My Summer Essentials

I don't always match my nail polish to my beach towel, but when I do...

I don’t always match my nail polish to my beach towel, but when I do…

I probably should have titled this “My Hot Weather Essentials”, as summer doesn’t always mean sunshine in Ireland. But I digress, some lovely summery sun has finally arrived in Ireland after a six-year delay. While the weather is absolutely glorious, the soaring temperatures have left us all wilting and close to saying, “It’s nearly TOO hot”. To help you beat the heat, I’ve put together my list of summer essentials to help you stay cool, calm and collected during our heatwave. Long may it last!

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Sunscreen

It’s so important to protect your skin in the sun, especially with our Irish colouring and infrequent sun exposure. I love La Roche Posay’s sun range, and at €20 for a massive 300ml of product, this is excellent value. It’s not greasy and is really moisturising – you can feel it nurturing your skin as it protects. This is Factor 30, but they also do a Factor 50, which is great for children, or those in tropical climates. However, using the right amount of product is just as important as the factor you use. To apply, squeeze a line of sunscreen along your index finger. Your face and neck need one “finger”, and arms need two fingers of product each and legs should be getting two each front and back, so four altogether per leg. This is one case where less is certainly not more, so make sure to slap it on and be sun safe.

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Fresh Body Lotion

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Fresh Body Lotion

I originally bought this a couple of years ago when I was going on holiday as I wanted an after-sun lotion that wasn’t too sticky and greasy in hot weather. I loved it so much that I’ve kept using it ever since, winter and summer. It’s lovely and moisturising, with a gorgeous fresh scent, and the aloe vera is great for soothing skin that’s a little bit too sun-kissed. Store it in the fridge for when your skin needs a cool, refreshing drink.

La Roche Posay Thermal Water Spray

La Roche Posay Thermal Water Spray

This is another one that you can stash in the fridge, and it’s been a lifesaver over the past couple of days. It’s a very fine mist in an aerosol can and it doesn’t sound like much, but it is the business at helping you to stay cool. My office is stifling, and even with the doors and windows open it’s hard to stay cool, so I’ve taken to spritzing myself with this water spray at regular intervals. It’s utterly gorgeous, so refreshing, and especially cooling when sprayed on the face, chest and pulse points (elbows, wrist, behind the knees). I could not be without this in hot weather. I do wish you could buy a more handbag-friendly size – though you often get a small size free with purchase – but that’s the only negative. At €10 it’s not the cheapest but it is invaluable at cooling you down when you feel like you might die from heatstroke. It’s also great for soothing hay-fever-y eyes, sunburn and prickly heat, making it a luxury that I can’t do without.

Water

It is so important to stay hydrated in hot weather. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how quickly you dehydrate in the sun. It’s vital to keep your water levels topped up to avoid heatstroke, so keep a big bottle of water in the fridge and sip a glass continuously throughout the day. If plain water is too boring for you, try sparking water, or add a spash of lime juice and some crushed mint leaves. Yummy!

Dior Sweet Sun Fragrance

Dior Sweet Sun Treatment Fragrance

This is my go-to summer fragrance; you can see from what’s left in the bottle how much I love it, and have loved it over the years. I am an absolute perfume addict – I wear it every day and feel naked without it. Even if I’m slumming around at home I’ll spritz some perfume on; I genuinely don’t feel complete otherwise. My signature scent is Black Orchid by Tom Ford, but it’s quite musky and a little heavy for summer, so in the hot weather I turn to Dior’s Sweet Sun. It was originally the scent used to fragrance their suncare line, and customers loved it so much that it was released as a standalone fragrance. I initially read about this in Vogue, as one of the editors had put it on her list of summer “Can’t Live Withouts”. Curiousity piqued, I had a sneaky sniff of it at the airport when I was heading off on holidays, and instantly fell in love. It’s sweet but not overpoweringly so and features refreshing citrus notes, as well as sweet jasmine and Tiaré flower essence and a heady combination of ginger, vanilla and musk. Apart from smelling utterly amazing, it doesn’t contain alcohol, so it’s safe to use when sunbathing. Go to your nearest Dior counter and douse yourself liberally in it; you won’t be able to stop sniffing yourself all day.

Maybelline Color Tattoo

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24h Eyeshadow

I love, love, LOVE these dupes for MAC Paint Pots. They are fantastic value at €7.49, and are often included in Boots’ 3-for-2 offer, so you can afford to snap up more than one! This shade is On and On Bronze, and it’s one of my favourites. The colour suits all eye colours and skin tones, so it’s a great all-rounder. These little pots pack a powerful pigment punch, so by using them as a base for your powder  eyeshadow you get extra bang for your buck.

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As you can see from the photo, they can be swiped on for a light layer of colour, or layered for a more intense effect. This is a great shade for those of you who have Urban Decay’s NAKED palette as it goes really well with the gold and bronze colours. I usually put some of the Maybelline shade on my lid and blend the crease out with either Naked or Buck, and then add Smog and/or Dark Horse to the outer corner. You can, of course, wear it by itself with a slick of waterproof mascara, making it perfect for hot weather and holidays as the creamy gel formula won’t slide off or smudge. Take that, humidity!

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Barry M Nail Polish

Summer is the one time of year that you can really go crazy with nail polish colours, and personally I think there is nothing better than a fluorescent colour so bright it’d nearly take the eye out of your head. These babies almost did just that when I passed the Barry M stand in my local Boots, so I had to bring them home. I’m currently rocking the yellow on my toes and the pink on my fingers and they are fab. The pink shade is surprisingly matte, but nothing a shiny topcoat can’t fix if matte ain’t your bag. I love bright colours with a tan, so these are perfect for summer. They’re limited edition, so if you fancy snagging your own, make it snappy!

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Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector for Combination to Oily Skin

Day-to-day, I prefer a sheer to medium coverage base, and in the summer I like even less. BB creams are about all I can stand on my face in in hot weather, but it’s hard to find one that suits my skin as they vary so much between brands. Most BB creams leave my skin looking oily after a few hours – not attractive! – but I’d heard good things about this one from fellow combination-skinned ladies. It’s normally €15 or so, so when I saw it for half price in Sam McCauley’s today – sidenote: I feckin’ LOVE chemists – I couldn’t leave it there. It’s got an SPF of 20, so it’s perfect for the summertime. I haven’t tried it yet but I will do a full review in the coming weeks!

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What to Wear

As for what to wear in this hot weather, obviously bikinis and sunglasses are a must. My eyes are quite sensitive to the sun, and I’m always concious of squinting and causing The Dreaded Crows’ Feet in bright sunlight, so I pop on a pair of shades as soon as the sun peeks out. You can’t go wrong with a classic pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers or Aviators, they go with everything and you can rest assured that your precious peepers will be properly protected from any harsh rays.

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I’m all for a bit of summertime glamour, and because I have fine hair my parting tends to burn quite easily so I need to keep my head covered. Having the sun beating down on your head all day isn’t good anyway, so I like to kill two birds with one stone and tie a silk scarf – one that matches my swimwear, natch – around my head to keep the sun off and my head protected. I picked up both of these beauties from Vintage Trig in Waterford city, but you can also shop online here. Simply tie on, channel your inner Marilyn and you’re good to go!

Enjoy the sun and stay safe!

Niamh

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4 thoughts on “My Summer Essentials

  1. Brillaint array of essentials … love your choices. I have always used the Avene Eau Thermal Water Spray which has been great but I’m always up for a change so I must check out your suggestion! Loving the blog so far and looking forward to whats to come!

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