The Redhead's Guide To Surviving Summer
Being a redhead is tough, trust me, I've been one for 25 years. From a young age, we get singled out for being a bit different but you get used to the annoying "ginge" comments and embrace life as a red.
We realise there are months when we thrive - autumn, our hair glows brilliantly when it's a bit bleak - and months when we literally burn. I'm talking summer, people. That's May (well, sometimes) through to September.
Each year, I look forward to heat, thinking "this year will be the year I get my tan on". But in reality, as soon as those bloody sun rays start beating down, I'm the first to run for cover.
I have memories of being on holiday as a child (Spain, of course – what family didn't head to Spain for a summer hols?) and my mum covering my body from head to toe. I would have so much sun cream on that I would blend in with the white plastic sunloungers.
It didn't get more embarrassing than this and I was particularly envious of my olive-skinned younger brother who was allowed to jump in and out of the pool without having to sit down for a fresh application of sun block each time. It would also sicken me to my core that other sunbathers could waltz around without a UVA ray worry in the world. This remains one of my pet hates to this day. Buggers.
Now I'm in my twenties, I have accepted that this is just the way life is going to be. But I do get a MASSIVE amount of pleasure when after a holiday, I realise I have actual lines where my bikini has been. In my mind, this is a full on mega tan. It's all about the lineage and while others go topless to avoid it, I can't get enough. It's proof of 100% safe tanning success.
So here, in all my wisdom, are my tips for surviving summer, if you're a redhead or auburn copper like me. I know this a challenging time girls, but together, we can get through this...
RED HAIR, RED SKIN
This is just a fact of life. We redheads don't just burn; we quite literally shrivel up and in the sun. It's kind of like a scene in a movie when a witch comes out into the sunlight and dies. I AM NOT BEING EXTREME IN THE SLIGHTEST. In attempts to prevent this, suncream is an essential item.
If I don't carry a bottle of Factor 50 on a sunny day (I tend to use the children's variety), I'm living on the edge which never pays off. I'd advise a spray rather than a lotion as the skin absorbs it quickly and you're not left blushing under a snow-white layer of cream. As if we need that.
OMG, this horrendous condition is just as bad being burnt. The itching, oh the itching. Keep cool and avoid this at all costs. It's not pleasant for anyone. A bit of pool dipping every now and then could be the answer to all your problems in the short term but make sure you smooth on a layer of calamine lotion at the end of the day to soothe your skin and keep that rash at bay.
SHADE, WHERE ARE YOU SHADE?
While plants move to reach the sun, redheads follow shade. It's just a course of habit that occurs over time - I scan the park/pool/beer garden for pockets to shelter under but on a hot summer's day there is nothing better than being under a tree in the shade. You might look like a complete loser but at least you won't be crying in pain when you try sleeping on your back hours later (which is much more loser-ish). Also, if you're going to the beach it is essential you create your own shade - I literally couldn't recommend a wide-brimmed hat more. Being that person with the really red, burned nose sucks.
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT THEM, FAKE BEING LIKE THEM
The person who invented spray tan was definitely thinking about helping red heads in their time of need and I'm a girl who loves a spray tan. I am also a girl who tries to tell people that the results of that spray tan are from lying on a beach in the Med for two weeks (for all they know, I'm the exception to the rule. For all they know...)
Spray tanning is definitely the way forward for redheads wanting a little bit of bronzing in their life. You're never going to get a real tan. FACE IT. So go for the safer option instead.
P.s If you are completely incapable of applying your own self tan - just leave it alone. Trust me; I have learned from my mistakes when someone once pointed out to me that I had missed a complete section at the back of my legs. Naturally after I made claims said brazing was achieved on the beach. Tres embarrassing.
So, there it is ladies. Go forth and either embrace your ivory skin or get a fake tan and tell people it's the real deal. This is the way of the redhead in summer.