If you’re like most women, getting into a swimsuit probably isn’t at the top of your favorite-things-about-summer list. So what’s the trick to bathing suit confidence? You need to love your whole look. That means finding a flattering swimsuit, of course, but also creating a pretty (and easy!) beach-inspired hairstyle and perking up your skin. These tips will have you looking and feeling great all summer long.
1. Find a flattering swimsuit
Certain cuts, styles, colors and patterns can turn the ugh of bathing suit shopping into a happy aah, says Nicole Brewer, a style expert in New York City. Carve out plenty of time and try on several options to find one that makes you feel best. Here’s how to:
Slim your waistline. Look for a crisscross or gathered fabric (called ruching) at your waist. This gives the appearance of cinching – and slimming! – your midsection.
Find the perfect fit. Many women are one size on top and a different size on the bottom, making it a challenge to find a one-piece that fits. Instead, look for tankinis: You can usually buy the top and bottom separately, which means you can get a suit that fits and flatters everywhere.
Look tall and trim. Swimsuits with empire waists, which sit just below your bust, will help elongate your torso and make you appear thinner and taller.
Draw attention to the good (and camouflage the bad). Try to use well-placed colors, patterns and details to your advantage. Bright colors and patterns draw attention, while dark, solid colors camouflage. So if you want to minimize your bottom half, look for a suit that accentuates your bust with bold hues but is black, brown or navy below. The same holds true for little extras like keyholes, drawstrings and ruffles, which all say, “look here, not there.”
2. Create a pretty, carefree hairstyle
When your hair looks great, you feel more confident no matter what you’re wearing. Forget the usual ponytail and try loose, beach-ready waves. This effortless style works on all hair types and looks sexy and casual, says Matt Fugate, a stylist at Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. How to get the look:
Apply anti-frizz cream or texturizing spray. If your hair is frizz-prone, rub a small amount of styling cream between your hands and rake it through towel-dried hair, from roots to ends. But if your strands tend to go flat, spritz on a texturizing spray instead. Next, flip your head upside down and blow dry until your hair is about half dry.
Create coils. Twist several random sections of hair around your index finger to make ringlets. Then let your hair finish air-drying.
Tousle and go. Once hair is dry, ruffle the coils with your fingers to break them up or let them naturally unravel in the wind.
3. Get glowing skin
Sun-kissed skin is always in, but baring your bod to UV rays isn’t the healthiest solution. Instead, try gradual self-tanning lotions, which can deliver skin that’s soft, smooth and even-toned, helping you feel more confident, says Meredith Baraf, a makeup artist for Victoria’s Secret. These daily moisturizers contain low levels of DHA (a skin-tinting agent), so they’re easier to use than regular self-tanners and give a subtler result.
Before you apply the self-tanner for the first time, exfoliate head-to-toe in the shower so the lotion absorbs evenly. When rubbing in the lotion, keep your fingers together to prevent streaks, suggests Baraf. Reapply every day until you reach a color you like. It’ll last about five days; after that, exfoliate and start again.
Using these easy tricks to look and feel your best means you can focus on what’s most important: spending time with your family.
Stephanie Tweito Jacob is a freelance writer who specializes in beauty, fashion and health. She previously held editorial positions at O, The Oprah Magazine, MORE, and Allure. She has previously contributed to Life & Beauty Weekly.