These are the products to reach for when your budget is limited, but you can think of nothing but sun, sea, and sand.
THE CHIC SUMMER NAIL : ESSIE Nail Lacquer in Blanc
Nothing says summer chic quite like a bright white nail polish. Serving to elongate your fingers and emphasise a tan, white is the perfect colour to sport with a radiant bronzed glow and stacks of gold midi-rings. This Essie favourite is a true white, with a sheen that helps to avoid evoking any notion of 'Tipex nails'. With its wide brush and durable formula, application is a dream and longevity is a given.
How to turn up the heat come dusk? A bright lip will raise temperatures [and eyebrows]. The formula of & Other Stories' Demi Matte range stands unequalled. Highly pigmented, incredibly long-lasting [seriously, swatch it on your hand and no matter how rigorously you shower, a hint of tint will remain for days], and with a subtle satin sheen, which adds dimension without erring upon glossy. The colour range is extensive, especially if you favour a pop of colour. This summer, eschew the favourites [hot pink and true red] and opt for bright colour with a twist. An orange lip may sound daunting but Sempiternum Brick will ease you into favour with it's warm coral hue.
THE BRONZED GLOW : NO7 Naturally Sunkissed Gradual Face Tan
You no longer have to forgo SPF protection in order to achieve a glowing, sun-kissed tan, instead reach for a gradual tint, designed to add subtle warmth to your complexion with just the right dosage. There's nothing quite like working for a brand to introduce you to its little known gems and hidden secrets - I discovered this product last summer, and whilst applying it to my ghostly white and blemish-prone complexion was one of the riskiest things I've ever done as concerns my skin [living on the wild side], it was a risk that paid off. This universally flattering shade provides subtle radiance, whilst a plethora of hydrating ingredients quietly plump away under the surface, combining moisturising and tinting duties in one swift process.
THE SURF QUEEN WAVES : JOHN FRIEDA Beach Blonde Sea Waves Salt Spray
Few brands have neglected to release a surf-inspired salt spray after the overwhelming success of Bumble & bumble's iconic Surf Spray. Equally, few have managed to achieve its high-profile success and cult product status. With one exception... John Frieda's Sea Waves Salt Spray ruled the roost of the affordable offerings at the turn of the decade, but was discontinued in 2004 to a dismay that saw hoarded bottles selling for upwards of £60 on eBay. If you have super straight hair and find it near impossible to incite a wave then this is the Bumble alternative for you. Textured, piecey waves, that last [works best when applied to damp hair before bed].
THE SUPERPOWER SPF : LA ROCHE-POSAY Anthelios XL Ultra-Light SPF50 Face Fluid*
If you haven't already, then 2015 is the year to finally get on board with year-round sun protection. Both luxury and high-street brands sport extensive ranges of SPF-infused products, and summer is a more than appropriate time to adopt a principled approach to skincare. La Roche-Posay rules the sun protection game with Anthelios, a range of high-protection, virtuously formulated SPFs; offering broad spectrum, waterproof protection against UVA and UVB rays. Lightweight, and leaving neither chalky nor greasy residue, this is affordable facial SPF in its most high-quality form, and can be worn solo or beneath makeup. The formula is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and enriched with thermal spring water so suits even the most sensitive and blemish-prone complexions.
THE ONE-STOP SELF-TAN : SOAP & GLORY Sunkissed Tint Body Lotion*
Summer fashion generally calls for exposed skin; however, as a bronzed glow can prove hard to come by in the UK's less than tropical climes, sometimes faking it really is the only option. Whilst I favour a slightly more luxury option for a long-term tan, Soap & Glory's wash-off tinted body lotion is an ideal one-stop wonder, and is a failsafe quality option in the oversaturated [literally] market of budget self-tanning products [less hit and miss, and more miss and miss]. Ideal for achieving a subtle and buildable tan, fans of the brand will be delighted to discover that this product delivers a warm glow via Soap & Glory's famously award-winning Righteous Butter formula. Expect the same iconic scent and ingredients line-up albeit with a delicate, bronzed finish.
THE SPLASH OF COLOUR : & OTHER STORIES Cheek and Lip Tint in Swivel Pink*
Holiday packing demands a frugal and concise approach to a portable beauty kit - made all the more easier with the industry's penchant for a dual purpose product. The cheek + lip duo is a failsafe combination, and & Other Stories have once again hit gold with their multi-purpose tints. Swivel Pink is an alarmingly vivid hue in the pan, but is much more wearable than first glance would imply. The formula is neither matte nor opaque, so serves to add a perfectly adequate sheer hint of colour, which on the lips blends beautifully with your natural colouring, and can be built up for more impact.
If you've ever wondered how to add warmth/colour/glow to your face in the most subtle way possible, here is the answer. A refined update on an enduring product [the ever treacherous bronzer], this lightweight, silky cream formula can be applied directly onto the cheeks with no need for blending [yes really, it's that subtle] or buffed on with a brush. The finish is natural, long-lasting, and results in a fresh-faced radiance. Expect your subtly bronzed cheeks to serve as the perfect accompaniment to a bold lip or smokey eye.
Summer wreaks havoc upon our locks - not least with sun damage, but between beach and pool, hair is subject to more than its fair share of abuse. A softening, nourishing oil, which can be applied onto both wet and dry hair is just the ticket for simultaneously protecting and treating your tresses. I'm always wary of a product which states 'includes argan oil' - one of the haircare world's favourite but most expensive ingredients, it is often found in too small doses to make any real impact. In this case however, it's the product's third highest ranking ingredient [amongst macadamia oil, almond oil, apricot oil, and marula oil]. Expect tamed frizz, softened lengths, and high-impact shine.
THE MULTIPURPOSE SKIN PREP : DEAD SEA SPA MAGIK Salt Brushing Exfoliating Scrub
Bared limbs call for more than just a tan - upgrade your grooming routine with some serious scrubbing action in addition to tinting. The daily buildup of dead skin cells and clogged pores manifests in a rough texture and uneven skintone; unavoidable, but easily countered by exfoliation. A good salt scrub will stimulate circulation, reduce cellulite, improve self-tan application, prevent ingrown hairs, and allow for a closer shave, as well as rendering limbs silky smooth to touch. It's important not to overdo exfoliation [2-3 times a week at most], so the best scrubs will also offer up some intensive hydration benefits. A case in point, Dead Sea Spa Magik's formula is enriched with coconut oil and Vitamin E for nourishment and moisture. For best results, apply to the skin whilst dry before stepping into a hot bath - the salts will dissolve, making for a luxurious bathing experience.