My Summer essentials (as a brown girl who loves to tan).
It's that time of year again; the time when, for some unforeseen - yet totally explainable - reason, my skincare decides to give up on me. My usual faithfuls that manage to keep my combination skin in check decide to give in and surrender to my suddenly-feeling-very-generous oil supply as the Summer heat increases on a daily basis. So, if like me, you have 'confused' skin, and you like to tan (safely, obvs), you might want to check out my Summer essentials, and store those Winter faves in the back of the fridge for a few months...
My usual post-cleansing go-tos generally consist of an SPF, light skin cream, then foundation, but come this time of year, I turn everything on its head. Suddenly I find myself adding toning to my regime (more on my new fave from La Roche Posay coming soon) after cleansing, and instead of that light skin cream (more often than not Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate or A. Vogel Comfrey Cream), I have to switch things up, often juggling between Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser and a serum. Lately I'm hooked on DHC's Resveratrol Essence, a hydrating light serum that feels comforting enough on my skin without leaving me feeling greasy. The Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturiser is a product that I buy every Summer without fail. I find that I use it most right at the beginning of the warmer months, as my skin just cannot seem to catch up with the environment and its accompanying humidity, which often means I end up with way too many blemishes than I can handle. Knowing that this is an oil free product means I can use it beneath my foundation* without worrying about it sliding off later. *I've switched my foundation too - swapped my usual MAC Pro Longwear SPF10 for YSL's UH-MAZING Touche Eclat - review coming soon...
One thing I do all year round is exfoliate, and although I'm a pretty hardcore exfoliation devotee, of late I've switched to DHC's gentle Face Wash Powder. Labelled as a cleanser rather than exfoliant, it's very similar to the wildly popular (and rightly so) Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant; the only differences I can think of are the price point (DHC is cheaper) and the fact that the DHC one feels slightly more grainy. You use it in the same way as Dermalogica's Microfoliant; pour a teaspoon or so into your hand and add a drop of water so you can mix it into a creamy paste, then just rub all over in circular motions.
Finally, for days like today - when even getting out of the shower induces the sweats, and I happen to be working from home - I don't bother with moisturiser. Instead I keep my can of Avène Thermal Water close by and spritz when necessary. Because it evaporates there's no sludge factor, and it's great for when you want to allow your pores to breathe for the day.
Although I'll take time to be careful with the skin on my face; with my body it's an out and out war. I've been told (by the BF) that I have ridiculously soft skin, but that's because I put work in. Exfoliating is a must, as is daily body brushing (ep, I know it's meant to be great for cellulite but it doesn't do a damn thing for mine!) and once skin has been scrubbed to the absolute max, I'm all about feeding it with moisture. In cooler months I adore Shea Butter Cottage's Unrefined Shea Butter, but right now it's all about going lighter, so I love Garnier's Intensive 7 Days Nourishing Lotion. I've loved the mango oil fragrance since the very first time I bought it, but its main benefit is the fact that it doesn't take forever to rub into my skin - nothing worse than jumping out of the shower and working up a sweat before you've even left the house!
For me, being a yellow-y mixed race girl, I always like to 'enhance' my skin tone, whatever the season, but once Summer comes, I can't resist the more shimmery bronzing products. As you might be able to see in the above image, I am very fond of The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil (good alternative to the lovely but slightly more expensive Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or), but lately I rather like Hawaiian Tropic's Body Gloss - it's more moisturising and rather than depositing colour it's more about an amazing fine shimmer. If you love to smell as good as you look, and you're more of a golden, rather than bronze, kind of girl, you will LOVE Soleil des Iles' Non Greasy Glittering Oil. The addition of monoi oil makes it the perfect exotic fragrance to layer over your favourite scent - trust me, you will get sniffed. This 20 year old brand is all about taking the best from nature and turning it into an extensive range of skincare, including tanning products. Last year the brand launched a tan accelerator aimed at darker skins - and although I haven't used mine yet (I'm saving it for my three weeks in Jamaica!) the scent is just as divine as the glitter oil. I've also bought the tanning oil with SPF15, for use once I've got my base tan down. Either way, whether you're European with olive skin or a brown girl, I guarantee you will love this range and how it feels on your skin.
A product that your skin will love after a day in the sun is Hawaiian Tropic's After Sun Body Butter; with coconut oil, shea butter and avocado oil, it promises 12 hours of hydration and is so light it will benefit even the reddest of skins (even though I'm hoping you're wearing sunscreen today, and every day...). **ALERT** I've just seen that it's half price at Boots.com right now! £5.25...
Another must-have, especially if you're trying to go more natural when it comes to what you put onto your body, is the Crystal Spring Salt of The Earth Travel Natural Deodorant. It's the perfect size to pack in your gym/beach bag and is vegetarian/vegan friendly and isn't tested on animals. I have to admit, I'm way more of a fragranced deodorant kind of person, but after stealing this from my boyfriend, I can definitely see the benefits; one being that it doesn't leave any white marks.
Last, but definitely not least, I'm all about SPF. I'm tired of hearing black and mixed women giving that excuse of how 'we don't need SPF': skin cancer does not discriminate. Wear SPF, protect your skin and your life. End of. For my holiday I'll be taking a few bottles of Boots Soltan Moisturising Suncare Lotion SPF30, to use over the first week as I develop a base tan. Not pictured here are the Boots Soltan Once Face Moisturising Suncare Cream SPF30 and the Boots Soltan BB Face Cream SPF50 - both of which I regularly purchase and rely on massively to keep my face - hopefully - wrinkle-free.
What are your must-have Summer buys? I'd love to read your recommendations!
Features PR samples unless stated otherwise.