This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Well the weather forecast cannot always be relied upon but we can definitely expect some scorchingly hot days at this time of year. As I’ve got older I’ve discovered I can easily get overheated in warm weather – for example perspiring for Britain when I’m on my knees digging out weeds in the garden. So here is some very useful information on keeping cool for all us sweaty Bettys…
First, a few fascinating facts. Sweat is essential to human survival and serves as the body’s coolant, protecting it from overheating. Did you know that women have more sweat glands than men? And that most of those sweat glands are on the bottom of our feet? The only areas of our bodies that do not have sweat glands are our ears, lips and nails. On average we produce about a litre of sweat every day. Like our fingerprints, body odour (otherwise known as BO), is unique to every individual.
Now, on to those tips I promised you…
WHAT FOODS TO AVOID Certain foods can make you perspire more. This can be because they increase your metabolism which, in turn, increases your body temperature resulting in your body producing sweat to cool you down. These include coffee (caffeine), alcohol and spicy foods.
APPLYING DEODORANT If you apply antiperspirant on your armpits before getting into bed it can help you sweat less the following day. For your antiperspirant to work, it has to get into the sweat glands and block them. Overnight you’re calm and cool and your skin is dry, so a higher percentage is going to be absorbed. Reapply when you wake and you’ll have a drier day.
The best and worst fabrics to wear
Forgive me for stating the obvious. Keep clothing lightweight and loose. Forget your tight jeans and go for the flowing and breezy look.
COTTON is a natural fibre which allows air to circulate and move freely through the fabric, which dries out damp areas of the body. Cotton creases easily, so when it comes to packing for a holiday, a cotton blend may be a better choice. As cotton soaks up moisture, it can become heavy and wet, so opt for light rather than dark colours in order to avoid obvious perspiration patches.
LINEN is a loosely woven fabric which allows heat to escape from the body. It absorbs moisture and dries quickly – perfect when your clothes come in contact with your ‘glowing’ skin. It doesn’t tend to stick to the body which is also helpful. However, as we all know it can crease very easily so look for linen blends if you like a smoother look.
CHAMBRAY is a plain weave fabric, woven with a coloured yarn in the warp and a white yarn in the weft, similar to denim. It’s lightweight, breathable and hangs well so won’t be constricting in the heat. If you choose a darker shade, it will expertly absorb the majority of your perspiration without leaving a visible mark.
SILK is best kept lightweight. Heavier silks show perspiration patches. Check out our article on Patra, they have masses of classic styles in natural, breathable fabrics.
Drapey and flexible, cotton JERSEY is one of the all-time best summer fabrics.
Technically a member of the cotton family, SEERSUCKER is a thin, lightly puckered fabric that’s fantastically lightweight.
VISCOSE can be equated to a semi synthetic version of cotton. It’s made out of cellulose but the process is chemical. Personally, I like viscose and find it breathable and it drapes beautifully. A more conscious alternative to viscose is lyocell.
Although polyester based, STRETCH FABRICS THAT INCORPORATE MOISTURE WICKING PROPERTIES are woven in a way that allow them to be more permeable. So for workout clothing – leggings, tops and tees – opt for a poly blend that has moisture wicking properties.
While POLYESTER is highly stain-resistant, durable (and everywhere you look these days) it is also a sweaty woman’s nightmare on a warm day. Woven or knitted from polyester thread or yarn, it is water resistant which = horrendous at absorbing moisture. Ditto NYLON.
DENIM is a durable, heavyweight fabric which means it isn’t breathable and often not stretchy either. So opt for Chambray when the temperature rises.
COOL PILLOW If you wake up drenched in the middle of the night, you could try a cooling gel pillow from Amazon £8.95.
TRAVEL SIZED DEODORANT If you are out and about all day, it makes sense to pop a travel-sized deodorant (or antiperspirant, if you feel you need it) in your handbag.
FACE WIPES While dabbing your face with tissues and napkins helps absorb some of the moisture, you might prefer to use something like biodegradable cleansing wipes.
FACE MIST A spritz of face mist not only cools you off and refreshes your complexion, it can be used to set your makeup. Even the most sensitive skin will love La Roche-Posay’s Eau Thermale – a French pharmacy classic which features the brand’s selenium-rich thermal spring water. £7. Shop now
FACE POWDER A little pressed powder goes a long way when it comes to absorbing oil, eliminating shine, and keeping your face looking great. Just make sure not to overdo it – aim for a fresh looking face, not a cakey one.
PERFUME SAMPLES Carrying around a full bottle of perfume isn’t practical, but having scent on hand is always good for those moments when you realise you’re not smelling so fresh. Ask for free perfume samples – they’re just the right size to pop in your handbag. Or buy a small atomiser and fill it with your own favourite scent. Amazon do a wide range from around £6. SHOP HERE
WATERPROOF MASCARA For defined lashes even on the hottest of days, waterproof mascara is a must. Annabel recently did an article on the top mascaras, read it here.
Which shoes are best?
As I mentioned at the start of this post, the soles of our feet are the sweatiest part of our bodies. So buy supportive but open styles in canvas, leather or suede that let your feet breathe – like sliders or these pictured FitFlops.
Scholl fresh step shoe spray is formulated with dual-action formula to instantly eliminate odour. Provides shoes with 24h odour protection and freshness. Cheapest I can find is £3.19 at Superdrug – who, by the way, also sell DeoFresh Insoles for £2.39, which contain a powerful anti-bacterial agent to keep your tootsies fresh.
Finally, there is such a thing as sweating too much. This is known as hyperhidrosis, it is a medical condition that almost two million people suffer with in the UK alone. There is help available. Details are on the NHS website.