Summer Skin Essentials – Product Reviews

Summer skin essentials header

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in 3 Things Thursday, I just got back from sunny Spain where my husband and I spent a much needed week on the beach. Over the years I have been trialing and testing summer skin products from fake tan to sunscreen to find my favourites so I thought I would share my thorough testing with you here! Below I’ve reviewed:sunscreens, fake tan, face exfoliators and body lotions, I hope these are useful for your own summer skin planning! 


I HATE reapplying sunscreen, I always miss bits (and then my pasty Scottish skin gets burned, ick) and on a beach you can’t avoid rubbing sand into your skin and that’s just awful so I love once-a-day sunscreens. I have tried both P20  and Piz Buin. As far as I am concerned, Piz Buin wins hands down, the pros and cons of each are below.

Riemann P20

P20 sunscreen

Pros: Goes on in liquid form, dries quickly, no strong smell.

Cons: Easier to miss bits with the clear liquid, not as waterproof as Piz Buin (hello burnt skin), stains light clothing yellow (including bikinis) – argh!




Piz Buin – Once-A-Day

Piz Buin

Pros: Easy to see where you’ve put it, highly water resistant (if you drip dry, best to reapply if you towel off), no staining, dries in quickly. Cons: Takes some rubbing in, strong smell – I like it because it reminds me of happy holiday memories but it’s no Hawaiian Tropic!

This is definitely the sunscreen I would always use, as long as you apply carefully it will serve you well! You can get it here



Hawaiian Tropic – Hydrating silk for face

Hawaiian tropic for face

I like to use a separate SPF for my face and this one isn’t too thick (I find PizBuin too thick for my face – clogs pores too easily). It has a lovely smell (although not your typical coconuty Hawaiian Tropic smell) and can be worn under make up. I do reapply this at least once during the day and it has never let me down. It is water resistant and in high humidity (e.g. Florida) it doesn’t just sweat right off (lovely I know!) If this sounds right for you, get it here


Fake Tan:

this may not be a necessity for many of you but with my aforementioned pasty Scottish skin I do really like to have a bit of colour about me when mingling on a beach with the tanned people. No kidding I have walked onto an Italian beach and been stared at before for the uber whiteness of my skin. Some people love and embrace their paleness but I’d rather be bronzed and as this isn’t going to happen naturally so I look to bottles! However, I am also awful at applying fake tan, I have had every fake tan disaster you could imagine but I’ve persevered and this year I found….

NipFab 365 Body Glow

Nip and fab body glow

Quite simply the best fake tan I have ever tried. I get really bored using the gradual tanner moisturisers and I’m not brave enough to try a spray tan plus these wash off and there’s no way that my skin would “catch up” with sun bathing so I need something I can reapply.

Pros: Goes on in a clear gel but gelatinous enough to see where it is, no “biscuit” smell(!), builds a natural looking brown (not orange) tan, dries quickly, results quickly (6 hours), suitable for use on face too, doesn’t streak or clump and is pretty cheap!

Cons: I can’t actually think of one(!) I suppose if you don’t like licorice, which this smells of going on, then you might not like it. If you’ve ever had a sambucca imposed hangover then maybe not for you!

I used this two days in a row (at night before bed) before we left for holiday and was so happy with the results, the only place I got slight streaking was on my wrists and that was because I had washed my palms and the water must have run, slightly annoying but I could have used gloves to apply or wipes on my palms and avoided this. My face does actually tan quite easily so I didn’t use this until we were on holiday but it worked well on my face too. I said in pros that it doesn’t have that tell tale biscuity smell either, instead it smells like licorice which is no bad thing I don’t think. You can find it here


I have three favourite body moisturisers and each brings something different to the table.

Arbonne renewing body gelee 

Arbonne body lotion

If you only buy one body moisturiser this summer this would be my recommendation. I LOVE it. One of my friends who is an Arbonne consultant (Mhairi, who shared her favourite facial cleanser in this post) introduced me to this lovely product. Firstly it has a GREAT smell, it smells of margharitas and nothing says holiday more than a margharita (to me anyway). Secondly it’s all natural and is a great detoxer, it’s particularly great if you apply it post work out, it makes your skin tingle amazingly. Thirdly it is a perfect after sun and fourthly (and I don’t think Arbonne sell it due to this) but it is amazing for bug bites and prickly heat. Last summer in Italy my feet were attacked by ants, the worst bites I have ever had, I tried prescription strength antihystamine creams to try and stop them itching but nothing worked until by fluke I put some of this product on my feet and voila no itch. This year the skin under my arms started to itch horribly on the last day of holiday and with one application of this, no itch! Amazing smell, feels amazing on skin, super product! You can buy it online here.

Vaseline spray


My current favourite every day moisturiser is Vaseline Spray and Go. I am not good at religiously applying moisturiser (even though I know I should) mainly because most of the time I just don’t have time to wait for it to dry in before I am flying off to work or on an errand. This does exactly what it says on the tin and dries in super fast. The aloe vera also has a pretty innocuous smell so you can wear perfume over it too.


Hawaiian Tropic


If your holidays this year are more of a staycation then bring the tropics to you with this next moisturiser. I love the smell of this moisturiser and it’s very thick and luxurious too. My favourite is the Lime Coolada as it combines my two favourite smells coconut and lime. You can get the standard Hawaiian tropic scent too.



Face Exfoliator:

If you’re applying sunscreens to your face, sweating and potentially getting sand on your skin you’re most likely wandering into breakout territory and nobody likes having spotty skin. In order to make sure my skin stays clear and un-blocked on holiday I use a facial exfoliator every time I get back from the beach or every evening.  I pay special attention to areas like the side of my nose, chin and forehead. These are my two favourites:

T-Zone blackhead fighting scrub

t zone face

This is a great rough exfoliator and with the added tea tree it has a good anti-bacterial ingredient. I find this works really well at keeping skin clear after you’ve been out in the sun. If your skin has started to get clogged though, the next cleaner is better at getting rid of spots.






Witch gentle exfoliating face wash

witch face scrub

This is a more gentle exfoliator but the witch hazel helps control redness and reduce any painful red bumps and spots. This one can be used every day without causing any dryness or irritation. A combo of the two face scrubs works really well to help control any holiday and sunscreen caused breakouts.



I hope some of these products will be useful to you on your next summer trip! If you have any suggestions of your own (inc links to your own blogs on the topic) then leave them in the comments! Where I could find them I have left links to the products in case you want to try them out!


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