I’ve never known a summer like it. We’re barely exiting July and we’ve had streak upon streak of ten-hour sun-saturated days and balmy nights. This week we’ve had severe weather warnings. My sun-starved limbs say bring it on, but… where does that leave beauty? My usual summer skin and make up routine are only a few notches up from spring but this summer, to combat sweat, grime, pollution and sun damage, there’s a whole arsenal of newness to try. Here’s what I’ve been using…
CLEANSERS I’ve been religiously double cleansing for the last three years and it’s honestly made all the difference. I’m a total convert to oils and balms for my first cleanse – L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Cleansing Balm with its immortelle flower oil formula is my current favourite balm. The new Chanel anti-pollution cleansing oil is next on my to-try list, using marine active ingredients to remove long-wearing and waterproof formulas as well as pollution and sunscreen. That’s quite a big claim but marine ingredients seem to love me so I’m already sold. Meanwhile, Muji’s oil cleanser is my latest bargain discovery. It’s made from plant-based oils, is ultra-gentle, fragrance-free and only £12.95 for 200ml. It’s right up there with more expensive Shu Uemura and DHC in terms of consistency and efficacy. For my nighttime second cleanse, I’ve been using 111Skin Exfolactic Cleanser, a mild, non-drying fruit acid exfoliator-cleanser that smells like fresh laundry. I’m all about speedy two-in-one products at the mo, especially at night when I just want to fall into bed!
SERUMS Not necessarily summer-specific but essential all the same, my three top serums at the moment are Dr Sebagh Serum Repair, Shiseido Ultimune Power-Infusing Concentrate and Natura Bisse Inhibit High Definition Serum. Shiseido’s is something of a cult classic, with a cocktail of plant-based anti-oxidant ingredients (gingko blob leaf extract, perilla and wild thyme) that reboot the cells in the skin’s top layer to strengthen it against pollution, stress and the elements. I love its light milky-gel texture; it spreads really easily, with one pump leaving you with juicy, dewy skin. (It’s just been reformulated so there’s a new improved version on counter here.) Natura Bisse Inhibit High Definition Serum has the perfect lightweight creamy consistency and contains a cocktail of line-smoothing ingredients including triple hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and copper and collagen peptides to counteract sagging. Yes it’s insanely expensive (it’s actually pitched as a Botox alternative). Mine was sent by a PR with these accompanying patches which I’m looking forward to trying on my ‘elevens’ since I’m never going to let needles anywhere near my face!
Those are my nighttime serums, but for day I’m using the Dr Sebagh. This hyaluronic acid serum has a thicker viscous gel texture and you only need two pipette drops. I don’t love the sticky texture but I love the instantly hydrating results. Hyaluronic acid has become something of a super-ingredient over the last couple of years for its moisture-retaining properties. If Dr Sebagh is beyond your price range, this new Garden of Wisdom Hyaluronic acid serum (£9) comes highly recommended by British Beauty Blogger.
SELF-TAN I can’t say I’ve ever dabbled with self-tan. All that exfoliating faff and fear of streaking, orange palms and eau de biscuit have never appealed. But this seems to be the year of the tanning drop. Tan Luxe Self-Tan Drops (£39 for 30ml) caught my eye for the sheer beauty of its packaging, and then I got sent the Dr Sebagh Self Tanning Drops (£35 for 20ml) to try and I’ve never looked back. You add one or two drops to your serum or moisturiser and just apply as usual. I make sure to blend well into the hairline, ears and neck but it’s super subtle and develops over a few hours. Expect to see lots of affordable variations popping up soon.
SUN PROTECTION We wrote about the new generation of SPF for darker skin tones a few months ago on The Beauty Conversation (subscribe to our monthly e-letter here) and I’ve been loving the new Institut Esthederm Adaptasun Protective Silky Body Mist (£39 for 150ml) for fast, almost-invisible application. Its unique formula protects against damaging light and pollution while allowing for an even tan. Admittedly, spraying does mean you waste a bit, so I sometimes spray it into my hand and then apply. More affordable is Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Clear Protect factor 30 spray (£6 on Amazon) a clear spray that gives a well-distributed mist. Mr DRG (a light-skinned redhead) swears by this. I’ve also been impressed with the new Estée Lauder Double Wear Flawless Hydrating Primer with SPF 45 and anti-pollution protection. I use this under foundation during the day (it rubs in quickly without leaving a white cast) and add some to the backs of my hands as well.
FOUNDATION As the weeks roll by, I’m wearing less. But for events if there are cameras around (and these days there are Instagram cameras everywhere), then medium coverage is a no brainer. Estee Lauder has just launched its new summerweight Double Wear Light foundation (with SPF 10). I wore it from 12pm launch to midnight and was impressed with its staying power. Side note: in August Estee Lauder will add 10 new shades and undertones to its original Double Wear offer.
SHOWER GEL Korres Santoniri Vine (£8) is the one and only shower gel I’m using right now (and in the interest of water conservation, here’s how to keep those showers short and sweet). It’s zingy, fruity and energising and will mentally transport you from Monday morning fug to Mediterranean beach bliss on first sniff.
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Josh Olins/Vogue
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