If I had to narrow down one temperature climate that could make life quite unbearable, it would be humid. Obviously arid hot (and cold) conditions can be stressing enough, but it’s the clamminess of humidity that gets me – how while it can register as a certain amount of degrees, with a high level of humidity in the air it can feel far hotter than it actually is (plus at least with freezing temperatures one can pile on layer-upon-layer of clothing – it may make one feel like a Michelin man but it’s still easily resolved!). This is the bête noire I’m facing right now, as while I write this, I’m living in near 100% humidity conditions (and temperatures of 33/34 degrees celsius) – resulting in a lot of mosquito activity and uncomfortable lounging around, sometimes afraid of going to brightly-lit eateries at night to fling oneself into the blankets of midget flies.
However, regardless of the weather temperatures, you can still go out and enjoy your excursions with minimal discomfort; providing you equip yourself with proper protection beforehand. Having lived and, prior to that, spent countless holidays on the shores of Lake Como (which is renowned for its electrical activity and, therefore, major humidity build-ups days before thunderstorms), I’ve fallen flat at times and made mistakes with precautions or simply become too careless to follow them through (which is why I’m also covered in mosquito leg bites at the moment) – but after years of trialling, I know now that if certain key rules are put in place and followed, you can feel blissfully free of any weather or insect-related burdens that less knowledgeable tourists would be treading through.
Without further ado, here are my tried-and-tested tips & favourite products to let you tackle humid climates with ease (some of the products mentioned, especially any sun/bronzing ones, would be useful for any other hot conditions as well):
When preparing for a trip abroad in the sunshine, unless you’re incredibly lucky to not have to a complexion that’s pale or ruddy, your first beauty protocol would be to sort out your tanning regime. I’ll actually confide that I had a tanning mishap just before coming over to Italy (I applied the tan at home, and seemingly didn’t exfoliate beforehand as much as I should have) so I spent a couple of days showering and scrubbing vigorously with Sephora’s Green Tea Lemon exfoliator, trying to get my skin tone as even and glowing as possible – but my lifesaver ultimately was the bronzer I’d brought along just in case! I purchased Bourjois’s Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder last summer but only properly started to use it over the past couple of weeks, and I honestly can’t believe how potent it is in giving an even, summery glow, even with the bane of uneven tan patches: I actually ought to give it an individual review, but I’ll glaze over the rest of its pros & cons and simply say it’s really durable in humid temperatures, especially on the legs (which is usually where it ends up more variable) when used with my trusty Kiko bronzer brush (currently on a reduced offer!) and, very importantly, doesn’t stop you from tanning naturally – something I’ll address in the next paragraph! To ensure the bronzing is as smooth as possible, I always dust on this brilliant Mylla powder puff I picked up in Bottega Verde (you can buy it online “here”) – and usually top it up every so often with Robert’s Borotalco talcum powder: it’s famously used around Italy and is found inexpensively in most regional supermarkets, but I just love the vintage packaging it comes in!
Needless to say, when you’re in a hot & humid climate you’ll get majorly dehydrated without even realising it sometimes – it’s really important to drink, at the very least, 1.5 litres of water a day. Body hydration isn’t just effective orally, however; I stumbled across this Evian brumisateur spray in a pharmacy in Paris last year (also saw it in Coin Como just a couple of days ago!) and have found it so incredibly effective for hydrating my face & overall skin in times of need – so much better than lugging a fan around, while decoration-wise they’re very pretty, the relief they provide is only temporary in comparison. Unfortunately the spray is more expensive online than where I bought it (it cost a mere €2.49 or so), so if you can’t get your hands on it I’d suggest filling up a travel spray bottle with water to spriz when the heat is getting too much to bear!
One product I can’t rave enough about at the moment is 100% pure coconut oil – it’s unbelievably versatile and, in this case, does wonders for your skin with moisturising (I’m definitely going to do a post separately on it, so I won’t get into much detail here otherwise). Just make sure to keep it in the shade and in temperatures preferably below 25 degrees (77 f): my tub ended up dissolving and turned into clear liquid! As for the AfterSun body butter, it’s great for helping and protecting your skin when striving for a natural sun, plus the gorgeous coconut-like scent is really nostalgic from holidays by the beach!
Facial skincare is another key factor, even if you have your daily skin routine down to a T. You’re naturally going to have an oilier complexion in humid conditions but the problem can be that your skin can still have dry patches, so I tend to use cleansing milks, Estee Lauder moisturiser and the amazing Roberts rose water, which I slap onto my face for a refreshing boost if I’m in a hurry (or spray on some cool mineral water spritzer, as suggested in the last paragraph). For those who don’t have dry skin, powders are fantastic; since after getting around whatever exotic place you’re staying in you’ll be fresh-faced enough, and not needing major coverage during the day (Urban Decay’s Surreal Skin Powder gives a subtle glow that makes you look like you’re going around make-up-free, and not in the just-crawled-out-of-bed sense) – for combination/dry types like myself, I’ve found BB creams to be the best bet. A lot of you might be thinking of blemish balms as mere fads, but they’re really multi-functional and allow you to not spend too much time in front of the mirror before heading out – I use L’oreal’s Nude Magique which I’ve benefitted from since last year, it’s diverse in that it comes out as a cream and adjusts to a foundation on contact with skin (meaning it adapts to different skin shades) and it’s quite natural-looking. Hydrating primers are brilliant not just for setting foundation properly and ensuring durability/no dry cracks, but even just used on their own sans coverage to give your skin a luminous edge (Laura Mercier’s primer is my go-to; I also favour Clarin’s Beauty Flash Balm).
If you’re lucky enough to have reasonably fuss-free hair like myself that comes out wavy but not frizzy in the rain, then huzzah (finally one aspect of my beauty routine that I can relax about!) – if not, I still understand, since I’ve witnessed masterful tackling of fuzzy and even somewhat Afro-like hair practically from birth! Humidity can wreck havoc on naturally frizzy hair, especially paired with unexpected bursts of heavy, European rain: so if you haven’t already tried it yourself, Moroccanoil’s revitalising and heat-combatting products are the way to go if you don’t mind splurging (either on the original oil treatment or the specific frizz-control spray, which is made for humid conditions). If you’re on a shoestring budget however, fear not – Organix’s Moroccan penetrating oil smooths and silkens humid-wrought hair excellently as well (I have a very reliable, frizz-fighting source on the matter!), for a mere fraction of the price. I’m addicted to anything Bumble + Bumble; their hair products literally do exactly what they claim, which is no mean feat (actually have quite a few reviews of theirs coming your way this summer), and their Curl Conscious range is made for those who want to turn their frizzy tangles into perfectly formed curls. For those who are battling with fuzzy tendrils, see B+B’s Calming Creme and Smoothing Shampoo: whereas with anyone who actually wants to unlock their subtle curly waves without a matted aftermath, like me, go for the award-winning Defining Creme that I’ve used for quite a few years now, I can tell you first-hand it doesn’t disappoint! Having the cult Tangle Teezer in your beauty bag is essential for, well, untangling tangles (and separating unruly curls into gentle waves) – while having a travel size Batiste dry shampoo is as vital to me as packing a simple sundress: it’s a necessity, particularly since you’re dealing with an environment that’ll have you freshly-showered at the start of the day and then with semi-greasy hair by the evening.
If you have to forget every other beauty precaution that I’ve mentioned, by no means can you skive on protecting yourself against midget and – even worse – mosquito bites: if you let your guard down and they strike, the drawn-out aftermath can make your life complete and utter hell (I’m venomous in warning you because of what I’ve suffered – wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy).. and if you’re in the unbelievably fortunate position to repel such files, then three cheers, for I was once like you! How I managed to subsequently sweeten my blood and make myself attractive to tiny flying insects is beyond me, but I digress.
Autan is the most wide-spread brand to use in Italy and a lot of Europe for making flies steer clear, and does the job most effectively – I usually buy the Protection Plus ‘Vapo’ spray, which eliminates pesky horseflies, mosquitoes and the like from your path, but the Tropical spray is key if you’re specifically targeting mosquitoes (and in turn, potentially more dangerous ones) – you can view their complete range “here”. It’s not the most inexpensive product out there however, so I tried out another, cheaper, 100% natural Italian anti-insect spray to see how comparable the results would fare: I was pleasantly surprised, it was just as repelling from my experience and I could spray it on mercilessly without worrying about chemicals. You can find it in Italian supermarkets under the brand name “Zan Alt”, for just a few quid. If you end up receiving a few nasty bites, you should immediately treat them by rubbing in a bread-soda & water mixture to minimise any subsequent itching and infection – following that, applying Fargan cream to the affected areas will make sure any swelling/itchy suffering isn’t prolonged (Fenistil creams are potent as well). It can be found in any pharmacy; on a side note, once you’ve applied the cream try to stay out of direct sunlight for as long as possible, lest you aggravate the bites any further! Been there, done that, never ever letting it happen again… or so I say each year..!
Last but definitely not least, your cosmetics routine is probably going to need a few tweaks here and there, depending on how reliant you are on certain products anyway – needless to say, waterproof mascara & even shadows are a must, with Urban Decay’s appropriately-named Cannonball mascara leaving your lashes looking just as luscious after swimming & perspiring; UD’s eyeshadows are great paired with potent eyeshadow primers (while I love the original formula Primer Potion, Lime Crime’s waterproof one wins out for me here) as well as firm favourite Lime Crime’s dreamy-yet-durable eye palettes (check out my review of the Aquataenia palette “here”, which is simply made for wearing near the sea – you can also see shadow looks I did and how to remove waterproof eyeshadow). I’ve been using Kiko’s Glow Touch in Spicy Chocolate (not half as dark as it looks on-site; check my photo for proper comparisons) as it’s a handy lip-and-cheek duo that’s easy to swipe on and survives the humid day; while any of Kiko’s ‘Long Lasting Stick’ shadows stay put for several hours of heat, without any priming – buy the most recent stick edition (which I’ve used with glee) “here”.
And that’s all you need to know! Well, almost (and do listen up if you’re not dozing yet) – I’d be sure to pack a couple of garments perfect for hiding bite-ridden legs while still remaining stylish: I’ve been sporting this gorgeous Zara jumpsuit out while my legs were accommodating evident mosquito bites, and it did the perfect job of covering up while still allowing my skin to breathe through the silk fabric. Other viable options are this 100% silk hot-pink maxi, this breath-taking watercolour dress and this sheer chiffon maxi-skirt; it’s always handy bringing a see-through chiffon number and shorts on holiday, to cover up while not feeling that you are at all!
Hope you guys will find the guide useful – and if you know anyone who’s venturing off into an unchartered (for them), humid climate, do share the post with them! Happy holidaying everyone!