As autumn approaches, it’s not just the shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures that we must brace for. As the weather changes, it’s also time to switch up our beauty routines.
But this no longer means just relegating the Piz Buin to the back of the bathroom cabinet and digging out your lip balm, because these days there’s a whole host of products to help you weatherproof your beauty routine.
As we all know, though, the weather is postcode dependent. What works on holiday in Cornwall falls flat — literally, in the case of my hair — back home in the Cotswolds.
And I’m far from alone, with #hardwaterhair trending on TikTok as Gen Z-ers discover that their hair changes texture when they go away to university.
But that’s not the only issue, of course. Depending on where you live in the UK, your hair, beauty regime and body concerns can be affected by everything from UV levels to humidity.
Even a big umbrella may not stop a shower wrecking your hair, especially if you’ve used heat to style it away from your natural curls. Happily, help is at hand…
So we’ve drafted in beauty expert Sophie Tilley to help you navigate the terrain.
She says: ‘I spend a lot of time looking through women’s bathroom cabinets, advising on clever upgrades to better suit their age, lifestyle and their location. It’s the specific demands of the area they live in that are often overlooked.’
Read on to find out how to tailor your beauty regime to your hometown — and be a winner in the beauty postcode lottery …
BEAT HARD WATER HAIR
LOCATIONS: London and the South-East, Norfolk and Suffolk, the Midlands and eastern Wales.
Are you always scrubbing limescale off your bathroom taps? Imagine what all that chalky stuff is doing to your hair.
If you live in these areas, you’re using ‘hard water’, meaning it has a high mineral content — typically calcium and magnesium — because it has flowed through chalk and limestone to get to you.
To beat it, you need the beauty equivalent of Viakal!
HAIR: To avoid your scalp being flaky, irritated and dehydrated, switch to a gentle shampoo or one that has mineral-stripping ingredients.
A scalp milk can also be useful to rehydrate the skin and soothe irritation, as can a weekly scalp mask.
Sophie recommends: Hello Klean Hard Water Shampoo (£18 for 350ml, Selfridges.com) which, she says, is ‘designed to fight against hair breakage caused by hard water, as it gently lifts minerals from the hair shaft for softer hair.
‘The same company also do a shower attachment which you can add yourself to filter out the hard water impurities from ever having contact with your hair and scalp.’
And InnerSense Detox Hair Mask (£28, 177ml, innersenseorganicbeauty.co.uk) is amazing, she says. ‘It can be used as often as you like to rid the hair shaft and scalp of all impurities from hard water, as well as product build-up.’
Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cleanser (£20.90 for 150ml, sephora.co.uk)
FACE: Struggling to get a good lather? When water contains high levels of calcium, it doesn’t dissolve soap very effectively, leaving a residue that can lead to skin irritation and blemishes.
You’ll need to rehydrate and switch to rinse-free products to cleanse.
Sophie recommends: Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cleanser (£20.90 for 150ml, sephora.co.uk). ‘This uses the lactic acid found in yoghurt to rid your skin of dirt and make-up. It’s a soap-free, cream-to-foam cleanser you don’t need to rinse.’
BODY: Hard water areas can have higher incidences of eczema and psoriasis because minerals left drying on the skin can clog pores and cause dryness, breakouts, flakiness and itching. Basically put, it saps the skin of moisture.
Try a soap-free body wash that’s less likely to leave an irritating residue.
Sophie recommends: Sanctuary Spa Signature Natural Oils Ultra Rich Shower Oil (£8.50 for 250ml, boots.com). ‘A luxurious oil, it will ease tightness, itching and irritation from a hard water shower. It promises a three-day moisture fix, so you’ll be feeling the benefit of the ultra-nourishing natural oils for days.’
Sanctuary Spa Signature Natural Oils Ultra Rich Shower Oil (£8.50 for 250ml, boots.com)
… ADD OOMPH TO SOFT
LOCATION: The South-West, western Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland.
While those living with hard water might wonder what on earth those with softer water have to worry about, the grass isn’t necessarily greener because soft water can leave hair feeling flat and limp.
Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo (£24, 250ml, philipkingsley.co.uk)
HAIR: If you’re prone to lank or greasy hair, soft water can mean it looks lifeless.
Counteract this by washing with a shampoo that adds lift, and use a light conditioner so you don’t weigh it down. (And count your blessings — for face and body there’s no special treatment needed!)
Sophie recommends: Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo (£24, 250ml, philipkingsley.co.uk). ‘World-renowned for his expertise and consequently his products, Kingsley’s shampoo adds volume to hair without weighing it down. Cellulose and keratin ensure not only is your hair lifted, it’s actually stronger, too.’
She also suggests Andrew Fitzsimons Body Volume Conditioner (£9.50, 250ml, Boots.com).
‘Tending the tresses of the Kardashians, whose hair needs are demanding to say the least, this product has added caffeine to boost the hair’s volume and a stack of five-star reviews online.’
Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray (£24 for 250ml, libertylondon.com)
LOCATION: Northern and western areas, as well as uplands including the Scottish Highlands, the Welsh mountains, the Lake District, Peak District and coastal areas (Liverpool is thought to be our windiest city).
From raw, reddened skin to flattened hair-dos, wind is no friend in the beauty stakes, with those living in westerly locations the more blown about due to wind patterns.
HAIR: Clearly you need some serious hairspray!
Sophie recommends: Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray (£24 for 250ml, libertylondon.com). ‘The best hairspray I use on women to set their styles in place all day without unwanted crispiness. It bushes out easily and is vegan and paraben-free.’
FACE: Not everyone realises that windburn is a form of skin damage caused when the wind whips along your skin, taking moisture and skin cells along with it.
It is also thought to leave skin more vulnerable to damaging UV rays.
Sophie recommends: IS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF40 (£80, isclinical.co.uk) ‘Packed with anti-oxidants, it’s broad spectrum UVA/UVB to give your skin multi-level environmental protection.’
And don’t forget your lips — the skin here is thinner and more prone to drying and cracking. The wind will only make things worse, so you need a lip balm that’s deeply moisturising.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (£21, 20g, spacenk.com) is incredibly rich.
Sophie says: ‘I wear it all the time, day and night. Wear it under your lip colour, or use it as a gloss on its own. There are lots of flavours and colours but Berry is my favourite.’
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (£48, 240ml, cultbeauty.co.uk)
BODY: Windburn and red, raw skin that has been battered by the elements can be very painful and hard to get rid of once you have it. Keep it at bay with products that supercharge skin renewal.
Sophie recommends: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (£48, 240ml, cultbeauty.co.uk). ‘It contains guarana fruit extract, which is said to be five times stronger than caffeine when it comes to stimulating and repairing the skin.’
COMBAT CITY SKIN
Sachajuan Anti-Pollution Shampoo (£27 for 25ml, asos.com)
LOCATION: Cities are the hardest hit when it comes to pollution, with a recent study naming Northampton, Nottingham and Bristol among the poorest in terms of air quality.
With research linking toxic air with premature skin aging, pigmentation and a dull complexion, anti-pollution products are gaining popularity.
HAIR: Invest in a more powerful anti-pollution shampoo that will work to prevent pollutants and odours adhering to hair and create a barrier against pollution hitting the scalp.
Sophie recommends: Sachajuan Anti-Pollution Shampoo (£27 for 25ml, asos.com). ‘Or for protection on the go, try Natulique Anti-Pollutive Ultra-Absorbent Dry Shampoo, (£20.75 for 200ml, natulique.co.uk).’
FACE: One of the most basic and beneficial things you can do is thoroughly cleanse your face daily to remove every last impurity and avoid blemishes.
Deepen the cleanse with a weekly detoxifying face mask or try adding anti-pollution drops to your routine to help protect against additional aggressors like blue light from your phone and computer screen.
Sophie recommends: Pixi Vitamin C Juice Cleanser (£18 for 150ml, cultbeauty.co.uk). ‘Apply with a re-usable face pad, as you would a micellar cleanser; there’s no need to rinse.’
This Works Evening Detox Clay Mask (£32 for 50ml, simplybe.co.uk) offers a ten-minute skin detox using fruit acids to deep cleanse and clay to absorb impurities.
Dr Barbara Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops (£45 for 10ml, cultbeauty.co.uk). ‘One of her most advanced products, which promises to shield against smoke and smog.’
Pixi Vitamin C Juice Cleanser (£18 for 150ml, cultbeauty.co.uk)
BODY: Anyone who has spent a hot day commuting around a busy city centre to meetings will know that that evening’s cleansing routine needs to work extra-hard.
The skin on your body needs just as much care. Step it up with products that cut through all the soaked-in grime.
Sophie recommends: Ren Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm (£34 330ml, spacenk.com). ‘I use it on dry skin so it’s more abrasive, but it works brilliantly in the shower on wet skin, too. It’s mild enough to use every day, taking off way more grime than your average body wash.
‘A spa-level product that’s packed with oils to hydrate, too, including sweet almond oil, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary leaf and basil.’
THE BIG CHILL
LOCATION: Scotland and the North; Leeds and Bradford were found to be the coldest cities in England.
Lower average temperatures and longer winters require harder working products to combat their effects.
Dr Jackson’s Coconut Melt (£20 for 15ml, debenhams.com)
HAIR AND BODY: Major on nourishing ingredients such as chamomile, coconut oil and shea butter to restore moisture that the elements have stripped away, and invest in restorative, multi-tasking products that work all over.
Sophie recommends: Dr Jackson’s Coconut Melt (£20 for 15ml, debenhams.com). ‘With coconut oil to intensely hydrate and nourish skin and hair, it’s perfect as a mask to restore your hair’s condition and equally good on cuticles, dry hands and lips.’
Weleda Skin Food Cleansing Balm (£10.36 for 75ml, lookfantastic.com)
FACE: The last thing you want are cleansing products that will further strip the skin of moisture, but they still need to deliver high performance results.
Sophie recommends: Weleda Skin Food Cleansing Balm (£10.36 for 75ml, lookfantastic.com). ‘The ultimate cold-weather must-have. This newbie to the cult range cuts through make-up, SPF and daily dirt, whilst nourishing skin with an intense blend of calendula, chamomile and sunflower seed oil to ease redness and irritation. Leave on for ten minutes for a deeper mask effect.’
RAIN IT IN
LOCATION: Yes, it rains everywhere in the UK, but Scotland, the North-West, western Wales and the South-West get more than most.
Being caught in the rain doesn’t help anyone’s mood, let alone their look. But living in a wet climate just means tailoring your product choice to the latest beauty innovations.
HAIR: Even a big umbrella may not stop a shower wrecking your hair, especially if you’ve used heat to style it away from your natural curls. Happily, help is at hand…
Sophie recommends: Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray (£24.30 for 200ml, lookfantastic.com). ‘This product caused a stir when released. Designed to create a waterproof veil over the hair, it repels moisture to promote sleekness for two to three shampoos.’
Even if you don’t get soaked, in damp weather, dry or rough hair cuticles open to draw in the moisture from the air and — voila! — frizz. You’ll need products that will hold your style in place and seal out moisture.
Try Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil (£35 for 50ml, marks andspencer.com). Sophie says: ‘It’s not cheap but it’s the best humidity blocker I use. A few drops of this leave-in bond builder will strengthen your hair whilst taming flyaways and static, too.
‘Silicone free, lightweight and fast-absorbing, you won’t be left with an oily residue, just smooth, shiny, healthy-feeling hair.’
By Terry’s 8HA Hydra Powder (£42 for 7.5g, spacenk.com)
FACE: Switch up your routine to include run-proof products.
Sophie recommends: ‘Obviously, nothing will withstand a downpour, but By Terry’s 8HA Hydra Powder (£42 for 7.5g, spacenk.com) won’t budge, setting your make-up into a bulletproof yet totally natural finish without the need for constant touch-ups.’
BODY: If the environment you’re in is cooler, with higher moisture levels, you can afford to lighten up with your bodycare and use a more fluid moisturising lotion.
Sophie recommends: Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion (£39, 500ml, spacenk.com). ‘This leaves skin brilliantly smooth and supple, hydrating for up to 24 hours. Despite being very lightweight, it still dissolves dry skin.’
LOCATION: The South-East sees the most hours of sunshine, potentially placing Chichester, Brighton and Hove and Southend-on-Sea among the places with the highest risk of skin ageing from UV rays.
We all know that UV can damage your skin and dry your hair, but outside the summer months we often forget this.
Make it a year-round habit to layer on additional protection across your beauty routine.
Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil (£24 for 100ml, cultbeauty.co.uk)
HAIR: Prolonged sun exposure degrades the protein structure of hair, leaving you with split ends and lack of shine.
Guard against it and reduce prematurely fading highlights with targeted leave-in protection sprays.
Sophie recommends: Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil (£24 for 100ml, cultbeauty.co.uk). ‘Combines UVA and UVB protection with moisturising oils and antioxidants.’
FACE: Upgrade your foundation or base to one with higher UV protection in a lightweight formula.
And pay attention to your lips: their skin is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face and has less of the protective pigment melanin, so consider adding extra targeted sun protection.
Look for balms that are infused with hydrating ingredients such as glycerine and plant oils to help reduce fine lines.
Also, hands are often the last parts of the body considered for SPF protection and the first to show signs of sun damage.
Sophie recommends: Dior Prestige Le Protecteur UV Sheer Glow SPF 50+, (£95 for 30ml, harrods.com). ‘This offers strong protection from harmful rays as well as corrective and illuminating ingredients so you can care for you skin and improve its appearance.’
Dior Prestige Le Protecteur UV Sheer Glow SPF 50+, (£95 for 30ml, harrods.com)
Colourscience Sunforgettable Total Protection Colour Lip Balm SPF 50, (£21 for 9g, colorescienceuk.com). ‘Can be used on cheeks, too, for a pop of colour.’
BODY: Hello Sunday The One for Your Hands, (£9 for 30ml, boots.com). ‘Comes with SPF30 plus protection against blue light pollution. An easy one to add to your daily routine.’