Beauty tips to get your body beach ready

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 31 Comments

If you’ve arrived at this post expecting to find some miracle pill or diet that will have you looking how you think you need to look for a beach holiday this summer, you’ve come to the wrong place.

The place you’ll find here is one of body love and acceptance. Don’t worry, it’s a daily struggle for me too but boy – oh boy – do I not let what I perceive other people perceive about my body get in the way of me enjoying a little pool or beachside action. And I suggest you don’t either.

By all means embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle – but do it because it makes you feel good, not because you’re aiming for the next cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.

When you’ve lived at the beach for half your life, then your get your body beach ready plan is pretty much in place throughout the year. Except for the swimming bit. I don’t go in the water here until November. My kids like to remind me that last year I broke my own rule but in defence of my wuss-ness, it was the last weekend in October – and it was stinking hot.

I digress …

Next week I’ll be swimming and cocktailing and sweating in Bali so the beauty preps have well and truly begun – as has some consideration to reducing the amount of beauty product I’m prepared to schlepp all the way to Seminyak and back.

Let’s just say I’m notorious not just for over-packing clothes but also for keeping my options open in the beauty department. My good friend Sarah, from A Beach Cottage blogged about this notoriety here. She was my new friend back then and we’ve since travelled a few times together. She remains unconvinced I can travel with anything less.

I’m out to prove her wrong. Maybe.

So, let’s get into it, shall we?


There is indeed prep work that can be down before you get on the plane or jump in the car on your beach holiday.

Spray tan: I’ve talked up the regular spray tan I now get every couple of weeks. I’m in love with the colour. I love that I get an instant glow and I love that the colour gives me a little boost of confidence. The day before a spray tan, I’ll shave my legs and then on the morning of I give everything a scrub with a loofah. I don’t tend to use a product with this as most of my body exfoliators are moisturising and this will hinder the tan application. For the next seven days I’m religious with the moisturiser – twice a day – my moisturiser of choice is usually a gradual tanner.  This combination means that the tan fades without nasty patches.

Recommended products: Eco Tan Winter Skin, , Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze Body Lotion

Hair removal: I’m still a leg shaver, a lifetime habit there. But it’s the bikini line (or beard that one SY reader so affectionately called it) that I’m so glad I no longer have to worry about. Waxing and I were not good friends. Sure it got rid of the hair but the resultant rash and inflammation was just as bad. You can read my post about embracing laser hair reduction here. It’s pretty much all gone and what’s left I get away with shaving (without reaction). Cannot recommend highly enough and plan to get my underarms done next year.

Mani/Pedi: By all means DIY this at home. Or, lazy-girl like me, book in for some resort nails before your fly or just after you land. All summer shoes and thongs look better with a bright pedi and those nails need to shine when wrapped around a cocktail glass, don’t they? I’ve opted this time for CND Vinylux for a little longevity but if I want to change colours while I’m there then it’s easy to remove.

Hair maintenance: Call me vain but there will be a lot of photos taken between us 11 girls next week. My “natural” blonde locks will be refreshed and ready.

Beauty tips to get your body beach ready

By the pool or beach

Sunscreen:  If you’re a regular here, you know my thoughts on sunscreen. I never leave the house without an application but whenever I’m heading to the beach, I amp it up even more. It’s not worth the long-term risk to do otherwise. For my holiday next week, we’ll be doing a combination of poolside plus afternoons out for lunch and drinks. It’s the latter that I need a sunscreen that’s not too icky but still does the job at hand.

Recommended: ModelCo Body Bronze Dry Touch SPF 50+ (1 – sunscreen and instant bronzer in one); ModelCo Daily Face Mattifying Sunscreen and Lip Balm SPF 50+ (2 – clever inclusion of a lip balm and mirror in the lid); Invisible Zinc Environmental Skin Protector SPF 30+, Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Mist SPF 30+ (the easiest for re-application after swimming)

Hair protector: Chlorine and saltwater are the enemy of hair colour. To best protect your hair, wet it in the shower, then apply conditioner or a specific hair protector. Plus, always have spare hair ties on hand to take that slicked back look from the pool to the bar. If attempting to style my hair in a humid climate, I always add a product to help with the inevitable frizzies.

Recommended: Kerastase Aqua Seal (4), Craybands (5), O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum (6)

Insect repellent:  Beach holidays and bites go hand in hand. I’ve used all manner of sprays but was very excited to come across this Queensland-made product that smells great and also doubles as a body moisturiser.

Recommended: Vanilla Mozi Skin Cream (10)

After-sun care: Even my best laid sun protection plans can go astray. Usually it’s a patch where I’ve missed that I end up paying for. I always have aloe vera gel in my holiday kit.

Recommended: Thursday Plantation Aloe Vera Gel 

Resort beauty

Skincare: Everything about my holiday routine is about keeping it simple. Apart from sunscreen, I stick to a quick and easy cleanse and a moisturise. Swapping out my regular moisturiser for rosehip oil puts back a little of what the day may have taken out.

Recommended: Kosmea Organic Rosehip Oil (7)

Makeup: How much makeup you take on holiday with you is up to you and what you’re going to do on that holiday. We’re going to be visiting some beautiful restaurants and bars – the girls will be glamming it up. I’ll stick with tinted sunscreen in the morning but I’ll be packing a primer and foundation for evening. I have consolidated my cheek and eye colour by taking a palette. Waterproof mascara is a must for me in a sticky climate. Completing the evening look will be a bright pop of lippy.

Recommended: NARS Ltd Edition At First Sight palette (3), Maybelline Volum’ Express The Mega Plush Waterproof Mascara (9), Benefit Hydra-Smooth Lip Color in Tutti Cutie (8 – new on counter)

Reader questions

Q: Bearded bikini blanket (speaking for myself, there is no ‘bikini line’) What are the best eradication methods?  Waxing gives me ingrowns, shaving grows back too quick, hair removal cream is great, for about three days, until the humidity sets in and you walk like you sat on a dunny brush  Help. Please! – Amy 

A: Amy, start a savings plan and get some laser happening soon (see above).

Q:  My challenge is tanning (I’m Scottish and naturally a pasty white). I can’t do the spray tan because we fly (to Port Douglas) four days before the wedding and it would be hideous and patchy by then so I’m going to have to do a cream or some sort of brush on bronzer but my dress is nude and would show up tan rub off so I need one that doesn’t transfer. – Adele

A:  You have a couple of options here. The first would be to get a spray tan when you get to Port Douglas. The SpaQ at the QT Port Douglas actually has a special offer – book a 90 minute treatment and get a free spray tan. Winning. The second option would be to attempt a spray-on; wash-off tan. Applied correctly and left to dry, it shouldn’t rub off but there are no guarantees. Try Garnier Amber Solaire Bronze Minute.

Q: I have never had a spray tan for fear of looking like a rotisserie chicken. Any tips? – Charmaine

A: I’ve touched on this above Charmaine but here’s a link to an archived post I wrote about this topic. The key is finding a tanning place that understands you don’t want to go too dark. That’s when it looks most natural.

Q: What toenail colour is “in” this summer? – Adele

A:  Brights are still very much the go – blue, pink, orange, coral – but don’t discount metallics or, if you’re up for it, white.

Care to share your resort and beach beauty tips? Or product you can’t survive summer without?

PS. You didn’t think I’d forget today’s virtual cocktail, do you? It’s the Caprioska. Cheers!

* Some of the featured products were sent for editorial consideration; others are regulars in my beauty collection. The Knotty towel they are photographed on was sent to me as a gift – I think I’m this company’s number one fan. We switched our beach towels for Turkish towels last summer and haven’t looked back.

Comments 31

  1. I love that when you’re on holidays, you’re so relaxed and care free that you look fantastic in photos. And no hangovers! My must have prodz: sunscreen, plenty of water, fabulous sunnies, hair ties (a top knot is always in fashion on holidays), a bright lipstick and mascara. And if all else fails? An Instagram filter!

  2. oh this is a great list – I need to get serious about my Summer revamp…its getting warmer and warmer! Ive never had a spray tan..I might try it sometime. I usually get Keratin treatment in my hair to smooth out my curls in the humidity

  3. As always Nikki, great product tips – knowing how they perform is a great help when confronted with the huge array of beauty products on the market. Must have some of that wonderful mozzie repellant – I agree with Mindy, most of them smell disgusting. I have always been too sooky to wax – but recently discovered sugaring and am now a huge fan. It is so gentle I sometimes just about fall asleep! I’m talking legs – haven’t worked up the courage for bikini line yet- but I’ll get there.

      1. The lovely Deb Quinn of Soothe Organics at Circle Wellness Clinic Peregian Beach. I believe they also have a clinic at Noosaville or Tewantin.

  4. Ever since fake tan arrived, I jumped on board. Only to discover that I am allergic to the tanning agent, DHA. All these years later I still haven’t learned and am currently covered in an itchy rash because I was really hoping I had amazingly become un-allergic! Wrong. Do you know if there are any fake tans on the market that don’t have DHA?

  5. Great tips Nikki, thanks for sharing them. I wish I was going on a tropical holiday now! And I can’t travel light either – some people say it is a skill but I don’t see the point of being in a fabulous place and then not having all your fabulous things with you.

  6. Thanks for all the great recommendations Nikki. I am due for some new sunscreen so I might have to give those Model Co products a try. I think the higher the SPF the better for my super pale skin. I would also love to give the Vanilla Mozi a go as it sounds fabulous. Nothing worse than feeling sticky and smelling horrible like you do with most normal insect repellents.
    The hair removal area is one where I really need to try something different. I am a total sook with waxing and if I shave I just end up with horrible red bumps and irritation for two days after by which time the hair is already starting to grow back. I really need something better if I am going to embrace your ditch the board shorts idea. I would love to try the laser as it doesn’t seem all that expensive if you look at the big picture. Unfortunately this is one of those times when I wish I lived closer to Brisbane. I can’t seem to find anywhere up here that offers laser, it’s all IPL. We are planning on moving south in 5 years time and then I would be close enough to be able to trip to Brisbane regularly to have it done but 5 years is a long time to wait. I worry about spending the money on IPL if it is not really going to do the job.

    1. Not sure if you read my post but I had IPL first – a couple of years before laser. I can tell you that it did reduce my hair (there was a lot!) and made maintenance in between a whole lot easier. I also stopped when I probably should have gone 8 sessions. So don’t discount that while you’re not near any laser salons.

  7. Loving the cocktail recipes! Yummo!

    I just don’t seem to do well with faux tans – even when I prep properly. I like my pale skin so I keep it looking as well as I can with regular exfoliation and moisturising.

    Love tinted moisturisers, creme blush and gel stains for the sweaty summer season. x

  8. Love this article Nikki, especially your introduction about accepting ourselves and enjoying life! Thank you for the reminder. Some new products I am loving at the moment are Chi Chi Solarium in a Bottle, which is an instant bronzer that washes off, is also nice and moisturising and smells lovely (coconutty) too. Cute bottle with a palm tree! I have not had much luck with spray tans, they tend to go patchy and orange on me.
    I have just bought the Modelco tinted moisturiser with the lip balm, so far it is good. Finally, I have just discovered the most gorgeous hair oil, it is by Shu Uemura, and it is a nourishing hair oil with camellia oil. The smell is divine and you just use a tiny amount to smooth ends and any frizzies. Not cheap but if you want a little luxurious treat it is the bomb! I think it will last a long time as you only need a small amount. Apparently you can also apply it before shampooing as well.

  9. I’m deadset as hairy as anything and get ingrown hairs like there is no tomorrow. I’ve seriously thought about laser but it’s too pricey at the moment. Maybe one day!!! I’m about to try that hair removal cream stuff .

  10. I love invisible zinc as a sunscreen and it’s good for *ahem mature skin and also Nivea Age Defence Facial Sunscreen is really good too.I have never had a spray tan either, I usually use a at home tan and then top it up with an gradual tan body lotion as well atm I am using Nude By Nature self tanner and it is easy to apply not patchy and I just moisturise over the top,it gives a nice natural colour and very foolproof and I also like The Abre Solaire one,and I love the Palmers Cocoa body self tanning lotion as well.I always put conditioner or Argan oil in my hair if I am actually going swimming I find it helps the colour fade and the frizzes.I would love to get laser on my bikini beard but I have been told it does not work on greys? I do epilate though.Thankyou Nikki for the tips,some good ones there!

      1. Yes I left it way too late lucky they are not too bad ,the epilator fixes them but it would be good not to have them at all.

  11. Spray tans have never worked for me. They always wash off or give me an inconsistent colour which then makes me resemble a marble chocolate bar. I just go white now and don’t worry about what it looks like but I dowse myself in sun cream to keep my skin from burning which it does easily for being fair. All great tips Nikki and I am putting this post in my favourites so I can refer back to it over summer. I am so excited for you about Bali. I’ve never been and never had to urge to go but it sounds like you are going to have a blast with your girlfriends! And I can’t wait to see some outfits that you take away with you. xo

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