12 Ways To Look + Feel Fantastic Even When It’s Face-Meltingly Hot

You’d think since I live in Minnesota (land of the six month winter) I’d be poorly versed in sweat-soaked tank tops and under-boob sweat.
But you’d be wrong.
Since Minnesota is so far inland, our summers are nearly as rough as our winters – 90% humidity, 100 degree days, opaque curtains of mosquitoes. This, coupled with a year and a half spent in tropical Taiwan, has taught me how to navigate three months of sweat and sun. And to supplement my knowledge? I asked the lovely people of Twitter and my Facebook lady friends.
Here, for your summer reading pleasure are 12 ways you can survive (or actually enjoy!) the heat of summer while still looking reasonably cute. 
1. OMG, dresses
Are dresses the answer to every question? Probably. They make you look fancy and pulled together when they’re really just an elevated onesie. You’ll feel even more comfortable if you buy dresses in natural fabrics (I love this cotton one) or find a cut that’s simultaneously cute and a little roomie (like this one).
2. Natural fabrics
Let’s talk about 100% cotton and, yes, linen. Also, let’s take an official stance that wrinkled clothing is chic. Natural fabrics breathe a million times better than rayon or poly blends and they also help us look like those casually beautiful women who drink tea while sitting on weathered Adirondack chairs. It’s also worth noting that we’ll all enjoy summer more if we extend the natural fabric policy to our underwear. Isn’t this linen skirt cute?
3. Reconsider your bra situation
If you’re super well-endowed you should probably stick with your trusty underwire, but if you’re smaller than a D-cup, I’d make the argument that you could probably switch to a sporty-ish bra, cute bikini tops, or tops with built-in support.
During the summer, I almost exclusively wear these bras – they’re a million times more comfortable than underwires, you can toss them in the wash, they work with any racer back tank tops, and they’re lined and have separate cups so you don’t get the Dreaded Uniboob. Bikini tops look cute peeking out from your tank tops and are made to be washed a million times.
Also: keep your bras in the freezer! Heavenly.
4. Wear your hair up (of course) 
You’ve read this advice a million times because it’s good! I like using an elastic headband to do a twisty milkmaid-y thing, but there are piles of cute, easy hairstyles for the summer. I also love this topsy-tail thing and this ‘boho chic’ thing.
5. Buy some summer-specific accessories
Here’s what I don’t leave the house without: a hat (I wear this one all the time), a cute water bottle, and I recently bought a super cheap collapsible sandalwood fan. I was worried I’d look a bit Blanche Dubois, fanning myself dramatically in the park but tons of people have asked me where I got it. I’m on a one-woman mission to convert Minneapolis hipsters into fan-carriers.
I’ve also seen people carrying those non-environmentally-but-probably-really-amazing aerosol cans of Evian. I’m putting off trying them because I’m afraid they’ll be life-changing and then I’ll be the sort of person who sprays herself with Evian AND fans herself with a tiny wooden fan in public. Ugh/awesome.
6. Give up accessories and makeup that’s not heat-friendly
Big cuff bracelets and liquid eyeliner are part of my everyday uniform, but in the summer those bracelets sweatily stick to my forearm and my eyeliner flakes off. So I made the executive decision to put them away for the summer. I’m also giving up on scarves, pointy toed ballet flats, and skinny jeans. Nope.
7. Use products that melt in an appealing manner
Everything is going to melt off within an hour or two, so you might as well use stuff that’s going to look good as it melts – cream eye shadow, tinted moisturizer, tinted chapstick. A friend from Arizona gives up perfume for the summer and just uses scented lotion or sunscreen. This 30 spf sunscreen apparently smells like sugar plum and freesia!
Also: keeping your cosmetics and skin care products in the fridge feels great and (I’m guessing) prolongs their life.
8. For the ambitious: dye your eyebrows and/or eyelashes
Since I’m blonde and capable of getting a tan, every summer my eyebrows bleach out to the same color as my face. Awwwwwesome. While that’s not something everyone would care about I’m vain and I like visible eyebrows so I dye mine with Just For Men Beard Gel (yes, really). I don’t do it regularly, but in the past I’ve had my eyelashes dyed which makes me feel like an old Hollywood glamazon, waking up and looking all bright-eyed and made up.
9. Deal with the chafing
As far as I can tell, the only benefit to having a thigh gap is that you will never have to endure summer chafing. For the other 99% of us, let’s talk about this anti-chafing gel or these under-your-dress-shorts. Personally, I’m more likely to opt for the gel because I’m loathe to wear another layer in 90 degree weather but I know many women who swear by those shorts!
10. Eat all the cold things
Gazpacho! Cold quinoa salads! Mango lassi popsicles! Beet lemonade! They’re all easy, healthy, and you can prepare them ahead of time so you can eat them right out of the container, standing in front of the fridge, bathing in that glorious cold. Hypothetically.
11. Wash your feet with cool water before you go to bed
This seems extraordinarily strange but I swear it works. If you’ve been padding around the city all day in sandals, your feet are probably surprisingly gross and putting cool water on your extremities is a great way to bring down your core temperature. I give mine a wash with a scrub brush and some zingy tea tree peppermint body wash.
Does this actually make you feel cooler? No. Is it fun to do anyway? Yup.
Warm climate friends! Share your advice in the comments!

photo by guido aldila // cc

16 Comments

Kristen

#9-Use Body Glide. It's sold at running stores and probably other places for no chaffing purposes. I rub that stuff all over running or not.

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Anonymous

I love watching movies that feature snowstorms. Misery is one of my favorites. Brrrr! Chilling scenery AND a chilling plot!

Also I TOTALLY have a folding fan and a tiny aerosol Evian can in my purse right now and can solidly attest to their fabulous-ness. Perfection, I tell you.

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Manisha

Also, let’s take an official stance that wrinkled clothing is chic. – Yes!! I love my linen dresses but hate the wrinkle. I dress in the morning but my meetings are in the evening which means my dress is super wrinkled. I've taken to throw a shawl over which tends to be fine because of the frigid cold A/C.

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Becky Alyssa

Great tips Sarah! It's 26C where I am in the UK right now – currently feeling cool in my American Apparel jersey halter playsuit and Victoria's Secret plunge lace bra, with straps that hook together at the back to give bigger boobies a bit of support!

Also I can't recommend La Roche Posay's Eau Thermale enough – cooling and so good for your skin!

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Stephanie

Love these tips! I have one more to add that's not really a tip but a quick way to cool down. Someone once told me the wrists were a heat point so when you're feeling really hot, run cold water (or put ice or a wet cloth – anything cool) on your wrists. It actually works, and t's a good little tip when you're super hot and need to cool off quickly (or just get the sweating under control!).

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Lana

Sarah, this post was exactly what i needed! I'm going to Thailand in two days and the weather forecast says it's gonna be 30C almost all the time. So thanks for the tips! I'm gonna go and pack as many dresses as i can now and study those hair tutorials 🙂

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Anonymous

I've tried the chafing gel but disliked it how it felt (slimy, to me) AND find it ineffective despite friends all raving about it. Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder is where it's at for my chub rub & boob sweat. And you can get the travel size for a buck and throw it in a bag or purse for surreptitious mid-day bathroom reapplication.

And I know it may sound gross to some, but if you are well-endowed and get that horrible under-boob rash that is super painful (and more prone to happen in summer when you sweat into your bras every damn day yet lack sufficient time/inventory to wash them as often as you'd like), yeast infection cream clears it up really well. Like, straight up monistat. Weird and maybe off-putting, but super effective.

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Anonymous

Yes, I was going to say the whole thing about wearing dresses is that nowadays I need to wear shorts to prevent the chafing. Those Jockey slipshorts are a lifesaver. And Kohl's sells them, so you can even buy them with a discount (YASSSS). I feel like maybe they could make some sort of underwear that is long enough to not require an additional layer of clothing. Maybe spandex running shorts could work.

Also, I've been loving Loft's new line "Lou and Grey". They have some really comfy blouson tank dresses and tee dresses that are lightweight and fantastic for summer (and they're constantly having new sales). Plus the dresses have an elastic waistband which is comfy aaaand defines the waist, if your body has a tendency to store all your favorite desserts in the waist-region.

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Caitie

I'm in Southern Ontario, which is similar- long, cold winters and surprisingly hot, muggy summers. Two years ago had to be one of the hottest summers on record in a while, just weeks of 30+ degrees celcius before the humidex with no rain and no end in sight to the heat and I was living in an apartment with no A/C. Cooling the wrists and feet is helpful, and I suggest the back of the neck as well! I unfortunately don't sleep well in the heat, so I used this trick a lot, as well as a short cold shower before bed. On extra miserable days, I took to freezing bottles of water and bringing them to bed with me, wrapped in towels. I would hug one to my stomach like a hot water bottle (only cold) and maybe place one by my feet if it was really hot. You have to be careful about them leaking, but it does work!

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Anonymous

Instead of a spray bottle of Evian, I use a small travel spray bottle I picked up at the chemist for a couple of bucks with plain old tap water in it. Works much the same. I keep it in the fridge when I'm at home and pop it in my bag (wrapped in a little cloth for condensation) when I go out.

And seconding baby powder for chafe!

Reply

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