How to melt-proof your entire beauty routine for summer
We’ll be the first to admit that in a well-intended effort to perfect ourselves, we might have overdone it. Think over-the-top exfoliation, rigorous in-clinic treatments, handfuls of hair products and running our systems dry with exhausting sweat sessions. Spring, of course, is the time of year when many of us dial things up in pursuit of an elusive summer body goal, but the new way to forge towards the warmer months is with a gentler approach to top-to-toe regimens. This doesn’t mean neglecting good intentions, though. In fact, a feel-good objective will see you through spring, summer and beyond.
“Cleansing is the foundation of any good skincare regimen,” says facialist and official skincare expert for Chanel Australia, Melanie Grant, who recommends changing cleansers seasonally, depending on your skin’s needs. “In warmer weather, a cleansing water, mildly foaming cleanser or gel cleanser is ideal,” explains Grant. “For winter, lipid-rich formulations are preferred – those that are oil- or milk-based are my preference.”
Typically, we’re told cleansing is to sweep away make-up and impurities, and while that still rings true, the newest formulas do more than simply strip the skin. Chanel has launched Sublimage The Cleansing Collection, a personalised wardrobe of four cleansers for every skin type, which work double-duty to cleanse and nourish. There’s an exfoliating gel, a foaming soap, a gentle water and an oil emulsion, which simultaneously sweep away make-up and prep skin for serums and moisturisers.
Just don’t expect that ultra-tight feeling you might have experienced with less innovative formulas. That squeaky-clean sensation might be addictive, but it’s likely the result of either a harsh formula or overzealous application. “No-one needs to cleanse more than twice per day – it’s a common mistake among those of us with oily or congested skin,” cautions Grant. “Stripping the skin of oils and lipids can lead to excess oil production, dryness and congestion.”
While you were sleeping
When it comes to our complexion, there is a lot we can do with our eyes closed. While the benefits of sleep are well documented, a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine also found that facial signs of poor sleep – sallow skin, deeper wrinkles, a pale complexion and droopy mouth – have a negative impact on our interaction with people around us. Put simply: when you’re walking around in a zombie-like state, others will notice.
Aiming for the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep is paramount for skin (and the rest of our system) to shift the body into repair mode, boost cell turnover and replenish hydration stores. The products you apply at night can supercharge this process. Sisley’s Velvet Sleeping Mask transforms tired skin and is loaded with active ingredients to protect the skin’s barrier function. Apply the product liberally before bedtime (the best time to absorb is overnight) then get your beauty sleep.
You’re probably diligent with facial skincare, but pre-summer it pays to apply the same level of dedication to skin from the neck down. Thankfully, recent advances have seen the best brands take the mainstays of our face creams and serums – intense hydration, protection, active ingredients – and apply them to products for other areas of the body. Chantecaille, for example, has launched Retinol Body Treatment with a sun-safe formulation to improve overall texture, nix hyperpigmentation (yes, it exists on our body as well), and target pesky ingrown hairs. If it’s an instant boost you’re after, reach for Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Illuminator, which helps disguise blemishes and delivers a subtle sheen to rival the best highlighters in your beauty bag.
When it comes to product build-up between hair washes, it’s easy to blame dry shampoo, but that’s not the only culprit. External aggressors like pollution and hard water, as well as a raft of other daily formulas – heat-protecting sprays, styling elixirs and oils – linger on the scalp, leading to irritation and lank locks. That’s where clarifying shampoos come in. “This type of shampoo takes your strands back to a natural state so you have a clean base again,” explains international hair stylist Anthony Nader.
Washing your hair every other day is more a ‘surface refresh’ than a deep clean. Depending on your hair type, a weekly clarifying shampoo (or monthly, if your strands are naturally dry) sweeps away build-up, restores shine and reinstates bounce. Italian hair company Davines has released Solu Shampoo, which is spiked with nourishing buckwheat extract. Laura Luciani, the brand’s international scientific communications manager, says: “It’s the perfect product to use before technical services such as perms and relaxers – services that require a shampoo prior to application. Or in the case of a scalp that’s extremely dirty due to pollution and dust.”
Bear in mind, though, that it’s possible to overdo it. If you have brittle or coloured hair, follow this up with a nourishing mask (we love Blondi Beach Repair Mask) to top up hydration. “Less is definitely more,” warns Nader. “If you clarify your strands too much, you’ll end up doing more damage.”
There’s a reason elite athletes adhere to rest days: taking time out to recover from workouts helps build muscle and wards off injury.
“Our muscles are created with hair-line fibres that can sustain micro-tears when exercised at a certain intensity,” says fitness expert Ricardo Riskalla. “The body very wisely sends more blood filled with nutrients to areas that need repair and this process is only done with rest.” If you’re a HIIT (high intensity interval training) devotee, that means you need to take at least two days off a week. Better still, swap a few intense sweat sessions for pilates, yoga or barre classes, which are kinder to muscles and joints.
“The main benefits of yoga for the inner body come from the calming effects that the practice has on your body and mind,” says Tahl Rinsky, yoga expert for Chris Hemsworth’s fitness app, Centr. “When you learn how to relax, everything functions at a higher level.”
Adequate recovery and changing your routine curbs boredom, says Riskalla, which helps you commit to long-term fitness goals. “In my experience, people who take days off are more successful in the long run in terms of being persistent and sticking to an exercise routine.”
This article originally appeared in Vogue Australia’s November 2019 issue.