I tend to find that during the Summer months I strip back a little on consumerism, buying things for the sake of it (because it’s cold and shops are warm…) and focus on taking things back to basics. Simultaneously, new products – namely those with an SPF or the ability to make me feel less like a lizard when basking in the sunshine – worm their way into my daily routine. I tend to wear less and less make up, go au natural with my hair and let freckles and beach waves do their thing. That’s the romantic dream anyway, in reality I still need a bit of coverage and anything that tames the Monica-frizz becomes my new best pal. I still haven’t quite got my head around the fact that we’ve had 6 weeks of uninterrupted sunshine in the UK yet but I’m hoping it’s here to stay for…errr…ever(?) and here are the things I’ve been loving in this heat.
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue
I’ve tried lots of tinted SPFs but this one takes the crown. The formula doesn’t smell at all like suncream and yet it’s a nifty factor 50 and the texture is more like a soft, matte gel cream than an uber runny liquid that you just know will be running down your neck and onto the Victoria line within twenty minutes. It comes in 16 different shades (unlike a lot of tinted SPF BB creams that just do a ‘light’, ‘medium’ and ‘dark’, whatever that’s supposed to mean) and at £28 a bottle is definitely mid-priced on the market but worth every penny. A little goes along way!
Garnier UV Water
I hate sun cream. I know the importance of wearing it, but I cannot stand the greasy, smelly, sticky formulas. When I first saw the Garnier UV Water in Boots I was pretty sceptical and I kept walking. Then they kindly sent me some and I take back all my initial judgements because it is the nicest body SPF I’ve ever used, and all my friends agree. It’s just like using one of those posh cooling mists, but it’s got a 3 star UV rating and goes up to SPF 30.
‘Cool Girl’ Texture Spray by Sam McKnight
This is officially my desert island haircare product. If I could only buy one haircare item for the rest of my life (shampoo aside) it would be this. My hair is very thick but fine textured and naturally very straight and it tends to go quite heavy and limp in the summer. Enter Cool Girl. Whether I’ve curled my hair or I’m leaving it natural a quick spritz of this through the roots and a jolly good ‘jujzz’ (technical term) and I’m good to go. It also makes waves stay without using heavy hairsprays and doesn’t make my hair feel sticky and coarse after a few hours like lots of texture sprays do. It’s not cheap at £25 a bottle but it is ACE.
Buy it here.
Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish
When I first got my hands on Fresh’s brown sugar body scrub, I worked my way through a 400g pot in a week. A WEEK. I then realised I’d end up spending more on body scrub than rent and cut back a little, but that’s how good it is. It’s perfect for scrubbing away dry summer skin and flakey fake tan and prepping your body for a spot of sunbathing. It also smells good enough to eat; in fact when I popped into Fresh to test out their complimentary treatments I did eat it. It’s not cheap – so don’t use a tub a week – but it is the best scrub I’ve tried thus far.
Buy it here.
Cara Hunter Novels
I read ‘Close to Home’, the first in Hunter’s series as D.I Fawley in forty eight hours after being passed it as a recommendation. I’ve since given it to my friend Emily who read the entire thing in a single plane journey from Spain to London. It’s not often a thriller keeps me guessing right up until the final chapter. The book is pacey, unpredictable and gripping without having to use the suspect ‘whodunnit’ literary devices. I haven’t started the second – ‘In The the Dark’ – yet but it only came out a few days ago and you betcha I am very excited. Perfect for the pool, your commute or…uhm, anywhere…Just read it!
L’Occitane Almond Delightful Body Balm
One of the things in life that I wish I was better at is moisturising my body. Ground-breaking goals right there! It’s boring, I’m lazy and as a result every Summer I wonder if I may actually be part lizard. The L’Occitane Amande balm is the first product I’ve used that has actually been really pleasant to apply. It blends in quickly and easily and I don’t have to spend 65 hours waiting for it to dry before getting dressed. It also smells like Disaronno, so that’s got to be a winner. My only frustration is that they don’t sell it in bigger tubs.
Buy it here.
Caudalie Grape Water
This is one of those posh cooling mists I was talking about. A very indulgent and unnecessary product but a total saviour when you’re out and about sweating like a swamp donkey in the heat. A little spritz goes a long way and it’s incredibly refreshing. It’s small and light enough to be handbag friendly and it really wakes me up when I’ve got a mid-afternoon humidity slump on.
Buy it here.
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
This is like Wonderglow (one of my all time favourites) sassy big sister. The wand makes for super easy application and it offers a light coverage that allows freckles and the like to show through, but creates a really dewy, glowing summer complexion. This and the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue have been the only form of coverage I’ve been using and they pair together wonderfully. I wear shade 3 ‘light/medium’.
Buy it here.
IGK Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Leave-in Conditioner
If I get to take two haircare products to my desert island, then this comes in at a close second. I’ve never really believed in leave-in conditioners, fearing that they’d make my thick hair greasy and heavy and well…like I hadn’t washed out my conditioner. IGK Coconut Milk is nothing like that. It’s a light mist spray that I now use religiously on wet hair that keeps it fresh, sleek and detangled and it has UV protection. It also smells divine and basically makes me feel like I’ve got my post-shower shit together.
Buy it here.
Tanya Whitebits Self-tanning Mousse
I’m a total fake tan junkie. Being bronzed and having that summer glow year round makes me feel more confident in myself and over the last year or so I’ve tried a lot of great brands. Tanya Whitebits – yes, it took me an embarrassingly long time to get the pun, rather than thinking it’s owned by a woman called Tanya – is a homegrown business by a Mama from Wales. It’s also bloody good. I love supporting small businesses but often, particularly in the beauty sector, the products just can’t compete with the major names. Tanya Whitebits mousse is a similar formula to others you may love like the St Moriz or St Tropez mousse but it’s paraben free and – wait for it – IT DOESN’T STAIN BED SHEETS. Sold.
Buy it here.
This is a very new discovery in my household but we’re already hooked. Remedy kindly sent me some of their Kombucha – a sparkling live culture drink that’s good for your gut and very low on sugar – and it is officially the most refreshing summer drink I’ve tried. The Ginger & Lemon is definitely my favourite flavour but to be honest I couldn’t photograph it because I drank it all so quickly. Available in Wholefoods, Planet Organic! I’m off to stock up…
Lanolips Lemonaid and 101 Ointment
A really good lip balm is a summer essential – it’s not fair is it that we get dry lips in winter and when its hot?! – and I was recently introduced to Lanolips. The Lemonaid treatment uses lemon oil to nourish and exfoliate dry lip skin whilst the Strawberry 101 Ointment uses Vitamin E to soothe, heal and moisturise. It’s a multi-purpose balm (hence ‘101’ uses) that can help dry heels, cracked lips, sore cuticles, bites and more.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Targeted Sun Defense Stick SPF 50
Back onto the topic of non-gross sun protection, this Elizabeth Arden stick is really handy to pop in even the smallest of handbags (or festival bum bag!) and ticks all the non-greasy, non-smelly boxes. Actually, it smells really pleasantly like lemons! It’s so smooth and non-oily that I actually used it to do my friends parting at the weekend so her scalp wouldn’t burn. Perfect for your face, annoying straps and little places like feet and shoulders when you’re out and about.
Buy it here.
One of my favourite summer purchases, and FAQs in my Instagram DM’s, is my H&M bed linen. It’s affordable, comes in gorgeously vibrant (but not tacky or garish) prints and is super soft. I’m really fussy about bedding and this has passed all the tests. I own three sets which I pair with these bottom sheets from Amazon in contrasting pastel colours like blush pink and soft green.