May 16, 2012

When the temperature is through the roof there is no denying that your skin and hair will take a beating. What was smooth is now frizzy, what was dry is now wet and what was matte is now oily. But with a few smart tricks you can survive the summer with grace and good health.

1)   Drink water. This is always vital, but more so when your body is overheating. Never drink from a bottle (plastic bottles are one of the world’s worst polluters) but always from a glass. Drinking from a glass allows you to drink more water than you when you sip from a mineral water bottle. Keep water near you — half the time we don’t drink enough because it involves getting up and going to get it. Easy to hand means easy to mouth.

2)   Wash your hair with a heavy, rich, anti-frizz shampoo, condition well and make sure to do the final rinse with cold water. This shuts the cuticle firmly.  Use an anti-frizz product with dimethicone on your wet hair (read labels to hunt for this ingredient). For the boys: add a wax lightly to your wet hair.

3)   Even if you have no time for a proper blow-dry, blast your hair from above and run your fingers through it to smooth out frizz to a prettier wave. If you are anti blow-dry (though you can’t harm your hair once it’s coated with product), then comb it and tie it back smoothly into a bun. After an hour or two open it out — the tying back action will have smoothed out your frizz and the bun will have created a great wave.

4)   If you want a blow-dry that lasts, have it done in the evening. The 8-hour air- conditioning that your hair gets at night will seal the cuticles of your hair nicely and save your hair from taking-in moisture from the air. This ensures that your hair stays frizz free. So if you have a party to go to tomorrow, then run to the salon this evening.

5)   Wash and rinse your face with warm water to clean your pores properly, but make sure you give your face a final splash with cold water to shut the pores at the end. Pores tend to stay open during the warm weather, so the colder the water the better.

6)   Keep your moisturiser or after-shave balm in the fridge — cool products can also help to soothe red-looking, over-heated skin. A spray-on mist is also useful since it doesn’t disturb make-up and cools one down quickly. (Evian does a great one, available at Agha’s supermarket in Karachi.)

7)   Don’t forget to exfoliate. Since your pores are open and, therefore, can welcome debris and dirt, you need to exfoliate with care to ensure your pores can shut if they want to. If they are full up with dirt then they can’t spring back into shape. I always suggest a monthly facial for anyone at any time of the year, but in the summer it becomes even more necessary. Between the sun-block and the heat, exfoliating at home also becomes vitally important. The wonder exfoliant of all time is Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant (it works both chemically as well as physically), but many good brands carry great products that do the job as well

8)   Moisturisers are a must. Many oil-free moisturisers come with tiny micro sponges that absorb any excess oil production. Starving your skin of moisture, for fear of oiliness, is not a solution at all. Keep oil-blotting papers with you if you are concerned.

9)   Wear natural fibres at all times. Wearing synthetic clothes not only heats you up, it makes perspiration take on an aroma that is not at all pleasant. We are always concerned about using natural products on our skin yet are happy to wear polyester blends that irritate the skin.

10)  When you are over-heated there is nothing more relaxing that drinking a cold glass of water, washing your face clean of salty sweat, drawing the blinds, lying down in a cool, air-conditioned room and applying a cold eye mask — not only to your eyes but to your face as well. Bliss!