My Top 5 Summer Beauty Essentials
Summer’s here (whoop whoop)! And with it go out the thicker textures and pastel hues of Spring, and in come the lightweight formulas and bronzey shimmers of summer (yay!).
And although I tend to keep to roughly the same products all year round, in summer there are five travel-friendly beauty essentials I always switch to for their abilities to take me from beach-frazzled to glowing in minutes.
1. A Lightweight Moisturiser
While in winter central heating, cold and rain can dry out skin, in summer the combination of heat and humidity makes skin less likely to need thick, emollient moisturisers.
Instead, I like to give my skin a drink of water with a lightweight hydrating moisturiser that helps protect moisture levels (and is less likely to sweat off when the weather heats up- don’t you hate that?).
One of my absolute favourites for both price and results is Fourth Ray Beauty’s Good Mood Gel Moisturiser ($14/£12.30 for 50 g, Fourth Ray Beauty).
This delightfully watermelon-scented lightweight gel is basically summer in a tub, while its multiple natural ingredients (including watermelon fruit extract, damascena rose water, hyaluronic acid, and apple, apricot, cucumber, mango and grapefruit extracts) are kind to sun-scorched skin.
The one downside to this product for me is the use of silicone (dimethicone here), which I don’t love the feel of, but it hasn’t stopped me enjoying the moisturiser’s other ingredients.
And on the plus side Good Mood is alcohol-free, oil-free, vegan and cruelty-free, as well as stuffed full of natural ingredients (making this a pretty impressive bargain for the price).
2. A Good Lip Balm
While my skin generally fairs pretty well in summer, my lips often take quite a battering from sun, sea and chlorine; leaving them uncomfortable or flaking.
Fun fact: Lips are the only area of the body not to have any melanin to protect them from sun damage (the pigment you see is from blood vessels), while the skin is also thinner here and has no oil glands to naturally moisturise it.
So in warmer weather I tend to become something of a lip balm hoarder, squirreling away tubes and pots in every bag/glove box/pocket/drawer I have.
While I have a few favourites, there are two which really stand out for me for summer use; Albus & Flora’s Multi-Active Lip Balm (£16 for 4 g, Albus & Flora) and Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Balm (£15 for 3.7 g, Cult Beauty).
Albus & Flora Multi-Active Lip Balm UVA UVA SPF 30
I really love this hard-working balm, which not only provides high SPF protection (perfect for sun worshippers and sporty types) but is also really rather moistursing.
Unscented and containing cranberry, raspberry seed, seaberry, avocado and blackcurrant seed oils, this has a nourishing, emollient feel to it and doesn’t leave a shine (so layers really well with lipstick/lip tint/stains).
Available in five shades, the untinted Naked Flora formula is my favourite as it lasts me literally months (the tinted formulas less so I’ve found).
Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm
Slightly more of a luxury buy- but no less effective- is Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Balm.
Created without alcohol, silicones or fragrance, this soothing concoction instead boasts avocado, cranberry and marula oils, as well as sea fern algae, to inject serious moisture when needed.
Meanwhile mongongo oil provides antioxidant protection to help ward off sun and environmental damage, while tripeptide-1 provides a (very) slight plumping effect.
Despite the host of skincare-friendly ingredients, though, for me the key to whether I love or hate a lip balm generally lies in its texture…
Too waxy and the product lies on top of the lip without absorbing or adding much benefit, while too thin a formula can end up sliding around.
And that’s where my love of this particular formuala comes in.
Because for me at least, Drunk Elephant’s Lippe represents a happy medium- feeling hydrating enough that lips feel comfortable, but equally not so oily that the balm travels where it’s not wanted (it also offers a subtle shine).
Its unusual shape- short and wide rather than a tube or a tub – also make it easy to fit into even the teeniest handbag, great for topping up on the go.
3. A Multipurpose Makeup Product
I’m far too lazy even in the winter to put more than approximately two minutes into doing my makeup. Couple that with the lure of beaches/cocktails/the pool in summer and that routine shrinks down to about 30 seconds.
So one of my favourite products is a multipurpose product that can be used multiple different ways on the face for a summery makeup look in seconds.
Throw in some skin-friendly ingredients and a coppery/bronze shade that’s universally flattering and I’ll pretty much be rebuying for life- so Bybi’s Babe Balm Bronze (£10.20 for 6 ml, Feel Unique) is one of my all time favourite summer products.
A pigmented follow-up to BYBI’s original Babe Balm (a multipurpose moisturising balm for hair, skin and nails), this (teeny) pot benefits from the addition of bronze mica for a gorgeous wash of colour.
More of a rose gold/copper colour than a cool gold, this offers both dewiness and shimmer that works for eyes, cheekbones and lips for a bronzed goddess look.
Boasting a shea butter and camellia oil base (as well as a host of other goodies), this hydrating balm feels slightly damp to the touch, a little like lip balm, and is really moisturising.
To get even more value out of this I also really like using it on collarbones and tops of shoulders as a subtle highlighter.
4. A Softening Scrub
Since summer’s pretty much the only time of the year that I actually bare any skin, it’s also when I tend to up my exfoliating game.
Again, I have a lot of favourites, like Frank Body’s Original Coffee Scrub (from £6.95 for 100 g, Cult Beauty),
Lightly foaming, this sugar-based scrub can be used of both scalp and body- making it particularly great for travel (in fact, if pushed you could probably ditch both the shampoo and shower gel when packing this).
It also really helps to clear away any product buildup if you (like me) tend to go a bit heavier on the dry shampoo in summer.
A true sugar scrub, this has a smooth, almost honey-like consistency interspersed with varying sized granules.
Meanwhile, coconut and sweet almond oils moistursise (making this great for use on the body too), and probiotics help to keep the scalp’s natural flora and fauna in balance.
The blissful light floral scent to this also makes it sheer luxury to use (the same as their Rose Hair & Body Oil, from £14 for 45 ml, Feel Unique, although I wish the fragrance was natural), making this perfect for a little at home spa evening too.
But while this scrub does foam gently, it also leaves a slight oily residue in its wake- great for use on the body but may not suit everyone on the scalp- so I occasionally like to add a little shampoo to my mixture.
5. Some Shimmer
What really is summer without shimmer (I mean seriously)?
Given my general love of a body oil, throw some sparkle into the mix and you can guarantee the result will be gracing my body from approximately June 1 until the final lazy day of summer is over each year.
There are so many great options at all sorts of different budgets, like Sol Body’s Sol Glow Oil ($15/£13.18 for 104 ml, Colourpop) or Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse Or (from £22.50 for 50 ml, Cult Beauty).
While I normally any golden shades guaranteed to make me look less vampire-like, the unusual shell pink shade of Herbivore’s oil caught my eye for days when I want something a little more subtle.
Containing camellia seed oil, orchid flower extract, squalane, soybean oil, shea butter and jasmine flower extract, this oil ticks all the right boxes for post-sun moisturising.
It also offers an unusual pale glow effect, which I can only describe as moonshine-like (not in a make your own alcohol sort of way, more in the subtle, ethereal sort of way), which I really like.
Herbivore is generally a eco-friendly brand, so it’s no surprise that this comes in a glass bottle, rather than plastic. While that’s great news for the environment, do be a little careful packing this (no one wants to see £38 of of body oil all over their clothes after a long journey).
Also I was surprised to find this product has a pump nozzle, rather than a spray. The combination of this and the oil’s fairly runny texture means I find I have to work quite quickly as I apply this otherwise I risk spilling it.
Finally, like a lot of body oils this doesn’t absorb all that quickly- so leave 10 minutes or so before applying and getting dressed.
The shimmer payoff and seriously moisturising formula are seriously worth it to my mind, though, making this a summer favourite.