Get holiday ready: your 12 week countdown

Arrive at your holiday destination feeling pampered, prepared and happy to hit the beach with this holiday prep countdown from Beauty Experts, Coralie Steingold and Emma Williams.

8 — 12 weeks before your holiday


Around 60 per cent of your body is water, so becoming dehydrated is never a good look. Water combats wrinkles, clears skin, reduces appetite, fights fluid retention and even makes it easier to lose weight: hydrated fat cells are easier to break down.

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, more if you’re especially active. Adjust according to the weather: during hot temperatures, your body will require more to keep the system flushed of toxins and waste.

Show your skin some love

SPF creams, sweat and the double threat of air-con and sun exposure can play havoc with summer skin. Adapt your skincare routine now, so your skin has time to adjust before you go away. Up your cleansing game, exfoliate weekly and swap out heavy moisturisers for lightweight versions to combat seasonal hazards and avoid blocked pores.

If you have rosacea, acne or other skin conditions irritated by sunlight or heat, now is the time to book an appointment with your dermatologist or GP, who will be able to advise you on how to adapt your skincare to a hotter climate. They may also be able to prescribe cosmeceutical remedies unavailable over the counter.

Get moving

Everyone wants to feel good on the beach. An effective exercise routine in the run-up to your holiday can help you channel a whole new level of confidence. This isn’t about drastic measures that are unrealistic and unsustainable. If you’re short on time, focus on the big muscle groups that are most visible: glutes, core, arms and thighs. Think planks, lunges, push ups and squats for a full body work out with fast results.

Personal Trainers can help you fine-tune your efforts for maximum results, get the most out of gym equipment, track your progress, tailor your workout, change your body composition and keep up your motivation before your holiday and beyond.

Super-charge your diet

Beat the bloat by eating well. Swap refined white carbs for wholegrain, reduce wheat and hydrate regularly.

Taking the right supplements can help you feel your best: it’s worth boosting your skin’s natural defences against the sun with a diet rich in antioxidants. A supplement containing astaxanthin, L-carnitine, collagen, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, biotin and magnesium will help protect your skin from within.

1 week before your holiday

Instant tan

We all know the dangers of too much sun exposure, but many of us still want a natural-looking tan. Tanned skin is slimming and helps define muscles, creating a slimmer, more toned silhouette. Tanned skin also masks the appearance of blemishes and uneven skin tone. An instant tan can help you feel more body confident in your swimsuit, without the harmful effects of the sun.

Look for self-tanning products that compliment your natural skin tone for a more natural look: from a subtle sun-kissed glow to a deep, bronze hue. Exfoliating before the application is the key to an even, longer lasting colour.

Prep now, relax later

Holidays are for relaxing by the pool, not fussing with your make-up. Luckily there are more ways than ever to save time in front of the mirror. From a quick eyelash tint which darkens the lashes and replaces the need for mascara, to an eyebrow tidy up, there’s no need to worry about your eye make-up running in the pool. Likewise, a gel manicure gives you long-lasting colour that won’t chip or fade for up to three weeks. Opt for citrus, coral or neon colours to compliment your tan, neutrals for a natural look or metallics for nails that go with everything.

During your holiday

Protect your skin

On your flight

Flying long-haul? Products containing hyaluronic acid are your best friend in the stuffy cabin atmosphere: they contain molecules that bind water and lock moisture into the skin.

While it's tempting to have a drink on the plane as you jet off, try to avoid drinking alcohol on the flight as it dehydrates your skin. If you do want to have a drink, choose a clear spirit like gin or vodka, with a soda or tonic water. Clear alcohol damages your skin less than other types of alcohol like wine or dark spirits.

Out and about

To avoid short and long-term skin damage while you’re away, apply a broad spectrum suncream that protects against the ageing effects of UVA and the burning effects of UVB. As well as a high SPF which protects against UVB, chose creams with a three to five-star rating to protect against UVA.

Soothe sun damage

If you’ve been caught out, soothe sun damage from within with a vitamin A supplement, which can reduce the redness and pain of sunburn overnight. Take 10,000 iu, twice a day, with ibuprofen, to dull pain and reduce inflammation.

If your skin’s drying out, rinse with fresh water after a dip in the pool. Chlorinated water is dehydrating so use a mildly acidic wash to restore pH balance. Don’t forget to reapply your suncream: it’s an emollient as well as a protector.


A day in the sun followed by a few glasses of local vino or cerveza is all part of a fun holiday, but can leave your skin feeling parched. Keeping an eye on the colour of your pee is an easy way to track hydration levels. Check out this chart for reference.

Bored with water? Top up with vegetable juices for vital nutrients or coconut water for an electrolyte boost. Eating a diet rich in fruit and veg is also hydrating.

After your holiday

Maintain the glow

If you’ve reset your sleep habits and topped up on feel-good vitamin D on holiday, chances are you’re feeling pretty good, but the effects of sun, chlorine and boozy lunches may mean your skin needs some damage control.

Buff your holiday glow with a gentle exfoliant to slough off dry skin, reveal a more radiant finish and allow reparative treatments to soak in more deeply. If you’re topping up your fading tan with a self-tan, choose a scrub that isn’t oil-based so it won’t interfere with the application.

Continue to supplement with vitamin A and essential fatty acids after your holiday to minimise premature skin ageing and manage oil production. Omega 3s strengthen hair and nails, improve your skin and even boost your mood if you’re suffering from post-holiday blues.

Avoid the post-holiday blues

If your post-holiday glow starts to fade, why not start planning your next trip?

Studies show anticipating a holiday can boost your mood even more than the actual trip!

Last updated Tuesday 18 June 2019

First published on Tuesday 18 June 2019