I am a pretty lazy example when it comes to fully taking care of myself regularly, but I truly enjoy the ritual every once in a while (especially after summer leaves my skin and hair thirsty for weeks). Whatever activities you might have been doing this summer and wherever you spent your days, chances are your body has been suffering (from too much fun or too much sun) and it's time to pay back showing some love.
I wanted to start from the skin (and particularly the face), because it is the most important one. If you can only take care of one thing, choose your skin without thinking twice. Even if you did your best to protect your face and body from dangerous sun rays and harsh waters, there's still a lot of risk with summer temperatures, strong sun, change of water and dehydration.
Start with your face. If you can afford a facial (or splurge only with this one and use natural remedies for the rest), go have one now. Leave your regular peeling/blackhead removing ritual for the colder months and instead opt for a hydrating treatment and moisture re-balancing. Crucial to those with sensitive skin and a necessity for every skin type, it will make your face and neck clear, bright and shining from within.
If a facial is far from your actual plans, treat your face at home with a mild face scrub. You can also use natural ingredients like coconut/olive oil mixed with a little sugar or coffee (don't use salt) to remove any impurities. Be sure to go through all your face and neck with circular movements and uplifting direction for a couple of minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Now it's time to apply a moisturizer for your skin type or a natural oil (such as coconut/avocado oil). Go an extra mile and massage the cream on your face gently for a minute or two. This helps the cream/oil to be absorbed better from the skin and avoid dry patches. If your routine involves serums, this period is perfect to apply them regularly, until you see balance and moisture come back to your skin. According your age and your beauty routine, don't forget eye cream (the skin around the eyes is extra delicate and suffers from dryness easily) and/or night cream.
If you are used to do face masks at home, apply one after shower and face scrub twice a week. In case you are new to them, do a little research on what ingredients are good for your skin type. A short guide would be : oils as the major base, coffee/sugar/oats for exfoliating, yogurt/avocado/honey/banana for moisturizing. Mix the most nourishing and fresh things you have at home and put them on to help your skin recover faster.
In case of a severe skin redness or rush it is always recommended to see a doctor. Until then, drink plenty of water and spruce a facial water on your face regularly to calm your skin and prevent scars.
After going back to your daily routine, take advantage of your tan skin and stay away from heavy make up as long as you can. Let your skin breathe and adjust to the changes in air and water slowly.
This would definitely be your second problem to take care of. Depending on how you spent your summer and what type of hair you have, the damage might be invisible to severe. In the first case, you just need to moisturize and re-balance your scalp and hair. In the severe scenario, your scalp might be red/itchy/flaky and your hair dull and dry.
Firstly, start with a good moisturizing mask. Again, if you have one at home, apply it generously after normally washing your hair. If you don't have any, go to your kitchen. Mayonnaise is a great one ingredient mask (because it's a mixture of olive oil and eggs). Especially good for light hair, it helps soften and shine them. Apply a good dollop of mayo straight from the jar to your hair, put in a bun or in a towel and let it work for at least half an hour. Then straight to the shower to wash your hair as usually. The same procedure can be done with coconut oil or other "magic" oils found in your kitchen. I have heard people rave about bananas and avocado too, but have never used them myself (check your hair type before putting anything - always!).
It's time to use a protecting cream/serum before blow drying your hair, but the best thing you can do is put them in a towel for an hour and then air dry. Stay away from styling tools too, as long as you can. Put your hair in a top knot and let your hair rest for a while. If you better die than not use hair tools and a blow drier, than be sure to use a very good protective agent before the heat.
In cases of dandruff, don't panic, it's just the scalp telling you "You shouldn't have left me under the sun without putting something on me". Buy a special shampoo and apply as required until all is gone.
To prevent further damage, keep a hat if you are out in the sun and keep your scalp and hair conditioned at the beach. The easiest way to do this is to prepare a spray bottle with half water and half pre-heat mask/antistress mask, mix well before each use and apply generously overall your hair. Also, wet your hair with clean water before entering salty water or the pool.
If you have spent too much time outside without reapplying sunscreen like a crazy person, then chances are your body is dry and it's showing. If you have achieved a beautiful tan (I'm so jealous of you) don't be afraid that it might fade away with every shower you take. Despite common logic, the color is deep in the skin and not on the surface, so no matter how hard you try not to scrub yourself, it will eventually fade if it is meant to. If your body produces a lot of melanin and your skin is well hydrated and clean before sun exposure, don't worry because you'll look brown until December. If you are pale, easily burn and your skin is always dehydrated, don't hope for a tan that is not even well developed to last long.
Two are the main procedures for the body: exfoliate and hydrate (same as the basic ones for the face). So don't be afraid and go for a good scrub. Use the same natural one as the face if you like (you can add sea salt here, if you don't have sensitive skin, or bigger size grounded coffee). As soon as you come out of the shower (in two minutes really, not longer) slather on body lotion/butter/souffle/oil. The most hydrating the better. And do this everyday after shower, not whenever you remember to.
If you stick to scrubbing once a week and moisturizing daily, along with drinking plenty of water and eating as healthy as you can, your body will start glowing and you will notice. If you still worry about your tan, start applying a gradual tanning lotion to maintain your color without creating a big difference overnight
I am very unlucky with my feet and get a terrible flaky heel as soon as I wear sandals for the first time in summer. When I put on the first pair of close shoes come Fall, the problem is gone. I must admit I have not found the perfect solution or cream out there, but do your best by using a pumice stone daily in the shower and moisturizing as often as you can. Choose a non oily based cream so you won't dread moving around after applying. If heat is not a problem for you, go for applying plenty of coconut oil before sleep and wearing cotton socks overnight at least twice a week for a deep conditioning.
It's also time to retouch your toes' color if you had painted them, change nail polish color if you wish and shorten them to prepare for close shoes or wellies in case of unexpected rainy days. Nothing worse than your toes hurting after popping them from sandals to shoes!
Hands tend to feel pretty dry and itchy this time of the year and a lightweight cream would be perfect for daily use. If you can't go for a full manicure, limit yourself to shortening, filing, buffing, cuticle pushing at home in under an hour. It would be good to let your nails breathe and not paint them for a few days. Or at least go for a light base, as rich colors tend to have more chemicals. If you fancy, do an overnight treatment by slathering a rich moisturizer on hands and nails, or only apply as a cuticle oil.
Don't forget that no matter what you rub on your skin, the major ingredients work from the inside out. So watch out what you eat, drink and your stress levels, to give your body the best pampering it deserves after a full summer.
And please notice that all the above advices and rituals I mention are based on my own experiences, advices my own hairdresser and esthetician have given me based on problems I have faced during the years. Please learn about your skin/hair type before going for natural remedies as they might prove stronger than the sun damage if not applied with caution and trustful advice.
Let me know if you have any secret rituals to pamper yourself and re-balance your body after an amazing summer!
| Love, Lisa |