Beauty: Body beautiful products for sunny days
Swimsuits, shorts, miniskirts: in summer, hemlines rise in line with the temperatures. Get your limbs ready for their moment in the sun with some swift prep work, writes Alice Ryan
Jane Scrivner Perfecting Body Polish, £37, janescrivner.com
Some physical exfoliators, ie those which use rub-on-rinse-off abrasives to slough the dead skin, leave my limbs looking raw and feeling sore. But not this little beauty: the exfoliators (pumice powder, salts and spices) being whipped together with moisture and barrier-boosting butters (including mango) and oils (jojoba, green coffee, coconut), it soothes and hydrates every bit as efficiently as it smoothes and stimulates. Massage it onto dry skin in circular motions until the butters/oils have been absorbed, shower off the exfoliants and enjoy feeling silky.
Miller Harris Scherzo Body Wash, £22, millerharris.com
Proof that not all body washes are created equal, this formula from great British fragrance house Miller Harris is a doozy. The first thing of note is the heady, heavenly scent; layering lush roses and peonies with sunny narcissi and pittosporum, it’s a veritable bouquet. Producing a pleasingly creamy lather, the gel texture makes it luxurious to use. Plus it leaves skin feeling genuinely perked and pampered, courtesy of a combo of Vitamin E and coconut extracts. While it’s billed as a body wash, Scherzo doubles as a divine bubble bath too - a dash poured under the running tap invites a long and lovely soak.
MESSIAH and EVE Body Cleanser .02, £21, messiahandeve.co.uk
When it comes to skincare, it’s fair to say the face takes the lion’s share. That’s where MESSIAH and EVE’s ‘body facial’ concept comes in - star of which is this cleanser, which deploys actives usually found in face products, notably Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Niacinamide and Vitamin E, to clean, exfoliate and brighten your skin in a single step. Slowly sweep onto wet skin, allowing it to sink in and sit for a wee while like you would skincare, then rinse well. Fragranced with blackberry and guaiac wood, it leaves you deliciously scented as well as super-smooth.
ESPA Optimal Body Tri-Serum, £45, espaskincare.com
Prone to dryness, blotching and bruising, my skin is the definition of pale and uninteresting - yet even on me, this serum works genuine wonders. It takes a multi-pronged approach to buoying skin’s condition and appearance, using extracts of winged kelp to tone, balloon vine and blackcurrant seed to soften, soothe and protect, and - this is the real game-changer - turmeric to even tone and give a glow. Spritz all over post-shower and your limbs, in particular, will not only feel lovely, but look lovely too. The bottle blurb promises ‘radiant skin’ and the contents delivers.
Clarins Body Firming Extra-firming Gel, £48, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge and clarins.co.uk
Following a 13-year study into the working of collagen, Clarins ascertained that extracts of organic petasites - a genus of flowering herb - were capable of restoring synthesis of the structural protein, the building block of firm skin. These petasites now star in this new Body Firming gel which, along with a tangible tightening effect on skin, also delivers a plumping dose of hydration (thanks to organic aloe vera) and a soothing dose of nourishment, too (organic coconut oil). Apply it wherever skin is starting to slacken - tummy, hips, thighs, buttocks - and you can genuinely see and feel the difference; I like to use it on my bingo wings.
L’Occitane Cactus Verbena After Sun Care, £24.50, L’Occitane, Rose Crescent, Cambridge; arc, Bury St Edmunds; and uk.loccitane.com
Famed for thriving in the hot and arid desert climate thanks to its unrivalled ability to conserve water, cactus is both the inspiration for and hero ingredient in this aftersun. Taking the form of a gel, which wicks the heat out of sun-baked skin as it melts, it’s instantly hydrating and, courtesy of sidekick ingredient verbena, also has a delightfully refreshing fragrance. If you’re heading on a beach break, it’s a must-pack.
Bjork & Berries Shimmer Oil, £39, bjorkandberries.com
Aiming to capture both the beauty and healing powers of nature, Swedish brand Bjork & Berries puts birch extract front and centre in many of its formulas (as its name denotes: bjork is birch in English). A mainstay of traditional skin treatments, birch is known to hydrate, nourish, soften, calm, tone and purify in one, making it the ideal ingredient for this multi-purpose, fast-absorbing, quick-drying, super-moisturising oil, the perfect tonic for sun-parched body, face and even hair. The shimmer comes from natural minerals which bounce the light, making skin and hair look instantly lovelier, too.
he-shi H20 Glow Tanning Mousse, £26, he-shi.eu
Created by an Irish mother and daughter frustrated by streaky, stinky, orange self-tanners, he-shi has gained an impressive reputation for its clean, nasty-free formulas. This mousse, shortlisted in the Pure Beauty Awards 2021, is a calling-card product: as long as you prep properly (exfoliating and moisturising, paying extra attention to dry areas), the foam mitts onto skin seamlessly, develops in synch with your skintone, smells like white peach, dries swiftly with no clothing/bedsheet transfer and - possibly the best bit - also packs a real punch of hydration, thanks to the addition of aloe vera, argan and avocado oils.
he-shi HD Wonder Glow, £17.50, he-shi.eu
A lovely light shade, ideal for pale peeps like me, since discovering this instant tan last year it’s become my go-to for giving arms and legs a subtle colour and luminosity. I mitt it onto moisturised skin in smooth, circular motions, let it dry for a couple of minutes and hey presto! I no longer look like I’ve been living in the Upside Down for six months. The best bit? The crystallised mica minerals which give skin a glow also blur any imperfections, applying a light-bouncing filter to any little bruises or blotches. Made with 93% natural ingredients, including moisture-boosting aloe vera, it feels really lovely on the skin, too.
St Moriz Professional Clear Tanning Mousse, Medium to Dark, £5.99, stmoriz.co.uk
If you want to achieve a just-back-from-a-fortnight-in-Bali tan without leaving the house, this St Moriz Clear Tanning Mousse is The One. Like the he-shi, it’s a colourless water mousse which, once mitted onto skin, gradually develops pigment. You can apply it before bed - there’s no fear of sheet transfer or streaking - but I’d advise doing it during the day so you can keep an eye on the colour, which begins to develop within the hour; as soon as you’ve reached the depth of tan you like, hop in the shower to halt the process. Equally, super-light and smooth to apply, it layers beautifully: if you want to take your colour up a notch, just go again. Added aloe vera and Vitamin E look after your skin while you’re at it.
Read moreFashion and Beauty
More by this authorAlice Ryan