Words by Buffy Gill of Be Good Organics.
Summer is just around the corner here in the Southern Hemisphere. Which means legs and arms are being bared, bikinis and swimmers are being dusted off, and the beaches are starting to pad out on the weekends. So I thought it perfect timing to share with you ten of my top tips for making sure you've got your best ever super sexy, but also safe and healthy, summer skin.
1. BODY BRUSH THE BUMPY BITS
Bumpy bits on the side of your thighs and back of your arms? Say goodbye my friend and welcome to body brushing. It's not only a great exfoliator for smooth skin, but also helps to reduce ingrown hairs, eliminate toxins, increase circulation, and stimulate your lymphatic system.
Our Bodecare brushes are completely chemical free, cruelty free, vegan, use natural bristles from the agave plant, and are made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified timber. The FSC is an independent NGO that promotes responsible management of the worlds forests - yay for our wildlife!
To do it, dry body brush your entire body when clean and dry, before your shower/bath. Stroke upwards towards your lymph nodes, brushing each area a handful of times before moving up. Then after your shower, slather yourself in coconut oil - skin as soft as a baby's bot.
2. GO BROWN SAFELY
As you know, there are significant dangers to baking for hours in the sun, especially in New Zealand and Australia where our ozone layer is thinner and less protective.
Fake tanning has become a popular and supposedly 'safe' alternative to sun tanning. However most fake tans contain some really nasty ingredients which are absorbed into your skin and bloodstream.
My favourite brand Eco Tan contains no synthetics or toxic ingredients. Eco Tan is certified organic, cruelty-free and whenever possible uses eco-friendly natural inks and recycled paper. They use gorgeous natural and organic ingredients such as cacao, herbs, flower extracts, fruit extracts and chamomile to create their beautiful colours. You can use their Invisible Tan for a quick and beautiful tan within one day, while their Winter Skin will build you up a slow and natural tan, perfect if you're fairer like me.
3. COVER UP WITH NATURAL SUNBLOCK
When you do want to go out into the sun, you should always be wearing a good quality sunblock to protect yourself from too many rays and skin cancer. However most sunblocks available in our supermarkets and chemists are full of harmful chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer themselves!
I always recommend wearing a hat whenever you can and staying in the shade during the peak of the day (11am-4pm). However when you do need to put on sunblock, my preference is always for a natural organic alternative. Oasis Sun is one of my favourites - it's made in New Zealand, contains 94% organic and natural ingredients, is rated SPF30+, and isn't thick cakey and whitening as most other organic sunscreens I've tried are. Oasis still uses a chemical UV barrier as opposed to a physical sun barrier (thus avoids that thick cakey zinc look), however my view is this is an ok compromise given the dangers of going out into the sun without anything, and the less than optimal consistency of other natural alternatives on the market.
4. MOISTURISE REGULARLY
We all know moisturising is good for our skin all year round, particularly to replenish natural skin oils that are washed off with soapy body products. But in summer it's even more important, especially if you've been out in the sun during the day.
My favourite moisturisers for body are Sally B's Skin Yummies Eco Body Lotion, Annmarie Gianni's Radiant Skin Silk, and Annmarie Gianni's Coconut Body & Face Oil. Or if you prefer going even simpler, INDAH's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a fantastic moisturiser (and you can even eat it too). All of these moisturisers are packed with certified organic natural plant oils and butters such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Coconut, Tamanu and Aloe Vera that will soften your skin, sooth dry patches and ease any accidental sunburn.
5. SWITCH TO A NATURAL MASCARA
Most ladies I know, if asked if there was one must-have makeup product in their handbag that they couldn't live without, would say Mascara. Especially for us blondies, mascara just has an amazing way of opening up your eyes and making you look fresh instantly.
Problem again (there's a recurrent theme here), is there are a bunch of nasty harmful chemicals in most commercially available mascaras. Not to mention almost all of them test horrifically on animals (Maybelline, MAC, L'Oreal, Revlon - yes they all do it!).
Much better option - choose a natural cruelty free alternative that still works like a dream. I've tried my fair share of organic and natural mascaras, and most of them are dry, crumbly and flake giving you unwanted panda eyes. Ere Perez's natural almond oil mascara is by far the best natural mascara I've ever tried - the almond oil means it goes on silky smooth no clumps, and moisturises your lashes at the same time. The black waterproof version is also tear-proof, run-proof, and swim-proof too - perfect for summer.
6. ADD A DASH OF COLOUR WITH NATURAL BRONZER
My other favourite summer makeup item (actually all year round), is bronzer. I've tried a number of natural organic alternatives including Dr Hauschka and Inika, but my definite favourite is Ere Perez's pure rice powder bronzer. It comes in two shades, "My Blush" which is a lighter tone, and "Bronze" which is a darker tone. I use the My Blush and it's perfect - it has a gorgeous yet subtle shimmer to it too. It's amazing what a difference just a sweep or two of bronzer can do for your facial complexion - my boyfriend reckons it 'wakes me up' in the morning!
7. PUCKER UP WITH ORGANIC LIP GLOSS
While we're on makeup (sorry gents if you've held on this long), my last must have makeup item is a good lip gloss. Most girls love their lip gloss, and let me tell you I have a bunch of MAC pottles still sitting gathering dust in my bathroom draw. But when I decided to forgo the chemical overload, I went bare for quite a while thinking there wasn't an effective alternative available.
Then I found Sally B's Skin Yummies B Glossy Lip Glosses and was blown away! They are made with over 95% certified organic ingredients, with no chemical preservatives or artificial colours. They add a hint of colour and shimmer, without any lead or other toxic ingredients. Formulated with moisture-rich natural oils and waxes and soothing peppermint, they give you lips that look amazing and feel great too. I'm loving the perfectly pretty "Primrose" and take-me-back-to-the-80's "Every Blond's Pink" right now.
8. NOURISH YOUR INSIDES
Beauty is not just about what you put on your skin, it's more importantly what you put inside it. So now that your external summer beauty regime is complete, you'll want to add some super nourishment into your blood stream to make every skin cell shine and sing. Vegetable juicing is one of the best ways to do this. My partner has gotten into the habit of getting up at the crack of dawn each morning to make us a big double batch of green juice for the day. So when I wake up and open the fridge door, the first thing staring out saying 'drink me' is a glorious jar packed full of fresh organic vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients.
The best juicer I've ever used is the Hurom vertical slow juicer. It's made by the same company who make the Oscar and Omega horizontal juicers, which are still very popular with some folks. I however love the ease of the vertical model - it's so much easier to use, takes up less bench space, and uses gravity to pull down the produce as opposed to you having to jam it into the machine. If you want to read more about the glory of juicing, check out my go-to juicing manual here - "The Real Squeeze on Green Juice".
9. STAY HYDRATED
Dehydration can lead to tiredness, fatigue, and painful headaches, especially during the summer months. You sweat more too, which means you need to drink more than usual. One of my favourite ways to stay hydrated is by drinking green juice, but also coconut water. You can buy coconut water in single serve packs in most supermarkets and stores these days, but those individual tetra paks are horrendous for the environment! They can't be recycled (unless you live in Denmark), as the cardboard is glued to the inside plastic layer, and only a very specialised machine can pull each of the layers apart to then recycle the card and plastic separately. Let's get real here - all those tetrapaks just end up in landfill.
Rant over, I've discovered the best way to indulge in a nutrient rich coconut water (other than fly to Fiji, and again, food miles...) is to buy the freeze dried powder. My favourite brand, New Zealand owned Matakana Superfoods freeze dried coconut water is extracted from young green coconuts when they've just come off the tree, and contains all the vitamins and minerals that would ordinarily ensure the continued development of the adult coconut. Coconut water is one of the latest popular health trends, due to it acting as a superior natural electrolyte replacement (ditch the Powerade), is low in calories and is naturally sweet. It's perfect to drink on it's own, use as your liquid base in smoothies, and also particularly great for rehydration on long haul flights. While freeze-drying is the most expensive drying process, it delivers a product of superior quality, and when reconstituted in a glass of water delivers all the goodness, freshness and flavor of a freshly harvested coconut. Yay for being able to enjoy all the goodness of fresh coconut water, without a ton of food miles and carbon foot-printing in transportation!
10. REPEL MOZZIES NATURALLY
This one's not that sexy, but darn necessary sometimes. I have friends who swear they can't go outside in summer without being attacked by bugs and mosquitos (apparently their blood is a lot tastier than mine). Most of us would then race for the DEET or citronella filled insect repellant, however again - harmful toxin alert!
Sally B's Skin Yummies B Unbitten is the first natural organic repellant I've found that actually works. Really well. It's a blend of coconut oil and organic essential oils such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, spruce, patchouli, pine and vetiver, that are naturally designed to ward off unwanted friends. It doesn't feel greasy or sticky afterwards either like other insect repellants. Simply apply a few drops on your palm and rub on arms and exposed areas and vamoosh insects!
For more information on the top ten tips on the perfect summer skin and to buy all the above products, visit Buffy's blog post on Be Good Organics here. Also make sure you follow Be Good Organics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest dietary, beauty and lifestyle tips.