Summer essentials

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has found the hot weather in the UK pretty unbearable. I love high temperatures on holiday but when you’re sweating in a flat, or in the office, or on the tube and you leave the house only to break out in a sweat five minutes later it’s not very glamorous. Here are my essentials for staying cool and well put together in the summer..

A fan

Yes, I’m starting with a fan. This may be the only reason why I didn’t try to sleep on a bench some of last week (well maybe not the only reason). We bought this inexpensive little baby from Amazon and it has been a life/sleep saver. It has three settings, can oscillate or stay put and it has a timer. I’d even recommend one of of those retro hand held fans that you can carry around with you, I promise you’ll be the envy of everyone on the tube. A fan is the ultimate summer essential.

A cooling spray

Caudalie & BodyShop cooling sprays

I like the Beauty Elixir from Caudalie (often 1/3rd off on and the Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist from the Bodyshop (I have old packaging). Whenever I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed or sweaty and in need of a cooling mist I’ll reach for one of these and immediately I’ll feel cooler. In the height of summer I’ll carry a spray with me in my handbag.

Both of these have great skincare benefits as an aside. The Caudalie Beauty Elixir has some fabulous ingredients including grape extract, mint and rose and can be used for many purposes including as a toner, a make up setter and to add radiance. I personally like to take this on planes as the grape and minty smell just help me feel calm and refreshed at the same time.

The Bodyshop Face Mist is based around Vitamin E, primary benefits including protection from UV and pollution. The mist in particular has rose water in it to hydrate and moisturise.

Antibacterial wash and travel perfume

Summer in the UK means BBQs and picnics galore. We Brits can’t resist eating and drinking outside at any opportunity. However, this can also bring along the less enjoyable experience of the public toilet. Whilst it will not be as bad as the toilets in Malaysia (go back and read my rabid dog toilet story for my worst toilet experience of recent years), I still find public toilets in the UK can be unpleasant. Therefore, I like to carry a small antibacterial handwash in my bag to clean my hands if there’s no soap. The Merci Handy Flower Power Cleansing Gel is very handbag friendly because it’s so small and smells great but there’s plenty of mini ones available in pharmacies. This isn’t a hugely glamorous topic but we all like to have clean hands!

I also like to carry around a perfume in my bag because you never know when you might need it. Whilst in Sephora I tried my first rollerball perfume (Bright Crystal, Versace). Rollerballs are perfect for keeping in your makeup bag but they’re not very popular in the UK at the moment. Other fragrances I like to carry with me include Summer Rose Eau de Parfum from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and L’eau De Rose. Both smell of rose and are very fruity, floral and fresh for the summer and who doesn’t want to smell (or look) like Rosie HW?

Tinted moisturiser

When it’s really hot outside most people don’t like to wear too much makeup. Many full coverage foundations can feel heavy and will just slip and slide off the face. This is especially true if you’re sweating or if you have oily or combination skin. For many of us with blemishes or less than perfect skin we still want something that will give us some coverage but feel light and breathable. This is where something like a tinted moisturiser/BB/CC/EE cream comes in handy. (I swear in a few years we’ll have done all the alphabet up to z)!

I’m really enjoying a lighter base that can be used for work, the beach, sight seeing and nights out without feeling like you’re face is melting. I like the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue,  Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser, and the Urban Decay Naked Skin One and Done. All three contain SPF which makes them perfect for giving skin a tint and protecting it from the sun.

Tinted Moisturiser

The Urban Decay One and Done in particular is a ‘my skin but better’ type of finish.  It has long term skin benefits and is very easy to take on holiday with (this came travelling with me). It’s perfect for a low key day. I’d say the Nars Tinted Moisturiser has more coverage and I find it is pretty good at evening out skin tone and covering redness and blemishes. It is also illuminating so that the skin radiates a healthy glow. It comes in many shades (Nars in general is great for shade range – however with the latest news on animal testing it’s a real bummer as I love Nars base products).

My recent purchase is the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue which is my new absolute favourite. It’s officially a gel cream with hydrating properties. It goes on as a sheer tint, it’s really warm and dewy on the skin and it just gives my complexion a boost so that I don’t have to wear anything else on my face except some concealer under my eyes. I wear the colour Tan which is a great colour for my tanned skin in the summer but there’s plenty of shade options to suit all skin tones. It’s the first Bare Minerals product I’ve tried and I’m so impressed!

Priming/settings sprays

As mentioned above, sprays are very comfortable and refreshing. Before I went travelling last year the one thing I knew I was going to have to take with me would be a setting spray from Urban Decay. A setting spray has a dual purpose of cooling the skin and setting makeup in place. I ended up buying two sprays (shock horror, I’m easily sold to!)

Urban Decay sprays

The first was the B6 Vitamin Infused Complexion Prep spray (which may now have different packaging). This I use as a moisturising spray before makeup and it contains a form of Vitamin B6 which helps absorb oil, and minimises the appearance of pores. Secondly, I use the Chill Makeup Setting spray to extend the length of my makeup.

There’s a variety of options for setting sprays from Urban Decay and I’ve heard good reviews about the All Nighter but for summer I like to use Chill because it’s the most refreshing and is supposed to help makeup stay on specifically in hot weather. Setting sprays from Urban Decay aren’t cheap but they do last a long time so I’m glad I invested in them.


As many of you know I love to look sun-kissed. But if you’re not going on holiday anytime soon then it’s ok to fake it a little bit. Bronzer is one of my favourite products to use all year round but I can legitimately go on stronger with it at this time of year without looking like an oompa loompa.

I’ve mentioned Hoola before (here) along with Charlotte Tilbury’s Film Star Bronze and Glow (here) and Chanel’s Soleil Tan de Chanel (here). Other faves include Laura Mercier’s Matte Radiance Baked powder (Bronze 04), Bourjois’s Bronzing powder (smells of chocolate), Body Shop’s Baked to Last Bronzer ( I have old packaging and the colour is warm glow), and Collection’s Bronze Glow Mosaic powder (again, I’ve had this for a while and the packaging has changed. This also makes for a great shimmery bronze eye shadow). There’s so many options for bronzers out there and I’ve just listed a few suggestions to try. Just sweep it on and you’ll look like you’ve got a sun tan without having to spend hours sunbathing.

Waterproof mascara/eyelash extensions

Mascara/lashes are absolutely obligatory for me to feel like I’m looking awake and for bringing out my eyes from their deep dark hollows. I’ve just had my eyelash extensions redone for my holiday this week (by the lovely Sarah Searle Anker) because it means that I don’t need to worry about wearing mascara or smudging my makeup when I’m in the sun or the pool. Eyelash extensions are perfect for holidays because you can barely wear any makeup and feel great. If you’d like to read more about them then I have a dedicated post on my experiences.

However, if this isn’t an option then I recommend a waterproof mascara for summer. I am always getting panda eyes and smudging everywhere in the summer so waterproof mascara helps me to avoid it. I’ve always used the Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara as the original is a favourite of mine so if you’re looking for an entry level waterproof mascara I’d give it a go. I do prefer the original most of the time because it’s just easier to remove and I find that my lashes can get a bit clumpy with the waterproof version. However, when I want something to stay put the Maybelline waterproof mascara does its job.

I also have the Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara to test out a bit later on in the summer. I received it recently in an M & S beauty box and I’m saving it for another time. It’s definitely compact and perfect for travel but hopefully it won’t travel down my face (boom boom!)

And there we have it, my summer essentials for staying cool, calm and collected. Please let me know your suggestions for summer must haves, I need as much help as I can get!

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