SUMMER BODYCARE ESSENTIALS
Bigger, better, brighter: the regular, day-to-day items that are perennial staples at the sides of our bathtubs are propelled into summer with a seasonal remix. The usual, conventional suspects - shower gel, body lotion, perfume - are given a sunshine inspired twist, and are accompanied by seasonally specific essentials: self-tan and aftersun, SPF, iridescent body oils. For those who seek to redefine their purchases with the changes of the seasons, these products are your passport to summer.
Weekly full-body exfoliation is vital to maintaining those super smooth limbs we all covet when the season's sartorial trends call for arms and legs to be a little more 'on show'. Not only does it keep skin smooth and soft, but regular exfoliation aids a clean shave and flawless self-tan application, increases circulation, removes dead skin cells, and stimulates lymphatic drainage [which helps to remove toxins from the body]. Apply 10 minutes into your shower, when water and warmth has softened your skin and opened pores. Apply in small circular strokes, sweeping in the direction of the heart, and maintaining a gentle pressure, then follow up with a body oil for optimal absorption/hydration. For sensitive skin opt for a product with a finely ground consistency; the PRISMOLOGIE The Red Hour Body Scrub* makes use of finely-milled micro-crystals to gently but efficiently soften even the roughest patches of skin, whilst sugar beet and coconut extracts moisturise and soften - the perfect indulgence for instantly smoother limbs. A little more vigorous, but by no means aggressive, & OTHER STORIES Lemon Daydream Body Scrub* suspends exfoliating sugar particles within a thick and zesty scented gel that can be used in both bath and shower for instant refreshment.
Sun-protection is a perennial necessity that becomes paramount during the warmer seasons, and SPF is the cornerstone of any serious summer beauty regime [see here and here for the best face and body SPFs]. Apply a shot-glass sized amount at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and top up on a regular basis as well as immediately after water activity. Pay particular attention to oft-negected but over-exposed areas [back of the neck, tops of the ears] and ensure that they are given full coverage. Suncare in dry oil form is a welcome relief to those who prefer to avoid heavy lotions and extensive rubbing. CLARINS' Sun Care Oil Spray SPF30* is a lightweight and nourishing blend of plant extracts; ideal for sensitive skin, it provides UVA and UVB protection without the greasy feel left by most SPFs, and can even be used in hair. Expect limbs to feel satin smooth and boast a vibrant fragrance. Up the ante with a high factor cream specifically designed to be worn during vigorous physical activity. With the light, easily-absorbed formula of a luxury body lotion, the DERMALOGICA Protection Sport SPF50* sinks rapidly into the skin, leaving limbs scented with a delicate citrus aroma and protected from both UV light and environmental assault.
Unfortunately, no matter how thick we layer on the SPF, ending up something a little more than 'sun-kissed' is inevitable with prolonged sun exposure. Treat inflamed skin with a hefty dose of a soothing body gel such as AĒSOP's Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel* - a refreshing blend of aloe vera and witch hazel cools suffering skin and delivers grease-free hydration via a blend of softening essential oils [grapefruit, lemon, orange, and jasmine]. For a more affordable alternative, pick up the BANANA BOAT Aloe Vera Gel from Boots with change from a tenner - a price tag that allows for liberal application.
Hydration is key during the summer months, but switch up your rich creams and heavy balms for something a little more wearable. Summer and dehydration come arm in arm, so the aim is hydration rather than moisturisation - ensure that formulas are rich in natural hydrating ingredients and apply post-shower to lock in water. THE BODY SHOP's Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion is a delight to use on sun-ravaged skin; cooling and soothing, despite its lightweight formula it packs in some serious moisture and leaves skin infused with a sweet but subtle scent. For something notably more luxurious, invest in the ultimate luxe body treat; BYREDO's Bal d'Afrique Body Cream* boasts a luxuriously think and velvety texture, which despite its weight, absorbs easily and leaves skin feeling instantly softened. The heady aroma of marigold, violet, and amber is inspired by African culture and will send you to warm and distant climes in one sniff.
It requires a dedication that is not for everyone, but offers a virtuous alternative to [the time consuming ritual of] sunbathing. Apply with a mitt post-shower and exfoliation, in long sweeping movements; maintain with daily moisturisation. Those committed to an all-summer long tanning process will adore HE-SHI's Gold Foaming Mousse*. Perfect for beginners, the formula is light but buildable, resulting in a believably natural golden tan. Application is effortless; the tinted solution allows for you to see exactly where product has been applied, so simply sweep over exfoliated limbs with a dedicated tanning mitt for an instant injection of warmth that will last a good week. Not as long lasting, but ideal for last minute emergency application, the SOAP & GLORY Sunkissed Tint Body Lotion* suspends a streak-free tanning formula within the brand's bestselling Righteous Butter Body Lotion. The result is a sweetly-scented and instant [albeit temporary] tan that will wash out with your next shower. If faux tan isn't your thing, then amplify the bronzing effects of the sun's rays with THE ORGANIC PHARMACY's Tan Accelerator*, which increases melanin production and allows skin to achieve a deep tan with less sun exposure required.
Without a doubt, my personal scent of summer. As soon as the days grow longer and brighter then ACQUA DI PARMA Blu Mediterraneo Eau de Toilette steals the limelight on my dressing table. Juniper, crypus, sage, and pepper combine to a heady, masculine aroma - even in the dead of winter a sniff of this instantly transports me to sunnier climes, it smells like radiating heat. Those who prefer something a little more elegant and floral will adore RAMON MONEGAL L'Eau de Rose*. Described as a gender neutral take on rose, it avoids any of the traditional stereotypes of rose fragrance [essentially this is most definitely not an 'old-lady' scent]. Naturally, rising temperatures wage fragrance maintenance a necessity; in order to liberally mask unwanted body odours without resorting to cheap and detestable body sprays, opt for either the Q-AWE The Fine Fragrance Body Spray [cheap granted, but inherently un-detestable - this is a hidden gem in the aisles of Boots] or & OTHER STORIES' Fig Fiction Body Mist - ripe, green, fresh, and most importantly, lasting. Alternatively make use of a potently scented body lotion or oil to infuse limbs with a lasting fragrance that will be enhanced by the body's heat and linger well into the night.
The crowning glory of any post-beach pre-dinner beauty routine, and a bona fide finishing touch. Smooth a body oil over clean limbs in order to combine hydration with fragrance, and add a svelte finesse to bare arms and legs. For the ultimate glamour factor and an instant sun-kissed glow, opt for tinted formulas like the CLARINS Aftersun Shimmer Oil*. A weightless formula which allows you to cover every inch of your body in a film of gold and subtle iridescence, whilst softening and replenishing skin with nourishing hazelnut oil. For a goddess-like glow, opt for NARS Body Glow*. Rather than sitting on the surface of the skin like glitter, the particles instead seem to partially absorb into the skin, infusing it with a glimmering sheen and bronzed warmth. A little goes a long way, and it is multipurpose, so massage excess through the lengths of your hair for truly radiant locks. For a more grownup approach to body oil, ditch the glitter and instead slather on lashings of the incredibly potently scented ACQUA DI PARMA Italian Resort Toning Body Oil*. The same rich and vibrant scent as the Eau de Toilette, with the added bonus of an accompanying blend of hydrating and nourishing ingredients that impart a comforting velvety texture. Limbs will appear instantly smooth and radiant, and the scent lingers for hours.
Shower gel may be deemed a mundane daily necessity, its purchase dictated by price and special offer, but there's nothing like summer to inspire purchase of a seasonally scented rendition. Something about summer [its requisite heat, inevitable sweatiness, and the call for more frequent and efficient showering perhaps] inspires me to seek out the most punchy and vibrantly scented body washes. First up, PRISMOLOGIE Yellow Day Shower Gel*, if sunshine had a smell, it would be this; a potent blend of citrine and bergamot that is instantly refreshing and reviving. The formula is this and silky, and despite not containing any SLS, it foams exceptionally well. Following the dreaded scream of my alarm clock [and preceding strong black coffee], the next best thing to really wake me up is a shower starring the CARTHUSIA Aloe Body Wash*. Despite the fact that aloe vera doesn't really have much of a smell, this is one of the most strongly and sharply scented body washes I have ever used. In scent, it is every bit as bright and bold as its colour, and the formula is intensely hydrating, i.e. summer perfect. A more affordable but infantile as luxurious option is revealed in the form of KORRES' Basil & Lemon Shower Gel. I've long been a fan of its fig counterpart, but the bail and lemon combination smells like the promise of bright summer mornings - zesty, spicy, and fresh.
What are your summer body care essentials?