The Ultimate Beach Beauty Guide by Liz Coggins
Rising temperatures always require an action plan. And as the summer hots up and the bikini beckons after months of flesh firming denim, skin shielding skirts and sleeves, boots and opaque tights its time to kick your plan into action.
Whatever shape you’re in, you can feel instantly better about your body when your skin is in great condition – in other words smooth and with an irresistible healthy glow.
The first step to this is exfoliation. Regularly sloughing off dull, dead cells makes skin look brighter; that’s because you’re creating a more even surface which reflects like, unlike thick rough skin which absorbs it.
Body brushing is one of the best ways. The idea is to brush your skin before showering with a firm bristle brush, using long sweeping movements. This also stimulates the lymphatic drainage, which encourages elimination of your body’s waste. Start with hands and feet and work inwards using circular motions towards the heart.
You can top up this by using a body scrub or body exfoliator. Aim to exfoliate once a week, paying particular attention to drier areas such as elbows, knees and feet but go easy on the bits where skin is naturally thinner like décolletage, breasts and shins.
Develop a nourish and smooth habit applying body lotion or oil after a shower or bath, ideally every day but aim for at least four times a week, which will improve skin. That’s not just because you are locking in moisture, but simply because massaging and lavishing attention helps boost circulation.
While depilation is essential for smooth skin, moisturising and exfoliation won’t make hairy legs appealing its not without its own rough edges – ingrown hairs. These occur when hair gets caught in dead cells and starts to grow under the skin, forming an ugly spot. Armpits and bikini line are particularly vulnerable.
Avoid ingrown hairs by gently exfoliating with a mild scrub, loofah or body mitt to keep pores free from dead skin but don’t do it immediately after hair removal and don’t apply lotion immediately after waxing. It may feel soothing but the cream will only block pores and trap hairs.
Most of us look and feel better with a tan. And with good reason. It evens out skin tone and the darker colour is more slimming.
Fake tanning products have come a long way over the last 20 years but to get the best results you need to make sure your skin is freshly exfoliated. If you’ve never used a fake tan or for the first time every season, treat yourself to a professional application. If you are applying your tan at home apply it to your whole body, or if you’re only doing your face, do your shoulders and décolletage too, otherwise the differences in colour are a dead give away.
Even the best take tan won’t give you the glow of the real thing. But every time you do go in the sun, apply sunscreen every two hours. Opt for a higher factor than you think you need: sunscreens are tested under artificial circumstances, where it’s thickly applied, so your SPF15 won’t have the same effect if you just dab a bit on here and there. You’ll still go brown with a higher SPF, in fact your tan will be more even and last longer.
Don’t forget your sensitive spots. Most people forget to apply sunscreen to their feet or ears. But skin cancer is just as common in these areas as elsewhere on the body. Other danger areas are legs where most cases of skin cancer in women occur so put plenty of sunscreen on your legs.
The sun can leave your skin very dry, so make sure you apply lots of moisturiser in the evening. Choose products containing moisturising and cooling ingredients such a aloe vera, and treat your face with vitamin E.
Not everyone wants to go bare faced in summer – but you need makeup that can stand the heat. Opt either for a tinted moisturiser or an oil free foundation and choose one with an inbuilt SPF factor – nearly every brand has one in its range. For cheeks choose gel or cream blushers or add a touch of bronzer.
There are some great waterproof mascaras out there but the best thing to do if you are heading for the beach is to have your eyelashes tinted: it makes them look thicker and more noticeable. Waterproof eye colours and waterproof eyeliners again are available in nearly every range of products – but remember all these waterproof products need to be removed with an eye makeup remover lotion that can deal with waterproof liner, mascara and eye colour which can sometimes be very stubborn to remove.
Finally don’t forget your lips. Lipsticks and lip glosses with a shimmer are fabulous for a summer look – leave the matt colours for winter but always use a product with an SPF factor as lips burn easily. If you are swimming or sunbathing apply a sunblock to the lips and afterwards a sli