The sun always comes as a shock to us Brits, so it's wise to prep it as much as possible before you go away. This is the slackers guide to sunning it.
Brits don't cope well with the sun. We don't. It's a painful fact, but the sooner we accept it, the happier we'll all be. We live in a cold climate and spend much of our lives hidden away in offices - our only source of light from fluorescent bulbs; our only source of heat, a radiator. I don't know about you lot, but the thought of exposing my poor little body, so cozily tucked away for much of the year in tights and cardigans, is a daunting one. WAAAAAHHHH.
As such, many of us have a little panic when it comes to prepping for our hols. This happened to a buddy of mine, who today I have been coaching in the fine art of Glamazonia. By Glamazonia I don't mean wearing a full face of makeup by the pool. Fack off mate. I'm talking about helping your skin glow and your hair shine, and all with minimal fuss. Here are a few tips and hints that may have slipped your mind.
MOISTURISE - For the fortnight before your departure date, every time you shower, before you go to bed: moisturise. A little rub of Johnson's Holiday Skin won't cut it either. I'm talking heavy duty.
The two products I swear by for soft skin are super cheap and available at most chemists: Palmer's cocoa butter oil and Vaseline cocoa butter cream. You can layer them up or use one in the morning and one at night. The Vaseline cream is also amazing at rehydrating your skin after a day in the sun - with a little discipline and perseverance you should barely peel.
Obviously if you've been in the sun all day, no matter how careful you are, your skin will LOVE you if you treat it to a little dose of Aloe Vera. Now I have been burnt many, many times (learned the hard way, innit) and the standout, best product I have ever used is Malibu's Aloe Vera gel. Pure Aloe Vera in cooling, soothing gel form. Wonderful.
EXFOLIATE - I can't stress this enough. Use a big, chunky, grainy exfoliator like L'Oreal Exfotonic which also contains skin softeners (available at Superdrug, Boots etc - in a green tube); but nothing as harsh as St Ives Apricot scrub (which lots of people make the mistake of using). This combined with daily rich moisturising will make your skin feel amazing, and will be totally fresh and hydrated for your hols.
It's important to keep exfoliating while you're away, even though it's tempting not to in order to build up a tan - in the long run your tanning results will be much more even and you will have a lovely long-lasting base. While on holiday I like to buy some cheap local rough grain salt and use that with my shower gel as an exfoliator instead of a cosmetic exfoliator. Makes me feel like a natural woman.
BLEACHING - Unless you have naturally black or very dark brunette hair, chances are your locks will lighten up in the sun. This is something I totally encourage. A few natural sun-kissed highlights will make you look like a total mega babe.
For gorgeous, golden Rapunzel-like locks I suggest using lemon juice.
There's really no need to be wary of doing this. It's totally natural and merely speeds up the bleaching process that happens in the sun anyway, in much the same way that salt water will also lighten your hair. Really, compared to spending a day in London's polluted atmosphere adding some lemon juice to your hair will cause minimal damage.
Find your sunbathing spot, squeeze in lemon juice and comb it through the hair. Forget about it and go about your day (your hair will be crunchy and gross though - but good for working a slicked back lezza / Hurts look). Wash as normal in the evening. It's unlikely that you'll need to top up during the day unless you're swimming, but if needs be add an extra squeeze whenever you feel like it. If you are at the beach, maybe collect a bottle of salt water to douse your hair in - this will also speed up the lightening process.
HAIR - don't get carried away with fancy products, you will in fact want as little fuss as possible. You know how you can get little mini travel bottles? Get Johnson's Baby No More Tears (which is actually a wonderful, gentle shampoo and totally not just for kids!) and Palmer's now do an amazing coconut oil conditioner which is really hydrating and perfect for soothing frazzled holiday hair. These two products really surprised me - I picked them up last minute in an airport departure lounge and they are easily as good as the Bumble & Bumble products I usually use. You can pick up the travel miniature versions for like £1.
Take a chic little alice band and a loose butterfly clip to keep it all up and off your face during the day. Perfect!
TANNING - don't listen to my advice here because you are almost certainly far more sensible than me. However! Do treat yourself to a really good facial sunblock (try going to Sally's hair and beauty and splashing out on something called Heliocare 50+ which is a light, non-greasy gel. It's pricey, but your skin is worth it), if you're swimming and splashing about - and let's face it, sweating - use a kids one. Don't go any lower than factor 50 on your face. Not only will you end up looking like a leather handbag, but you will get the dreaded FRECKLES ahhhhhh!
Personally I don't like wearing fake tan on holiday; the beauty industry disagrees with me, but I genuinely believe it prevents you from tanning properly. I think better to spend a few days looking like a pasty plucked chicken. But I guess it's the same rules as above: Moisturise, exfoliate, apply in fine layers - oh and be prepared for it to be bleached off by the chlorine in the swimming pool. Recommended products: Xentan, Fake Bake and L'Oreal.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES - I'll keep this short and sweet: Get a pedicure, get a bikini wax. Yes, yes, I know - you're a strong, confident woman, you don't need to look good for no man. Well actually, it isn't about that at all. It's about doing something nice for yourself, giving yourself a little treat because you bloody well can and you deserve it. Anything that gives you a boost and helps you to feel gorgeous can be no bad thing. Also, with the bikini wax? There's nothing worse than feeling self conscious, so at least this way you don't have to think about whether or not your furry friends are popping out to say hey to the beach.
I THINK THAT'S IT GALS??
If I've missed anything glaringly obvious please feel free to post in the comments below and let me know what a div I am.
Follow Hannah Moff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hannah_moff