4 Easy Summer Body Hacks

4 Easy Summer Body Hacks
It’s so easy to neglect the skin on our body. Especially when it’s hidden under ankle-skimming, wrist-reaching garments for 80% of the year. So, when the British sun does begin to blare, or an impromptu holiday is booked, we rejoice, then panic. Why? Because under all that fabric, our body is covered with hints of year-round body neglect. We’re talking flakey calves, rough elbows, bacne (that’s back acne), and - for some of us - an unshakable fear of looking ‘pasty’. Now, we know these aren’t serious issues, but when a lack of confidence in our own skin prevents us from showing off our bodily assets, we say it’s worth doing something about that. As Tan-Luxe founder Marc Elrick puts it,“Your skin is the body’s largest organ – and yet we invest so much on only one tiny patch of it. It’s so important to show the same love to all our skin.” But nine times out of ten, we’re in a hurry.

That’s where our overnight body saviours come in - a stash of instant exfoliators, body moisturisers and fast-working self-tans that we reach for to re-boost our confidence when baring a bit of flesh. Do these products act more as a cover up than a true problem solver? Absolutely. Would adding regular body exfoliation, hydration and protection into our weekly routine give us better results? No doubt about it. But when you’re against the clock and warmer days are already here, these four hacks are certain to get you summer ready in no time.

Want to level up on your commitment to summer-ready skin? Adopt this four-step trick weekly, and we mean every week (yes, even on the rainiest of days) and trust us - you’ll be longing for a chance to get those limbs out.

1. Scrub scrub scrub

An exfoliator acts as an instant glow booster, and who doesn’t want that? They work by lifting away dead cells from the surface, “retexturising by exfoliating the top layer of the skin to make way for new cells,” says tanning artist to the A-listers, Amanda Harrington. It’s also an essential step for anyone looking to reap the benefits of their body moisturiser, and ensure an even tan application. “The absorption of any product onto the skin will be much smoother and more perfecting,” Amanda explains. [copy]Influencer, and co-founder of tanning brand Isle of Paradise, Jules Von Hep reiterates the importance of exfoliating before reaching for any sunless tanning products. “Ensure skin is exfoliated with a dry brush or scrub. This means your skin will have an even surface, so the final result will be even and, more importantly, it will fade evenly like a natural tan would,” he advises. Of course, there are other exfoliators we can consider. This is where the battle of chemical vs. physical comes in.

While Jules favours a physical scrub to prepare skin for tanning, Amanda suggests something gentler. “I prefer chemical exfoliators,” she tells us. “A glycolic body exfoliator can be super fast acting, speeding up the process of exfoliation and lifting off dead skin cells,” Harrington says, while “physical scrubs can be scratchy and actually damage the surface of the skin if you are too rigorous!” Any areas we should be focussing on? “I see from tanning my clients that more attention should be paid to the bottom half of the legs which are normally drier than we think. Also, our feet, knees, arms and the backs of the arms, hands and elbows.” Amanda advises. Ready to get exfoliating? These are the ones to try.

2. Quench thirsty skin

“Once you have exfoliated it’s essential you put back the moisture into the skin to plump it up and give it a sheen,” says Amanda. “Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! It’s the key to healthy, hydrated skin,” adds Marc. For truly summer-ready skin however, Amanda’s top tip is to hydrate the skin with a nourishing body moisturiser and sleep in it. If you have very dry or dehydrated skin I would actually do this for two days in a row.

Her one warning when moisturising? “If you are sunless tanning as the next step then I advise an oil and alcohol free moisturiser that has a high percentage of aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.” Von Hep also warns against oils before tanning, and suggests aloe as your hydrating alternative. Oils “act as a barrier to the tan’s penetration,” he warns. That said, “dry areas such as hands, cuticles, elbows, knees, feet, heels and any areas with psoriasis or eczema will absorb self-tan more than the other areas,” he explains.

This is where the aloe vera moisturiser comes in. “Adding an aloe vera based moisturiser will act as a blending agent, helping the tan not to go too dark in these areas and help blend the colour in with the rest of your application,” Jules advises. Here are some body moisturisers we’re loving right now.

3. Turn to tan

For those with fair skin, applying a tanning product is arguably the most transformative step as we head into summer. So, can we go straight in with our sunless tan and skip all that exfoliating, and hydrating nonsense? This is actually Amanda’s biggest no no. “Don’t try to apply a tanning product or even something as light level as a gradual tan to un prepped skin which has been hiding in clothes all winter,” she tells us. Jules agrees: “The trick to a truly flawless glow is all in the prep. Shave or wax at least 24 hours prior to application, ensure skin is exfoliated, and remove any makeup and deodorant prior to application. Also, avoid using retinol or AHAs at least 24 hours before and after applying self-tan.”

It’s then time to choose the best self-tan for you (mousse, serum, mist or even tanning water are just a few of the options available), but for those tanning first-timers, we recommend a gradual tan. “These formulas work with a lower percentage DHA, so you can apply regularly for a hydrated glow that builds over time, as opposed to just one application,” Marc explains. “They’re great for first time tanners,” confirms Jules.

What’s Jules’ application advice? “Apply your gradual tan instead of your moisturiser – on average you will start to see colour over the course of three days. Once you have reached your desired shade, simply apply on alternate days to maintain your glow,” he says. Of course, tanning involves staining the skin, and in order to keep our tan in the right places, Jules has some tips. “Remember immediately after you have applied your tan to wipe your palms, in-between your fingers and buff your knuckles on a dry towel to remove excess so you have a beautiful seamless tan,” he tells us. “Feel free to set your tan using a translucent powder – inner elbows and decolletage will benefit from this in warmer climates.”

After you’ve applied your tan, spray your hair, not your skin, with fragrance. Find the whole waiting-for-your-tan-to-dry thing a bit of a faff? “Use a hairdryer on a cool setting to speed up the drying process of your tan,” Jules suggests. Wondering which tan to try? Here are a few of our favourites.

4. Keep skin shielded

All our steps so far are about improving the appearance, texture and quality, but when it comes to skin health, there’s one step we really can’t miss - sun protection. Even the tanning experts agree. “SPF is more important than self tan,” Jules admits. And he’s right. We can’t afford to risk skipping this essential step from our daily routine, especially during the spring and summer months. Why? “The factor in sun protection is what will protect your skin from sun damage and burning,” Caudalie education manager, Abigail Williams summarises.

What’s her key advice for choosing the best sunscreen for you? “Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and if you burn easily opt for a higher factor, ideally 30 or 50.” And from a cosmetic point of view, “having antioxidants in your sunscreen is a great bonus for extra protection and anti-wrinkle action,” Abigail tells us. But choosing your body SPF doesn’t have to be purely functional. Shimmers, oils and tinted SPF formulas are a great way to blur any imperfections and smooth the appearance of your skin while protecting it. Prioritise protection with these high-factor finds.

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Posted: Friday, 06 May 2022