NINE DAYS TO GO. I am so excited that every time I think about it in any depth I have to take care not to fall over and/or shit myself. Although I have been a bit nonplussed by the weather we’ve been having; it had better go back to being a complete washout before I fly 4,000 miles around the globe to Orlando. It’s a lot harder to be smug about going on holiday when the capital is broiling in 29 degree temperatures.
Awhile ago I wrote about my friend Knight’s deceptively punishing micro-regime in preparation for two weeks of ungainly belly-flopping and poolside wibbling. It’s been going fine, but now that there’s less than two weeks to go I’ve been focusing on preparing my skin in anticipation of the baking Floridian sun. Hot summer holidays aren’t really my thing – I’d much prefer to be shooting down a piste somewhere, arms and legs flailing every which way but skin shielded from the sun’s rays by five layers of thermals – but for some reason this year my parents were inspired to revisit the States and rented a villa during the hotttest part of the year. Which, to be honest, I’m not about to complain about.
So, pre-holiday skincare! For many people going away in the summer months means cultivating the deepest tan they possibly can. Usually I prefer to stay the same colour all year round because I am a) too lazy to change the shade of my foundation and b) gripped with a constant and paralysing fear of festering melanoma, but I appreciate that even with my extra supplies of SPF 50 sun cream I would have to spend the entire holiday in some sort of burqa to avoid any change of skin tone whatsoever. So, reluctantly I have accepted the fact that I am going to return back to merry England with a tan of some description. I’m determined to do the thing properly though, so this has been my plan:
Exfoliate like a woman possessed
If you want to tan evenly, you need to ensure you’re fully purged of manky dead skin cells. Get yourself a nice gritty sugar scrub and give yourself a proper rubbing down twice a week to eliminate flakiness. I personally love Soap & Glory’s The Breakfast Scrub and Flake Away but they’re so popular know the scents have become quite generic. I’ve got a sugar scrub from Betty Buff on its way though, and their products are all-natural and handmade in England, which I think is wonderful. Watch this space!
Board the body brushing bandwagon
I got into dry body brushing about a year ago and there is a real difference when I remember to keep it up regularly. The secret is to try and get it into your routine before you shower. It only takes a couple of minutes; just take all your clothes off and use vigorous strokes (always towards the heart) to brush every bit of your skin. Within reason, obviously; don’t come crying to me if you leave common sense at the front door and accidentally remove a nipple. It’s supposed to improve circulation – although I think we can tentatively put that in the ‘possible bullshit’ pile – but it is also smashing for exfoliating before your sugar scrub. And it feels amazing.
Don’t leave it lying around though; I had to buy myself a new one after an ex-boyfriend informed me that he’d been using mine as a ‘special treat bollock scratcher’ for a whole month.
The Body Shop Round Dry Body Brush, £7 from The Body Shop
Moisturise every nook and cranny (!)
Once you’ve finished sloughing off all that dead skin you need to give the nice fresh stuff a hydrating shot of moisturiser to achieve that delicious smoothness we’re all after. Sometimes doing your whole body can seem like a bit of a chore though, even if it only takes 45 seconds. The best way to get moisturising firmly entrenched in your daily routine is to, er, make sure you do it every day. At the same time, I mean; get into the habit! Apart from that, I’d recommend finding one you really, really love. What body moisturiser are you using at the moment? I bet it’s one you were given as a gift from someone who doesn’t know you very well or a heavily fragranced concoction that came in a set with your perfume. If you don’t love it, ditch it! At the moment I’m really into Ahava, who specialise in products containing Dead Sea minerals. It’s fabulously luxurious and smells sublime, and although it’s rich it is also very easily absorbed (pet peeve: climbing into bed all slimy from moisturising…gross.) If you’re a scaly-legged creature – like me – I’d really recommend it.
Ahava Dead Sea Water Mineral Body Lotion, £22 from Ahava.com
Eat a lemon
Or not, I guess; it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If you can’t stomach a whole lemon (I must confess they’re a guilty pleasure of mine; all in one go, with the skin!) then get some Vitamin C tablets. They taste vile and they’re the size of gallstones but if you ‘megadose’ on them the effect on skin really is quite remarkable. I read somewhere that most adult skin problems are caused by Vitamin C deficiencies, so start sucking ‘em down en masse! I usually take 1500mg per day – 1875% of our RDA! – but recommended allowances for vitamins are apparently based on the bare minimum you ought to have, and it’s more or less impossible to overdose on it.
Drink something foul and green
One of my mother’s friends has recently got into ‘Matcha’ green tea, which is a super-concentrated power-shot of everything that is great and good in the regular stuff. The condition of her skin and hair is so improved I decided to give it a bash myself, and after only a week there’s definitely some improvement.
I must admit I haven’t really noticed its supposed energising effects, but my skin is much clearer and more luminous. The only downside is that it tastes like absolute arse; like stagnant, algae-ridden pond water. I’m floundering to find the right words to express how diabolically vile this powder is when you pour boiling water over it, but to be completely frank Shakespeare himself would have a job conveying it. Imagine a sewer that someone’s been sick in. The best way is to make it really strong without much water and knock it back like the trooper you are. And stop whining about it, it’s good for you.
Vitalife Green Tea, 30g (30 cups), £8.88 from Auravita.com. Even with postage this was cheapest place I found.
…But don’t forget to drink water as well
This beauty tip is so old and tired I can barely even be bothered to write about it. Having said that, I am atrocious at drinking enough water. I’ve tried getting into it recently and I’ve found the way to do it is to keep a litre bottle on you at all times and mark it every 250ml or so with a Sharpie. When I’m at work I make sure I’ve drunk down to the next line on every hour. The only problem is if you’re not used to it, it makes you piss like a racehorse. When I first started my regime all my workmates must have thought I had a bladder infection because I was off for a slash every twenty minutes or so. But yeah, the goal is pisswater as crystal clear as pure mountain dew, so get that Evian down your neck.
And that’s it! Beautiful skin doesn’t have to be about expensive facial treatments and £95 pots of mysterious creams; it can be achieved by simply adopting a few simple, albeit foul-tasting, lifestyle habits. Give them a bash and let me know how you get on!