The maxim "now panic and freak out" probably best sums up my usual approach to preparing myself for spring/summer exposure. I like to ignore climate cues for as long as possible, working knits, long sleeves and heavy opaque tights into my spring wardrobe, my only concession to the sun's warming presence the addition of a pair of shades to my cover-all ensemble.
This inevitably means that I'm caught decidedly on the hop if a spell of properly gorgeous weather or last-minute holiday necessitates the baring of so much as a forearm.
This year, though, I have a plan. (I know it's revolutionary, but it just might work.) Instead of feverishly trying to magic my dry, hairy, uneven, bumpy winter coat into something resembling summer skin overnight, I'm going to very modestly tweak my routine and the products that I use.
The hope is that, without even noticing that I'm doing anything extra, I'll almost accidentally manage to get my skin to a place where I'm happy enough to shed some layers with a moment and a half's notice (and without undergoing the intensive annual overhaul.) So, what am I using?
1. Shower Oil
I'm a recent shower oil convert/addict. At the moment, I'm loving L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil which smells a bit like marzipan and feels very like a thick, slippery shower gel. Suds fans will be reassured by the fact that it lathers, the slippy of foot will like that it doesn't turn the bottom of the tub or tray into a skating rink, and those without the time or perhaps the inclination to moisturise post ablution will benefit from its respect for the hydrolipidic film and its skin softening abilities.
Oh, and it also works as a shaving unction so everybody wins - well everybody bar the almond/marzipan haterz, and sure they could always give Aveeno Bath and Shower Oil, The Body Shop Moroccan Argan and Orange Bath/Shower Oil or No7 Luxurious Foaming Shower Oil a whirl instead.
2. Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Cocoa Body Scrub
A body polish loaded with cocoa butter, shea butter, Vitamin E and crushed cocoa beans, Palmers Cocoa Body Scrub reminds me a lot of Lush Buffy Body Butter, moisturising as it exfoliates, and is so thick that it's easy to see why the manufacturers had to put it in a tub.
The only pump mechanism that might have a shot of dispensing this stuff is the one normally found on the back of cement lorries and thus ever so slightly impractical for the average bathrooms.
The fact that it's so thick actually works to its advantage in a shower situation: where many body polishes (including Buffy, wah) melt away at the first sign of water: this one resolutely stays on skin until thoroughly massaged in and washed away.
3. A razor in my sight line
Quite simply, if there isn't a razor right in my face when I'm in the shower it doesn't matter how thickly forested any part of my anatomy is: it won't occur to me that there's a need to shave until there's a sleeveless or legless garment in the immediate future. It's more "duh, obvious much?" than rocket science, but having my razor where I can see it in the place where I'm most likely to use it means that, well, I actually will.