Summer is here! Instantly, summer has come to Tel Aviv again. Yesterday when I went out, I immediately noticed the huge difference in society that a little summertime can make—Israel is Israel again! Of course, summer’s arrival also means that we should revisit a few summer-specific health, beauty, and hygiene tips that I think are especially useful—or even necessary—in the Mediterranean.
10. WEAR SUNSCREEN!
I know you’ve heard it a hundred times, but I’m going to say it again, because too many people ignore this health and beauty rule. Sunscreen is so incredibly important for anyone who wants to avoid skin cancer, wrinkles, skin discoloration (both temporary and permanent), and facial sagging. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to avoid cancer!
9. Get a few sun hats, and actually wear them.
I understand that most peoples’ skin is hardier than my red-head genetics; however, nobody has enough melanin to sunbathe without any nasty side-effects. It doesn’t matter how dark you are, how easily you tan, or that you insist that you never burn. Skin damage is done on a cellular level, every time you exhaust your skin’s natural SPF factor, which, by the way, is only 15-30 minutes, regardless of your skin tone. Often, sunscreen alone is not enough.
This is why a sun hat is indispensable in Israel, especially if you ride buses. At a stop, shade is valuable real estate, if there’s even any shade at all. A hat is a mobile bit of shade, which, quite apart from keeping your skin wrinkle-free, can keep you much cooler and more relaxed than if you are forced to stand in the sun with your hand over your eyes, waiting for the bus for fifteen minutes. As a side note, I recommend getting one hat in a light, neutral color, and one in a black color. Match the hats according to your outfit, and, of course, never wear the black hat with a brown outfit. Also, don’t worry about feeling silly in the hat—every time I wear mine, I get compliments by the dozen.
8. Get a few pairs of huge sunglasses, and actually wear those, too.
Most of us have sunglasses, but skincare professionals have observed that, when a woman wears larger sunglasses, she is less likely to have signs of premature aging in the eye area. This is because the sunglasses provide protection from the sun’s damaging rays, and people squint less when wearing sunglasses. Just like the hats, be sure to have a black pair and a brown or neutral pair, so you can choose which looks better, based on the rest of your outfit.
7. Have three pairs of flip flops by your door at all times.
You never know when you’re going to realize that you’re running behind, and nothing expedites the process of getting out the door quite like having exactly what you need right there, right when you need it. Many of us waste quite a bit of that precious time either throwing on and tying socks and tennis shoes, or trying to decide which flats or heels look best with the day’s outfit. However, those problems can largely be solved, at least in Tel Aviv, where everyone wears flip flops everywhere, by having three pairs of flip flops right by the door, waiting.
I say three pairs because, like the hats and the sunglasses, you will need a decent variety of flip flops—that is, a color for every outfit—for the system to work. I recommend, again, getting one black pair, one neutral pair, and also a pair in your favorite color. If you don’t wear your favorite color often, then choose the color that you wear most often, aside from black and neutral. This ensures that, when you are running out the door, you won’t have a sudden shoe crisis, regardless of which shirt you’re wearing.
6. Re-think your bra wardrobe.
You don’t wear Ugg boots or peacoats in the middle of an Israeli summer, so why wear something as insulating as a push-up bra? The padding in that cute imported Victoria’s Secret number is not going to make you look cute if you have to walk very far at all to get from the bus station, the train station, or the car to your air-conditioned destination. Save yourself the hassle and, instead, stock up on a few non-push-up bras, or, better yet, some tank tops with a shelf bra. Always remember, of course, that your selection should still support you properly, so choose wisely!
5. Wear your hair up in a bun.
One of the fastest—and, this season, chicest—ways to make yourself feel cooler is to put your hair up. However, please don’t use a scrunchie or clip. Those went out of fashion in the ‘90s. Instead, buy a pack each of hair ties and hair pins that match your hair color. You can get these at virtually any pharmacy, and, if you have incredibly long hair that doesn’t work with normal hair pins, visit your nearest dance store and pick up a pack of the huge hair pins made by the brand Bunheads. Keep half of these with your hair supplies at home, and half in your purse. The next time you feel a heat wave coming on, reach for these and put your hair up into a chic bun, just like the models on the 2013 runways.
4. Drink water.
I’m serious. You need to drink at least eight cups of fresh, pure water a day—nothing else counts! Besides avoiding dehydration or heat stroke, drinking at least eight cups per day helps to plump up skin, making it look less haggard.
Aside from pure water, pure coconut water is also a great choice. Consumed after working out in many areas of the world, coconut water has been proven to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that the body needs to replenish, post-“glow.” It’s much tastier, healthier, and more refreshing than sports beverages or sodas. I get mine at Eden Teva Market, from the brand Rita. Be sure to get the unsweetened variety.
3. Keep tissues and a powder compact in your bag.
Nothing ruins makeup like summer—between the pure heat of the sun melting the makeup, combined with, let’s face it, sweating while chasing the bus, makeup doesn’t look as good once we reach our destinations. To counteract this, keep a compact of pressed powder in your bag, specifically for these moments. Also keep a travel pack of tissues, because you will need to blot your face before you re-apply the powder. Together, blotting and re-powdering your face make you look put-together, no matter the temperature.
2. Get a pedicure.
Realistically, you are going to be wearing your three pairs of flip flops for the next eight months, which means that you—and everyone you encounter—are going to be seeing quite a bit of your toes. While it’s tempting to insist, “My feet will just get dusty and dirty as soon as I step outside, anyway,” the difference between feet that are taken care of and feet that could use a scrub is more obvious than most people will admit. Besides looking nice, pedicured feet emit an aura of cleanliness and comfort, and when you see your feet looking nice, you will actually feel less sweaty and dusty.
1. If you are against using deodorant, PLEASE use Bergamot oil!
This is my number one tip for a reason.
I understand that not everyone in the world likes using deodorant, for cultural, religious, or health reasons. However, the fact remains that if you don’t wear either deodorant or a viable alternative, you will stink. If you aren’t embarrassed by this, I really don’t know what to say, other than to please, PLEASE have some decorum and common decency toward your fellow human beings.
Thankfully, I happen to know an alternative. It is natural, traditional, and, judging by the use of essential oils to groom queens Esther and Bathsheba, I sincerely doubt that it could be in violation of religious law. If you refuse to use anything else, pick up a bottle of bergamot essential oil at Superpharm, and use a drop in each underarm. Bergamot is gentle, and commonly used even after hair removal in holistic, high-end spas in the USA. It smells like citrus fruit, but is derived from an herb, and it works to kill the bacteria that make people smell bad to begin with. The aroma is suitable for both men and women, and the yogis and India-lovers of Tel Aviv will love that this is a remedy straight out of Ayurvedic aromatherapy. The bottle is inexpensive and small enough to carry in a bag or pocket.
I hope you were able to enjoy the summery weather yesterday, but even if you couldn’t, never fear—we have eight months ahead of us, in which to practice these top ten summer beauty tips!