Get Ready For Summer With Glow-Getting Beauty Rituals For The Body

Celebrate the skin you're in with these beauty rituals, designed to show love to your body and soul

Chantelle Paris Bodysuit from Smith & Caughey's. Model / Grace Hobson from N Model Management. Stylist / Ashleigh Cometti. Hair and make-up / Louise Rae. Photo / Babiche Martens

Ready yourself for summer’s warm embrace with glow-getting health and beauty rituals for the body designed to reflect a better you. This isn’t a last-minute call to shed a few kilograms before swimsuit season arrives, but a time to size up how you truly shape up in your thinking as much as your appearance. With a global mood for change, inclusiveness and diversity undeniable in how we depict and treat each other, it’s also time to ensure we extend that vital humanity of spirit to ourselves. To get real about what is realistic, what is healthy and what is achievable in terms of our own self-image.

Above: Chantelle Paris bodysuit, $124.50, from Smith & Caughey's. 

Photo / Babiche Martens

Taking a holistic view is more than signing on to social media slogans like #bopo for the body positivity movement, it’s about not doctoring your Instagram images or being in thrall to those who do. Body neutrality is a newer term to know, encouraging us to dispense with love or hate angst and be at peace with ourselves. Function over form if you like. While fat is still well and truly a feminist issue, it’s also a health one that shouldn’t be ignored. With one third of New Zealand’s population now classified as obese, we’re overdue in shifting focus from weight obsession to improving nutrition and to growing individual physical capability and mental wellbeing. We just need to do it in ways that encourage all individuals to feel they have a place under the sun.

Love Stories bralette, $99, from Superette.

Photo / Babiche Martens

Jaw, neck, decolletage — the so-called jeck — is an area requiring special care. It’s early to show signs of ageing through sun exposure and the pull of gravity on the lower facial contours. Guard against hyper pigmentation, creping and deep lines forming on the cleavage by ensuring your daily sunscreen application doesn’t stop at the chin. Extend use of moisturising skincare, including serums, to the nipple line to benefit from active ingredients chosen to work on this delicate area. Massage products in gently with sweeping upward motions.

Using beauty industry terminology, talk of the neck and deck [decollete] was extended into the jeck when cosmetic medicine doctors started addressing the lack of definition seen where sagging jowls and neck join into cankle-like shapelessness. Clinic 42’s Drs Joanna Romanowska and Lynn Theron say that with an understanding of how contours balance, a mix of injectables can be used to improve the outline, including fillers for volume loss, Botox to help with neck banding and Belkyra to target double chin fat. Fillers and lasers, like skincare, can soften cleavage creases and target dark spots and rednesss. If you protect first you may not need to correct. Watching your on-screen posture isn’t going to work jeck miracles, but it’s a good elongating habit.

Photo / Babiche Martens

Limber limbs are on everyone’s wish list and all the more attractive with a touch of skin-enlivening colour. Start prepping now for positive exposure later by stepping up your leg stretching and strengthening efforts. Dry body brushing, exfoliation weekly or more and cupping are routines to help tone. Smooth skin will also take fake tan better. If cellulite is a concern, products containing caffeine can have a tightening effect. Italian therapist Linda Codegoni has noticed since opening a day spa in Auckland that women here are much less likely than Europeans to book body treatments. Follow their lead by trying peels and wraps, and daily self-massage, including kneading in firming creams and oils.

At the more interventionist end, a range of clinics say fat freezing body sculpting is on the rise. “Body work is no longer just the domain of gym instructors and nutritionists,” says Prescription Skin Care senior nurse and clinic co-ordinator, Angela Frazer. “Clients want to speed up the process,” she says, especially in dealing with stubborn deposits such as knee and bra bulges and “bingo wings”. Looking ahead, clinics predict lasers will be used more on the body to improve skin tone and texture. Waxers are also turning to laser to save long-term on hair removal, says Off & On founder Nicky Shore.

Ingrid Starnes bralette $159, and knickers $139.

Photo / Babiche Martens

Tiger stripes may be in fashion, but one place women aren’t so keen on modelling them is across their abdomens. Many women struggle with the appearance of their post-partum bodies, stretch marks included. But it isn’t just pregnancy that can cause these tiny tears or ruptures in the skin’s dermis, rapid weight loss or weight gain and growth spurts can also cause these red, purple, pink or reddish-brown marks to appear. Stretch marks are the result of the abrupt change of collagen and elastin stores in skin when it shrinks or stretches quickly.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to diminishing the appearance of stretch marks but consistent application is key. Taking the time to properly massage your product of choice to boost its efficacy and absorption is paramount. Regularly buffing in ingredients like vitamin A, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid or coconut oil may also help to speed up the fading process. Before summer fully sets in, book in for your annual mole check. Changes in a mole’s size, colour or shape should set off alarm bells and can be checked by your GP or at a specialised clinic. Same deal for skin tags. These can be easily nicked or lasered off.

Liar Liar soft cup bra $139, and knickers, $89, from The Shelter.

Photo / Babiche Martens

Taking time to feel good in your own skin is not always easy. Being busy, stressed, tired or riddled with low self-esteem are just a few reasons why many people shy away from appreciating and taking care of their body. Seemingly confident, well-presented women who lavish attention on the face and hair often stop at the neck, bemoaning or ignoring what comes below. As to the back, don’t be one who leaves it behind in your thinking. Your spine carries strain from both tension and over-vigorous exercise, so do it a favour by uncoiling. Yoga and pilates will add to your core strength.

Or how about drawing a bath one evening and unfurling effortlessly? Throw in some magnesium salts to aid muscle relaxation and rest. Follow this by exfoliating, showering and moisturising all over which is a good time to accept yourself for what you are and consider if there’s anything you would like to work on.

For some, this may include addressing any pesky spots that have popped up as the mercury begins to rise. Pimples, pustules and blackheads are common around the bra line or shoulders, largely thanks to the rub of bag straps or non-breathable clothing. Look out for products containing naturally occurring salicylic acid, tea tree or sulphur which can help regulate sebum production and buff away the dead skin cells that can clog pores.

Iro Paris camisole, $349, from Superette.

Photographer / Babiche Martens. Stylist / Ashleigh Cometti. Model / Grace Hobson from N Model Management. Hair and make-up / Louise Rae. Fabric backdrop / The Fabric Store.

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