Ah, the English season – Wimbledon, Ascot, Glyndebourne, Henley.
Throw in a Queen’s Garden Party or two and it’s no wonder that American tourists think we all live in a constant state of pomp and pageantry.
The problem is that, at any of these events, being outside all day places heavy demands on a girl’s beauty practices. UK summer weather can be hot, humid, windy, cold, rainy – sometimes all on the same afternoon. And since you have to look good for hours in all weathers, but can only carry one modest handbag, you need the kind of beauty survival kit that would impress Bear Grylls. Your must-haves should take into account the following:
* Saving your skin
Since summer sun can be surprisingly intense and sunburn never looks chic, carry La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Face Mist SPF50+, £9.50 (available from www.boots.com from early June). It’s an ultra-light refreshing mist that doesn’t need rubbing in, so it can be spritzed on – and reapplied – over your make-up. If you also take a fold-up umbrella which doubles as a parasol, plus a pashmina, you’re covered – literally.
* Keeping your cool
Prone to hot flushes – or just to heat? Look calm and serene with the help of a small cooling spray. (And if your partner looks like a dog that’s been left in the car without the window cracked open, give them a spritz, too.) Worth trying: Magicool, £3.99 for 75ml which is ‘magically’ chilled in the can, so it’s great for heat and hot flushes alike; Avene Thermal Water, £2.10 for 50ml whose mineral content leaves a calming, anti-inflammatory, cooling effect on hot skin, while Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray, £22 for 118ml actively cools your make-up surface so that it looks fresher and lasts up to 12 hours.
* Controlling wayward hair
The simplest way to shield difficult hair from all weathers is with a hat, which thankfully is in keeping with many summer events. If you’ve never worn one before, try a practise run beforehand, especially if it’s large. You may need to get the hang of passing through narrowish spaces without bashing into people or doorframes and knocking it off your head, and you don’t want your other half having a heart attack from laughing. Bear in mind that if you take it off, you’ll have helmet hair. Kala Kilshaw-Laing, MD of Ego Professional, says, “If you’ve had a good blowdry with a heat-activated styling product, you can easily lift flat helmet hair with little circular massaging movements of your fingers.” Of course, if you’re going hat-free, you should carry L’Oreal Elnett Satin Supreme Hold Mini Hairspray, £2.60 for 75ml. It’s hair control in a can and enables you to smooth med-longer hairlengths into a low chignon or even a ponytail if the weather causes a style collapse. Just remember to pop a few emergency hairpins or grips and a comb into your bag, too.
* Minimising make-up top-ups
You really don’t need to take eyeshadow, blusher, mascara and everything you’ve used to get ready. If you’ve applied a longlasting lipstick or simply applied lipcolour in layers (i.e. all-over lipliner pencil, followed by two or three well-blotted layers of lipstick), plain lipgloss is all you need to keep your lips impeccable all day. Also worth carrying: face powder to combat shine and concealer (surprisingly handy for clean-ups).
* Hand sanitizer
Because public loos aren’t always convenient – and you definitely need clean hands for eating – take a tiny hand cleansing gel. Try Cuticura Total Advanced Defence Hand Gel, £1.40 for 50ml which kills 99.9% bacteria; or The Body Shop Satsuma Hand Cleanse Gel, £2.50 for 60ml which also smells gorgeous.
* Help for feet
After hours of walking and standing around – not to mention falling over after Pimms o’clock – you may have feet of flames, so unless your partner can still sweep you off your feet without slipping several discs, I recommend a pack of Compeed Blister Plasters, £4.39. They’re such a godsend that I often consider buying shares….
What essentials do you keep in your handbag for special occasions?
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