YourLIFE: 7 days to get sexy for summer; IF THE WARMER WEATHER HAS SNUCK UP ON YOU, FOLLOW OUR EASY BEAUTY PLAN TO LOOK HOT, HOT, HOT IN ONE WEEK. BY CHARLOTTE HAIGH.
ANY day now - we hope - summer will be here. And when it arrives, you'll no longer get away with covering up in jeans and jumpers - it's time to dig out those strappy tops and floaty dresses.
That's fine if you've been preparing yourself for summer for weeks - buffing, sloughing and moisturising so your skin's gleaming, your feet look gorgeous and your thighs are cellulite-free. But for those of us who juggle work and family life, it's hard to be that organised. Luckily, it is possible to transform your body quickly - follow our seven-day plan to cheat your way to a sexier body.
SMOOTH YOUR LIMBS
YES, shorts and shoulder-baring tops are in this summer - bad news if your limbs are looking less than perfect.
"Unfortunately, arms and legs are particularly prone to dry patches and pimples, especially after months of neglect," says Victoria Evans, partnership programme manager at the International Dermal Institute.
"Start by dry body brushing all over for a couple of minutes before your shower every day. This will slough away dead skin cells and help boost circulation, which will tackle those little rough bumps we often develop on our thighs and upper arms."
Pay particular attention to the backs of your arms, which are prone to little pimples called keratosis pilaris, caused by hair follicles becoming clogged up with dead skin cells, so the fine hairs grow back on themselves. After you've brushed and showered, moisturise to hydrate and firm the skin.
"Invest in a good body lotion Which contains fruit acids so that it continues to exfoliate while moisturising," says Victoria Evans, who suggests alogica Body Hydrating Cream (call 0044 800 591 818 or search online).
BLITZ YOUR BACK
SPOTTY backs are a common problem as we secrete more oil in this area and it's harder to keep it clean, particularly between the shoulder blades," says Victoria. "Buy a long buffing cloth which you can hold between your hands to reach across your back when you shower, to gently exfoliate the area." Use it in conjunction with a mildly anti-bacterial shower gel such as Tisserand Tea Tree and Grapefruit Skin Wash (from Boots and health stores). "A deep cleansing mask applied to your back will draw out impurities, so ask your partner or a friend to smooth it on for you," says Victoria. This may seem a bit of a hassle but it will give the skin a deep clean to help shake off those pimples. Try The Sanctuary Warming Charcoal Detox Mask (from Boots).
PUT YOUR FEET FIRST
IN sandals your feet are very much on display. But after a few months of being crammed into shoes and trainers, they probably don't look up to scratch, So take an evening to give them some TLC. Start by soaking them in a bowl of warm water, with a few drops of antiseptic tea tree oil swirled in. Next, tackle hard bits by exfoliating with a special foot scrub such as Neal's Yard Remedies Pumice Foot Scrub (www.nealsyardremedies.com).
Pat your feet dry, then, with nail scissors, cut straight across the top of your nails. Use an emery board to smooth across the top. Follow by massaging in a rich cream like Nailtiques Avocado Foot Creme (call 0044 1827 280 080). Finally, perk up your toes with a pretty nail polish.
FOCUS ON YOUR FACE CHANCES are the skin on your face is looking a bit dull and lifeless, so it's time to give it that summer glow. "Start by exfoliating to blitz flaky patches," says Victoria. "Remember to treat your neck and chest as part of your face, taking any treatment down to the top of your cleavage."
Massage in Dermalogica Cream Exfoliant, then follow up with a nutrient-packed face mask, such as Daniele Ryman Three Roses Rejuvenating Facial Mask (pounds 17, Boots) to plump up skin. Finish with a light moisturiser.
"Summer heat triggers more sebum production, which is why your face can often look shiny," says Victoria. So on hot days opt for oil-free hydration unless your skin's dry - try Biore Shine Control Moisturiser (pounds 4.99).
TIME TO TAN
A REAL tan is damaging to your skin, not to mention being hard to come by in the typical British summer - two good reasons to opt for the bottle. "Not only will your complexion look healthier, a fake tan will also make you look slimmer and fitter," says St Tropez's tanning guru Judy Naake.
"Even cellulite looks better when it's tanned. Muscles are more defined, giving an impression of longer limbs." So how should you apply the perfect fake tan? "Exfoliating first is very important as this smoothes skin, giving you a good base," says Judy. Try Boots Botanics Bright Skin Body Scrub (pounds 2.99).
"Concentrate on areas that are naturally drier, such as the knees, elbows and hands, which will 'grab' the tan more, leaving you with tell-tale darker patches," says Judy. Then smooth on a good quality fake tan, such as St Tropez Whipped Bronze Mousse (pounds 20/120ml, call 0115 983 6363 or search online). Apply the product quickly and evenly, remembering to blend it well around areas like your neck, wrists and feet, so you don't end up with any giveaway lines.
The newer fake tans tend to dry and develop fairly quickly, so you don't need to allow hours to perch gingerly on the side of the bath while you wait for it to be absorbed. But if you're getting dressed after tanning, avoid lightcoloured clothes.
SORT OUT YOUR HAIR
"THIS summer, the trend is for naturallooking texture - good news, as it's easy to achieve," says Saynab Awalen, a stylist at John Frieda. "Just spray a styling product like Frizz-Ease Dream Curls (pounds 3.95) on to wet hair, then twist up sections, tie them all together in a clip and let them dry - you'll end up with a great tousled look. On a hot day, reach for a band to take your hair away from your face, or try a pretty clip to push your fringe to one side."
GET THAT GLOW
SO you're smooth-limbed and bronzed. Now it's time to really rev up your summer sizzle. "If you're flashing some leg in this season's shorts or a skirt, try using some shimmering leg make-up," suggests Sarah Reygate, make-up artist for Rimmel London.
Not only will it help your fake tan look deeper, if you concentrate the shimmer on the shin bone, highlighting the slimmest part, your pins will look longer and shapelier - it's a trick make-up artists often use on models before fashion shows. Try Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan Sexy Legs Sun Makeup (pounds 4.99) or for added moisture, go for an oil like Models Prefer Imitation Vacation Fragrant Body Shimmer (pounds 17, QVC, 0800 504 030).
For evening, highlight your tan with some shimmering body powder - try dusting it on your collarbone and across your shoulders for gorgeous glimmer. Or, if you're wearing a plunging neckline and want to make the most of your cleavage, pat powder just above the curves of your boobs. Try Benefit Kitten Sparkling Powder (pounds 19.50, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Boots).
Looking a treat in the heat
HEAVY make-up is too harsh and overdone for summer. Here are our tips to getting a fresh, natural look that will be just perfect on the beach or in the bar.
Swap your foundation for a tinted moisturiser such as Boots No7 Soft and Sheer Tinted Moisturiser. If you need extra coverage just use a bit of concealer on trouble spots.
Go for a wash of fresh colour on your eyelids. Green is a hot colour this summer. Try Rimmel London's SpecialEyes Mono
Eyeshadow in Saucy Mint.
Waterproof mascara is a must, as even if you're not on the beach, it tends to smudge on hot, sunny days. Go for Max Factor Aqualash Mascara.
To look instantly fresh and healthy, use a bronzer rather than a blusher. Try Clarins Bronzing Duo.
Picture: A. GREEN/ZEFA/CORBIS