Looking lovely on a summer’s day
“Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?” I’m sure what Shakespeare meant as a compliment in his sonnet, would not be taken so well in India. We do not associate “beauty” with summer and to keep looking beautiful in the summers is an arduous task. Sweat, heat, grime, stickiness, pimples, rashes, prickly heat – can you attribute any further descriptives to a “Summer day”?
But I’m not here to do a critical appreciation of Shakespeare. I’m saying this because this is the reality. So how can we beat the heat and manage to look like “darling buds of May” with temperatures soaring beyond forty?
Here are some simple hacks which will help you to look and feel super cool in the summers:
Sleeves or no sleeves
Although all the sleeveless tops feature on the display racks during summer, try to think twice before purchasing them. Do you step out in the sun often? Are you exposed to the sun for long? Do you stay inside the cold AC’s blast in most offices during the summer? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you should probably at least consider other options. Have you seen those bishop-sleeved tops lately? They look super cool. I mean it literally as well. They are in, looks good, available and protect your arms from the sun. Even three-fourth sleeves with a cold shoulder look trendy. Tried any yet?
A sunscreen with SPF of 30+ should work if you’re stepping out into the sun. But sunscreen needs to be applied periodically, maybe even 3-4 times depending on your exposure to the sun, and definitely after a wash. Sunscreen is not just for the face. It must be applied to all parts of your body which are exposed to the sun. Please note that your skin needs protection from the harmful UV rays which can cause tanning and spots even on a cloudy day. Those with oily skin like mine can use a gel-based sunscreen.
Dadi ke nuske
Do remember that homemade remedies are as effective as cosmetic products and sometimes even more. Tomatoes contain lycopene which can help recover from tanning. Sandal cools the skin. Turmeric has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties which are good for skin care. Lemon lightens a tanned skin tone. Make a pack using these ingredients. If your face is oily, you can also add Multani mitti or Fuller’s earth to your pack. Leave it on till dry and wash off with cold water. Pat dry and do not rub your face with a towel.
Do not step out without drinking plenty of water, donning your sunglasses and flicking open your umbrella. Use a scarf wherever possible. Don’t be fooled by the sunscreen advertisements where scarfs are to be discarded by a sunscreen. An extra layer of protection from the harsh sun will only do you good.
Wash your face with plain water as many times as possible. Avoid using soap. Washing helps to remove excess oil and grime from the face which causes pimples and it also lowers the temperature which causes flushing. Many people think that moisturizer is not required during the summers. But that’s a myth. Summers can be extremely dry in some places and the drier your face feels, the more oil it secretes. Appropriate moisturization controls oil secretion in the face and keeps the skin hydrated. Use a water-based moisturizer instead of an oil-based one. Naturally occurring aloe vera gel is a great moisturizing agent in the summers.
If you had studied your physics well, you would remember that light colors reflect light while dark colors absorb light. This is why it’s best to avoid dark colors like black if you plan to be in the sun, no matter how tempting those red florals on blacktop might look. Choose white or light pastel shades instead. Lime or mauve or light olive look great too. Light blue and blush pink are in too.
Choose your fabric carefully. While the flowing florals appear on every shelf of apparel stores during summer sale, the material of the dress may not be a breathable fabric. No matter how good other fabrics may look, cotton is king during summers. And who said cotton can’t have ruffles? Wear light and loose-fitting clothes. Tight clothes cause sweaty patches which is not good for your skin in the long run.
The right food is the key to staying healthy. During summers body’s natural metabolic rate comes down making the process of digestion, slower. Do refrain from consuming very spicy or difficult to digest proteins during summers. Instead, focus on lighter meals with seasonal fruits and vegetables or fish. Drinking 2-3 liters of water is extremely crucial during the summer months because a lot of water is removed from the body in the form of sweat. Avoid sugar-loaded beverages.
Feet is part of your body
Often we behave badly with our feet and make them (feet) feel that they are not part of our body. Please note that feet care is as important as caring for the rest of your body. Nothing can be more repulsive than smelly feet and chapped heels. Couple of things to remember and practice. Dip your feet in a bucket of saltwater at night. This helps in increasing blood circulation. Are the thick winter creams sitting on your shelf? Use them to apply on your feet because feet get drier faster than the other parts of the body. If you are wearing closed shoes, wear cotton socks inside. If you are wearing open sandals, ensure you dab sunscreen on your feet as well.
Health is wealth. So why not practice some healthy habits. A lot of summer problems can be sorted by keeping your body temperature lower. Bathe as many times as possible but definitely two times a day. Wasting water is not a good idea, so use a bucket and mug instead of turning on the shower each time.