Happy holidays - how to avoid looking like Worzel Gummidge on your break
It should be restorative, but a holiday can play havoc with your looks, says our expert who has some handy helpers
The beauty rules and requirements on holiday are different, partly because we Irish don't know how to manage the sun. We know how to mismanage it at home - which is to say we know how to get scalded when the sun deigns to shine - but holidays are different. On the kind of summer holidays that most of us take, the sun shines all the time, strongly and relentlessly, and we don't quite know how to deal with that.
First, the idea of using high-factor sun protection doesn't sit easily with us, not to mention repeated applications. But then we get burned and expect minor healing miracles from after-sun products. And our hair; how can one week have such Worzel Gummidge effects? Holidays are supposed to show us at our best, but many of us feel a little bit ravaged during our so-called restorative break. So, to help with all your holiday hardships, we have five favourite fast fixes: excellent sun protectors, super after-sun soothers and a hair balm. All of them are easy aids to avoiding the burn, the blisters and the bird's-nest hair, none of which you should be worrying about on holiday. They're all you need, really, though we know that you'll pack more.
Vichy Ideal Soleil After-Sun, €19, available nationwide
This is one of those products that's designed to save you time. You shouldn't feel in a rush on holiday, but you don't want to be wasting your precious time on slathering on body cream, either. So, this is an oil-based moisturiser that you can put on in the shower, after you've washed. You can then step out, pat yourself dry and get dressed immediately. It has four different oils plus shea butter, and it claims to keep your skin supple for 48 hours. "This is dead handy, because it allows you skip a holiday-skincare step, and it has a gorgeous nutty smell," said a panellist.
Nuxe Sun Refreshing After-Sun Lotion, €20, available nationwide
This rates as one of the nicest after-sun lotions we've used. The smell is part of it, and if you like the brand's Huile Prodigieuse, you'll love this. It smells like a beachy body oil, but as the name suggests, it has a cool feel on the skin. The fact that's it's a 100ml tube puts it on the dear side, but also means you can bring it in your carry-on luggage. "It's rich but fresh, which is exactly what you look for in an after-sun," said a panellist. "And both qualities proved really soothing to my slightly burnt skin."
Best Tress Treater
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Beach Mate, €7.29, available nationwide
Sun, sand, saltwater and swimming-pool chemicals play merry hell with hair. If your hair is coloured, we highly recommend that you wear a hat or use a hair product with SPF, but a mask is also a must. Some smart sun worshippers would even wear the hair mask all day under the protective hat. Australian mint balm is the key comforting ingredient in this, a sun-friendly souped-up tweak on the classic 3 Minute Miracle. "Smells amazing, feels rich and luxurious and leaves my hair as good as a trip to the salon," a panellist said, "as opposed to a trip to the beach."
Best Clear Winner
Eucerin Transparent Sun Spray SPF 50, €25, Boots nationwide
One complaint often made about high-factor sun products is that they don't sink in, no matter how much you rub them, and they leave a whitish tinge on the skin. Which isn't exactly what you want on holiday, even if tanning isn't your thing. This is a really pleasant product - a light-feeling spray that's totally transparent and with great water-resistance, to boot. Even better, it's kind to super-sensitive skin. "I love a spray sun cream," one panellist said. "They feel cleaner to use, and I like how fast this sinks in to a dry finish."
Best Oil Armour
Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Summer Oil, €37.50, Decleor spas, salons and selected pharmacies nationwide
As we've mentioned in relation to high-factor protection, it's not always nice to use. Clearly, though, the technology has moved on, and this is another utterly enjoyable-to-use, high-powered product. And the added bonus is that it works as a hair protector, too. Obviously, because it's oil, it will make your hair look greasy, but your tresses will be in great condition when you wash it out. "Pure luxury, with a delicious smell and a rich texture that soaks in well and doesn't leave you like an oil slick," said a panellist. "A gorgeous hair product."
Sunday Indo Life Magazine