Is it possible to make a graceful beauty transition into summer without the faff? Jessica Luper investigates… 

It could just be us, but we always feel like there’s something a little bit odd about the perceived reality and the, well, actual reality of shopping in London this time of year. The shop windows are filled with skinny mannequins in bikinis, the front pages of magazines are littered with pictures of tanned A-listers in couture swimwear and the gossip websites are already scrutinising the Z listers’ ‘bikini bodies’. Meanwhile, it’s chucking down outside and we’re still wearing our long-sleeved jim jams and no, that’s not a tan – we’re just grubby from a layer of level five city pollution.


Doutzen Kroes: giving us unrealistic expectations since 2004

The spring/summer beauty panic is a mildly ridiculous yet familiar thing to women everywhere. The sudden feeling that, come May, one should be perky, perfectly toned and scrubbed, with naturally sun-highlighted swingy hair, a light, glowy tan and perfectly manicured hands and feet. It’s a dastardly untruth told to us by women’s mags everywhere, leading to mass panic as people remember the principles of the 5:2 and begin frantically dry brushing and scrubbing their feet raw with a dubious ‘dead skin remover’.

However PHOENIX is here to say that you don’t have to spend a fortune to perk yourself up for when the sun returns. The following products have been hand-picked for their ability to solve a specific problem, so pep up the darkest of moods and inject some confidence into you as you’re sobbing over pictures of Kate Upton jogging down the beach in a teeny-weeny two piece.

Sort out sad hair 


Sad winter hair is an all too common ailment: radiators, dry air and frizz-inducing rain are not your crowning glory’s friend. I’ve tried every hair oil under the sun for my very thick, wavy hair and none of them touch TRESemmé’s Oil Elixir. This amazingly affordable oil works wonders on frizz, makes hair feel softer, smells delicious and, best of all, is only £9.99 for a very generously sized bottle. I use it on wet hair but you can also use on frizzy next-day hair or before washing as a conditioning treatment. It’s truly wonderful stuff.

Say goodbye to spotty, confused skin 


No one likes to admit to having spots after the age of 18, but like much-regretted fashion faux pas, they still happen. For those rebellious skin moments, I’ve fallen head over heels for the super-simple Salcura Activ Daily Face Wash. It contains no nasties, lathers up to remove even night-out makeup and – miracle of miracles – doesn’t leave face feeling tight. It’s also ideal for those days when the cleanse-tone-moisturise routine seems like a tall order.


When you want to treat your skin to something a little more grown-up, ARK Regenerating Skin Defence is a godsend. This fabulous moisturiser smells divine and contains Alpine Rose, which is a highly resistant plant that thrives high in the Swiss Alps and Pyrenees, where it endures high altitudes, freezing temperatures and dry air. These conditions would quickly destroy the plant if it weren’t for its “resistance-charged” stem cells, which are able to continuously regenerate cells throughout life. Applied to skin, this light serum helps protect against environmental stresses, dehydration and toxins in the air and leaves skin super silky and bright.

Bid adieu to tired mornings 

New BBB Honeymania Shower Gel HR_INHNYPS025I_192232678_50_20131121

Until recently, I was a night-washer, but since getting a kitten who likes to wake me up by laying across my face and purring like a Porche 911 at 4am, I’ve found I need the refreshment. There’s nothing quite like a decent shower gel: it must be thick, creamy and lather into a tropical foam. The Body Shop’s Coconut and Honeymania shower gels are heavenly and almost worth getting out of bed for. For that summer feeling, I’ve been scrubbing away dry skin gently with Grace Cole Strawberry Body Scrub – it’s fantastically fruity and uplifting and gently buffs the entire body.

Refresh your scent for summer


New season means new perfume. My attention has been caught by Icelandic perfume EFJ Eyjafjallajokull (catchy – don’t you think?). It’s classic, spicy, light and fresh fragrance with hints of citrus, vanilla, roses and bergamot, and every bottle comes with a small lava rock from the volcano. Gimmicky? A little. But hey, it makes a great toy for the cat – I smell delicious.

Banish that red wine smile


Pale, wan skin isn’t the only winter menace – too much red wine and warming cups of tea and coffee can make teeth look a little dull come spring. I recently tried the UltraDEX Recalcifying & Whitening oral care range to great results – my teeth looked noticeably whiter, smoother and brighter. No scary UV lights or gum shields necessary.

Traumatised tootsies


I don’t need to go into post-winter feet, because everyone knows they’re gross. However, who has the time to scrub and buff sad, dry feet every other night for the whole summer? I tried Magic Foot‘s exfoliating socks and was amazed; you simply stick your tootsies in some wet socks, sit back for a while, watch Girls, rinse, and lo and behold – super soft feet as good as new. Do believe the hype – the natural plant extracts & fruit acids banish cracked heels and dry bits, plus it’s the perfect excuse to sit still and vegetate for just that little bit longer.


Words: Jessica Luper

Subscribers are automatically entered into our fashion cupboard giveaway, with one winner every month! No spam, just our curated monthly PHOENIX newletter to keep you up to date.

All signed up!