August 18th 2020
The 27 most useful beauty buys for summer
July 1st 2020 / 0 comment
Overhaul your beauty stash with our pick of warm-weather makeup, body care and hair essentials
Believe it or not, July is upon us (we have no idea how that happened either), and with the summer in full swing we've given our beauty bags a hot-weather makeover. Gone are rich creams and thick cleansers in favour of lightweight gels and easily absorbed moisturisers. For hair we're reaching for sprays to prevent colour fade and texturisers that leave our locks flowing not crispy. Here's our edit of summer beauty essentials worth knowing about.
For non-chalky SPF
Suitable even for sensitive skin, Dermalogica’s latest launch is ultra-sheer and blends into all skin tones thanks to the lack of white chalky residue, making it suitable for darker skins. It fuses zinc oxide to protect skin from UVA/UVB and blue light with a bio-active mushroom complex which soothes skin and reduces UV induced redness and dryness. It's a physical sunscreen(non-nano zinc oxide) that sits on the surface of the skin and bounces rays off, but has the light and blendable texture of a chemical cream.
For hair that won't fade
Michael Van Clarke LifeSaver UV, £19.50 for 500ml
This spray styles, treats and protects coloured hair from UV protection all in one formula. It makes hair feel thicker, smoother, softer and stronger - what more could you want? Plus, it's silicone-free and doesn't weigh down fine hair. Spray on for frizz-free beach waves even if you're nowhere near the beach.
For skin refreshment
Eve Lom Radiance Face Mist, £38 for 48ml
There's nothing like a burst of face mist to refresh you on a hot summer day, be it at your desk, on your commute or post-workout. This hydrates the skin as well as creating a protective veil over the complexion.
For ultra-soft skin
The Body Shop Zesty Lemon Body Scrub, £16 for 250ml
As much as we love coconutty, sweet smells, sometimes you just want a refreshing zingy scent to really wake up in the shower and this certainly does that. It gently smooths, softens and scrubs the skin and is made from lumpy lemons that otherwise would have been wasted.
For a healthy glow
Tan Luxe Super Glow SPF 30, £39 for 30ml
Known for creating the creme de la creme of tanning drops, Tan Luxe just launched this new addition to the collection, a gradual self-tanning serum that also has SPF30 in the mix as well as hyaluronic acid to quench thirsty skin. Hydrated and tanned? We're sold!
For preventing bites
Avon Skin So Soft Original Dry Oil Spray, £3.50 for 150ml
This is our go-to dry oil when we want to get ready in super-quick time. It's infused with jojoba seed oil for extra moisture and it's a great quick fix in the mornings. It's a summer essential because it's an unofficial insect repellent thanks to citronella in the ingredients list - read our full Avon Skin So Soft review for all the details.
For flipflop ready feet
Sure, you look a bit funny with these booties strapped to your feet but who's laughing ten days later, when you're got baby soft feet that look like they've never spent hours in painful shoes or on long walks? The intermediate days are a bit traumatic (yet satisfying) as all the old skin flakes off to reveal your new trotters beneath but it's more than worth it for sandal-perfect feet.
For nighttime shimmer
Bali Body Highlighter Stick, £25.95
For a sun-kissed glow even with the sun is nowhere to be seen, reach for this creamy, ultra-reflective stick highlighter. It's easy to blend and picks up the perfect shimmer when the sun catches you. Available in three different shades to suit different skin tones, this is the perfect addition to summer-night ensemble, plus the doe-foot applicator makes it simple to apply even for makeup novices.
For a good night of sleep
We know this is pricey for an eye mask, but for us it’s as essential for beauty sleep as a good night cream. It’s gloriously weighty, which we find really calming and it’s large enough to block out most of the light. When you’re staying with friends in a room that has only flimsy curtains (experience talking) you’ll be grateful, likewise, when you’re caught wandering to the bathroom with it on your head, it won’t put you to shame. It won’t dry your eyes as cotton does or give you a creasy face. It also holds its shape really well - we’ve been through many silk masks that scrunch up after only a few weeks.
For long-lasting eyeshadow
We'd recommend this eyeshadow primer all year round, but it’s really summer when it proves its worth by making sure your eye makeup doesn’t end up halfway down your face come lunchtime. It's the ultimate base for eyeshadow. If you’re oily, sweaty, hooded of eye or generally just prone to smudging, it’s the best £11 you’ll ever spend. It lasts for ages in more ways than one, too - we've used ours daily for over six months and it’s still going.
The Wet Brush, £11.99
Summertime generally = knots season. Ease birds’ nests out of wet hair with this purpose-designed brush - the bristles are flexible yet effective, with a soft tip to go easy on the scalp while stimulating circulation for healthier skin and hair. It can, of course, be used to smooth over dry hair too.
For blissful bedtime
Summer isn't the easiest time to sleep well; not only is the sun coming up when it feels like it only just went down, it's hot and you can't help but feel fomo when it's still light out when you're bedding down at 10pm. Make bedtime that bit more appealing with a spritz of this luxe pillow spray - you'll find yourself nodding off quicker than ever and might even start looking forward to bedtime.
For soothing skin post sunbathing
Working gently to cleanse and remove all traces of sunscreen, salt, sand and chlorine, this gentle oil-based After Sun Shower Gel also helps to moisturise and prolong your tan too. With its summery smell it leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated. Whether you've caught too much sun and need a little soothing moisture or just need a good post-beach clean up, this is the ideal shower bag essential to have to hand.
For non-crispy beach waves
Hairstory Undressed Texturising Spray, £42 for 236ml
For undone beach-bum waves, this non-crispy spray is a must-try. It gives mermaid-worthy hair without any of the crunch (or resulting tangles often caused by texture). Your hair stays soft enough to run your hands through, without your waves being disrupted.
For body toning
We've all heard about firming body creams and body brushing to treat cellulite, but this comb is a much-more travel-friendly option (much less suitcase space, for one). Using this reinvigorates the body whilst stimulating your blood flow and your lymphatic system making it effective for zapping fat and treating cellulite.
For fruity self-tanning
St.Tropez Self Tan Watermelon Mousse, £24.80 for 200ml
We love trying out new self-tan formulas but tend to come back to mousse when we want a reliably golden hue. Watermelon has been cropping up in beauty formulas all over the place of late and in this tan watermelon extract not only gives the unmistakable scent but hydrates the skin for up to 24 hours. The formula promises a streak-free tan that fades evenly too.
For summer scent
Byredo Sundazed, £170 for 200ml
This is undeniably expensive, but we've managed to justify it due to the lack of flights we've been buying this summer. It smells like holidays, bottled up into the iconic Byredo vessels. It has top notes of Californian lemon and mandarin, heart notes of Arabian jasmine and neroli and base notes of musk and cotton candy for a truly carefree fragrance that instantly transports you back to childhood summers, wherever you spent them.
For banishing chub-rub
Smoovall Anti-Chafing Cream, £14.99 for 150ml
From a pure luxury buy to a totally practical purchase, this anti-chafing spray will banish the uncomfortable thigh rub that comes part and parcel for many of us come summer. Smoovall comes in a spray, making it hands-free for perfect top-ups throughout the day. The fine mist forms an invisible and breathable protective layer on your skin to prevent irritation.
For an enhanced tan
Vichy Idéal Soleil Solar Protective Water SPF30 Enhanced Tan, £14.25 for 200ml
With UVA and UVB protection this bi-phase spray (oil and water which you shake to combine) feels very nourishing on the skin. It has broad-spectrum SPF as well as beta carotene, an antioxidant and natural orange-red pigment, which adds a glowing undertone to the skin and helps to enhance the look of your tan. It’s made with 40 per cent Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water for extra hydration. The spray is clear as it goes on but the beta carotene glow builds up in the skin.
For lightweight moisture
Skin Proud Sorbet Burst Hyaluronic Acid Jelly Moisturiser, £13.99 for 50ml
In the summer months we favour a cooling jelly texture moisturiser rather than a rich cream and this year our pick of the refreshing jellys comes from millennial-focused brand Skin Proud. This lightweight locks in moisture for dewy, glowing skin thanks to hyaluronic acid while rose flower cools. Don't be put off by the name sorbet, this doesn't smell sweet at all, in fact that scent is almost undetectable.
For heatproof makeup
Urban Decay Chill Setting Spray, £26 for 118ml
A variation on Urban Decay’s classic ‘All Nighter’ setting spray, this not only prolongs and adds polish to your makeup, but also cools and hydrates, taking you from hot and bothered to dewy and serene in a spritz. As well as freezing makeup for up to 12 hours, this contains aloe vera to soothe parched and clammy skin and boasts time-release temperature control technology to actively ‘chill’ the skin’s surface.
For fuss-free hair removal
Waxing appointments aren't on the agenda at the moment, but this is the next best thing if you want to be hair free this summer. Far from the smelly hair removal creams you might remember, this is subtly scented and can be used on your undercarriage, bikini line and bum for a thorough hair removal job.
For a golden body
79 Lux Golden Oil, £68 for 100ml
This oil made by beauty and nutrition expert Karen Cummings-Palmer is a multivitamin for the skin. There are no ‘filler’ or carrier oils to make up the volume just the pure therapeutic dose goodness of marula, frankincense and rose oils. Combined, they improve elasticity, protect against environmental damage, heal, firm and calm inflammation. It's ultra-fine, which is exactly what you want in the hotter weather, plus it gives a hint of a golden glow to make limbs appear long and lean.
For a splash of colour
Created in collaboration with the queen of the nail industry Marian Newman, this popping pink can't help but bring a smile to our faces. It applies evenly and smoothly with just one coat giving good colour payoff, but two it when it's a real show-stopper. It's only in summer we feel we can get away with neon nails and we'll be wearing this right until the end of August.
For a blemish-free body
If you're guilty of sitting in your gym kit long after you've finished your cool-down stretches, you might have noticed breakouts in hard to reach areas such as your back caused by sweat and bacteria – not ideal when you want to wear backless dresses or strappy tops. Murad's new body spray is ideal for reaching hard to access areas thanks to a 360 degree nozzle that even works upside down. The formula includes salicylic acid to clear blemishes and prevent future one while allantoin and blue lotus extract help soothe and reduce redness.
For a bronzed face
Not only housed in exquisite packaging, this finely milled bronzing powder glides onto the skin for a satin feel and matte look that keeps you looking naturally sun-kissed - not a hint of shimmer.
For lightweight cleansing
Beauty Bay Super Jelly Cleaning Gel, £6.50 for 150ml
Most of the time we use a rich cleansing balm to work away our makeup, but the thick formulas just don't appeal when it's sweltering outside. In balmy climates a gel cleanser comes into its own and this budget buy is well worth a go. It's distinctly similar to Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser (texture, scent and how it works) at a pocketmoney-friendly price.