It isn’t usually like this. We get through to the end of August feeling like we need to add tanning drops to our moisturiser, spritzing BetterYou Vitamin D spray to make up for the sun we didn’t get during our British summer, and lamenting money spent on swimwear not worn.
And then along came ‘The Summer of 2018′ – to go down in history, like ‘The Summer of 1976′ (only this time we weren’t, alas, cruising London streets in the passenger seat of a Triumph Stag with the roof down…)
Hasn’t it been quite extraordinary living in a country where everyone – but everyone – seems to have a tan? Because basically, all the wisdom we preach about shielding skin against UV light went out of the window, along with the intentions not to eat more than one ice cream cone a day. As a nation, most of us have soaked up every ray we could. We’re certainly guilty. (Though we think it’ll be interesting to see whether we all get fewer colds and ‘flu this winter.)
The bottom line is, even if you languished like a heroine from a Victorian novel under a parasol, it has been almost impossible to escape without some collateral damage from the sunshine – not just to skin but to hair. So rest assured: you aren’t the only person whose face, body and hair is suffering from post-summer skin stress, right now. Yes, we all headed into summer knowing full well that UV light’s the enemy, ageing-wise. But short of spending summer in a darkened room, almost everyone’s caught red-nosed/cheeked, this year. The solution? Once you’ve unburned your sunburn, you need to answer some other urgent beauty needs – and here’s how.
First, tackle dryness
When you’re actually enjoying the sun, skin can seem miraculously dewy and gorgeous. Then the minute you get back home – or to the office, where the air-con may be on (and we’re only weeks away from the central heating season) – something hideous happens, and almost everyone starts to look like a snake due to shed at least one skin. So: replenishing moisture and nutrients, top-to-toe, is No. 1 beauty priority – not least because moisture is essential for healthy cell communication and regeneration.
So: start by quenching skin with a boost of hyaluronic acid, the ‘buzz’ molecule which can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water, making it just about the best complexion drink we know. Garden of Wisdom Hyaluronic Serum can be layered under any other serum or moisturiser (and is suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive). We also love This Works Light Time Skin Plumper – and both of these can just be slotted, hassle-free, into your existing regime. Alternatively, power up the moisture factor by switching to Derma E Hydrating Night Creme with Hyaluronic Acid, perhaps, or – one of the richest, simplest rich moisturisers we know – good old Weleda Soothing Facial Cream.
Turbo-charge moisturisation with a twice-weekly face mask
They’re a great way to get back some of that dewiness – and we’re always happy to obey the command on the packaging of a face mask to ‘relax for 10 minutes’. We may not do much else we’re told to, but we’ll happily submit to teeny-tiny writing on the back of a sachet of Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion, a jar of Temple Spa Quench or a tube of Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Treatment Mask. (However, avoid mud and clay-based masks just for now; you want moisture, not skin purification.)
Treat your body to some TLC
If you’re anything like us, it isn’t just your face that’s suffering. (Jo noticed ‘shin dandruff’ on her yoga mat the other day, swiftly remedied by a generous application of This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil, which is nothing short of a miracle-worker. We love, love, love a rich body butter for everywhere else – the Soapsmith Butter Melts are gorgeous (and affordable), though requiring a tad more elbow grease to apply than Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter, which is coming to a desert island with us if we’re ever marooned (or invited by Kirsty Young). For the ultimate indulgence, there is Temple Spa Body Truffle, which rivals Fortnum’s food hall for luxurious ingredients (caviar, truffles, champagne, etc.), and which won a Gold Beauty Bible Award in the Anti-Ageing Body Creams category of our annual awards.
Secondly, tackle pigmentation.
The most angst-inducing legacy of summer exposure isn’t flaky skin, however (even if it is a harbinger of lines and wrinkles to come). It’s the longer-term, tougher-to-tackle challenge of pigmentation, which women find so very distressing. In the Garden of Wisdom (GoW) range, you’ll find various products to target dark spots/sun spots/whatever you like to call them. GoW 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil, for instance, is charged up with super antioxidants, alongside vitamin K to help brighten age spots and hyperpigmentation. The most potent product in the range, however, is GoW Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% Serum, containing two ingredients considered to be a gentle but effective alternative to hydroquinone, alongside paper mulberry and vitamin B3, also known to help correct uneven skintone. As the name suggests, iS Clinical White Lightening Serum also targets hyperpigmentation. Invest as your budget allows, is our advice – but be aware that if you’re using a product to tackle pigmentation, you also absolutely 100% have to wear an SPF30 over the top, a) to give the product the best chance of effectiveness, and b) to shield vulnerable skin against future damage.
Whack on a hair mask
Absolutely the best way to get hair back in good nick – although we also prescribe a salon appointment, to snip off ends that are probably beyond repair. Unless you have the very finest hair, more is more when it comes to hair treatments. More product, more generously worked through from roots to ends after shampooing, and left on for more time than you’d imagine. Overnight, ideally (we cover a pillow with a towel when we do that, to avoid trashing a pillowcase). Alternatively, again shampoo first, smooth on your chosen product, wrap your hair in clingfilm, and let it work its magic while you devour your latest chosen boxset. (‘Big Little Lies’, anyone? Eighth, albeit Meghan-less, series of ‘Suits’? Just don’t bother with Matt Groening’s ‘Disenchanted’, is our advice. You’re welcome.)
You’ll find some great hair-boosting options on VH: we’d point you in the direction of Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, or 72 Hair Intense Replenishing Mask. Then simply invest some time over the next few weeks in putting back what ‘The Summer of 2018′ took out.
And if you follow this advice, your skin (and straw thatch) may just forgive you.