Few things trigger fear-induced nausea like a last-minute summer-party invite: the posh wedding (did we mention that your ex and his new girlfriend will be attending?), the
au naturel camping/cottage excursion or—the most dreaded of all social engagements—the bikini-baring pool party. As soon as the invitation lands in the mailbox, so begins the frantic rummaging for a certain low-cal cook-book, the aching regret over skipping biweekly spin classes and the crushing realization that your morning muffin has translated into an inglorious muffin top. Instead of wishing for a time cap- sule, let’s just get real. Here’s our round-up of quick fixes guaranteed to have you looking your best, no matter what the occasion. So, go ahead and RSVP.
The official position
Weddings are a time to celebrate love and commitment with close family and friends. The reality: Weddings equal photos—lots of photos. Whether you’re a bride, a bridesmaid, a guest or a plus one, the summer wedding (and requisite photog) doesn’t have to equal insomnia. Here’s how to prep.
high-energy dance classes to your routine is a great way to get cardio and muscle training. It’s also excellent preparation for the reception dance floor. “I love Zumba classes because they really work your waist and create a feminine silhouette,” says celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza.
Cutting out alcohol will help you slim down, but if you’re not ready to pass on your post-work cocktail, Braganza suggests sipping on a spritzer (half white wine, half sparkling water) as a compromise.
Colour your hair and touch up highlights at least two weeks before the big day; get your teeth whitened two weeks in advance as well, so your smile will be camera-ready. If you dabble in injectables, make sure that you schedule your Botox or filler treatment at least two weeks ahead to prevent bruising and swelling.
Celeb trainer Jennifer Cohen recommends drinking at least three cups of decaf green tea to eliminate toxins and deliver a rich dose of antioxidants that will improve your overall complexion.
Do a series of back workouts the week before to improve your posture. “You’ll instinctively stand taller and look leaner, which is great for posing in photographs,” says Braganza. (For more information on Braganza’s workout routines, visit ramonabraganza.com.)
Go for a jog to boost your endorphin levels; these trigger positive emotions and will have you looking as good as Her Royal Hotness, Pippa.
coral blush instantly warms your overall complexion,” explains Lori Taylor, pro lead artist for Smashbox. Women with fair to medium skin look best in a cantaloupe or honeysuckle shade, while a deep coral suits women with darker skin tones. Taylor recommends dabbing a cream blush on the apples of your cheeks for a natural and dewy look.
Even the most cynical among us can’t help but tear up at weddings. (Father-daughter dance, anyone?) Water-resistant mascara is less drying than the waterproof kind but strong enough to withstand the day’s heat, humidity and emotion. Taylor also recommends keeping an under-eye brightener on hand to mask any post-cry puffiness or redness.
The two most terrifying words in the English language? Pool party. Being asked to bare all at a summer fête means facing the most unforgiving of summer stressors: natural sunlight. Instead of desperately scrambling to find
a flattering two-piece (near impossible), we suggest these confidence-boosting tricks for your midriff-baring afternoon.
Load up on green vegetables, wild salmon, sweet potatoes and Greek yogourt to help curb your appetite. “Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That keeps you away from processed foods that are high in simple sugars and carbohydrates,” says Cohen.
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
maximizes your workout and gives you great results fast. “The idea is to shock your body,” explains Cohen. “You need to change the duration, type and intensity of each workout.” Work out five times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes: HIIT workouts (like sprint exercising) twice a week and lower-impact training (yoga and Pilates) on the other three days.
Build up a faux spray tan to appear slimmer. Added bonus: Use a range of shades to contour and add definition to your midsection to give the optical illusion of a six-pack. (This sculpting technique should only be done by a salon professional.)
“Sodium makes you retain water,” says Cohen. Avoid sushi: Fish can have high levels of sodium—a dynamite roll has 880 milligrams of sodium, which is almost half your daily recommended dose.
Forgo carbonated drinks and gum (which makes you swallow air and look bloated).
A luxe Missoni cover-up and an oversized pair of Tom Ford cat-eye sunnies.
“Your hair absorbs chlorine, which is
extremely damaging,” explains Robert Barbosa, a hairstylist and the owner of Salon Escape in Toronto. To protect your locks, Barbosa recommends soaking hair with fresh water before taking a dip in the pool.
A tryst with a rugged outdoorsman is a summer fling that every woman should experience, but you may find yourself in grave dating danger when your husky heartthrob asks you to accom- pany him on one of his electricity-optional ex- peditions. Whether you’re cottage-hopping or camping, here’s how to get ready to show off your natural beauty.
Braganza suggests some yoga poses to help your body and mind stay flexible and balanced. Try the half-tortoise pose, which stimulates the production of melatonin and serotonin. With the challenges of water skiing and nature walks ahead, a mental jump-start is essential.
Take advantage of barbecue season: Load up on lean meats and veggies. Grilled eggplant is a high-fibre option and contains only 80 calories.
“Eating fresh fruits, like oranges and berries, will give you a dose of vitamins that keep you strong and healthy,” says Braganza. A cup of strawberries (around eight berries) has more vitamin C than an orange, and the heavy dose of fibre makes this 50-calorie snack a nutrient-dense summer option. Loading up on fruits rich in antioxidants also improves your complexion. (Strawberries have the second-highest ranking of any fruit for antioxidant levels.)
A pre-cottage outdoor hike will help to increase stamina (and break in your new pair of Ralph Lauren hiking boots). A one-hour hike burns close to 400 calories.
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water to cleanse your system and hydrate skin.
To create a hassle-free look, Taylor recommends tinted moisturizer with an SPF higher than 25 and brown mascara instead of your usual black. “A brown mascara creates a lighter, more natural look that’s perfect for a mid-summer camp-out,” she says.
Barbosa recommends a dry shampoo to eliminate oil and leave hair bouncy and manageable.
Test the latest celebrity hair and makeup trends with our Virtual Makeover Tool!
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.