The heat is most definitely on and this summer couldn’t be more exciting. So many things to do and places to see! Though slightly uncomfortable because of the scorching temperatures outside, summer in the Philippines can’t be beat. It’s such a blessing to be living in an archipelago where a short plane or boat ride or even a drive away lies some of the best beaches in the world. In Cebu alone, you can go to Badian, Bantayan, Camotes, Malapascua, Pandanon… or head over to other nearby destinations like Bohol for some fun in the sun in Panglao, dolphin watching in Bais, Negros, frolicking in the crystal clear waters of Dakak in Dapitan, partying by the shore in Boracay. You could practically spend every weekend of this whole season visiting different islands, and all you need is your itsy bitsy little bikini, shorts or a sundress, and a lot of sunblock! Here’s a list of your must-have products this season:
1. Sunblock– Obviously, no sunblock equals a badly burned face that hurts like hell and lots of ugly wrinkles and sunspots. So please do not forget to put sunblock on at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and choose a good SPF. Also, reapply every hour or so, especially coming from the water. For me the best sunblock ever is VMV Armada. You can also try Belo at SPF 60, Coppertone, or Beach Hut. If you don’t like the thick sticky feel, go for sunblock sprays but make sure everything is covered, from the back of your ears to the nape, and even your feet!
2. After sun cream– Whether or not you end up getting burned, it’s important to put on a good after sun cream or gel to soothe your skin. I found a great one from Celeteque, with aloe vera and wheat, that has an immediate cooling effect. There’s also an aloe vera gel from Banana Boat. Or try a homemade one by mashing some papayas into cold cream and refrigerating this mixture. It feels like heaven on earth when you slather it on after a day in the sun.
3. Hair protection– Yes, your hair needs protection too after all the salt water, chlorine, and sun it gets exposed to for extended periods. It is best to massage your hair and scalp with a leave in conditioner before hitting the beach, then make sure to deep condition with intensive treatment after taking a bath at the end of the day. There’s a good one from Loreal Elseve with royal jelly and ginseng, but if you can get your hands on it, try the Davines after sun treatment with Argan oil. It keeps your tresses strong and healthy despite repeated trips to the beach, and it smells amazing too. It also comes with an after sun shampoo. Then visit the salon for a hot oil, hair spa or keratin treatment.
4. Lip balm– Another product that you’ll definitely need is a good lip balm (with sunblock a big plus) that can keep your lips from cracking and peeling. Carmex is a good brand, or Vaseline, or Chap stick. The best one I’ve tried yet is the Body Shop lip balm in different flavors. Or, good old petroleum jelly does the trick as well.
5. Moisturizer– Since its likely for your skin to get very dry during the height of summer, it’s important to be able to nourish it regularly. Make sure you apply lotion or body oil after bathing, like Neutrogena Body Oil or Avon’s Skin So Soft lotion line. Aveeno is also great for very dry skin. Or try a thicker body butter that smells like a dream, like La Senza’s Mistletoe Kiss or Cocoa Butter from the Body Shop. Make sure you get to apply generously all over your arms, legs, hands feet, especially the elbows, knees and ankles.
6. Vitamins– Stock up on skin vitamins like Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fish oil supplements, etc to keep your body in tip top condition. There are hair, skin and nails vitamin sets at Healthy Options that really do wonders. And please don’t forget to hydrate! Drink about 10 glasses of water daily, and keep bottles of Gatorade or Hydrite tablets ready in case somebody gets a heatstroke in the middle of the day.
7. Insect Repellent– Since many of us are spending lots of time outdoors, we need to protect ourselves from the big bad mosquitoes that can potentially cause dengue, not to mention the itches and scratches and possible scars! Get an insect repellent spray and keep it handy in your bag at all times! Another possible solution would be to take garlic tablets (the scent cannot be detected by humans but for some reason can ward off mosquitoes). And ask for those mosquito coils to put under the table at outdoor restaurants—it’s better to be safe than sorry!
8. Cuticle Oil– It’s also very common to get dried out nails and cuticles during the summer, and it is very painful indeed to end up with cracked nails. A cuticle oil can help prevent this and protect the nail. Check out Sally Hansen for various cuticle oils or nail strengtheners, and apply these every night while you moisturize the rest of the body.
9. Hair removal– It’s time to whip out those skimpy outfits and be able to justify them! Make sure all exposed body parts are fuzz free, from underarms to bikini line to legs! Shaving is a quick and easy option, and if you must use this method, make sure you shave with a sharp razor (replace after a month at most), with shaving cream or gel. Do not use soap as a shaving cream please unless you want to end up with nicks and a dull razor. A better alternative would be waxing, you can have this done at any salon or a Lay Bare in BTC or SM. You’ll love the completely hair free skin and the fact that it grows back much less and finer compared with shaving. If you can though, go for permanent laser hair removal. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make!
10. Beach gear– What is summer without your favourite beach outfits? Make sure you’ve got a swimsuit/bikini that flatters your shape, board shorts, a pretty beach coverup, a wide brim hat, plastic shades you can mess around with in the water, a beach bag, and a pair of fab flip flops. Pick one from the Havaianas summer collection, they all look super cute!
Here’s hoping you’ll all have a fabulous summer filled with island trips, watersports, great friends, and sumptuous seafood. It’s more fun in the Philippines!