After a mini getaway to sun-drenched Venice a couple weeks back, I was thrilled to return to London with a little colour to my usually pale (thanks overcast Britain!) limbs. Being an Aussie gal and a summer baby, I can’t get enough of everything this season brings: the long days and balmy nights, floral prints, beach hair, and the intoxicating scent of jasmine infusing the warm air. And palm trees. Give me palm trees in any shape or form and I'm a happy B.
But let's be real. I live in London, not Tahiti. So when halfway through June and dealing with highs of sub-20 degrees and STILL in cashmere (yep, it's true. Wearing my fave cashmere sweater as I write this), I get motivated about brighter, perkier days through shaking up my beauty routine.
I still get surprised when I am asked about my skin and how I keep it clear (no one believes me when I tell them I had cystic acne all over my cheeks a few years back!). While I’m a huge advocate of beauty from within (hello vitamin-C and antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies), what we put on our skin makes all the difference and, from a health perspective, is so important since up to 60% of our products are absorbed into our bloodstream in just 28 seconds! Scary.
I'll share with you THE secret weapons I use every day. Read on and discover the number one product that's missing from your beauty bag when it comes to flawless summer skin: think dewy, glowy and radiance all in one minus the bad stuff (parabens, talc, fragrance, colours etc.)
And when it comes to beauty, it's time to say hello to corals, pinks, neons, fuchsias and warm orangey-red tones. I'll tell you my favourite lip and nail products below...
Top 5 summer beauty essentials
1. RMS lip shine in 'Bloom' and 'Honest'
I first discovered RMS at Mecca when I was living in Sydney in 2014 and I was instantly HOOKED! While I’m not a big fan of lip glosses which are generally too sticky, short-lasting and end up all through your hair, there’s something so magical and special about these all-natural (and practically edible!) lip shines that creator, Rosie-Marie Swift has so wonderfully nailed. They’re the perfect combination of creaminess and colour, not too sheer but not too heavy and paint-like. Not too matte and not too shiny, just somewhere beautifully in between. This little pots of heaven are the perfect summer handbag staple which are perfect for topping up on the go, and you don’t have to worry about double dipping (or sharing with friends) since the coconut oil base is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial – win-win! While I have tried several shades in the range, I keep reaching for ‘Bloom’ which is a “sheer, youthful petal-pink with the most subtle hint of shimmer”. TIP: dab RMS Un Cover Up all over your lips first and then colour with Lavera soft lipliner in 03 red, finally gently dab Bloom on top for a creamy coral-red look. Bloomin’ gorgeous!
Available at Space NK and Mecca (for my Australian tribe).
2. Eyelash curler
Never underestimate the power of a good eyelash curler! This is my secret weapon for naturally curly and lifted lashes. In the day, I’ll often forego mascara and just do a couple pumps of my eyelash wand on each eye and the difference it makes is simply incredible. It’s especially awesome if you’re hitting the beach or the pool (which if you’re like me is pretty much most days in the summer!) and don’t want to end up looking like a panda. Not pretty. I’ve tried just about every gadget out there but my current fave is the cheap and cheerful Boots one which comes in at just 5 pounds. TIP: blast your eyelash wand with a warm-hot hairdryer for 5-10 seconds to boost your curl game. This also works a treat before applying mascara and is something my Mum taught me when I discovered the wonderful world of beauty in my teens. I’ve been religiously doing it ever since. Probably, also, because I’m terrible with falsies and have nor the patience or penchant for (spidery) lash extensions.
Available at www.boots.com.
3. Nail polish
It literally pains me all summer to see so many sun-kissed tootsies strapped into gorgeous sandals and stilettos, but without the crucial icing on the cake: a fresh coat of popsicle-hued lacquer. Judge me all you like but, to me, nothing says **undone** more than unpainted toe nails in the summer. It doesn’t even have to be a pedicure, per se. Just a DIY home-job (with a safe 5-free formula, of course) will do the trick. My toe nails are NEVER unpainted. Period. I just feel so unfeminine and unkempt without a pretty pop on colour on my feet. Having said that, I almost never get a manicure or shellac a) because I’m too impatient and, most importantly, b) I can’t bear the stench of those toxin-filled nail salons. However, I’ll change my toe colour every 2-4 weeks year-round and especially so in the summer when my footsies are on display.
From Venice to Lake Garda: the perfect pop of colour for summer days.
Gold metallic sandals by Jo Mercer.
My favourite natural nail polish brands are:
Zoya (apparently the world’s longest wearing natural nail polishes in 10-free formulas) in the shades: Aphrodite, Dacey, Dizie, Erza, Liza, Lola, Robbie, Sonja. But with over 300 hundred shades in the complete range, there are so many fabulous colours to choose from. I only hope you're not as indecisive as me!
Available from Whole Foods Market, Holland & Barrett (buy one, get one half price currently on offer!!) and at https://zoyapolish.co.uk.
Butter London Patent Shine 10X nail lacquer in the shades: Trout Pout, Flusher Blusher, Fruit Machine and Coming Up Roses.
Available at Butterlondon.com
Benecos Happy Nails in the shades: Hot Summer, Bubble Gum, Flamingo, Peach Sorbet and Ohlala. TIP: best on toes not fingers as it isn't the most chip-resistant formula. But the colours are worth it and last forever on toes.
Available at Pravera, Revital and various other health food stores.
Glossworks in Red Devil.
Available from Planet Organic.
The best of the best when it comes to natural nail polish...
4. Silk pillowcase
Technically not a beauty bag staple but, in my opinion, a beauty staple nonetheless. These luxurious linens are a little on the exy side, but once you go silk you can never go back to ordinary pillowcases. Well, at least in the summer. And sometimes we just have to treat ourselves because well…life is short and we spend a THIRD of our lives in bed. I bought my first 100% mulberry silk pillowcase when I was living in hot and humid Sydney a few years back (from Zjoosh) and have never looked back. There is something so decadent about slipping into bed and feeling the cooling, slinky embrace of your silk pillowcase against your face. It’s pure indulgence. But you may be wondering why linen falls into a beauty essential round up? Allow me. The fibers in silk pillowcases are much less absorbent than other fibers such as cotton or polyester which means more beauty lotions and potions on your skin and not in your pillow! And they create less friction (say goodbye to those dreaded face lines and creases the next morning!) – so that your skin instead will glide along the pillow and stay extra hydrated through the warmer months. Here’s to beauty sleep (I’m day dreaming of my pillow just writing this!).
Available at www.slipsilkpillowcase.co.uk/ and www.cologneandcotton.com and Selfridges.
5. REN satin perfection BB cream
Last but very not least...as promised: my secret weapon. This is THE product I can't live without. I’ve never been a big BB cream gal (or heavy foundation person) until I discovered this gem. REN's dreamy concoction with SPF 15+ effortlessly blurs imperfections to deliver the most flawless and even finish. It’s perfect for all skin types and skin tones thanks to special technology which ensures the colour adapts perfectly to your individual undertones. Summertime calls for dewy, glowy, radiant complexions and this little beauty does the job and then some. That's why this is my go-to daytime base since it looks so natural (personally, I'm not into that cakey matte look). - it really gives you that ‘no make-up look’. You can also rest assured that you’re not taking in any unwanted toxins or potential irritants, since REN is all about clean natural bio-actives and against the use of harsh and controversial chemicals. A little bit goes a long way too; a 50ml tube at 31 quid is quite a bargain. TIP: after blending in all over and down the jaw line and neck, buff in with a little loose mineral powder for extra coverage; I like Bare Minerals Original mineral powder foundation.
Available at www.renskincare.com, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended and Space NK.
Summer skin perfection: my 'holy grail' product.