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Tried and tested summer essentials

By River Reporter Apr 27, 2012

With summer just around the corner Lily Meyer, Francesca Griffin, Natalie Mason, Ellie Suttle and Anshu Pandit test out the best beauty products on the market to ensure you are bronzed, hair free and polished from head to toe.

Francesca Griffin


Finishing Touches Nails Jewels


Thrown into the limelight by A-listers such as Jessie J and Lady Gaga, rhinestone nail stickers are bang on trend right now. Let your nails become jewels, not tools, this season.

Rhinestone nail stickers are a simple way to add a little sparkle to your nails for a night out. It can be a little fiddly at first. It’s best to use tweezers, just remove from the packet and place over painted nails for fantastic fingertips. Once all your nail art is dry, paint over it with a clear protective acrylic top coat to seal and protect your nail and your hard work, and reapply every couple of days to make sure they stay in place.



(around £30 at most nail salons)

Chipped tips are a thing of the past with new creation Shellac. A nail tech does all the hard work for you. Using a UV light between each coat Shellac promises to remain chip-free for 2 to 4 weeks.

Not quite, firstly as your nails grow you are stuck with an ugly regrowth that, after spending on average £30 you don’t want to remove the stuff early. Secondly, four weeks is a long time to commit to a colour. Finally, if it does chip you have to return to the salon to restart the process (Shellac has to be removed by dipping your nails in acetone).

But it is great if you’re going on holiday and don’t want the added hassle of repainting. A top tip if you do want to try Shellac: ask for a classic French manicure so that when it begins to grow out it is less noticeable.


Nude Nails

from £2.99 (Barry M) to £6 (Topshop)

This season is a tale of two halves. The psychedelic neon shades are sticking around for another season

but summer swings the pendulum in the opposite direction with the entry of wearable shades of mellow yellows and soft corals promising to compliment any outfit without loosening the purse strings.


Sun Screen

Soltan Moisturising Suncare Spray

SPF 50, £5.49

Boots own brand sun cream is a bargain. The spray top bottle ensures easy application and the formula absorbs quickly so it doesn’t leave your skin greasy – perfect for hot locations. The only flaw is that it doesn’t seem to be waterproof so reapply if you’ve had a quick dip.


La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Extreme


Not only will this sunscreen leave your face looking like you’ve dipped it in oil, but it does not protect from the sun’s harmful rays. I left the beach with a burnt nose and pink cheeks despite an SPF of 30. This fluid is definitely not worth the money.


L’Oreal Solar Expertise Sensitive Body


This cream is perfect for those who easily break out in spots from the ingredients in sun screens or have sensitive skin. It contains mineral ingredients that gently protect from the sun and absorb quickly, leaving skin soft. However it does leave a light film behind and can get messy when rubbing into the skin. A little goes a long way with this product and it offers good sun protection with an SPF of 30.


Waterproof Make-Up

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hr foundation


This foundation isn’t technically waterproof but transfer-proof, resistant to heat, sweat and humidity. It didn’t quite last the 25 hours it claims: it managed eight before starting to look worse for wear. Careful when applying as the slightest overdose will turn you orange – a lighter colour than you’re used to would be better. Good for a hot night club but not the beach.


Barry M waterproof Touch of Magic lip paint


Don’t let the green put you off: like a lip stain the colour stays put, turning your lips a rosy pink as soon as you apply. The best part is the shade of pink changes with each wear, depending on the alkali levels in your lips. After wearing it all day it still didn’t budge from my lips, excellent value for money.


Clinique Take the day off make up remover


With all this waterproof make up you’re going to need something good to get it off with, and although slightly pricey for a make up remover, this Clinique one works a treat. Getting off stubborn waterproof mascara, lipstick and pretty much anything else is made really easy and you only need a tiny amount so your bottle will last for months. It’s completely fragrance free so suitable for sensitive skin and the normal pain of taking waterproof eye make up off is relieved.


Max Factor Masterpiece waterproof mascara


If there’s one good thing to say about this mascara, it’s that nothing gets that bad boy off! It sticks to your lashes like glue and takes a very good waterproof make-up remover to get it off. The problem is everything else. The very small brush does nothing for your lashes, after applying about 20 coats my eyelashes looked small and stubby and you could barely tell I was wearing mascara.



St Tropez Bronzing Lotion

240 ml, £30.65

The St Tropez Bronzing Lotion must be the easiest of the self-tanning products I have ever tried. It doesn’t streak, doesn’t smell and lasts a good few days. And don’t panic if at first you look a strange dark orange colour as it has a tendency to do this but as soon as you shower it off (wait at least four hours) you’ll be left with a solid but subtle tan.


SiennaX Spray Tan (Butterfly Boutique, Surbiton)


Spray tans are easy to use, look more natural than most of the ‘apply yourself’ products and last for about two weeks. The SiennaX spray tan is streak, smell and orange free and dries incredibly quickly. The only downfall is that if we want to keep it up it is a rather expensive habit – but perfect for a pre-holiday treat.


Garnier Summerbody Moisturising Lotion


They describe this product as a gradual tan that gives you sun-kissed skin. Not in my experience. After just one, albeit generous, application I looked less sun-kissed more sunburnt Oompa Loompa! I was left blotchy and orange and it was an impossible task trying to wash it off.


Hair Removal

Threading (around £5 -£7)

I think threading gives the most beautiful and long lasting shape. It hurts no more than plucking or waxing does but it is quite a strange sensation to get used to and the noise makes it sound a lot worse that it is. Be brave though, it’s worth it, I’m hooked!




This is a method of rubbing soft sandpaper like ‘mitts’ in a circular motion over the problem areas. This is gentle enough for your face and also works as a quick fix for arms and legs. Not recommended for the bikini line or areas where ingrown hairs are common as it doesn’t actually remove the hair.



(£200-£500 per area for a course of six treatments)

Laser hair removal has recently become more widely available and can be done in many department stores. It is very painful, but you know ladies, no pain no gain. I now have hair-free smooth skin which will eventually save me a fortune on hair removal products. Available from Boots or beauty clinics.







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