Feeling frazzled? When your mind’s frantic, breathing becomes shallower. Move into longer, calming breaths by breathing out and placing one hand on your stomach, the other over your heart. Allow the stomach to rise with each breath to relax the nervous system, take slower breaths than you usually do, and draw out each exhalation. A couple of minutes of this can be transformative.
Applying fake tan? Wait a while after showering, as warm skin can absorb colour unevenly. (The exception: St.Tropez’s in-shower self-tanner, which is designed for just that.)
Ridged nails? Invest in a good old-fashioned chamois leather buffer, which gently creates a smooth, shiny surface and helps eliminate ridges. (Your granny was right about some things.)
Wake up – and lace up those trainers for a walk. Research shows that those who exercise moderately at 7 a.m. have lower blood pressure throughout the day.
Don't give up on red lipstick just because it's summer. But go for orange-toned reds (which look great with a tan); a blue-toned red is more 'Hollywood', and works better in the winter months.
If you get a reaction to an 'active' anti-ageing cream, cease and desist. Red, itchy patches, flaking, broken blood vessels, lumps and bumps – these are a sign that damage is being done, rather than improvements being made. Most anti-ageing creams will have been tested for years before they're put on the market, tested on humans – but there will always be people who react. Soreness, burning and irritation aren't a sign that 'something's happening' – they're a sign you need to stop using it.
How do you apply your foundation? Our friend Charlotte Tilbury advises: ‘Start in the centre of your face and blend outwards.’
Avoid using retinol or AHAs for 24 hours before tanning, as they tamper with absorption and can result in patchy colour. (That applies to face and body.)
If you’ve booked a spa treatment, get there early. It gives you time to relax before your session, and avoids a frenzied rush feeling. If you have to set your phone alarm to nudge you to leave in good time – well, that’s just a darned good idea.
If you have wide-set eyes, be careful not to apply too much make-up to the outer corners; it simply emphasises the problem.
Did you know that alcohol can affect how good your self-tanner looks? It dries out skin, which can result in a more uneven finish.
If you use an eyelash curler, never clamp down for more than a few seconds, otherwise you risk ripping out lashes.
This is peak blister season, as our feet adjust to wearing quite different shoes (and without a protective layer or tights or socks). Shake some talc or cornstarch into your shoes, to help keep feet dry. We also like to change our shoes more often than usual, right now – rather than wearing the same pair all day, which can lead to friction.
Soap is having a moment. It’s one of beauty’s simplest products – but some soaps, we’ve found, can turn to moosh quite quickly. Our solution is to dry the soap on a towel, when we dry our hands. Keeps it firm, so it lasts longer.
If your bath oil seems to do more for your tub than your skin, try a new approach. We like Aromatherapy Associates’ technique: massage the oil directly into the body, so the softening agents are right where you want them. Once you’re in the water, the warmth will help them penetrate.
Do you regularly wake up in the night? The liver is most active between 1 a.m. and 3 p.m., and this might be a sign that your liver could use some extra help. Try supplementing with milk thistle, taken in the morning. And if you find yourself wide awake between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.? (And you’re not a ‘lark’?) This is when the large intestines are most active; you might want to supplement with pre- and probiotics.
When traversing a department store, never miss the opportunity to ask beauty consultants to demo a new make-up launch on you that you’ve read about (maybe here!) Our experience is that they’re always more than happy, especially during quiet hours. (We’d never shop for make-up – or indeed anything, in a department store – at lunchtime or after work – if we have a choice.)
Sensitive skin? Start checking ingredients lists on cleansers, avoiding sulfates and parabens (which can irritate some skins), and seeking out ‘buffered’, complexion-friendly formulations featuring glycerine (to maintain skin’s natural moisture balance, along with strengthening ceramides or panthenol.
‘Squoval’ (square with rounded corners) generally complements most hands – but if you’ve shorter fingers, this can be more flattering, creating the illusion of long nail beds and longer fingers.
If you get an eye infection, you need to replace your mascara. But wait until the condition’s cleared up to break out replacements…