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Dare to bare

Get ready for summer with our expert tips for achieving a glowing complexion, firmer body, stunning hair and perfect pins

Scrub it up

“The first step for summer skin is to prep and revive skin using a good natural and organic exfoliator,” says Ingrid Hume of beauty company Pravera. “Exfoliating your skin twice a week will help to shed dead skin cells, boost circulation, rejuvenate and purify the skin, leaving it soft, smooth and brighter. Use a body scrub or exfoliator with sugar, salt or apricot kernel and choose one that is environmentally friendly and doesn’t contain plastics.”

“Get your body summer ready by investing in a detoxifing body scrub,” says Niamh Larkin, beauty specialist at health store Evergreen in Mainguard St, Galway.

“Natural body scrubs are a great way to increase circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system, as well as ridding the body of any dead skin.”

Elbows and knees

“Improve the look of dry knees and elbows by softening and rehydrating the skin. After showering when skin is still warm massage organic coconut oil into your knees and elbows. The oil will absorb deep into the skin for long lasting moisture and nourishment.”
Ingrid Hume

Sun protection

“In the summer it’s time to change to a light face cream or facial fluid, one with an SPF of at least 15 to protect you from sun spots, freckles and early signs of ageing,” says Ingrid Hume. “Make sure to use natural mineral sun protection that contains titanium dioxide and zinc. These are natural mineral sun protectors that are kind and gentle on the skin and reflect the harmful rays from the sun.”

“When choosing face or body sun protection, avoid oxybenzone, which can have a damaging effect on hormones and DNA, and octisalate, which can increase the amount of other chemical ingredients being absorbed into the skin,” says Niamh Larkin.

“Instead look for reflective ingredients like titanium and/or zinc, whose particles are too big to be absorbed so they work from the surface of the skin.”

Firm up

“You can improve the look of dimply skin by applying a firming body lotion morning and night,” says Ingrid Hume. “This will encourage smoother, softer skin. Look for products that contain Coenzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant that stimulates cell production and encourages the skin to regenerate.”

“To smooth, define and sculpt your wobbly bits try using a hydrating organic moisturiser containing beech bud extract, shea butter, squalane, pineapple and ginger extracts that improve skin hydration and elasticity whilst sculpting the body,” says Hannah Mepham of beauty company Green People.

“For anyone looking to get their skin that little bit firmer coming into summer, I would suggest dry brushing in long sweeps, towards the heart,” says Niamh Larkin. “Dry brushing should be done before showering, and a rich moisturiser used after – look for ingredients like shea butter for moisture and neroli for skin smoothness.”

Don’t sweat it

“There are a number of safe and effective alternatives to chemical-based deodorants available, offering natural control of body odour without suppressing the vital function of perspiration,” says Hannah Mepham. These are free from parabens, alcohol and pore-clogging aluminium.”

“Sweat is your body’s natural way of keeping you cool in hot temperatures,” says Ingrid Hume. “Keeping cool and using a natural, aluminium-free deodorant will help. Aluminium compounds found in conventional deodorants block sweat ducts in the underarms which then forces toxins to flow back into the bloodstream. These toxins can cause skin sensitivity, irritations and rashes. Drink less coffee – caffeine can activate sweat glands, so the more caffeine you drink the more you will perspire.”

“Natural aluminium-free deodorants are more popular now than ever,” says Niamh Larkin. “Having tried dozens over the years, I find the most effective ones contain either salt or baking soda, with an absorbant ingredient (such as arrowroot) and a strong, natural aroma. Plastic-free versions are now also available.”

Gorgeous hair

“A coconut oil hair mask once a week can leave hair feeling silky soft and also protect hair from drying out in the warmer months,” says Niamh Larkin. “People with coloured hair may wish to opt for almond oil instead, as coconut can cause colour to fade faster. Remember to shampoo twice to get all that oil out!”

“Summer is a great time to visit the seaside or make a splash in the pool but, UV light and chlorine exposure can play havoc with your hair,” says Hannah Mepham. “Chlorine can strip the natural oils away from the surface of the hair and scalp, so to minimise follicle damage we recommend washing hair immediately after swimming with a shampoo and conditioner containing artichoke leaves.”

Feet first

“Cracked heels? Get them summer sandal ready by applying a rich natural moisturiser to your feet at night and top with light cotton socks to soften dry skin as you sleep,” says Ingrid Hume. “Rich moisturisers that contain shea butter, cocoa butter and almond oil provide intense moisture and protection for dry skin.” “Tea tree makes a great natural deodorant and is found in foot powder, which can be applied directly to feet or dusted into shoes,” says Niamh Larkin. “Peppermint is very cooling, so great to rub on tired or burning feet and legs to cool them down and stimulate the skin.”

Fabulous legs

“If you have sensitive skin, shaving foams containing alcohol and synthetic fragrances may irritate your skin,” says Hannah Mepham. “To avoid this use an organic shaving gel with a mild foaming agent and an extract from the seaweed Irish moss. Chosen for its skin-soothing benefits, Irish moss forms a slippery film that coats the hair shafts and the skin. This helps ensure that the razor can give a close smooth shave whilst minimising the risk of nicks and cuts. It is important that you re-hydrate after shaving and avoid moisturisers containing alcohol as it is a skin-drying ingredient and newly shaved skin can be more prone to irritation from chemical ingredients.”

DIY Body scrub

An essential oil salt body scrub is an excellent way to exfoliate, energise and help to detoxify your skin. It’s easy and affordable to make, and free from any nasty or undesirable additives leaving your skin thoroughly moisturised:

Try this...

  • 6tbsp Epsom Salts
  • 6tbsp sweet almond oil (or other vegetable oils)
  • 30 drops (total) essential oils * (see below)

*For sensitive skin types, children or pregnancy use 15 drops or less of essential oil.

For best results apply to dry skin, massage the body gently and rinse off in the shower.

Store in a glass container and use within eight weeks.

Relax/calm blend

  • Lavender – 10 drops
  • Roman camomile – 5 drops
  • Imortelle or carrot seed – 15 drops

Revitalise/detox blend

  • Geranium – 10 drops
  • Juniperberry – 15 drops
  • Grapefruit – 5 drops

Recipe from Ellen Cox of Atlantic Aromatics

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