I love living in Australia; however, summer is hot. Really hot. It looks fab in pictures, but when you’re lying around gasping on a day that’s 40 degrees (104 F) or more it’s not so idyllic.
Moreover, Australia is very dry. Summers at my house feature strong winds straight from the desert every day, so not turning into a prune is high on my list of priorities.
Add to these factors, one of these:
Well, a few of these:
Visiting groups of these:
And a backyard that looks like this:
Which means I have to do a lot of this:
and it all means that I’m outside in the sun doing things quite a bit. Whilst I do spend a fair proportion of my time inside writing, driving and doing chores outside is part of my everyday life.
This is how I survive the Australian summer:
Sunscreen: Always, always, always. I wear sunscreen all year ’round, but it’s even more of a necessity in summer. Look for a sunscreen that is around 20% Zinc Oxide – the gold standard in sun protection. I DIY my own, but the Burnout sunscreen that Jen and Jacie reviewed looks good too.
Wear a Hat: Okay, perhaps not everywhere, but when I’m feeding the sheep, gardening, or doing anything outside for an extended period of time I wear a broad-brimmed hat and big sunnies. I wore contact lenses for about 10 years which ruined my eyes, so protecting my eyes from the harsh rays of the sun is a necessity. I also wear a light, long-sleeved jacket with jeans to protect from the sun.
Wear Gloves When Driving: Oh how I used to scoff at the ladies who wore gloves while driving! No more. I have become one of them. I have a hard time keeping my hands pretty and moisturised as it is, without adding hours of sun exposure (and thus sunspots and wrinkles) through the windscreen of my car. I also keep an old long-sleeved cardigan in the car to wear while driving so that I can protect my arms. Without it, I can actually feel my arms burning after about 10 minutes. Now I know that this is probably not the hottest look to be sporting when driving around town; but, to be honest, if you’re trying to pick up from inside your car, you’re doing it wrong.
Moisturise: When the air is so very dry and hot winds pummel your house, moisturiser becomes a way of life. My weapons of choice for my face are still NARS Potent EFA cream for the day, Shiseido White Lucent Moisturising Cream for night, and Lanolips 101 Ointment for the lips. Haus of Gloi – particularly their Pumpkin Butter formula – is still my go-to body moisturiser. I also love using their Bubbling Scrub to exfoliate, then once the sugar particles have dissolved, using the left over to shave my legs. I get a close shave and moisturised legs. In terms of my hands, I’m constantly moving through jars and jars of thick, stodgy hand creams bought from Etsy. Also, where possible, I try to apply my moisturiser straight after my shower. Applying moisturiser to damp skin takes the product deeper into the dermis and make it more effective.
Repairing Sun Damage: After living in Australia all my life, I predictably have developed some sun damage in the shape of sun-spots and wrinkles. This in itself is testiment to how strong the sun is here, as I was quite bookish as a child and spent much of the time indoors. There were occasions when I was actually bribed by my mother to go outside and do something. However, the routine of school, travel, and so on meant that I still collected my fair share of damage. I incorporated Vitamin C and Retinol into my skincare routine some time ago, and the results have been fantastic. I still have some way to go, but my skin has vastly improved in eveness, tone, and texture. My current Vitamin C is in the form of Shiseido White Lucent Moisturising Cream and my Retinol is the Skinceuticals 0.5, and both have helped to retore my face. However, while both are outstanding products, my ongoing blogging curiosity will no doubt have me trying out more Vitamin C and Retinols in the future.
After sun treatment: If I ever do get sunburnt (which is rare) Avene Skin Recovery Cream takes the sting out of the burn and lessens the redness. It’s also good for skin irritations in general.
Hair mask: My hair is long, colour-treated, and in the sun a lot, so I use hair masks as often as my hair requires it. I’ve got both the L’Occitane Repairing Mask and Surya Colour Fixation Intensive Treatment on the go at the moment, and both work well for me. If you have fine hair, I’d recommend the L’Occitane.
Hair Styling: Most days it’s too hot to use the hair dryer, so I just brush through my hair with my Tangle Teezer, which glides through my tangled, wet hair with no problems. Once it has air-dried, I apply some Elnett hairspray, and I’m good to go.
Deodorant: With all this running around in summer, deodorant is important. I switched from women’s to men’s deodorant about a year ago, as they are much more effective. However, over the past few weeks not even men’s deodorant has been keeping me stink-free for the whole day, so I’ve been washing my armpits with Head ‘n’ Shoulders. Yes, you read that right: I wash my armpits with an anti-dandruff shampoo. I no no longer have to use deodorant of any kind as there’s something in Head ‘n’ Shoulders that prevents the growth of stinky bacteria. It’s the most effective deodorant I’ve ever tried, and best of all, no white marks on clothing!
Drink Plenty of Water: This is the best way to cool the body, flush out toxins, and help the skin recover from the heat.
Facial Hair Removal: When I’m not sporting much makeup in the summer months, it’s important that I don’t have any stray hairs ruining the effect. The easiest and most effective way to remove unwwanted hair is to have a facial wax from my nearest salon. They will wax my eyebrows and remove any other patches of stray hair on my face for a fee that is always a lot cheaper than getting it all done separately. However, I’m not always near a salon to get to get this treatment done, so I revert to Nair Depilatory Cream for a quick fix. I always apply it after my shower as the product works much more effectively on softened hair. I also like removing all the goop with a muslin cloth, as merely rinsing always leaves a fine film of depilatory cream and bits of hair. A muslin cloth soaked in warm water and gently used to scrape off the product leaves my skin happy.
Fake Tan: I have no idea how this works. I don’t really want to look particularly tanned, and it sounds to me like yet another step in an (already very full) beauty routine. I’m happy to be pale – it fits my library-girl-with-attitude persona.
Perfume: My favourite fragrances for the summer so far have been –
Jo Malone Lime, Basil and Mandarin
Serge Luten Fleurs d’Oranger
Annick Goutal Quel Amour
Makeup: I don’t really have rules for makeup according to the season – I just reach for whatever I feel like wearing that day. Until recently I would never have left the house without a full face of makeup, but now that my skin is looking better, there are days where I’ll skip the base and just apply some colour. My ‘quick’ face is:
Eyeshadow – Ellis Faas E105 (taupe brown) reviewed here
Eyeliner – Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof eyeliner pencil in Cafe
Mascara – Covergirl Lashblast (Waterproof) in Black
Cream Blush – Ellis Faas S302 (coral pink) reviewed here
Cream Highlighter – NARS Multiple in Copacabana (although I’ve had my eye on the less glittery Becca Skin Perfector for some time)
Lipstick/ Lipgoss – whatever I feel like sporting that day
The cream products on my face and lips only last about four hours, but the Ellis Faas in 102, Lancome Eyeliner, and Covergirl Lashblast will not shift and stay looking perfect all day, even on the hottest, sweatiest days.
I have no problem applying a full face of makeup in summer, and if I do I will always apply my Smashbox Photofinish Primer underneath to keep everything in place all day.
Beverages of Choice: Pimm’s & Lemonade, and Gin & Tonic. Is there any other way to experience a summer?