In the words of The Weather Girls, the humidity is rising, and, boy, don't I know it. With temperatures currently sitting around the mid-20s in London, my already oily skin has taken on a level of dewiness that I didn't think was possible without a serious amount of highlighter. As for my hair? I've got three words for you: Monica Geller in Barbados. Yes, while some people live for the arrival of hot weather in Blighty, I'm the kind of person who hears the word "heatwave" and immediately dashes out to buy a fan and stock the freezer full of ice lollies.
Suffice to say, the prospect of a 30°C weekend is filling me less with joy and more with an immediate feeling of clamminess and sunburn. Luckily, though, when it comes to my beauty routine, I've worked out a few fail-safe ways to help keep me feeling cool, calm and collected in the heat, from the unexpected product I've learned to avoid entirely to the one thing I wouldn't step foot outside in a heatwave without.
In my teenage years and my early 20s, I'd do everything I could to combat any signs of oil or shine on my face, and more often than not, that usually meant applying layer upon layer of translucent powder. In summer, when everybody's skin naturally looks a little glowier due to the heat, I wouldn't leave the house without a powder compact in my bag and would reapply it every hour. By the end of the day, rather than looking chic and shine-free, my skin looked dull and chalky. Also, the powder had settled into fine lines I didn't even know I had.
These days, I skip the powder entirely and embrace the shine. It's more natural, makes skin look healthier and pretty much removes the need for highlighter entirely. Instead, I use a combination of a long-wear primer, a tinted moisturiser instead of a full-coverage foundation (I find that it wears more evenly throughout the day and means you're not battling to keep a full face of makeup in place) and blotting papers if I feel like I'm really verging into oil-slick territory.
If you're only going to take one thing from this piece, let it be the importance of wearing SPF. Admittedly, this is something we should be slathering on daily, but if you're going to start somewhere, let it be when summer officially arrives. Ask any facialist which skincare product they recommend everyone start using and without fail, it's always SPF. Not only does skipping it mean you're making your skin more susceptible to sun damage, but you'll also find that your skin will start showing signs of ageing even earlier.
I wear SPF religiously every day, and at 30 years old, I still get ID'd pretty much every time I want to buy alcohol, so it must be doing something. Sadly, it's not enough to rely on the sun protection that's in your favourite foundation or tinted moisturiser. Look for a dedicated SPF with UVA and UVB protection that's at least SPF 30 for the summer months. That way you can rest assured that your skin is getting the proper protection that it needs (and you can still enjoy the sunshine).
I normally have a morning cuppa, a post-commute coffee and a can of something fizzy from Pret before even thinking about drinking a glass of water. But during a heatwave? Sure, I'll down a pint of it, but only when I'm feeling parched. This summer, I'm pledging to down at least two litres of the good stuff each day to help keep my skin hydrated and bright.
While I'm not advocating skipping water, there's a beauty hack that will help inject a little moisture into your skin when it's an absolute heatwave emergency: a face mist. Not only are face mists incredible for their skin-cooling capabilities, but if you choose the right formula, they can do wonders for your complexion too. Opt for water-based ingredients with boosters like hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture or vitamin C for an antioxidant boost.
While it's a total no-brainer that wearing loads of clothing layers in a heatwave is a complete no-no, most of us probably don't spare a thought to the number of layers of skincare and makeup that we wear in the hot weather. For me, I've found that to keep my skin looking as fresh as possible for as long as possible during the summer months, it's all about minimising the number of products I'm wearing.
As I mentioned earlier, everyone's skin naturally produces more oil during the summer, so I tend to find that just a serum will do after I've cleansed my skin of a morning. At a recent master class, makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes revealed that even on a normal day, she only applies moisturiser to the areas of the face where she wants to add radiance. For me, serum + SPF + primer + tinted moisturiser = the perfect heatwave skin formula.
I used to only wear waterproof mascara if I was going to a wedding or heading on holiday. For some reason, it didn't use to occur to me that all of the best things about waterproof formulas (they're long-lasting, moisture-resistant and smudge-proof) would prove equally useful during a heatwave in the UK. These days, as soon as the temperature starts to climb, I immediately wave goodbye to my usual mascara, cream lipsticks and powder blushers and reach for their waterproof counterparts and long-wear stains.