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We've all been there. It's four days into your holiday and your manicure has chipped, your fake tan is flaking and that bikini wax has definitely not lasted as well as you'd hoped – all that pre-holiday prep was seemingly for nothing.
The thing is, sun, sea and sand don't really make for the ideal conditions for lasting treatment results – so you need to be savvy when it comes to getting yourself ready before you get on that flight.
Never fear: these top tips will have your pre-holiday treatments lasting you all the way through your next trip – so you can enjoy your break without any beauty blunders…
Your manicure is probably the most at risk of ruin during holidays – hands are in and out of the water as well as applying suncream, and are generally most prone to chipping. So leave your pre-travel manicure appointment as long as you can – the day before ideally, or you could even see if your airport has a nail bar for a quick pamper session pre-flight. Opting for a gel nails rather than polish is the most reliable way to ensure your nails last longer, though do try not to get too much suncream on them (easier said than done, admittedly) as some say it can cause gel overlays to lift. Strangely, some beauty pros find that darker, more solid colours last better than paler ones, so you may want to try a red, coral or bold pink rather than anything too sheer.
You can easily save a few pennies on your prep by opting for a simple polish on your toes rather than gel, since it will generally last for weeks without chipping. Book-in a few days before you leave, and take some flip flops to your appointment so you can be sure of no smudges after your treatment.
To make sure your toes stay looking tiptop, you could always take a bottle of polish away with you to touch up if needed, though it's unlikely to be anything more than the tip of the nail that wears away.
DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents (it can also be found in suncreams and aftersun lotions), is one of the main culprits for ruining manicures. Even when polish is completely dry, it can smudge it or make your nails look patchy – so be careful when using it. It's a tough one to avoid, so best practice is to wash your hands straight after using, and be wary of your toes, too.
Booking in for a spray tan before your holiday is a great way to get a sun-kissed glow before you’re sunbathing without damaging your skin – but remember, a long-lasting, even tan is all in the prep. Make sure you exfoliate each morning in the days running up to your appointment, and moisturise thoroughly (though don't moisturise on the day of your spray tan).
Then, it's up to you to look after that golden glow. Be sure to buy oil-free sun cream and lotions to prevent the tan from fading prematurely. Keeping the skin moisturised is the best way to prolong the colour, but any oil in the formula will break down the tan. Try to have cooler showers rather than hot ones, too, as it's a lot less harsh on the skin, and pat yourself dry rather than rubbing vigorously. If you're away for longer than a week, you may want to pack a gradual tanning lotion to top yourself up when you feel you need it.
Unfortunately, there's no miracle cure for your natural hair regrowth, so if you prefer smooth, fuzz-free skin, be prepared to pluck a few stray hairs. It's best to book a waxing appointment at least a couple of days before you travel, as you may have some residual redness, plus waxing leaves skin extra sensitive to things like chlorine or sea water, which can irritate and cause some inflamation.
Be sure to exfoliate before your wax to keep ingrown hairs at bay during your trip. Freshly waxed skin is more sensitive to the sun, too, so make sure you apply SPF carefully.
Lash extensions are a lovely treatment to opt for pre-holiday, since you'll feel polished and preened even when you're sitting beside the pool with zero makeup on. However they do take a bit of maintenance to keep looking their best.
Once applied, you need to wait 24 hours (48, if you can) without getting them wet – that means in the shower, too. Be really diligent about avoiding any contact with oils or lotions, which will loosen the adhesive and cause the extensions to fall out. Be particularly careful of sun cream running down your face when you get out of the pool! Give your lashes a quick comb through whenever they get wet, too, to keep them in place.