How to get Bikini ready skin for this summer

This year we aren’t planning any major vacations except a long weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas to visit my husbands family. But with summer coming in hard and cruise season upon us, bikini weather is definitely right around the corner and for some of the jetset it’s already here. Even in a landlocked state, I spend a lot of time chilling by the lake on the weekends meaning even without a vacation planned bikini ready skin is going to be a must. Below are my 4 or four and a half sure fired ways to get bikini ready skin this summer. No quick fixes, but you’ll get there all the same. I promise.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Eat more fruits and veggies!
It may sound a little odd, but fruits and veggies alike have amazing antioxidant properties, aids in collagen production, promotes a healthy glow, and can help balance your skin oil production (minimally, you’re not going to swing from oily to normal or vice versa). When I was a vegetarian my skin was on point. It naturally had that internal glow we spend hundreds of dollars to achieve and I firmly believe it was because I was eating every single major and minor nutrient my body needed to be healthy. It also helps with those who get bloated easily (now some veggies like broccoli and brussel sprouts also cause some bloating but those aren’t in season right now) and is the number 1 way you can prevent certain types of cancers. Some fruits and vegetables also have a series of good fats (most famous among these, avocados and olives) that can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. So healthy for the heart too. The oils that are in fruits like avocados also have a lot of skincare benefits as well. Fruits and nuts that are high in Omega fatty acids help to produce firmer skin with fewer wrinkles, you don’t just need to apply it to your skin. Feed your skin from within, remember your skin needs strong building blocks like I discussed in a previous post, the moisture barrier. There is no topical treatment that’s going to give you as much benefit as a solid healthy diet.

Photo by Ella Olsson showing the color diversity in fruits. This color diversity shows off the concentration of different antioxidants contained by the plant. Orange = more beta-carotene and vitamin C, purple and blue = anthocyanins, betalains, and iron.

If you need help getting all your antioxidants in everyday and think it’s overwhelming, it’s ok. It’s not as bad as you think. Simply put, eat the rainbow every single day. Eat something that orange (citrus like oranges, cantelope, mangos, and orange bell peppers), green (bell peppers, salads, cucumbers, mustard greens), yellow (yellow bell peppers, corn, lemons, apples, pineapple, golden cantaloupes), purple and blue (beets, red cabbage, eggplant, blueberries, figs) and finally red (berries, cherries, cranberries, guava, pomegranates, red bell peppers, radicchio, red potatoes, rhubarb, tomatoes, watermelon) you will get everything you need. That list of foods is just a list to get the ideas flowing. You can see skin benefits from this dietary change after 3 to 4 weeks.

Photo by rawpixel.com

If you don’t feel like you can eat enough to get this benefit you can add a superfood powder to act as a supplement. You’re not getting the fiber benefit and it’s not as strong an antioxidant punch either. Nested Naturals Super Greens is going to give you a punch of your green foods and has spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, beets, carrots, and kale. I highly suggest using this as a shake additive or mix with something like apple juice. Wheat grass has a very particular taste that people tend to love or hate. If you’re vegan LIVfit Organic Superfood Blend is really good to add to shakes as well. Superfood powders don’t always taste amazing (a lot taste like you’re eating grass because of the high concentration of wheatgrass) and a pill delivery might be more your speed if you can handle taking a larger pill. Dr. Shulzte’s SuperFood Plus is a solid option. Personally, I tend to eat mine while they’re in season but I’ll add powder supplements especially if I’m out and about or on a green shake kick. Some are better than others. We use to take Juice Plus+ products and didn’t see any kind of benefit from those plus you had to take 6 pills to get the ‘full’ benefit, but I do feel better when I get my wheat grass shot in a couple times a week. Juice Plus+ just doesn’t have a high concentration of product even though the pills are HUGE and there are six of them to take or you can take the gummies but that’s less beneficial than the pills. Just note, adding supplemental powders is not meant to replace eating fruits and vegetables. There’s more than just antioxidants you get from fruits and vegetables including fiber and water. Also some supplements, especially the berry type supplements, have a lot of sugar in them. We recently purchased to try and it tastes like a pixie stick.

Exfoliate once a week
If you self tan during the summer, which a lot of people do, you need to have your exfoliating program down. One of the worst looks is people who have an awesome self tan but forgot to exfoliate so it starts to get patchy almost immediately. using a brown sugar and oil or a coffee and oil scrub before using a self tanner is a cheap and effective way to remove those dead skin cells reveal glowing happy skin. Also plan on doing absolutely nothing for 2 hours afterward. Many say it will dry in 15 minutes which is true, they do dry quickly but they aren’t sweat proof. If you do too much or live in the south where it’s humid and hot, sweating will move around that self tanner. I’m not a huge self tanner anymore but I do watch the FashionMumblr and she gives a really good breakdown of her self tan routine and it’s really similar to how I applied my own. Sorry no Youtube channel and likely won’t be starting one anytime soon. They take up so much time and I already have a 60 hour a week job plus I do this on the side.

As far as self tanners go, I really like St. Tropez. Ulta does have a starter kit and it includes a mitt. Start with the medium tone instead of going straight for the deepest shade. On those who are very light the deepest shade looks orange and very fake. It’s also impossible to get every inch of your body evenly and streaks can do and will occur if using a color much darker tha your base tan. Regardless of what brand you buy, ALWAYS USE THE MITT. The mitt helps a lot more in evening out the application than the formation: foaming, lotion, or spray on. In high school I used self tanner all the time and my hands were always this odd shade of orange with a line of demarcation half up my knuckles. We have much better self tanners that are more brown than orange now but you do still want to use the mitt or get gloves otherwise you’ll end up with stained hands and if it gets under your fingernails……….not the most clean of looks. If you do end up staining your hands, using a chemical peel pad tends to remove it super fast.

Contrary to popular belief, white people can get ashy skin as well. I am a beautiful example of ashy skin in the winter. When I lived in New Orleans, the entire city smelled like shea butter or cocoa butter during the summer. Nobody really wears much perfume but everyone wears body butters. Throughout the entire year there will be a day you can wear a short skirt even in January and February when the rest of the country is dealing with a blizzard. So being optimally moisturized is a necessary thing. I am a huge fan of body butters on the legs and arms especially. For those with body acne like myself those butters can cause minor breakouts. I buy my body butters off Amazon. You can find fair trade mango butter, unrefined shea butter, and cocoa butter if you click on those links. Those are affiliate links but I’ve used that store for years for my butters. I just tear off a piece of the brick and rub it into the skin. Do wear longer pants at night so it helps keep the extra butter off the sheets. You can also mix them and whip them into a smooth body butter that’s easier to apply just be sure to add a good shot of vitamin E as a preservative otherwise the butter will go rancid in about a month.

For summer glowing skin follow this pattern:
1. Exfoliate
2. Shave
3. Sunless Tan if using
4. Sit for 2 hours and let it fully dry

or if you aren’t using a sunless tanner
1. Exfoliate
2. Shave
3. Body butter or lotion everyday

For exfoliation I’ve been using Frank Body’s Cacao Coffee Scrub. It smells amazing and does a really good job of clearing away the dead skin from my legs. The coffee has caffeine in it which will sooth irritated skin and acts as an antioxidant. Also the oils in the scrub help keep my skin hydrated when I leave the shower. One hint, don’t use a white towel to dry off or throw it into the wash pretty quick. You’re basically washing off brewed coffee from your skin. If you can’t afford Frank Body, it is pricey, you can make your own mixing some coffee grounds (I suggest espresso grounds) with some olive oil in a 3:1 ratio or until you get a consistency you like and then start to scrub.

If you don’t already workout, start doing some minor stretching and build up a workout routine.
We all know a good workout on a regular basis will help with cellulite, which we all have. Even Chrissy Tegan has shared hers on IG. You also don’t want to be that person who gets winded walking along the beach. I use an app called Sworkit. It’s $9.99 a month and works with your streaming devices including tablets. So even if I’m travelling I can do a quick little workout. They have everything too: strength training, yoga, stretching and monthly challenges that keep it interesting. That’s a non-sponsored plug too I like it that much. Even a quick 15-20 minute walk around the neighborhood can work wonders for leg toning and overall energy. It also decreases your risk of requiring a knee replacement and other degenerating bone issues later in life. If you want to try Sworkit there’s a free trial and it’s available at www.Sworkit.com. There are also lots of freely available workouts on Youtube you can check out. Just make sure you do your homework on trainers otherwise you might step into a Brittany Dawn situation.

Personally, I follow Swolnormous and Every Damn Day Fitness on Youtube. They don’t have many planned workouts for you but do highlight a lot of things to watch out for within the fitness industry especially social media influencers that call themselves fitness gurus. They also highlight a lot of problems with supplements and the idea of selling a ‘get fit quick’ weight loss solution. I have spent almost my entire childhood and adult life in a gym be it through high school, college athletics, all the way to doing triathlons until an autoimmune disease decided I had to quit doing triathlons 4 years ago. I am not a fitness guru at all and if you saw me in a gym most trainers would likely be horrified by my form. Swolnormous does have his own website (swolnormousx.com) where he offers fitness programs and coaching. I’ve personally never used it but from what I see online and hear in his podcast it sounds as if the quality and benefit from the program is really good. Fitness is hard work. There is no quick solution to a toned fit body and once you get it, which I can attest to, it’s more work to keep it there than it was to get there. Personally, I’m 10 pounds overweight now and I’m perfectly happy being there. But I’m also 6’4″ so 10 pounds of extra on me doesn’t look like anything in fact 10 pounds of weight loss doesn’t mean I’m stepping into a smaller dress size that takes about 20 pounds. I do maintain my 10pound overage rather consistently and don’t yo-yo which has it’s own negative health outcomes if you do that throughout your life.

Fitness does offer skincare benefits. It increases blood flow, sweating can actually help balance the skin moisture and aid in exfoliation. Hormone levels improve. Fitness helps beat the wintertime blues by increasing the feel good hormones. Increasing the blood flow helps improve skin color and can help remove bluish undertones. Lips tend to be more red naturally. Eyes look clearer and fresher instead of putting in eye drops to remove the redness. A solid workout can also help alleviate nasal congestion and helps regulate your daily constitution of poops. I’ve gone through a spin class workout and had the waterfall of congestion break open and clear out my head during the tail end of a head cold. You will also sleep better and feel less tired when you wake up which has all over health benefits. So beyond the skincare benefits a moderate workout of 30 minutes everyday can have amazing health benefits overall.

Consider an AHA body lotion
An AHA body lotion like Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA is going to help keep skin exfoliated and glowy throughout the summer months and in between larger exfoliation with your body scrubs. Paula’s Choice is personal favorite. It isn’t as moisturizing as traditional lotions. But it’s also going to help those body butters work better by exfoliating away the oldest skin cells revealing newer skin that more readily absorbs moisture. AHA body lotions don’t need to be used everyday but 2-3 times per week. Also those with body acne the AHA will help keep that at bay as well. One note with AHA body lotions. Don’t use after you shave. It BURNS, oh boy does it burn. Now the burn will only last a few minutes but it’s a pretty powerful sting nonetheless. Wait a couple of hours at least and then put it on or shave at night and use your AHA lotion in the morning. That little bit of time helps the stinging tremendously.

Hopefully those tips and tricks will help and in the coming weeks I’ll include more information regarding the hows and whys these tips help with skin type needs be it old or young.

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