As the blazing hot sun beats down on us all, our skin takes the biggest toll of all. The scorching heat of the Indian summer is no joke, it dehydrates and dulls the skin, causes breakouts, wreaks damage on hair, and kills energy levels. When it’s super hot, honestly all I want to do is lay in bed with the ac blasting, but work and life beckon so out we must go into the sauna. Fortunately, there are some things I swear by when it comes to skin and haircare in these scorching months to keep myself feeling fresh, cool and comfortable.
So this is an obvious one, but I know plenty of people who don’t use any skin protection (especially men!). Ideally you should cover all the areas that are exposed to sunlight, but if this seems too much for you on a daily basis, please for the love of god at least do your face, neck, chest area and hands. The skin on these parts is much thinner than the rest of the body and more prone to wrinkling or long-term sun damage. The skin on these body parts will undoubtedly age faster if you are regularly exposing them to harsh sun. My favourite sunblock for daily use is Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 50+, its’s widely available in shops and online and really suits my skin. I have combination to oily skin in the summer and this gives me a nice dewy glow on my face without feeling heavy and sticky or giving me breakouts.
Drink liquids like it’s your job! We don’t even realise it, but the heat literally pulls the moisture out of your body leaving you feeling parched and irritable. Keep water with you at all times, grab a fresh coconut whenever you can (I keep them stocked at home and in the fridge for the perfect refreshing, low-cal drink), drink lots of sugar free fresh juices, lemon waters, lassi etc and avoid too much coffee, tea, caffeine and sugary beverages.
Eating lots of overly spicy, oily, fried or rich foods will make your skin go nuts when the weather is so hot, it also weighs you down and makes you lethargic. The system needs to be cooled down in times like these and not burdened with meals that are hard to digest. Include lots of fresh fruit & veggies in your diet, keep your home-cooked Indian dishes light on oil and spices, and add on filling yet healthy options that are know to have cooling effects such as yogurt, chia seeds, nut milk smoothies, and lots of seasonal produce (such as watermelon).
Wear Thin Cotton Layers
The first instinct is to wear as little clothing as humanly possible, but if you’re going to be in the sun all day like I sometimes am for shoots, light, loose, pure cotton layers are actually far better. It’s always good to have a layer of protection over the skin and wearing breathable materials is of utmost importance. If I wear synthetics, or basically even anything apart from cotton, I get a heat rash and itchy red bumps on my skin. Cotton is hypoallergenic and also dries the quickest out of all the fabrics. Keeping the silhouettes loose and covered up keeps you comfy and your skin happy no matter what kind of work you may be in. Indian silhouettes such as a 3/4th sleeve or full-sleeve kurti with palazzos is your best bet and always looks stylish enough for the office or casual days out.
Hat + Sunglasses
Dark hair like ours soaks up all that heat. Ever touched the top of your head when you’ve been out and realised that its boiling hot? Yeah, that’s really not good for you. It will give you a nagging headache and sometimes even cause a sunstroke. Wearing a cap or a hat is a great way to shield yourself while adding a cute style statement to your look. Sunglasses go without saying, but apart from looking cool, they protect the sensitive eye area and prevent things like corneal flashburn (basically your eyes getting sunburned). Also make sure your sunglasses are from a decent brand that has UV protection on the lens.
Heat = frizz! The worst hair nightmare for any girl. A lightweight hair serum such as Moroccan Oil Light or, my new favourite, Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, smoothed over damp hair can help with those annoying flyways and that weird humidity related volume (you know the kind of volume you DON’T want). It keeps the hair soft and tangle free. Use after a clarifying shampoo and creamy conditioner for maximum impact. I also keep my hair tied in a loose bun or a braid to keep it off my neck, and to tame it for when I want to open it up.
Generally I’d say you should avoid heavy make up in the heat. Thick foundations and a full face of products will block the hell out of your pores and make you sweat & breakout. If you must, use a concealer on the essential areas after you apply sunblock, or a BB cream/tinted moisturiser, add waterproof mascara and a lip/cheek tint such as Benefit BeneTint or Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks (I like the shades Raspberry & Blushed Rose for my medium tone skin). I also like adding a bit of highlighter to my cheek bones, arch of my brow and above the lip if I’m going out at night. But keep it simple because your face will melt unless you really lay it on thick with a primer, matte foundation, setting powder et al. And then it will most likely look cakey after you sweat. Please avoid this look at all costs 😉
A water mist spray can instantly calm the skin down and make you feel refreshed after a long day. I like Kama Ayurveda Pure Mogra Water and Avene Thermal Spring Water. Mist over your skin and let it air dry or gently dab with a soft tissue. This is especially great if you’ve gotten a bit burned or if the skin is red from the heat. Pop it in the fridge in between uses. If you have an aloe plant at home you can also cut off a leaf, stick it in the freezer and then cut it open and rub the insides all over your face for an instant chilled face mask post sun exposure.
Pores get blocked with all the sweat and oil your skin produces on a daily basis, so exfoliation is key if you want prevent black or white heads, acne, and generally uneven skin tone. Choose a moderately grainy formula and exfoliate once or twice a week as per your individual needs. I use an apricot or walnut scrub, such as Himalaya Gentle Exfoliating Walnut Scrub or I make a homemade one with gram flour, turmeric and yogurt.
Exercise Indoors/Evenings/Early Mornings
Just because we feel lethargic doesn’t mean we should stop or start skipping workouts. My preferred methods are usually indoors in the summer months because I hate becoming a pool of sweat without even exercising properly. It just drains me out unnecessarily when the temperatures rise, so I prefer doing body weight or interval training indoors, or on most days just a nice, long, calming yoga sesh (when I don’t know what to do I just youtube 45 min to 1 hour long yoga videos and follow along). If you work out outdoors then try to make it early morning or in the evening after the sun has set. Follow this with a cold shower and keep that summer glow.
I hope you enjoyed my tips & tricks to keeping yourself and your skin happy this summer. The heat is only rising so keep yourselves safe & avoid the midday sun, hydrate, protect and stay cool! I’ve included links to buy all the products I’ve mentioned for your convenience. Be back next week with an exciting travel post, so stay tuned till then!
Jasleen Gill is a fashion & celebrity stylist, model, and blogger currently residing in Mumbai, India.READ MORE