Preparing for Your Summer Holiday
BY: CLAIRE – DAYS [DAYS SINCE Today] AGO
We all know that feeling of excitement when you have just booked your summer holiday. It started with deciding where to go, who to go with, planning activities for everyone to do when you get there. It provides a massive sense of relief just to have it booked and those boarding passes ready.
But now the hard work starts! You have to think of your holiday wardrobe, fitting in a few hours at the gym before you go, getting your hair and nails done and then figuring out how to get all of your new shoes into one tiny suitcase! Stressful, right? Well it doesn’t all have to be, there are some minor things you can do to improve the experience and to make sure that your face, skin and features are smooth and sparkling, ready for a week in the sun. We all feel our best when we look our best so treat yourself to some TLC in the lead up to your holiday and feel the full benefit of relaxation when you get there. Simple!
The Sun – Friend or Foe?
When we book a summer holiday, the idea is to enjoy the sun in the day and indulge in good food and great nights with our pals. The reason we go so far to get this luxury is because we need the exotic feel of being miles away from home, where life just slows down and we can fully embrace the weather or climates we can only dream of at home. But the sun can be really harmful to us if we don’t prepare for it and it can cause damage that we don’t even see instantly, so keeping your wonderful features protected from the sun is the all important factor when going on a summer holiday.
Yes, the sun is helpful to us delicate humans in some ways, there is no denying that. It triggers the body’s production of Vitamin D which is helpful for strengthening immune systems and bone structures as well as helping to lower high blood pressures. But it can also have a major positive impact on our mental wellbeing too. From depression, to seasonal affective disorder, insomnia and even lethargy or tiredness, the sun has its own way of combatting these issues within us, even from just 20-30 minutes of exposure to it every day.
There is just something about the sun that has positive connotations, whether it be a day at the beach with family, sipping a mojito overlooking a sunset or diving into a nice cool pool on holiday to cool off. It doesn’t even have to be a mid-summer heatwave to enjoy the sun, even a cold and crisp winter day with a clear blue sky can be enough to perk up a mood. Enjoy the sun and always remember to get out in in once in a while, as our mental health is just as important as our physical health, so both need to be nurtured.
Speaking of nurturing your physical state, when it comes to the sun, the harmful UV rays can cause some nasty sunburn or premature ageing to the skin, so surely it should come naturally to us to want to protect it. While this might be the case, the problem is there is so much on the market these days, and there is so much by way of general advice of how to cover up in the sun, but we all need to take into account that our skin types are different, our hair colours and textures are not all the same and therefore damage can occur differently in every single person. So, nurturing your skin and hair when it comes to our summer holidays, can become a confusing time.
Let’s clear a few things up! Anytime your skin is exposed to the sun it is exposed to potential damage, fairer skin tends to need less time in the sun than darker skin to feel the effects but either way, skin should be protected. Hair tends to get lighter with high sun exposure and it can be seen as a positive and something people look forward to having, but in actual fact, the hair is losing moisture and becoming dry in the process. Our eyelashes and eyebrows are the same, but because they are such short hairs, we are all guilty of forgetting about these areas when it comes to going out on a hot and sunny day. But they are easily burnt, as is the skin around your eyes as it is much thinner than the skin elsewhere on your face. Lips are made up of thinner layers of skin that require constant moisture to put up with standard daily activities and diet, not to mention the fact that they are always exposed. But it is what we can do to help these areas before we have even stepped foot in the sun that will prevent damage such as ageing skin, dry hair and eyebrows and brittle eyelashes. So, let’s see…
Instant Protection from the Sun
To start with, the obvious thing to do is to slap on the sun cream. But we are people of convenience, so the sun protection spray was invented. It is said that on average, we are only applying a quarter of the cream or spray needed to fully cover our skin and feel the full benefit of protection from the sun. Spray is easy to apply but it is especially easy to miss areas or to sparsely cover the body. So next time you are ready to set up your towel at the pool, the best thing to do is to go over your body and face again with your cream or spray to make sure you hit every spot and keep your skin fully protected.
When it comes to our hair, the sun can be harsh and leave it feeling parched, so an instant conditioning treatment containing natural oils and floral extracts is an easy and quick fix. The problem with this is it is just that, it needs maintaining for your hair to feel back to full health and moisture and we can all be guilty of not keeping up with conditioners or not leaving them in long enough to do the work properly.
The hot, holiday sun isn’t the only thing to cause damage, chlorine in pools and high salt content in the sea can really dry out hair, and the chemicals in pools especially contain bleaching agents, so make sure you haven’t recently forked out for a nice new colour treatment to then ruin it by splashing in the swimming pool! Washing and conditioning after swimming is the instant fix your hair will need to get rid of any remaining salt or chemicals and leave your hair feeling shiny and moisturised ready for a night out.
Our lips will always feel dry after a day in the sun, but how many of us can honestly say we protect them against it to begin with? A light lip balm may be good to cover up damage and keep them feeling moisturised, but this moisture needs to be long lasting and re-applied after eating and after further sun exposure.
Eyebrows and eyelashes are probably the easiest to protect instantly, but probably get the least attention, and that is because it is easier to just rely on a sun cream or spray to do its work, and then worry about washing it all off in the shower later.
When a Quick Fix is not Enough
When your suitcase is packed and you have ensured you have your high SPF sun cream, and a two-minute hair conditioner, everything I have mentioned above becomes your only option. The issue with this is that when you come back from your sunny holiday, you are left with the effects and will still be dealing with intensive moisturising routines. A hair cut will get booked to get rid of those dry and split ends, and you’ll end up looking for a new mascara to help lengthen and darken your eyelashes now they have ended up a little drier and lighter.
There is actually a lot you can do from the minute you press book on your laptop, right through your holiday and then when you have to inevitably come back home and it is all without too much effort, so no excuses!
Lips – To understand how to get your lips ready for your holiday and how to keep them nourished and protected, you first need to understand what it is about your lips that make them different from the rest of your skin.
There can be over 15 layers or skin on your face and only perhaps 5 or 6 on your lips. It is much thinner and far more delicate than other parts of the surrounding areas of your face. The thin layers are what exposes your blood vessels more than anywhere else, which give your lips their bright or rosy pink colour. Lips also contain a protein called collagen. The lips naturally produce collagen which is what keeps them full and smooth. When lacking in this the layers thin out and this is usually caused by age or even the sun’s harmful UV rays!
In order to keep your lips healthy leading up to your summer holiday, you can use a lip balm that is high in SPF, it may even be your normal routine, so you don’t feel the need to do any more in addition. But the problem with a lot of balms is they don’t actually work below the skin; some are more cosmetic and have a nice flavour to them but are very short lasting and don’t encourage any moisture to get in.
Petroleum Jelly has always been known to be good to the lips, its thick oily texture hits below the surface and forms a protective barrier against the elements to keep moisture in. A lot of people have said their lips become too dependant on petroleum jelly and they find they have to use it constantly to retain the hydration, otherwise their lips become increasingly dry and chapped without it. On top of all that, it is quite sticky, and your options for colour on top becomes limited.
A sure-fire way to keep your lips moisturised and ready for holiday is to use an intensive lip care balm that provides the hydration they need and gives them an even healthier pink glow even long after they balm has come off. Xlash have formulated Xlips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm which does the job of lightly coating your lips and can be used every day for damage protection and repair. Ideally this kind of balm is best used overnight to have time to soak in without the things that can get in the way, such as talking or eating.
Balms are handy protection for your lips as they don’t need to take up space in your luggage and can be applied so easily. So, no excuses from now on! Get those lips covered and keep them shiny, plump and smooth before, throughout and after your holiday. Definitely one less thing to worry about now, so lets see what you can do to protect your eyelashes and eyebrows and get them perfect for your holiday.
Eyelashes and Eyebrows – To start with, eyelashes are already doing a lot of work to protect your eyes from the sun. They form a barrier that we don’t even notice and are there to catch particles of dust so they don’t irritate your eyes. The catch 22 is that when they fall out and into our eyes it can be annoying as hell! So, looking after your eyelashes can be beneficial to stop this from happening so frequently.
Of course eyelashes fall out, they have a growth cycle that means they grow and fall out and regrow over a period of a few months, but we put a lot of stress on them with mascara application, rubbing them, and sometimes eyelash extensions that it is important to look after them and make sure the cycle lasts as long as it can.
Before a holiday, you can use various serums that help keep the individual lashes smooth and hydrated and that really gets in to the follicles to keep them alive and healthy. This applies especially if you have visited the salon for your routine eyelash extensions as once you hit that beach, all the sand, salt water and scorching sunlight will try its best to dry out your lashes and leave you booking your next appointment sooner than you would like. Use serums such as Xlash Eyelash Growth Serum to encourage growth a few months in advance of going on your summer holiday, so your eyelashes are in the best and longest shape they can be, and ensure you keep up with nightly applications after removing your make up and you will come back with envious lashes that have kept their cool, all while you got to enjoy the baking hot sun.
Your eyebrows are important in creating a statement, they are visible for all to see and can be such confidence givers when they look and feel great. Before a holiday, as with eyelashes, it would be a great idea to start using a serum a few months or even weeks in advance to encourage growth and thickness in each individual hair. Booking your threading or waxing appointment should be timed well so that you look great on holiday and not go away with swollen and angry looking eyebrows.
They can withstand a lot, but the skin underneath is still delicate, so it is important to let it breath after waxing and not flood it with sun creams or moisturisers, so make sure you get this done a few days in advance! Once you are poolside, do not forget to rub the sun cream in to the skin around and underneath your brows and pay special care applying it to your eyelids and the soft skin near your eyes. You really don’t want to get sun cream in your eye, trust me! But you need to make sure you are giving them the full protection throughout the sunny days so you don’t end up with horrible sun burn anywhere on your face.
Once you have finished worshipping the sun for the day, be sure to wash off any oil or sun cream residue from your eyes and eyebrows and apply light moisturisers to keep the area cool and hydrated. Before bed, pop a little line of serum over your brows each night to keep up with the nourishment you have been providing them before your holiday, and you will feel the benefits right up until its time to book your next one!
Make-up – So the day is washed off you and you’re ready to go grab some cocktails in an open air bar on the beach. Tanned skin still needs to breath and needs hydration throughout the evening to stop it from drying out. So keep a light moisturiser with you avoiding anything with too much of an oil base to allow your face to breath.
When your lips require a little colour, the good news is there are balms that soak into your lips and you can still wear your favourite shade over the top. Xlips Lip Plumping Balm gives you the benefit of hydration as well as that nice tingle that helps to get the blood vessels going, giving you a fuller and plumper pout with little to no effort. Get your lippy on after letting it soak in and you are good to go!
Mascara is every girl’s best friend and can instantly dramatize your look ready for a night out. As I mentioned before, it is so important to cleanse your lashes carefully after swimming or sunbathing to get rid of all the salt or chlorine and to make sure you don’t accidently pull any lashes out. With mascara, it is tempting to keep applying it to ensure full thickness and length but remember if you have been keeping up with your growth serum applications, you shouldn’t need to go over the top with the mascara!
After the night is done, be sure to remove mascara and eye make up with a cleanser that is kind to your lashes, eyebrows and the skin around your eyes, for the full relaxing effect, lie there with some cucumber slices over your eyes and let the antioxidants reduce and puffiness and the water give your eyes a well-deserved hydrating drink.
Beat the Post-Holiday Blues
It always feels like doom and gloom when we return from our summer holiday and we get scared our tan will soon fade, our stories will turn to distant memories and our diet may even start to slip. But we still have our photos and sometimes looking through them after a holiday can make us feel like we are back there, remembering funny moments, times of tranquillity and that feeling of stepping out in a gorgeous new playsuit feeling our absolute best.
The good news is that doesn’t have to stop now you are home. Keep up with your nightly serum applications on your eyebrows and your eyelashes, invest in a really good intensive care lip balm and keep your lips feeling silky smooth right through until the next holiday.
You wouldn’t think twice about moisturising you skin with an after-sun cream or even a nice, rich cocoa butter. You would always make sure you keep your hair in good condition, so do the same for your smaller features and keep that holiday look going all year round!
So, get that holiday booked, get that suitcase packed, don’t forget the important things and more importantly… HAVE FUN!