There’s been a mini revolution among women all over the world who have begun to be affronted about the expectations put upon on us – by media, by social media, by beauty brands, and by each other – of this nonsense notion of being ‘beach-body-ready’ (in other words, measuring ourselves against a level of perfection which is not attainable by the vast majority).
As a case in point, take the recent weight-loss ad, featuring a skinny model with the slogan ‘are you beach body ready?’, which caused a huge backlash. It was accused of body-shaming, and resulted in a petition of 70,000 signatures, a protest in Hyde Park and hundreds of complaints to the ASA. While the ad was actually cleared of any wrong-doing, the resulting furore is a real testament to our changing times and a true measure of how real women feel about how we are portrayed. And, let’s face it, how we are not putting up with it anymore.
So, in the lead up to the summer hols, I’m not promoting a ‘beach-body-ready’ beauty regime – not on my wash. Whatever that means, anyway. So, instead, here’s my alternative guide – using the latest ‘prep products’ – so t’s all about putting the emphasis on you, feeling good about you. No one else.
Can you not get your day started without a morning coffee? Me either. I’ve been taking it one step further and bringing the coffee beans into the shower with me. Aussie organic label Bean Body’s Coffee Bean Scrub, £14.95, is my new addiction! It contains Robusta coffee beans mixed with organic cold pressed coconut oil, Himalayan pink rock salt, demerara sugar, organic Cacao and Vitamin E oil for an in-shower exfoliating ‘experience’ (this is more than just a mere scrub!)
This is a great way to start prepping for a holiday, as the natural scrub leaves skin looking smooth and bump-free – and contains no nasties so minimising allergic reactions (not what you want before you board a plane). It may be a bit messy so make sure your shower power is geared up on the highest setting.
The all-natural organic brand uses fair-trade coffee beans and no chemicals or animal testing in its products. Love. While the caffeine from the beans stimulates blood flow and helps reduce the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks and age spots. The demerara sugar and Himalayan salt are the main exfoliators, effectively removing dead skin. Meanwhile, coconut oil hydrates and moisturises and the cocoa and Vitamin E are high in antioxidants to nourish and protect the skin. You step out of the shower looking a smoother version of you! Which can only be a good thing in my book! From: uk.mrbeanbodycare.com
Next, make sure you have one of these genius shower-soaps on hand to rinse off the scrub and clean up (as I said, it is a tad messy). Bomb Cosmetics’ Reef Reviver Shower Soap, £3.99, has a unique sponge-like texture on its top that leaves skin silky-smooth. The vegetable-based glycerine soap is also filled with essential oils and gently foams to cleans, massage and moisturise.
I’m not usually a fan of soap but this one is more like an infused sponge and definitely does not dry out the skin – my usual complaint with soap bars. Plus there are tons of fragrances to choose from, in all sorts of colours, but I love this blue Reef Reviver scent – spearmint and eucalyptus oils are mixed with citrus and amber to form a modern oceanic fragrance. Its cool and uplifting so it is particularly great when travelling (and it is also very portable) – ideal to wash away fatigue. From: bomb cosmetics.co.uk
Next up, is Starskin’s The Master Cleanser collection. The Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Face Mask, £12.50, is a sheet mask drenched in a super-moisturizing serum, infused with 31 organic ingredients, and is perfect for a pre-holiday deep cleansing session.
The multi-action mask combines the purifying properties of seaweed with a serum which has anti-aging properties. Hand-cut from pure sea kelp leaves, each mask is rich in marine nutrients. Sea kelp not only draws out toxins from the skin but has a naturally cooling effect that helps to shrink pores.The mask reduces blemishes, tightens and smooths skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes and skin looks glowing and radiant. From: beautybay.com/starskin/
While the mask is great for a weekly deep cleanse, the Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Cleansing Foam, £21.95, is a brilliant way to keep skin clean and purified on a daily basis and also another good product to take with you on your travels.
Perfect for refuelling the complexion after a lack of sleep, the cleanser provides the skin with a spa-like treatment – exfoliating the complexion, removing all traces of dead skin cells and leftover makeup and daily dirt. I’ve been using this every morning and it really has a deep-cleaning, revitalising action.
Infused with pure glacier water from the Swiss Alps and sea kelp leaves, as well as sea cucumber and green caviar, it works to deeply clean and nourish skin, leaving it feeling refreshed, revitalized and soft. beautybay.com/starskin/
For a little bit of added confidence on the beach, I always start using a self-tanner a month or so before I am due to go away. This year, I have been trialling Bondi Sand’s Self Tanning Foam, £14.99.
It is a tad darker than what I usually use, so proceed with caution if you don’t want to look too tanned or if you are very fair. The best thing about this is that it dries in seconds and it is also enriched with aloe vera and coconut so, not only does it smell amazing (no whiff of biscuits!), but it goes on like a dream, with no resulting streaks or patches.
Put it on with a mitt, using long sweeping motions, and make sure you have exfoliated first. Leave it on for an hour (more if you want a darker tan) and shower off. Tan completed! From: boots.com
Lastly, also part of my holiday prep kit is this new charcoal toothpaste from Beverley Hills Formula, which works to whiten teeth but has no harsh abrasives or bleach. Perfect White Black Sensitive, £4.99, is an update to the brand’s recently-launched charcoal toothpaste in that it has now been formulated for sensitive teeth. The charcoal removes tannins from the surface of teeth – found in coffee, tea, wine, berries and spices and which stain the enamel – it also helps eliminate bacteria, leaving you with fresh breath. Perfect for creating that winning smile, which let’s face it – is the real secret to natural beauty. From: superdrug.com