I, like many other women of color but especially those living in South East Asia, have honed down ways to stay cool this summer. Having to live in perpetual summer heat may appear heavenly but as someone who lives in the tropics, I can assure you it’s far from that.
More often than not, I am constantly sweating as I navigate my way through sticky crowds and try to hide from the scorching afternoon sun. The average temperature for Singapore is a balmy 27ºC (81ºF) year-round. Read on to find out how we keep our cool and look hot at the same time.
The art of staying cool in the summer
Did you know eating spicy food is a common solution for alleviating the heat in this part of the world? Surprising, I know, but it’s true. Besides that, there are other ways to stay fresh, stay cool and look hot at the same time with these tips straight from the Equator.
1. Stay cool by working up a little sweat
So, all those hours spent at the gym have finally paid off and you’re confident and ready to take on the summer! You deserve to show off your body – you’ve worked, but make sure you pay attention to the upkeep.
- Protect your body and prevent sun damage by wearing a good sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection, remember to re-apply throughout the day, and wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
- If you live close to a body of water or water sports facility, take up a new water hobby for the summer. Surfing and wakeboarding are great ways to show off your cute bikinis or to keep you cool while toning up.
- Do exercises outdoors as it can help with relieving stress, tension and keep depression and anger in check as opposed to doing activities enclosed. You’ll also see an improvement in your hand-eye coordination, focus, and flexibility, giving you more confidence to flaunt your skin during the hot summer months.
- For the women of color without the luxury of time to sit next to a pool of water, facial mists are an affordable and convenient alternative to keeping cool and requires a lot less energy than cooling yourself with a makeshift fan. Facial mists also relax your skin, which is great news for those of us with sensitive skin that can be aggravated by hot weather. They are readily available at drugstores in easy to carry, portable sizes. Your skin will also look fresh and dewy, upping your hotness factor!
2. Curate Your Summer Wardrobe
Just because you look hot, doesn’t mean you can’t be cool in South East Asia. One of the most exciting things about the season is putting together the perfect summer wardrobe.
- Store away the drab, dark colors of winter and bring out your brightest summer dresses! Mood-boosting colors such as yellow and pink will make you appear more approachable and youthful while blue and green will invoke a sense of relaxation and optimism respectively. Wearing these colors will make you feel cooler and those around you happier, making you more attractive!
- When living in a tropical climate, smart women of color stay away from tight-fitting clothing and opt for loose styles instead. Maxi dresses are wonderfully versatile and can amp up the glamorous factor by one hundred percent for a night out, or work well for a casual, low-key Sunday brunch. Their forgiving nature means they can be flattering on any body shape.
- Fabric choice is so much more effective in keeping you cooler than it is to show off as much skin as possible. Women in South East Asia can be very modest in their dressing, often covering themselves from head to toe – and their secret to keep the sweat at bay lies in their fabric choice.
- Linens, cotton clothing, and jerseys are lightweight and comfortable even in stifling conditions, and their breathability means that you can rest assured even if you do sweat, any moisture will quickly be wicked away from your body, keeping you cool and refreshed.
3. Treat Yourself to Summer TLC
Sometimes, the best thing to do when the mercury rises is to cool yourself off with a refreshing scoop of ice sherbet. Treat yourself to the occasional indulgent moment and let go of holding yourself back. Just stay away from that pint of Ben & Jerry’s – you will be happier without it.
- Instead, go for a healthy smoothie or make some Cheng TNG (literally ‘clear soup’) to help you stay cool in the summer. Cheng TNG is a refreshing dessert from Singapore loaded with ingredients such as dried dates, lotus seeds, and gingko nuts. Recipes for Cheng TNG are easy to find with a quick Google search, but this one also breaks down the health benefits of this wonderful Asian dessert.
- Soaring temperatures are a perfect excuse to head to the salon for a pampering session: try out a new haircut, go to the spa for a detoxifying massage, or spend a few extra minutes on your nighttime skincare regime. I’ve always been meaning to try out a homemade facial mask. (Does anyone have a good recipe to share?)
- If your body doesn’t feel like working out, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and take it easy and reflect on what you really want. The best thing to do is to be in tune with yourself and do that workout out of respect for yourself and not out of a sense of obligation.
- Try taking up meditation to clear your mind instead. Most importantly, forgive yourself for being a bit lazy every now and then.
4. Spice Things Up
Diet also plays an important part in attaining and maintaining a natural radiance. It is common knowledge in South East Asia that the papaya fruit promotes a healthy digestive system.
On top of this, it also alleviates skin inflammation and contains high levels of antioxidants that keep signs of aging in check. It’s also delectably sweet and makes for a great snack on its own, in a salad, or with yogurt.
There are plenty of other fruits that are great for cooling off – please share them if you have any to recommend! Ironically, one of the best stay cool this summer tips is to eat spicy foods. The sweat caused by eating spicy food actually helps you cool down faster.
It’s a lot more effective than downing a cold smoothie, which can actually work against you as your internal body temperature rises to compensate for the sudden change in temperature.
Sambal, one of the spiciest (and delicious) condiments I have ever tried, is a hot sauce that is native to South East Asia and sends tears down my face every time I eat it. The main ingredient, chili pepper, is rich in antioxidants and boasts anti-inflammatory benefits too.
To top it all off, sambal is a great metabolism booster, helping you keep that waistline in check – no wonder South East Asian women love eating it.
How do people in your part of the world stay cool in the summer? Comment below with your cool tips!
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