Repeat after me: there is no such thing as a bikini body. You are perfect just the way you are, no matter what unattainable standards that today’s glossy magazines, commercial ads, and social media accounts keep imposing on your gentle mind. The uncomfortable, anxiety-inducing feeling of getting yourself into a summer sundress, pair of shorts, or bathing suit during the blistering days before us, however, is very real. Not because you should feel pressure to look a certain way, but because admittedly, like myself, many of us can neglect the skin on our bodies when focusing heavily on applying the various lotions and potions we’ve collected to our precious faces.
Summer is well underway and the mid-season barbecues and invites for day trips to the beach are at their peak, therefore we’re bound to spend more time outside rather than within the comfortable, air-conditioned walls where jeans and sweaters may still be in order. So, if you’re like me, a little belated bodily love might be in order (and a reminder of the healthy habits within your reach), so that you can feel your very best when finally grabbing for that linen dress you’ve been waiting to put on.
THE POWER OF DRY BRUSHING
Dry brushing is less painful than it sounds, but it really is as effective as everyone on the Internet says. It only takes a couple of minutes and can simultaneously provide a gentle exfoliation and wake up your limbs by firing up that blood flow. It’s quite simple; find an affordable brush that feels right (some have long handles, some short, some none at all, there’s something for everyone), like this one and use it in small circular motions, starting at your feet and working your way up to your heart. Those who aren’t converts yet and worry that their extra sensitive skin might panic at the intrusion of harsh bristles can opt for a silicone version or apply body oil beforehand and transition gradually to a dry routine. It’s a great way to wake up your body each morning before you shower.
QUENCH YOUR SKIN
Once the dead skin cells are out of the way, it’s imperative to comfort the skin and support its lipid barrier by applying your lotion of choice. Ideally, and on days when the skin isn’t manually exfoliated with a dry brush or a scrub, a moisturizer like Nécessaire’s Body Lotion with niacinamide can work wonders, not only to strengthen and tone the epidermis, but also to improve the overall appearance of the skin, particularly for those prone to little bumps (keratosis pilaris, anyone?) and ingrown hairs. Needless to say that if you are going to get those legs out in the sun, SPF is mandatory. Since most sun lotions tend to be fairly nourishing on their own, when running out of time or patience skip the moisturizer step above and trust a body SPF (we love this one) to moisturize and protect all at once. Pretty neat, right?
GET SOME COLOR, THE SAFE WAY
Now that we can all agree that tanning the old-fashioned way isn’t the best option, let’s discuss alternatives. Luckily, today’s beauty market is crowded with fantastic sunless tanning options. On top of our list, Isle Of Paradise is a cruelty-free, organic brand whose straightforward products include a color-correcting technology that makes them virtually fail-proof. The Self Tanning Drops can simply be added to your daily moisturizer and work like a charm. For those with an aversion to fake tans, fear not! Wash-off products such as the cult fan’s favorite Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish would make anyone summer ready in minutes. It smooths the skin seamlessly, adds a touch of color and glow, while staying on for as long as needed without transferring onto clothes.
A FRESH MINDSET
Submitting to summer should be an all-encompassing holistic experience. Taking proper care of your physical body is an important first step, but going the extra mile to instill healthy habits and set yourself up for your best season yet goes beyond dry brushing and fake tans. Do whatever you need to do to feel empowered and renewed — get a trim, set a new morning routine, cherish and champion the body that gets you through each day and into a new cycle. Get your body moving consistently each day by taking a brisk walk, riding a bike, dancing around the house, or jumping on a trampoline. Nourish and hydrate your body with water-rich whole foods like spinach, lettuces, watermelon, and oranges. Enjoy this time of sunshine and the extra dose of vitamin D and use it to spend some quality time with yourself, no matter what that might mean for you.
While the beginning of a season is an ideal time to set some intentions, the truth is it’s never too late to check in with yourself: how is your heart? How is your mind? Are you drinking enough water? It’s easy to get lost in the busy motions of summer and the activities it holds. Take pride and joy in taking care of your body because it (and you) deserves it, not because you feel obliged to do so. And wear the hell out of that cute linen dress — you look fabulous.