Bikini. Check! Thong sandals. Check! Project Bikini beach body. Check! If you've worked hard for your holiday body this year, don't let yourself or that expensive bikini down with poor grooming.
It can be incredibly daunting making the big reveal for the first time of the year, and a pre-holiday beauty overhaul can make all the difference between kaftan on or kaftan off when you hit the pool area.
I, for one, won't bare my usually pasty body without a good layer of self tan, although I think it's important not to get too carried away - too much and you can look like you've been covered in Creosote. Then there's the manicure and pedicure - even if you don't go to a salon, smoothing away those rhino hooves at home and painting your nails will instantly get you in the holiday mood.
Finally, de-fuzzing... whether you need a mower or a razor to smooth your shins, it's important you do it well - using a throwaway razor from the airport won't make for shorts-worthy pins. Read on for my ultimate guide to getting beach-body ready....
Tidying up the bikini line rather than being totally fuzz free is the order of the day. If you’re serious about hair removal and after something permanent then you can have your bikini line or underarms lasered, which is a lengthy process but worth it in the end. The You Clinic in Chiswick , London are specialists in laser hair removal and are unphased by any kind of fuzz.
If you’re not ready to say farewell to your follicles just yet then waxing is a good option as hair won’t grow back until after you’re back on British turf (although book your appointment at least three days before your holiday to avoid unslightly red bumps.)
Finally, the very fair may get away with just a bit of tidying up with a Gilette Venus ProSkin razor – the best, smoothest shave on the market.
Smoothly Does It
A lot can be said for exfoliating your skin pre-holiday. On face and body, this process removes unwanted dead skin cells, makes skin glow like a baby’s proverbial bottom and prepares skin for any SPF or self tan to absorb smoothly.
One of my favourites is Dea Sea Spa Magik Mud Mask , £7.70, which is gentle but effective enough to dissolve grime and dislodge dry skin cells, leaving skin bright and sparkling.
For the body, the Australian Organics Jojoba Oil Exfoliating Body Wash , £4.89 contains crushed walnut shell and softening jojoba oil to smooth and soften the whole body.
Nothing spoils a pair of chic summer sandals or pool slides faster than a pair of crack heels or a gnarly toenail. Male or female, everyone can benefit from a hoof overhaul pre-holiday. For the silkiest soles in London town, visit Margaret Dabbs’ foot clinic for a medi pedi, which will leave your feet unrecognisably smooth as a pebble and toe nails buffed like pink sea shells.
If you can’t make it there, I can highly recommend the Micro Pedi Hard , which has a buffer that whizzes at 30 rotations a second, making light work of even the roughest rhino feet. Follow up with This Works Perfect Heels Rescue Balm , £16, which transfoms cracked or hard skin instantly like no other. As for toenails, push cuticles back with an orange stick and file away hard edges.
Bronze Have More Fun
When it comes to a holiday I always go armed with a stash of self tan for topping up post a day at the beach. For years my fail-safe self tan has been St Tropez’s Every day Gradual Tan for the body in Medium / Dark , £14.50 which is streak-, orange- and stink-proof. My top tip: don’t be scared to go for the darker shade as the lighter one is barely visible; it creates a beautiful, smooth golden glow and won’t leave you too dark which can look ageing.
Dying for a holiday
One of my biggest secret holiday tip-offs is to have your lashes dyed pre holiday which can make an enormous difference especially if you are dark and saves the need for mascara. Having your eyebrows tinted also can make you look groomed and put together by the pool, even if you have no make-up on. The best place to go for top eyebrow threading is Blink who have pop up clinics in many stores around the UK.
If you really want to look the bomb on the beach then it’s essential you pack smart for your holiday. Top of the list is a great suncream to avoid unslightly burning on the first day which will leave you covering up in a t-shirt for the rest of the week. One of my top brands is good old Nivea Sun Moisturising Spray , £12 which has all the quality of top end suncreams at a fraction of the price. Those I know with highly sensitive skin however cant get enough of Ultrasun SPF 30 , £20 which is proven not to irritate even the most sun-sensitive skin types.
If you have children then the Nivea Sun Kids Pure and Sensitive Spray SPF 50 , £12, is unbeatable and has kept my two lily-white red-heads from burning for years.
For women like me who would rather die than go mascara-free, don’t leave Blighty without Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara , £10 in Black which will keep your lashes lovely come surf, sand or all-night parties. Just don’t forget you need waterproof mascara remover to take it off. Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye make-up remover dissolves even the most dramatic eye make-up in seconds.