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Full disclosure: for someone who is constantly surrounded by the newest and trendiest beauty products, cystitis and maintains “I’ll try anything once” as her makeup mantra, I strive to wear as little makeup as possible. Now, I never venture out completely au naturel – in fact, I won’t even go to the gym without the obligatory 1-2-3 punch of mineral powder, tinted lip balm and a swipe of mascara – but the goal is to embrace a “less is more” approach, especially during the summer months, when thick foundation, caked-on eyeshadow and goopy lip gloss are among the prominent public enemies.

The first step in any effective summer beauty stripdown is flawless, glowing skin; with a bright and evenly toned base, the rest of your warm-weather makeup routine will be a breeze. And luckily for me, I’ve found the perfect product to achieve an immaculate complexion: Dr. Dennis Gross Extradr. dennis gross extra strength alpha beta face peel pads daily skincare beauty 2011 makeup Strength Alpha Beta Peel. While the primary draw of these face pads is their anti-aging capability (they significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines), they also offer solutions to virtually every pesky skincare setback, be it oiliness, breakouts, unevenness, sensitivity or irritation. The daily two-pronged approach – wipe your clean face with a pad from the more powerful Step 1, wait two minutes, and repeat with a pad from the soothing Step 2 – is easy yet effective, and just potent enough for my very fair, sensitive skin. While the product comes in a packette of 30 applications, I can personally attest to seeing a considerable difference within the first few days of use. Pores? Where? Blemishes? Barely there. Best of all, my skin possesses a heretofore unseen evenness, clarity and brightness, and when I do wear makeup, it seems to last much longer. While this product is admittedly a bit pricy ($85 for a packette of 30 applications), I can assure that it is well worth the investment. Although it has earned its salt as an essential tool in my summer skincare arsenal, this is a product that I’ll be reaching for year-round.

By Gianna Froccaro