5 Summer Staples: Show Some Skin with These Body Care Basics

Published in: Beauty Tips, Drugstore Beauty Finds, Skin Care

Summer’s the season to show off a little skin, and to this I roar “Hallelujah!” After what felt like the longest, wettest, dreariest winter and spring in this century so far, I’m beyond ready to finally free myself from my cotton/polyester oppressors. So long, long pants, wool socks and turtleneck sweaters. Peace!


Summers in this part of Northern California can get pretty hot, but before I venture out in a summer dress or park my posterior poolside in a swimsuit, I like to do a bit of body beauty prep first (don’t want my hairy sasquatch legs to frighten the neighborhood kids, ya know?). For this I turn to body care basics like the fab five listed below.

1. A rockin’ razor

Furry girl says what? This vorpal gift to hairy women everywhere hacks away hair like a machete cuts through jungle. The Gillette Venus Embrace ($12 for a starter kit that includes the razor, a shower pod/case and two spare cartridges; additional cartridges are sold separately) takes care of the hair on my legs, lady parts, ‘pits and toes (don’t front like you don’t know what I’m talking about πŸ™‚ ), and it does it with five blades.


You’d think that maybe four blades would have been enough, but no. Turns out that five is the new four.

This mighty multi-bladed monster gives this mini-Chewbacca the closest shave of her life. When I use it, not only does my skin feel smoother than it does after I use other razors, but the Venus shaves so close that I find I don’t have to shave as often.

2. An easy-to-apply sunscreen

Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 30

In my capacity as Tabs’ assistant/human servant, I have to be available at a moment’s notice, which means I don’t always have time to spend rubbing in sunscreen from head to toe.

When time is of the essence, particularly in summer, I like to have a good waterproof aerosol spray, and Banana Boat Ultra Defense Continuous Spray Sunblock ($10) is my current fave.

Just spritz on arms, legs and any other exposed parts, massage it in a little, and you’re done. It offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays and comes in three varying levels of SPF — 30, 50 and 85. It’s quick to dry and resists water like most cats incredibly well, ya know, just in case a shirtless Ryan Reynolds stops by to ask if you want to go swimming (I DO!).

3. An exfoliator to buff the rough spots

Now that my knees, elbows and heels have come out to play, the rough, scaly business that’s been going on all winter just isn’t gonna fly. Pacifica’s Kona Coffee & Sugar Detox Whole Body Scrub ($28) buffs away my scaly skin with a mix of granulated sugar and powdered coffee seed. Then, safflower, soybean and coconut oils moisturize the dry bits to keep the scales away. Plus, the yummy dark chocolate coffee scent smells good enough to eat!

How about a good drugstore option? I think Burt’s Bees $13 Cranberry & Pomegranate also works great.

4. A highlighting cream for arms and legs

Who says Vampire Edward is the only one who gets to sparkle in sunlight? When I’m wearing a dress that shows off my shoulders or legs, I like to reach for a body cream with shimmer, like Pacifica’s line of Coconut Crushed Pearl Body Butters. The Luminizing one adds a silvery shimmer, while the Bronzing one gives a golden glow.

You can snag both, along with a sample size of the Kona Coffee & Sugar Scrub mentioned above, as well as a lip balm, in the Pacifica Island Glow Beautiful Body Kit for $24. Or, buy the tubes separately in either a sample size for $7, or a full-size tube for $24.


5. A body wash to treat/prevent breakouts

Body acne is nowhere near as much fun as eating frozen yogurt or hanging out by the pool, but it happens to the best of us. In summer, since I like to wear shirts that show off my back, I regularly shower with a body wash designed to treat acne.

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash in Pink Grapefruit ($8) contains naturally-derived grapefruit extract and salicylic acid (2%). The tangy grapefruit scent perks me up in the morning, too.

What are your summertime body beauty staples? I bet you have a few.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Amber says:

    I love my epilator for summer! No need for leg-shaving during long weekends by the pool if I can make time with the epilator beforehand.

    Karen, I got my EvRev today, and you are my girl! Love it! I’m glad I bought two tubes, because I am almost out of Devilishly Stylish, which has been my everyday jam since it came out. To my eye, EvRev looks close enough to replace it, just a little punchier. Great work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amber,

      You won’t believe how happy you’ve just made me. I’ve been thinking to myself that if just one girl out there can say that EvRev is her “everyday jam” then I’d be one happy woman. Seriously… this means so much.

  2. Andrea says:

    That Netrogena, sounds good

  3. Christine says:

    Great post! Are the highlighting creams oil-free? I’m always wary of things that might break me out (and counteract the effects of #5), so I always end up using facial products!

  4. Heidi says:

    Thanks for that razor recommendation. I’ve been looking for one that gives a super close shave.

    I also love a spray on sunscreen. I find that it is easier to spread out once it’s already had a head start. I’ve been using one from Kiss My Face that I got on sale at Whole Foods recently.

  5. i’m with you on a good razor. i actually find myself using men’s razors (the ones with 5 blades) because i get a closer shave with it :).

  6. Kristen says:

    I use the same body wash!! haha no shame, girl gotta show some skin! πŸ˜‰

  7. yuri says:

    i’ve try aerosols sunscreens and all the ones i’ve try smell like hairspray yucky πŸ™

  8. Mandy says:

    I’m with you on the razor. I’m a daily shaver, year round because I can’t stand even for that little bit of stubble to pop out and snag on my pants, capris, shorts, skirt, whatever. Also, yes on the toes, can’t lie! It’s the curse of having dark hair, I think.

    I’m going to have to try that Burts Bees. I love their facial scrub!

    Neutrogena Body Clear is a definitely must.

    Also, I try to keep Burts Bees lip balm with SPF on hand. Nothing worse than sunburned or wind burned lips!

  9. Brooke says:

    Ugh I hate shaving…that’s one downside of summer – I admit that in the winter, I’m totally hair-rageous! πŸ™‚
    The Pacifica Crushed Pearl looks nice, I may have to check them out tomorrow when I hit up Sephora πŸ™‚
    BTW, I received my Ev Rev today and may I say HOLY CRAP…I LOVE it! It’s definitely going to be an every day wear for me. I use to use Love Nectar daily, but I think this will replace it. I’m thinking about buying another so I can keep one in my purse and one in my makeup case to keep at home. I hope you get to do more with MAC, you are amazing!

  10. Denise says:

    While I’m with you on being hairless, I wax rather than shave. I have this weird fear of accidentally cutting myself with a razor. Waxing keeps me hair-free longer too! πŸ™‚

  11. Megan says:

    I’ve been waxing and epilating for AGES till I realized it just wasn’t worth it anymore. So much pain and mess and stuff.

    I’ve now switched to shaving and eventhough I have to shave a bit more often, I find my legs particularly softier than when I was waxing!

    Isn’t that weird?

  12. Karen please please please tell Pacifica that they need to properly come to the UK or else I will be forced to move back to the US!

  13. Sam says:

    I just discovered the Venus razors and I love them! All my life I thought the cheapo disposable one-blade razor was getting me by until I met the Venus πŸ™‚
    I love my L’occitaine Amande lotion-leaves my skin soft and supple.

  14. Victoria says:

    I”m as pale as the driven snow, so I love me some self tanner. Also, I have a little bag that I keep in my purse at all times that has a blush/bronzer stick, a tiny tinted moisturizer, and my newest ‘everyday jam’, origins lipgloss in mangotini. It goes with absolutely every skin tone and occasion. I also have this sample size of sircut skin’s molecular mist that I just adore, and it feels awesome when it’s disgustingly hot out.

  15. Beth says:

    When you go to the pool or the beach – deep condition your hair! Get it wet, put some conditioner on it – any kind will do – and throw on your sun hat. (also works without a hat) The heat from the sun will assist the conditioner. I do this every year on my vacation to the beach and my hair is always so soft and shiny afterwards!
    Don’t forget lip sunblock/sunscreen! Lips can sunburn too and if you’ve taken care to cover your face and body, you must cover your lips as well. Sometimes it can be hard to find a lip balm with sunscreen but I recently found one from Blistex (Raspberry Lemonade Blast SPF 15) so that means you could find one at any drugstore!
    This may sound crazy, but when I go to the beach, I like to take off my nail polish (tips and toes) and spend a day on the surf with naked nails. Why in the world would I do such a crazy thing? Because the sun and sand do a GREAT job of exfoliating my nail beds and removing the yellow from my nails that build up after wearing nail polish for MONTHS. I have this problem especially on my toes. After a day on the beach with no polish, the yellow is gone and my nails are white and pretty! Of course I can’t stand it for long and usually polish again the next day! Ha!

  16. Marian says:

    I totally agree with you about the Venus razor. I’ve been using one for many years and it’s the best thing since sliced bread! I could never be without one again!
    I enjoy using coconut oil or Monoi de Tahiti. My hair is very dry and just a tiny bit on my ends at night keeps my hair tangle free and moisturized. I use it on my legs and my dry, cracked heels…anywhere I need it.

  17. gillian says:

    You crack me up! πŸ™‚

  18. kalcedon says:

    Some of my staples:
    -a good sunscreen (my skin is really sensitive, so it should have a great number of SPF in it and it should be made for sensitive skin)
    -a good after-tanning lotion… even if I get a little sunburnt and I spray myself with Aloe First (it’s s spray, which coul actually be used for bee stings and other stuff, too) or rub some BIoderma Atoderm Aprés-Soleil in it, and in one da,y the burning feeling disappears-and turns into a tan… crazy, but true πŸ™‚
    -a lightweight, medium coverage foundation/tinted moisturizer… especially in the summer, my face tends to be uneven in color
    -skin scrub
    -a good razor/epilator… and a tweezer!!!!!!
    -bright and bold lipsticks… some of the stuff I have I just can’t wear in fall-winter-spring, because I’m too pale for them (like deep reds, bright oranges, blood reds and stuff like that), but when I’m tan, they look gorgeous on me… the same for those kinds of nude lippies which make me look dead when I’m pale
    -a good deodorant
    -a nice body splash… not only it gives me some nice smell, but also, it’s refreshing and healthier than a perfume in the summer (especially when I’m on the beach)

  19. Nina says:

    oh thanks for highlighting how awesome the neutrogena body clear body wash is! i use it every 2 days or so, just to prevent buildup on my back. love it!

  20. Soo says:

    definitely sunscreen! I think I use more bronzer during the summer too. haven’t totally gotten the hang of not looking ‘dirty’

    also, I got that Burt’s Bees scrub after reading your review last year and I’m almost done with it now! I’m excited cause I haven’t hit pan with a beauty/skincare product in a very long time.

  21. Pelle says:

    love love love your blog. i am also a mini chewbacca and i swearrr by that razor!!!!! chewbaccas unite!

  22. Vicki says:

    My most important summer product is sunscreen. I have a complexion the colour of a pound of lard plus lots of moles so it is vital. I also just got Clinique’s Moisture Surge tinted moisturiser and I like it because the colour is light enough, and it offers a bit more coverage than the other tinted moisturisers I’ve tried.

    Karen where is the picture of that pool taken? Wherever it is, I want to be there. Right now!!

  23. Aimey says:

    My roommate last year used the grapefruit body wash. Although I’ve never had enough back-ne or any other body acne to have to use a treated body wash, I’ve used the grapefruit face wash and that absolutely worked great! Not only loved the smell, but the bottle also looked pretty! πŸ™‚

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