You have a whole month to get yourself gorgeous, so start with your body and get on the treadmill everyday. OK, if that sounds unrealistic, aim for three times a week for 30 minutes. If you're disciplined about it through the four weeks and watch your diet, then you can drop at least 1-2kgs on the scale! The effort you put in will pay off when your friends marvel at your more slender physique. You only have to grit your teeth for a month - then you'll really appreciate the relaxation while you're away!
For a quick-fix slimming diet, Dubai-based nutritionist Kay Vosloo suggests going easy on white carbs (white rice, white breads and pastas) and dairy (milk and cheese). "Ditch dairy products for a month and switch to fresh, homemade almond milk (made by blending crushed almonds and water together). This can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Also drink loads of water everyday - it doesn't just help detox your skin, it also reduces fluid retention in the body, boosting the toned results from your exercise routine. "Although it sounds counter-intuitive, when you're amply quenched, your body doesn't feel the need to store excess water," she says.
It's a good time to start on some diet mineral and vitamin supplements to give yourself healthy hair and skin as well. Make a trip to the Organic Foods & Café, The Dubai Mall, and get yourself a month's course. After-meal supplements are easier to stick to. Stock them on the dining table so you can remember to have them after your meals everyday.
Now's the time also to get in a few face cleansing sessions to give your skin an added glow. Cleansing is a 30-minute salon treat with the benefits of a mini-facial but is safe to be done weekly as it doesn't comprise the steaming and blackhead extraction steps, which when overdone can lead to enlarged pores or over-sensitised skin with acne.
For hair, have a deep conditioning treatment done in the run-up to your trip. "It's always great to have your hair in top health before heading off on holiday," says Claude Hacache, senior stylist and manager at Toni & Guy, Dubai. "It makes you look and feel fresh, plus your hair copes better with the weather changes and the combined seawater, sand and sun assault if you're planning on some beach time," says Claude.
1. Grainleaf Organic Germinated Brown Rice, Dh39 for 1kg, Sino Chai - Dubai Healthcare City
2. BioCare Dermoguard Diet Supplement for healthy, glowing skin, Dh227 for 60 capsules, (to be taken twice a day), Organic Foods & Cafe - The Dubai Mall
Time's still in your favour so take the opportunity to do a thorough assessment of your skincare regime as well as the creams and jars on your dresser. Identify the products that have worked for you in the past and use them consistently for the next three weeks. If you've run out of your cleansing milk for example and are deliberating about whether or not to try a new, expensive brand, pull yourself together and simply buy a heavy-duty, wallet-friendly version from one of the supermarket brands. This way you won't skip an important cleansing step any night again.
Although you have four weeks to go, experimenting with a new hairstyle might not be a good idea just before your holiday. Instead utilise your time by freshening up your existing hairstyle with a neat trim and may be learn how to do a DIY blow dry to keep your hair looking glam through the vacation.
As for a quick summer body blitz, follow Dubai Herbal Clinic nutritionist Lily Mueller's advice. "Switch to the lightest possible dinner in the run-up to a holiday. An easily digestible dinner of soups, steamed vegetables and a small portion of light protein eaten early in the evening, means a flat tummy when you go away!" You'll also want to show off smooth, bump-free skin when you don that swimsuit, so don't be lazy about getting yourself a Moroccan bath too - the top-to-toe thorough scrubbing and deep cleansing removes dead skin layers, leaving the skin silky smooth and glowing.
1. Nivea Visage Indulging Cleansing Milk, Dh22, Carrefour
2. Sensai Kanebo Intensive Hair Mask, Dh256, Paris Gallery
With a fortnight at your disposal you still have time to get a few salon treats in. And there is nothing like a good-quality facial and a full body scrub to get your face and body skin in top shape instantly.
Leave body waxing for the last two days so that you don't end up with stubble in the middle of your holiday. And the day after your wax, you can get a fake tan. "A fake tan is a great pre-holiday quickfix as it helps you feel good about yourself," says Marie Moulds, San Tropez distributor Middle East. It just takes 15 minutes in a salon if you do the scrub at home beforehand, but the results are fabulous as it evens out the skin tone and gives you definition.
At home, get your body bikini-ready with daily body brushing with a good cactus-bristle brush - this gets the blood and lymphatic circulation going and your skin looks better.
For hair, leave it to the professionals at the hair salon to renew your hair colour. For post-colour maintenance follow Claude's two simple rules: "First, shampoo less. If you shampoo your hair more than three times a week the cuticle layers of your tresses can be lifted, causing the colour to fade and lose its vibrancy. For oily scalps fix it with a little dry shampoo! The second rule is to condition hair more often. Using a deep-treatment mask will seal the colour and shine in," says Claude.
1. Tantastic Instant Spray tan, Dh95, Spinneys
2. The Body Shop Cactus Body Brush, Dh60, The Body Shop
With a matter of days to go, you'll probably only be able to squeeze in a day of salon luxury, plus some sneaky DIY fixes! With all the last-minute shopping and packing gobbling up the hours before you leave, you'll want to DIY the time-consuming tasks, namely hair colour and facial. Pick a home hair colour box from the supermarket. "Wash your hair two days before you plan to colour it," says Khaled Kahel, Dubai-based hairstylist. "The grease and dirt on an unwashed scalp acts like a protective layer against the harsh colour chemicals," he says. For grey roots, be sure to apply the colour to the hair roots first to give it extra time. For an effective at-home facial, you need is a bowl of warm water, a scrub, cleansing milk, face cream and a face mask. Start by cleansing the skin, follow it with the scrub, cleanse again and then apply a face pack to close the pores. After rinsing off the mask, apply a toner and finally seal the moisture by massaging in your favourite face cream!
It's best to visit the salon two days before the holiday to tackle multiple grooming issues - get yourself an arms and legs wax, a hair trim and eyebrow threading. And you'll definitely want chip-free nails throughout the holidays, so pencil in a Shellac UV-cured manicure and pedicure too. It doesn't take much time but will leave your talons looking super-gorgeous all vacation long - the nail colour lasts for three weeks without chipping.
1. Kelly Van Gogh Masterblend Luxury Hair Colour, Dh160, Makeup Etc- Palm Strip Mall
2. Nuxe Masque Purifiant Doux, Boots