In the last 2 months I’ve been to Portugal, Dubai and Italy so back in Spring I reached out to a number of brands and said I wanted to try out some products that are essential to a summer holiday. What I received have been some of the best products I have tested in my time as a writer for BBB and a good mixture of well known products, independent brands, women-led and black owned businesses. So without further ado here is my round up of essential products for Summer 2023.
My first product of choice is ideal for any woman who knows the struggle of finding a comfortable bra on holiday. When your skin is tender from being in the sun, your underboob sweat is an issue in anything above 20 degrees and you just want to be comfortable whilst sat on a plane for hours on end, you need Julie May underwear. I love the Serenity Lace, Organic Cotton and Silk Bralette made from highly breathable silk and Pima cotton and no underwire for maximum comfort. The bralette offers full support and smooth, maximum coverage throughout the day so you can get on with all your summer activities.
When you only have hand luggage but you want to pack your favourite body scrub it can be a real pain, that was until I discovered Kear Life’s Exfoliating Soap about 3 years ago. With pure almond grains and seaweed it’s made with all natural ingredients and is one of the best exfoliators I’ve ever used. I also love their Hydrate Relax Natural body oil for when I get out the shower but they also sent me a set of Mini Natural Body Oils to hydrate and revive which are absolutely ideal for popping in your hand luggage. A gorgeous brand that you’ll definitely buy from again and again.
When I visited the Algarve in Portugal earlier this year I needed something that was going to protect my hair from the summer heat whilst on day long catamaran cruises and lounging at beach clubs. I was sent some Pre-Heat Prep spray from Duck & Dry, a 3-in-1 miracle primer that detangles, injects moisture, protects from heat damage (including the sun) and keeps the frizz at bay; for a super smooth, frizz free and shiny finish. It was absolutely perfect in the heat of the day because I am not a hat person and my hair felt smooth and soft from start to finish thanks to this handy product.
On a 10 day trip to Dubai I knew I’d have to prepare my pasty white skin for sun exposure like I’d never experienced before so I turned to Saltee and their luxurious range of sun protection. I received their Sun Heroes Trio After-sun, SPF30 and SPF50 in a handy bag. The bottles are huge so you get plenty of product for long trips but best of all the protection is superb and my skin was left so soft to the touch after using it.
If there’s one thing that will ruin a summer day or a day trip on holiday it a hangover. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t get them just stop reading, and get out, it’s not fair and I won’t have it when I have to suffer each and every time more than a bottle of Pinot Grigio makes its way through my system. When it came to bottomless brunch on a recent trip to Dubai there was only one thing for it, de-liver-ance, the ground-breaking new nutraceutical that has been meticulously formulated over a 20-year period.
This powerful liquid elixir will support and optimise your liver giving you improved sleep, brain focus, reduced hangovers and increased energy levels, all key to luxury experiences (or all you can drink cocktails!). I had some before drinking, just before going to bed and first thing in the morning all with a big glass of water. Now I have to be honest I wasn’t instantly cured however I was up; showered, functioning and on a water taxi all within an hour of rising when I’m usually crawling from toilet to bed for 8 hours straight. So I’d call that a win!
And how do you get all the way to and from Dubai safe in the knowledge that your blood will stay circulating? I opted for a pair of Infrared Recovery Socks from CEP which are perfect for the promotion of blood circulation. Key features include smart infrared technology supporting blow flow regulation, perfect for those short and long haul flights helping to prevent deep vein thrombosis, the last thing you need on holiday!
At the end of May I went to Milan and Sicily with only hand luggage so needed to be careful about what products to take. There were two summer essentials: Sun cream for long days of sightseeing and false eyelashes for the many many photos and videos for my socials. For suncream I took the perfectly sized 100ml Life Jacket Skin SPF 30 Skin Gel which actually lasted 2 of us 3 days of multiple applications so I was more than impressed with this. I also packed the SPF 50+ Mineral Sun Stick which was perfect for topping up the face and neck whilst out and about as it was tiny enough to pop in a clutch bag.
For the eyelashes I turned to my tried and tested favourite brand Eylure who I have been buying lashes from since I was 18 and first going out on the lash! But since then their range has become so vast that there really is a style to suit all, whether you prefer to add individual lashes to the ends for a natural look or if you want a full, dramatic set of lashes that will make the crowds stop and stare! I absolutely loved their Dramatic range and the Luxe Cashmere which make all the difference to any makeup look and are so light and comfortable they’re great for night and day.
As I type this article I’m wearing a set of false nails, the stick-on kind that have had a resurgence in the last 3 years (probably thanks to the pandemic when we had to find new ways to have beautiful nails without a trip to the salon!). They have been on for 3 days now and show no signs of wear and tear or peeling off despite the fact I’ve been gardening, washing up, cooking, cleaning and typing furiously to meet deadlines!
From Elegant Touch which can be found in Boots, the nails were just as sturdy and lovely looking whilst sipping cocktails on the beach in Sicily last month. One thing I loved about these was the glue, the bottle is designed so that it stays upright whilst you’re not using it between applications so it is easier to pick up and put down and won’t spill. Just a great, long lasting product that really impressed me.
Finally one of my favourite products I tested for this article was a swimming costume from a sustainable, black-owned and female-led business More than Swim. I was treated to a sneak peek of the new leopard print bandeau swimsuit, one of many beautifully designed one pieces in the collection.
It fits absolutely perfectly and was so thick and comfortable, unlike some flimsy cossies I’ve had in the past. All pieces are handmade to order with eco-friendly inks that are heat transferred not to add nasty chemicals into our precious waterways. A donation from each order is given to the charity Ocean Generation and the postage is offset with carbon-neutral postage. This is the exact kind of brand we love to work with at The Bespoke Black Book. Incredible products with quality and sustainability at the heart of the business.
Hopefully, our summer is just beginning and there are many more days of British sunshine for me to enjoy all these fabulous products!