Your Heatwave Tool Kit

Long time, no blog.

I recently met a very well-travelled Swede who advised me I ought to venture to Tulum, Mexico. That night, following several Scandi shots, I decided to Google Tulum in all it's glory. Lush and sun-drenched, it looks like paradise... bar one teeny, tiny detail: it's absolutely scorching, with temperatures regularly topping 35℃.

As a Scottish blonde with translucent skin, I don't do well in such high temperatures, so imagine my horror on discovering that our holiday spot this year (Sonoma, California) is actually hotter than Mexico. 40℃ to be precise. 100°F. I don't really deal in Fahrenheit, but all my American pals (i.e. the lady in WholeFoods who couldn't get enough of my wide-brim hat) tell me 100°F is unheard of.

Pretty. Damn. Hot.

So I'm writing this from California, absolutely melting under the 9am sun, in order to share some of my heatwave hair and beauty essentials. Some old, some new, none borrowed, coz that's ew.

First up: the base. Most of us go for a lighter base when summer comes around: DoubleWear is all well and good in the winter, but seems a bit heavy when stuck on the Central Line in July. In the warmer months, most prefer something a little lighter, with a touch of SPF for brownie points. Some, blessed with smooth, even skin tone and no acne scarring may just plump for tinted moisturiser (lucky little devils).

Personally, I like a foundation with buildable coverage and a smooth, matte finish. However, when a heatwave hits, another problem arises – the make-up slip. Y'know, when your foundation melts like a 99 Whippy on a hot pavement (a 99 cone that probs cost you £4) and everything else follows.

Okay, that's a tad dramatic, but in these climes you need something with staying power. Something downright magical like Armani's new Power Fabric Foundation. Sure, it's spenny, and will cost you more than new trainers, but I like to think it's worth the splurge. It is light as a feather and silky, yet somehow covers every single flaw. I actually forgot I was wearing make-up at one point. I set mine with the Chantecaille HD Perfecting Powder and it doesn't budge all day long. Even when left in the car without air-con, panting like a dog.

If you prefer a lighter formula, I'd suggest trying La Roche Posay's Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant tinted moisturiser, with a touch of NARS Soft Matte Complete concealer (the absolute best concealer I've ever tried) to hide any blemishes.

When it comes to skin, the most important thing, in any climate, is SPF. I think everyone should wear SPF 30+ every single day – it'll save you thousands on fillers in the future. My personal favourite is the Clarins SPF 50 UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Screen. Used as a primer, the translucent fluid smoothes out the skin without clogging pores. Plus, it doesn't leave a chalky finish, which is unheard of for a factor 50. If we're talking body, I love Coola's Eco-Lux SPF 30 Pina Colada tropical mist. In this kind of heat, you do not want to rub in a thick, creamy lotion, you just want to spray it on and know you won't burn. Coola's ultra-fine spray screens have got it down.

On the subject of spritzing, we need to talk about the mist. Not only is The Mist a Stephen King novel and movie adaptation analysed in my high school Media Studies class, it's also an essential component of any heatwave tool kit. A cooling spray is a beautiful, beautiful thing. There are a few I'd recommend in a heartbeat.

Due to my sensitive skin, any fragranced product renders me ruddy-faced which is why I adore the bliss Triple Oxygen Radiance Restoring spritz. In a word, it feels FRESH and doesn't irritate my skin at all. In a heatwave it is heaven in a bottle, but it's also great to have on standby when you're hungover. Consider it a Berocca for your face. If you can handle natural oils and fragranced products, try Jurlique's best-selling Balancing Rosewater Mist, which smells like a spa treatment, or Caudalie's cult Beauty Elixir spritz. Both will leave you feeling super zen, when all you want to do is plunge into a pool of ice.

Last but not least (yes, this lengthy post is almost over), you simply must have a protective lip balm. Speaking from experience, there are fewer sunburns stingy-er than the lips. For me, you can't beat Jo Malone London's Vitamin E Lip Conditioner, which I shamelessly stole from my dad. It's nourishing, a little glossy but non-sticky, and boasts SPF 15 to keep your pout in tip-top condition. Perfecto.

If, somehow, you do get sunburnt lips, I'd enlist the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil. Putting oil on your lips sounds, to be honest, a bit gross, but this product is actually amazing and not even remotely oily – I'm slightly addicted to the mint one. It's glossy, nourishing and protective, though it can leave lips a tad sticky. Some people don't mind that, some do. Either way I'd suggest giving it a go.

One last thing. If, like me, tanning does not come naturally to you, I'd suggest trying the James Read Tan Accelerator gel. I will sit in the sun all day, come out a little red and scorched, then apply a layer and suddenly I'm gold (ish). It's essentially a gradual tan-aftersun hybrid, amplifying even the softest sun-kiss. To go further, add a touch of the NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer to your foundation, or try Kevin Aucoin's Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Nights, which is the best colour I've used. It's golden, rather than brown, so doesn't look dirty on the skin.

Okay, I'm done, for now. If you've made it to the end, well done. Sit back, relax, treat yoself to some nice new beauty products and maybe some ice cream?

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