Well, after a month of moaning about the rainy weather, Summer arrived this weekend and of course we all reverted to moaning about the heat instead!
Usually when a heatwave hits, you can find me frantically panicking about my pasty white skin, non pedicured feet and general – not summer ready – demeanour, but luckily this time I was more than ready for a little sunshine as I’ve been working with Boots, putting some of their summer essential skincare and make up to the test.
They challenged me to switch up my beauty products in time for summer, and I decided to find pieces that could help me achieve that sought after bronzed summer glow (or as bronzed as you can get when you’re as pale as me anyway!).
I’m definitely guilty of getting stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to beauty products and make up especially. When I find a make up combination that works, I then tend to stick to it day in day out, and often shy away from switching things up in case they don’t work on me/ I waste money on something that turns out not to be right for me. But if there’s any time to make a few subtle changes it’s summer. Anything goes in summer, we can afford to be a little more daring, and of course seek out that confidence boosting tan (even if it comes from a bottle). And Boots has everything you could need, whether you’re keen to go for a bold summer look (hello Glitter make up – perfect for festivals!), want to switch to a fresher, lighter perfume, or simply just add a few new make up items to your collection.
For me personally I had two objectives; Firstly, I wanted to give my pale skin a bit of warmth for the summer months and create a fresh everyday make up look that gave me that sunkissed, dewy skin, as if I’d just come back from a very relaxing holiday. Secondly I wanted to switch up some of my core skincare and base products for items that were a little more natural and cruelty free. I’m definitely becoming more mindful of a. my extremely sensitive skin (natural skincare is best for me), and b. the impact that the production of beauty products can have on the environment and the testing methods certain items go through.
I always feel that beauty is one of the most difficult areas to make changes for the better when it comes to saving the planet, and I’m by no means an example in this department (I’m not ready to give up my addiction to red lipsticks just yet), but I think the first step is being aware and not turning a blind eye to it, and small changes here and there can hopefully move us in the right direction.
Anyway with all that in mind, here’s the products I’ve been using to create my summer glow…
Step 1 – Prepping the skin
First of all, I wanted to create a hint of a natural golden tan. But seeing as I only have to look at the sun to turn a shade of tomato, this was definitely going to be a fake it scenario. Now I must admit I’m always a little wary of fake tan. I had a pretty bad reaction to one when I was younger which made me come out in a nasty rash and since then, trying any new brands always comes with a slight worry. But I’d heard SUCH good things about The Isle of Paradise range, and it’s also vegan, cruelty free and made with natural ingredients so I was hopeful that it would be kind to my skin.
And it hasn’t disappointed – one week of using it daily and I am totally, utterly SOLD on this product. I opted for the tanning drops in the medium shade and although slightly pricey, I use them sparingly (because I’m so pale) so I actually feel like this bottle will last me a long time. And honestly, I’m so, so SO impressed with the results so far. I’ve tried a lot of different tans in my time, and let’s be honest none of them *really* look all that natural do they? They do the job, but there’s always a slight streaky patch somewhere that gives the game away, or a patch on your wrist that you forgot, or they leave that tell tale dark brown smudge in the curves of your fingers. I even had a spray tan before going on holiday a couple of years ago and it lasted approximately two days before going streaky and leaving me pale again (even the afternoon walking around looking like David Dickinson while it set wasn’t worth that). I’d more or less given up trying to achieve a tan, real or fake, and just embraced my white Scottish appearance even in a bikini, BUT the Isle of Paradise drops are a game changer! I think it’s the process of mixing it in with your daily moisturiser that makes it work. It’s such a subtle change (obviously you can add as many drops as you like if you prefer something less subtle) that it genuinely does feel natural, and by diluting it with a moisturiser you’re ensuring streaks just don’t happen. It’s also encouraged me to actually moisturise daily which is of course super beneficial in the summer anyway (I’m usually a ‘too tired/ can’t be bothered/ let’s skip that step’ kind of person). You can use between 1 and 12 drops depending on how deep you want the tan, but I add one drop to my face moisturiser each morning and then two drops to each dollop of body lotion I use. Even after the first day of application I noticed a difference – no one else might have noticed, but I definitely felt more confident to wear a dress and show off my legs. The other great thing is that there’s no waiting around for it to dry, or having to do it at night and waking up with tan stained sheets, it’s essentially just like using a moisturiser so you can dress straight away without any stickiness and get on with your day.
These photos were taken after day 1 so there’s not a huge difference, but I’m now a week in and sporting a healthy little glow so I’m going to continue using it and see how far it develops.
I also picked up this Ole Henriksen Banana Bright primer as often (due to 2.5 years of sleep deprivation and permanent Mum exhaustion) the skin on my face can suffer from that sallow look where it just needs a bit of zest and colour thrown into it to make it feel more alive. This primer contains Vitamin C which is obviously great for tired, neglected skin and and can help encourage healthy skin cells to grow so it seemed a good option. It doubles up as both an under make up primer (to create an even base, avoid dryness and give that dewy look), and as a highlighter on top of make up (to create a little cheekbone shine) so it’s the perfect item for holidays too, to save having to bring too many products away with you. It has a subtly sunny tint to it which is designed to instantly brighten your skin and colour correct too (something I definitely need to balance out the red patches on my cheeks). So far it’s great as a pre- make up base and smells lovely too, but actually my favourite way to use it is as a highlighter. I added some across my cheekbones after my bronzer and it instantly lifted the bronzer and created a bit of a glow.
Step 2 – Base Make Up
Once I had my golden glow all set up, it was onto the make up and I knew I’d need a light summery foundation which didn’t feel heavy or like it would melt off in the heat but still offered some coverage. I opted for this Bare Minerals Original Loose Mineral Foundation which is created using just five mineral ingredients and includes an SPF 15 making it ideal for summer use. It’s a bit of a cult buy amongst the beauty bloggers so I knew it had to be good but I think the best part is that it goes on so light but is buildable too so you can add more in areas you might need it. It’s said to last up to 8 hours and is designed not to dry out or go cakey, which is the worst feeling during a hot day when your make up goes like that. I need to use it a bit more before I can say whether it will become a daily staple, but I can definitely see me using this on warmer days as it feels so light and barely there when on.
A bronzed summer look wouldn’t be complete without a good bronzer – surely the key product for this switch up. In the winter months I’m definitely more of a pinky peachy blush kind of gal, but in summer there’s nothing better than a swoosh of shimmery, sparkly bronzer across your cheeks. I chose the E.l..f bronzer palette, again as this is a brand I’ve been keen to try for a while. The packaging is so sleek, and looks designer yet the price is so affordable. This palette was only £5! This one is called the ‘Warm bronzer’ and it’s great. It’s made me realise I need to invest in a better bronzing brush however but the colours are subtle and just give a golden shimmer which you can of course build up. A sweep of this and a dab of the Ole Henriksen primer as a highlight on top was enough to give me that sunkissed glow I was after.
Step 3 – The finishing touches
Lastly, two key products that my summer make up is never without – a mascara that really delivers and a moisturising lip colour that makes a statement.
I must admit I usually don’t spend a great deal on mascara’s, I’m usually of the opinion that they all do more or less the same job and as someone with ‘un-cooperative’ lashes (short, stick out in all directions, don’t like to do as they’re told) I find that often even the expensive brands don’t work as well on me as other people. However, again I’d heard good things about the Benefit Roller Lash (you can tell I’m not a beauty pro – I basically just trust all my favourite beauty bloggers opinions and hope for the best), especially for those with shorter lashes or those that won’t curl. It’s £22 which isn’t at the top of the market but also isn’t super cheap either, but the bottle is very cool and typical of Benefit’s branding so I was already pretty chuffed with that side of things. The brush itself is a lot slimmer and the brustles very small compared to other makes which make it ideal if you have shorter lashes and struggle to get to them without getting black blobs all over your eyelid. It’s also curved which makes getting those pesky ones at the corner of your eye a lot easier. Overall I’ve been quite impressed with it and it definitely helps to curl them in the right direction and give a bit of shape.
When it comes to lipsticks, I’m always a fan of a bold lip. I know roughly which colours I suit best and anything too natural or light doesn’t tend to work so well on me. I’ve got numerous bright red and pink shades and some darker berry and plum shades which I tend to reserve for autumn/winter. But for this warm bronzed make up look, I thought a warm coral/orange toned shade would work really well. I always opt for moisturising lipsticks in summer rather than matte, as they tend to stay on longer and don’t dry out your lips so chose this MaxFactor Colour Exilir style. It’s always hard to choose lipstick shades online but I went for ‘Chilli’ in the hope it would be a fiery orangey red. I was torn between that, Bewitching Coral (a lighter coral shade) and Ruby Tuesday (a more reddish tone), but I wasn’t sure the coral would be punchy enough to make a statement and I already have so many red lipsticks that I felt would be similar to Ruby Tuesday. When it arrived I immediately thought it was going to be too dark and perhaps a little old fashioned for me, but was pleasantly surprised when I put it on that it’s actually the exact shade I was imagining before I chose it. It’s also the most moisturising lipstick I’ve ever owned and went so soft and smooth that it was ridiculously easy to apply and lasted all morning, even through eating. Having read up on it, I can now see why – the lipstick is made using shea, avocado and aloe butters and contains Vitamin E too to actively soothe and improve lip moisture! Be gone dry flaky winter lips!
The finished Look
The finished look is still natural and ideal for every day, but just a little more bronzed and shimmery than my usual routine. Ideal for summery days – I’m imagining a floaty white dress, denim jacket and beachy hair.
I’ve really enjoyed trying out some new pieces and mixing up my make up routine for the last couple of weeks. My favourite products have to be the Isle of Paradise tan and the E.l.f bronzer – so good for the price – but I’ve been so pleased with everything, which is unusual when trying all new brands.
Do you tend to switch up your beauty regime depending on the season or are you like me, and accidentally get stuck in a rut? I’d love to hear which products you swear by for summer?