Stripping down to your swimsuit can leave even the most body positive of us feeling overexposed and under-confident.
Ring true for you? Help is at hand. Our beauty director, Rosie Green, consulted A-list make-up artists Ruby Hammer and Caroline Barnes – both of whom are experts in making women feeling their most beautiful – for their top tips.
And there’s one surprising buy that they reckon every woman should invest in to help them look their very best on the beach this summer – a body brush.
Why? “We keep saying it because it makes a real difference,” laughs 45-year-old Caroline.
“Start doing it a few weeks before your holiday. It encourages cell turnover so your skin looks radiant, and it removes that winter layer of dead skin so your products will absorb more easily. It also stops any fake tan from looking patchy.”
Ruby, 56, is equally passionate. “It also helps boost lymph drainage, making limbs look leaner and lumpy skin look smoother.”
Our top buy? Try ESPA’s Skin Brush, £20 (pictured), which smooths and tones, for beautifully radiant skin.
So what other products and practices do our experts swear by when prepping for swimsuit season? Discover more of their recommended beauty buys in the gallery below…
For a really thorough exfoliation, try a gritty scrub. Caroline suggests putting it on dry skin first and really massaging it in well before showering off.
Ruby also suggests scrubbing on alternate days while you are on holiday. This might seem counter-intuitive, but she says it’s the key to a glossy, luxe tan rather than a dry and dusty one.
Post-shower, both Ruby and Caroline suggest using a body lotion with exfoliating acids. “An acid-based body lotion helps keep skin soft and smooth,” says Caroline.
“I love Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion, £22.50. It minimises blemishes and helps with Keratosis pilaris (the bumps on the back of your arms).”
If cellulite is your bête noire, Ruby swears by applying a toning lotion product like Clarins Body Fit Anti-Cellulite Contouring Expert, £39.
“Apply it three days in a row, combined with body brushing, and your skin will look better,” she promises.
We know a face full looks de trop, but new formulations are super sheer and allow you to look pretty rather than painted. “A dab of cream blush will add an attractive glow,” says Ruby. Try Glossier Cloud Paint, £15.
“And I like a tinted lip balm, like Burt’s Bees Natural Lip Balm in Pomegranate, £3.99, Holland & Barrett. I always use eyelash curlers too. Mine are Surratt Relevee Las Curlers, £28 – all the models love them.”
Another tip Ruby has is eye drops. “People underestimate their beauty-boosting effect. All that squinting and swimming can make eyes look tired. This makes them look clear and healthy. I like Murine Bright & Moist Eyes, £4.59.”
Flattering body sunscreen is not an oxymoron. “I like using SPF in an oil/water formula,” says Ruby. “It stops skin looking pasty and instead makes it look glowing.”
Ruby likes Vichy Idéal Soleil SPF 30 Solar Protective Water, £19, or we like Superdrug’s new Solait Shimmering Oil Spray SPF 20, £5.99.
If you want to even out skin tone or minimise the look of spider veins, try Ultrasun Tinted High Body Sun Protection, £26.
And if your feet are looking less that groomed? “Hydrate them,” says Ruby. Use coconut oil (try TIANA Organic Raw Coconut Goodness, £9.99, Holland & Barrett) or Astral Cream, £3.99.