this was less of a concern, but in Singapore where the temperature often hit 40 degrees and I was back to wearing it around the city, a priming formula became a must. 

My current two favourites are Laura Mercier's new blurring primer and L'Oréal's matte offering, both of which extend the longevity of your base. 

4. Blotting papers will become your new BFF 

I've always loved a blotting paper as someone on the oilier side. They remove any excess oil or grease without eliminating natural radiance, and mean you don't have to carry round a blocky powder compact and brush. 

Blotting papers solidified their status as my beauty BBF while in these hotter destinations, mainly for on-the-go top ups. My favourites have always been the Tatcha ones. 

5. As will setting sprays...

While blurring primers should start your make-up routine, setting sprays are great bookends for extending your make-up's wear and (if you buy the right formula), mattifying the face a little. I've heard mixed thoughts from beauty-editor friends about whether they actually work, but I think if you invest in a good one, you definitely see the difference. Will they guarantee your make-up stays put all day in 40-degree heat? No. But will they keep things looking fresh for longer? Sure. 

The best ones I've found are Urban Decay's (which also comes in a mini bottle for travel) and Charlotte Tilbury's. 

6. Embrace your *glow*

My final tip is just to embrace the glow that summer will give your skin. At the end of the day, while you may be a little glossier than you usually prefer, I would always prefer this than an ultra-matte finish. I truly believe it makes skin look healthier and fresher. So make the appropriate routine switches and product investments, but don't take it too seriously and let the skin shine! 

A hydrating mist like this one from Dr Barbara Sturm will keep your skin hydrated and looking healthy, without adding any extra shine. 

Rebecca Fearn

Rebecca is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29, The Independent, Grazia, Coveteur, Dazed, Stylist, and Glamour. She is also a brand consultant and has worked with the likes of The Inkey List on campaign messaging and branded copy. She’s obsessed with skincare, nail art and fragrance, and outside of beauty, Rebecca likes to travel, watch true crime docs, pet sausage dogs and drink coffee. Rebecca is also passionate about American politics and mental health awareness.