When you hit your mid-twenties, you realize youthful skin doesn’t last forever, as Eleanor famously told Blair:
Occasionally I look back on photos from old beach trips and cringe at how 1) I didn’t bother taking care of my skin (I was reluctant to even apply sunblock, fearing that it would block my tan) 2) I end up looking totally greasy and gross. I’m once again in the middle of planning an upcoming beach vacation, but I like to think I’m better equipped this time around. With lots of research and interviews, I’ve managed to put together a tried-and- tested formula to great skin in the tropics.
If you’re a girl who lives in/ will be visiting the tropics (read: beach trip to South-east Asia, anyone?) and still want to look put together, check out my Holy Grail items for maintaining a decent, almost au naturale complexion in the sun, and not looking like a total greasy, hippie wreck.
I apply a super-thin layer of this in the morning and a generous layer at night as sort of a ‘gel mask’. Aloe vera is light and a little runny, so it should be easily absorbed. This is especially important for beach trips because you can slather this baby all over your body if you succumb to sunburn- which is something far too costly to do with your usual facial moisturiser.
My mum and sister have been using this for years and I’m also hooked on this. This serum works wonders on my combination/oily skin. I used to look really greasy at the end of the day even if I’d been in an air-conditioned room the whole time, much less when under the sun. With this, though, my skin stays pretty darn matte, and not just in that over-powdered way. Bonus: it smells really good too.
Many of my friends with oily/combination skin swear by this, and trust me, if you’re in Southeast Asia, your skin WILL get oily. If you really have super dry skin, try The Bodyshop’s Daily Moisturiser with SPF 30 and Vitamin C. My skin got a little oily using it but I liked the smell and price tag, and it has pretty good reviews too. Philosophy’s Take Shelter worked pretty well for me but I found it too pricy.
Being under the sun all day getting dehydrated is bound to take a toll on your lips. While I usually can’t be bothered about chapped lips, I am vigilant about them on holidays because peeling lips can hurt like hell and ruin a holiday! I’m using Burt’s Bees now but in general I prefer anything with a slight minty feel to counter the heat.
I have tried all the different scents and my favourite is the pink floral one. It’s a quick fix-it for limp hair and good for concealing oily roots. However, due to the whole debate on aerosol cans being bad for the environment, I embarked on a search for other hair revival options and found Loreal Super Dust. It can feel a little too drying on application but its lasting power is even better than Batiste. If in a pinch, even baby powder works in soaking up hair grease.
I admit that while I pile on the sunscreen for the face, I slack off a tiny bit for my body with the SPF 15 (barely enough, must reapply every couple of hours or every time you take a dip!). I used to go for the SPF 8 version so SPF 15 is a small improvement. Those who go for SPF 0, I want to shake you by the shoulders- that’s a crazy decision you will regret in a few years’ time!
Taking it all off is my favourite part of the routine. I’ve used a whole bunch of cleansers before and to be honest, if I just spent all day lying on a sandy towel or frolicking in water millions of tiny organisms from all over the globe are living in, I like something extra strong. Clearasil makes my skin feels super clean (too harsh for daily use but it’s my go-to for a short beach trips). I also like anything cucumber-scented, and I think no one can go wrong with Clinque.
And for later:
If you have the time, money and space to add eye cream into the mix, why not? I started using this a few months ago and I like its light yet creamy texture. Previously, I was using Clinque All About Eyes (not bad but didn’t do anything exceptional for me) and Origins GinZing (nice tingling feel, but wouldn’t recommend the glittery concoction for humid SEA weather). I’m still searching for The One eye cream though. If it’s just a short trip, I’d probably skip the eye cream and just pat an extra dab of aloe under my eyes.
Is make-up any use at all when you’re going to be perspiring like crazy and in contact with water? I think girls look best rosy cheeked and natural, which is a look easy enough to achieve on a beach trip. If you do have a glaring pimple, though, a tiny dab of concealer should do the trick. My current favourite is NYX concealer wand (not too thick for this weather but packs enough pigment to hide trouble spots!).
What are the top performers you recommend for crazy hot and humid weather that aren’t on this list? Many of the items here are Asian products, so you can get them cheap here, or try to find a dupe available in your home country. C’mon now, share the joy and beauty!