Summer style should be as easy as a day at the beach. But even that requires a little planning. Here are some tips and tricks to get that carefree, effortless look:
For women, a long patio dress, a pair of shorts, a colorful embellished shirt and a pair of flat metallic sandals will go a long way for a beach vacation, says Ken Downing, senior vice president fashion director for Neiman Marcus.
How short you want your shorts is a personal choice. “We saw everything from what you could call hot pants to city shorts that go to the knee. White and khaki are always good choices. I love them with these easy tops with embellishment — often from Tory Burch — with wood, shells, beads. You can wear them during the day or at night with big earrings and a stack of cuffs,” Downing says.
He adds: “And you have to have large, oversized sunglasses — they’re the best way to protect yourself from wrinkles.”
Rinse your hair in iron-rich tap water before going into a pool or the ocean because it will help repel chlorine or salt, advises celebrity stylist David Evangelista. He also recommends a homemade leave-in conditioner using three parts tap water to one part conditioner (the rinse-out conditioner already in your shower will do). Put the conditioner in a spray bottle and mist the hair while you’re in the sun to keep it hydrated.
Since hair grows more quickly in the summer, you may find yourself needing your hair cut more often, says Evangelista, who has an eponymous salon at the Cornelia Day Resort spa in Manhattan. The good news is you’ll end up cutting the driest, most damaged part of the hair.
Wear a lightweight non-greasy moisturizer — preferably one with plant extracts such as white tea, thermis hermophilus or rhodiola rosea that offer resistance to environmental aggressors — under a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB, advises Ramona Ionescu, primary esthetician at Cornelia Day Report.
That combination is good for daily use, but you should also use the occasional mask to replenish the nutrients in the skin, she says.
Ionescu recommends using puree of cucumber, avocado, apricot or papaya with yogurt, honey and oatmeal as the base of an all-natural mask. If skin is oily, she’d add a bit of lemon juice, or if skin is dry, rosewater.
Apply the mask evenly to the face, let it sit for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water.
That lipstick that went mushy in your beach bag is not a total disaster, says makeup artist Napoleon Perdis. The key, he says, is applying lip liner first, which acts as a base.
Then apply the lipstick with a lip brush, which will not only keep the stick from changing shape, it will also help the color stay put on the lips. But Perdis says you can avoid the problem entirely by using lip gloss from a squeeze tube. His own brand offers Auto Pilot Lip Service, which has Vitamin E to keep lips moisturized and menthol to keep them cool.
You can fight free-radical damage to the skin from the inside, too.
“There’s something to be said for antioxidants and applying them topically, but I think there’s a place for them to be taken internally too,” says Dr. Alicia Zalka, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.
There’s a growing body of evidence that a compound known as polyphenol that is found in some fruits and vegetables can act as a sponge and soak up free radicals that would otherwise damage the skin, according to Zalka, who also has a private practice in Danbury, Conn.
Eric Helms, founder of Juice Generation, a New York-based mini-chain of juice stores, suggests mixing wheatgrass in a juicer with fresh mint, pineapple, apples and pear for a tropical-tasting drink. A high-energy drink would include wheatgrass, carrots, celery, beets and spinach.
There are also good things for the skin in smoothies. Helms says fruits high in vitamin C, such as oranges, promote strong collagen; green vegetables, like spinach and celery, have vitamin A to support skin-cell growth; and antioxidant-rich blueberries, pomegranate and mangosteens help fight signs of aging, which are exacerbated by UV rays.
A recent study also found that antioxidants seemed best absorbed when combined with exercise — so you might want to run up and down the beach with a smoothie in hand, Zalka says with a laugh.
If you’re the Carrie Bradshaw type, bring a quilted Chanel tote to the beach, says Neiman’s Downing, but most people are better off with a canvas bag — they’re durable, can be wiped down and rinsed off.
The boho-chic, global vibe adopted by the fashion world this season has led to many canvas choices, including bright ikat prints and colorful embroideries.
Downing also likes to see straw bags at the beach. “It harkens back to the time when life was gentler.”
These new skin, hair and makeup products are worth a try:
—Prive Formule Aux Herbes’ Thermal Protection Detangling Spray is intended to help detangle hair, but its use of bamboo and cactus should also help strengthen hair and add shine and brightness. It can be applied right after a swim.
—Avon’s Pro-To-Go Lipstick is a cream and therefore susceptible to softening in the sun, but the innovative design might make it worth it. Slide the lever and the tube opens and pushes out the color — all done with one hand and no chance of a lost cap in the sand.
—By Terry’s VIP Bronze-Expert Sun Glow Perfecting Brush is filled with a non-sticky, non-comedogenic bronzing gel that is applied with a single sweep. It contains a patented protective hydrating complex but has a matte finish to mimic an off-the-beach glow. Meanwhile, Bourjois Paris’ Fond de Teint Pinceau is a foundation-in-a-brush product that is equally portable and easy to apply.
—Benefit’s Posietint is a long-lasting liqui-gel that gives a sheer pop of color to lips and cheeks.
—Yves Saint Laurent Everlong Mascara Waterproof promises to stand up humidity because of a polyester polymer that makes an invisible, impermeable layer that keeps the color in place.
—Pen-style nail polish can give toes a quick layer of color — or at least a touchup — before sliding into flip-flops. Nic’s Sticks Paint & Go Nail Lacquer from Nicole by OPI and YSL Nail Touch are two options.
—Pedi-Relax Protective Barrier Cream for Feet by Sante uses silicone and squalane as a buffer between skin and shoes to prevent rubbing (and blisters caused by rubbing) as well as to keep feet from overheating during exercise.