From instant immunity boosters to brainy workouts and unblocking your chakras, meet the next-level body hacks that have a growing following
When the sun comes out, so do long hidden limbs and you may be left wondering how to pep yourself up before your next holiday. Luckily we've trialled and tested the latest products, ingredients and treatments out there to make sure your feeling your best in no time....
The high-tech ingredients you should be using now
Body products have, until now, been geared towards pampering, not performance. But with the arrival of high-tech ingredients usually saved for our complexions, this category has evolved and now rivals the brightening, plumping and moisturising effects of our face serums as well as tackling issues such as cellulite.
Cerave Moisturising Cream, £14.50, contains hyaluronic acid, a moisture-boosting molecule that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water and delivers hydration for the whole body without the greasy residue of a rich body cream. Like facial exfoliators, body scrubs now come in less abrasive formulas - Ren’s Smart Renewal Body Serum, £35, uses fruit AHAs to tone and buff dry skin and works brilliantly on keratosis pilaris (those rough bumps on the tops of your arms).
If age spots and uneven tone are a concern, choose a lotion that protects against hyperpigmentation like Clarins Renew-Plus Body Serum, £41, or Skin Laundry’s Rejuvenating Anti-Ageing Neck and Chest sheet mask, £14, which brightens and hydrates one of our most vulnerable areas.
Meanwhile, products designed to diminish cellulite often contain caffeine for a temporary tightening effect. Yes, it’s pricey but Sisley’s Cellulinov Intensive Anti-Cellulite Body Care, £155, which also contains red algae, is one of the best formulas we’ve come across to firm up slack skin – both for instant gratification and in the long term with continued use.
And although your stretch marks won’t disappear altogether, retinoids and collagen stimulators can make a difference to their appearance. Try StriVectin Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks and Wrinkles, £120, as it uses oligopeptides to pump collagen back into the damaged skin.
Four alternative ways to boost your energy
A fit body is about feeling strong physically, but also on an emotional, mental and energetic level. 'Blockages in the flow of energy throughout your body (or chakras) can manifest as aches and pains, constipation and digestive issues caused by stress, anger and negative thinking,' says David Peter, a traditional Chinese medicine specialist.
'Thankfully, they can be cleared allowing energy, blood and fluid to flow again, restoring your body’s equilibrium.' Peter recommends practising yoga and Qi Gong, as both focus on moving stagnant energy through and out of the body.
The needles used in acupuncture are also believed to help. 'But the simplest, time-tested trick is to tap the centre of the chest,' explains Peter. 'This will dissipate energy helping to release emotional tension and elevate your mood.'
Bear in mind, too, that a diet free from processed foods is a great way to restore vitality. 'Food has its own energy field, especially organic produce, which is grown as close as possible to the way nature intended. Microwaved food and those doused in pesticides, on the other hand, have literally no energy field,' explains Peter.
Finally, spending time in nature is a great way to restore and harmonise your energy. 'Trees and plants all have strong, healing vibrations that can help fine-tune your body’s own energy pathways,' he says.
This brain-training technique is like a workout
Wireless lights are used as targets, which you activate or deactivate, depending on your training routine – the end goal being to improve hand–eye co-ordination, strength, speed and stamina. 'It works on your reaction time, training your brain and body to work in sync,' explains celebrity trainer Dalton Wong, founder of 22 Training.
'Reaction Training wakes up and stimulates the brain first and then gets the nervous system and muscles jacked up and ready to go. It’s like a caffeine shot to your body, and it’s fun. Plus you make that mind and muscle connection – you think about your breath and your movement, both of which are key to an efficient workout.'
The ancient ice therapy treatment that's proven to boost metabolism
This year’s biggest body enhancer is Whole Body Cryotherapy – a body-shocking treatment that promises skin vitality, stress relief, a metabolism boost and better sleep.
What’s the catch?
For three minutes you stand in a chamber of frigid liquid nitrogen at -140 degrees celsius. Trust us, it is worth it. As your body is tricked into thinking it is going to freeze to death, your ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in – all of which means your circulation is boosted and you metabolism speeds up while the body fights to keep warm (how does burning 800 calories in the eight hours post-treatment sound as an incentive?). '
'Once you're back at room temperature, the extra-oxygenated blood circulates back through the body to relieve pain, eliminate toxins, boost cell renewal and trigger an anti-inflammatory response,' says Dr Yannis Alexandrides, plastic surgeon and founder of 111 Harley Street and 111CRYO.
'Increasing the flow of blood and oxygen around the body also assists in the elimination of excess lactic acid and aids with muscular recovery after a workout.'
At £95 a session, it comes with a hefty price tag but this cure-all treatment (at minimum effort) is a groundbreaker.
The easiest way to improve your diet for summer
As soon as the sun makes an appearance, so does our gym kit. But low levels of vitamin D, combined with a lack of fresh air and movement over the past few months, means your body is likely to be at its weakest point of the year so you need to rebuild your system first.
Start off with a good dose of vitamin C – 65 to 90 mg is the daily recommended amount for an adult. One of the most noticeable effects of vitamin C deficiency is that skin becomes dry and lacks tone but a supplement such as Altrient C, £35.99, has the ability to regenerate collagen. As well as ramping up its suppleness and elasticity, collagen makes up the walls of those blood vessels, which carry oxygen, water and other nutrients to the skin.
Other superfoods for this time of year include artichokes and beetroot to detoxify the liver; plus mushrooms for their fibre and thyroid-balancing selenium.
Finally, stress causes minerals to become depleted at a rapid rate. Magnesium levels, in particular, suffer – consequently so does your sleep. As magnesium can be absorbed directly through the skin, try bathing in Dead Sea Spa Magik Bath Salts, £4.29, before bed.
Conversely, instead of chugging on energy drinks to feel more awake, add a pinch of salt to your drinking water.
This floods your system with natural electrolytes and allows your body to work at peak performance. Win-win.
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An award-winning health and beauty writer, stylist and creative director, Lisa Oxenham is one of the UK’s top beauty editors and the Beauty and Style Director at Marie Claire UK. With 20 years of editorial experience Lisa is a brand partnership expert, and a popular speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of topics from sustainability to the future of beauty in the digital world. She recently spoke at Cognition X and Beauty Tech Live and is on the Advisory Board for the British Beauty Council’s Sustainable Beauty Coalition.
A well-respected creative director she works on celebrity, model and influencer shoots with the highest calibre of photographers, filmmakers, make-up artists and hairstylists to create timeless images, attention-grabbing videos, digital events and masterclasses. Most recently Lisa has directed covers such as Lily Cole and Jameela Jamil, films such as Save The Arts featuring Francesca Hayward and sustainable fashion shoots such as Be The Change. Supporting the beauty industry over the pandemic has been a top focus, directing the British Beauty Council’s six inspirational short biographical films for their Bring Back Beauty campaign.
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