The Ultimate Beach Countdown

First things first: We’re not promising any miracles. Eating healthfully and regular workouts are the best ways to get a beach-perfect physique. But even if your fitness goals got lost somewhere on the way to happy hour, there are still a few things you can do to look your best. Here, our one-week plan to getting swimsuit ready.

One Week Before: Banish Bloat

When you’re just seven days away from being at the beach (or the pool, or any body of water), it’s not realistic, or safe, to think you can shed ten pounds. Still, you can make small dietary changes to keep bloating at bay. Up your fiber intake with more fruits, veggies, and whole grains to help your digestive system work more efficiently. Cut down your salt intake, which causes you to retain water, and stay hydrated by drinking at least eight 8 oz glasses of water a day. This will help your body more effectively shed waste and toxins, which can lead to abdominal swelling. Finally, incorporate chamomile tea, which is well known for its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, into your daily routine. We’re keen on Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Italian Chamomile because it has additional special ingredients like fennel that help to combat bloat.

Three Days Before: Bikini Wax

Nothing is more embarrassing than stray hairs poking out of your bottoms. Get a bikini wax before slipping into your suit but don’t make the mistake of going the day before. Waxing can cause redness or irritation, so you should give your skin a few days to recover before going anywhere near water.

Two Days Before: Pedicure

Don’t forget about your feet! There is nothing more unsightly than calloused soles and overgrown toenails, so take the time for a pedicure at home or at a salon. Bright colors are always festive for summer days — try Deborah Lippmann’s fuchsia Between the Sheets or bold red My Old Flame. For something more minimalist, Zoya’s Touch collection includes three opaque nudes that look pretty paired with blingy summer sandals.

Day Before: Apply Self-Tanner

Unless you’re naturally dark, you should think about self-tanning before heading into the sun. The benefits are twofold: darker skin absorbs more light than it reflects, so the surface appears smoother (read: you’ll look thinner and less, how shall we say, dimply) and if you’re already bronzed, you won’t feel the same pressure to get a real tan. You’ll need to apply self-tanner at least one day in advance of any swimming because water interferes with color development. Xen-Tan’s Face Tanner Luxe and Deep Bronze Luxe both use DHA, an ingredient that reacts to the amino acids on your skin’s surface to give you a customized color.

Day Of: SPF

The big day is here! You’ve shed some water weight, prepped your bikini line, painted your toes, and faux-glowed your skin — what’s left? Not getting burned. Don’t blow all your beautifying by getting splotchy red marks or lobster-toned skin. Plus, sun damage accounts for 90 percent of skin’s aging. Block harmful UVA and UVB rays with a good broad-spectrum sunscreen. Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+ has ultra-lightweight feel despite its high SPF, and Dr. Dennis Gross’s Powerful Sun Protection SPF 30 Towelettes are a great portable option.

Afterward: Moisturize

If you didn’t heed our advice and got burned, then find yourself some aloe vera, stat. But if you were smart about sun protection, it’s time to reward your skin after it drying it out all day in the sun and water. Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil uses more than six natural essential oils to hydrate skin, and leaves it with a lustrous finish. For something a little heavier, try Korres Body Butter, which has shea butter, natural extracts, and a subtle scent.

For more on how to get yourself hot-weather ready, read our articles on summer.

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