As mid-September brings with it the last few days of sunshine and scorching temperatures with a heatwave, it’s safe to say we all need help keeping cool while at home, as the majority of the UK are without air conditioning.
Sweltering temperatures may be lovely for sunbathing in the garden but a heatwave is not so comfortable when you’re trying to work from home and get to sleep.
While in a perfect world we’d have air conditioning blaring through our rooms and a permanent feeling of stepping out of a refreshing cold shower, for now, we’ll have to make do with products that will keep us cool instead.
Ahead we have everything you need to avoid melting at home this summer in our guide to staying cool and comfortable.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best fans
An obvious choice, but the right fan means saying goodbye to sticky, sleepless nights.
Not only is this a fab fan – almost silent, noticeably smooth air flow, automatic operation and no dangerous blades – but it doubles up as an effective heater in winter, and it also purifies air, capturing allergens, bacteria, pollen and mould spores inside your home.
It’s best used with the Dyson Link app (handy for pre-setting when you’re away from home), although the LCD screen has some onboard controls. The technology provides a wealth of information, including room temperature, the air quality both inside and outside your home, and which particles and gases it has detected. According to our reviewer, for cooling and heating your home with clean air, we reckon this three-for-the-price-of-one machine is the best there is.
The best bedding
The fabric of your bedsheets plays an important role in keeping cool at night. Linen is perfect for year-round style as it’s breathable, durable, lightweight and adapt to the seasons to keep you cool in summer and toasty in winter.
Its naturally crumpled texture means it looks better wash after wash, without the need to iron it.
Linen also boasts impressive eco-credentials: it’s made from the long fibres of the flax plant – one of the oldest continuously cultivated plants in the world, and a renewable source that’s fully biodegradable – so you can sleep soundly, snuggled up in your environmentally friendly bedding set.
Our favourite set in our IndyBest review of linen bedding is the Chalk Pink Linen Co natural ticking linen set (Chalk Pink Linen Co, £159) available in double, king and super king sizes. The set includes a duvet cover, two pillowcases and a fitted sheet which can be washed in a machine at 40C.
The gentle grey and white stripe look like cosy pyjamas while the bumpy texture of the double duvet cover, pillowcases and “still white” sheet (sold separately) we tested proved impossible not to stroke. Super soft and lightweight, incredibly cosy, and effortlessly chic… suffice to say, this ticking stripe linen bedding ticked a lot of boxes.
The best nightwear
Lightweight pyjamas in breathable fabrics are a godsend to stop you overheating. As an all-round multitasking material, linen is up to the job, as it dries quicker than cotton, so you won’t wake up with a soggy top.
Other options include silk, which if you’re willing to splash out, is moisture-wicking and super soft on the skin. Bamboo, an eco-friendly alternative to silk that’s also more affordable, but it looks and feels almost the same as silk and is breathable, too. There’s also rayon, a man-made fabric created from cotton and wood pulp, which is also widely used to imitate silk.
This Nightire lobster roll short set (Brooks and Sharpe, £59) were one of our favourite sets in our IndyBest round-up of women’s summer pjs. We found them to be the perfect compromise if you don’t have a budget that stretches to afford a silk set. These pJs are made from 100 per cent bamboo, which is environmentally friendly and moisture-wicking.
The bottoms are elasticated with a scalloped bottom and the shirt also has a top-right pocket, but we really love the subtle detail of an embroidered outline of a closed eye on either lapel, reminding us that these are to sleep in, but we’d happily wear them anywhere.
They’re oh-so-silky to wear and we didn’t overheat in bed. We’re absolutely obsessed with them. Available in sizes XS-XL and there’s cute matching scrunchies and eye masks, too.
It goes without saying that when it’s hot, you should drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting dehydrated.
Plus, it’s a great opportunity to cut down on single-use plastic water bottles and switch to a reusable version which will prevent marine pollution, and of course, save you money. It’s a no-brainer.
In our review of reusable water bottles, the Thermos super light direct drink flask in rose pink, 350ml (Lakeland, £21.99) came out on top. It holds an impressive 350ml of liquid despite its size and is super lightweight too, making it brilliant for squeezing into a handbag when you return to your commute.
The clever flip-lock airtight design ensures this will never leak or spill (it didn’t!) and there is an insert inside the mouth of the flask for easy sipping on the go. It’s a little fiddly to hand wash all the components of the lid after something like soup (again, not dishwasher-proof) but overall a brilliant and reliable buy.
All Thermos products are brilliant for keeping things hot or cold, and this model keeps soups, coffee etc piping hot for eight hours and drinks cool for 24.
Spritz skin with a face mist
For when you’re sunning yourself outside or struggling to work at your makeshift desk during the lockdown, a spritz from a face mist is the perfect pick-me-up.
Not entirely just indulgent either, though scented ones can make a lovely treat. The Avène soothing thermal spring water spray (Boots, £13) is one we can’t do without.
It soothes hot skin if you’ve spent too much time in the sun, takes the sting out of patches of eczema, is anti-inflammatory for sensitive skin and most importantly, cools you down when it’s too hot. It comes in handbag-friendly sizes all the way up to a 330ml jumbo size spray, which will last you months, no matter how liberally you spritz it.
Keep it by your bedside at all times and our top tip is to spray it onto the face and body, then sit directly in front of a fan. The mist will go ice cold with the cool air and instantly make you feel better.
Put your skincare tools in the fridge
Adapt to the hot weather by incorporating a facial massage into your skincare routine, using tools that will cool you down.
A little TLC can go a long way to alleviate stress and tension and using your hands and tools like a jade roller can help reduce water retention, sculpt your jawline, de-puff tired eyes and refresh lacklustre skin to make a makeup-free face feel rejuvenated.
A jade roller is a paint-style roller tool with a larger stone on one end for your cheeks, forehead and jawline and a smaller stone at the other end for under the eyes and around the mouth. Pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes before use to cool down overheating skin.
Celebrity aesthetician, Nichola Joss, who counts Meghan Markle, Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss recommended the Herbivore jade facial roller (Cult Beauty, £26) especially on puffy eyes from any sleepless nights. Gently roll it across your skin, working in small sections.
Keep your hair out of your face
There’s nothing worse than sweaty strands of hair getting in your way while you’re trying to work. And while we’re in lockdown, many of us with long locks are living in a permanent messy bun.
If you have baby hairs or layers at the back that never stay tucked in with a hair tie, try a colourful headband that is fashionable and functional.
This Asos design knot headband in khaki satin plisse (Asos, £8) will make a stylish addition to your wardrobe while keeping your hair in place and as a bonus will cover up any bad hair days you might have.
Get creative in the kitchen
Hot weather calls for ice cream, sorbet and lollies galore. Whip up frozen treats at home with an ice cream machine, many of which are versatile enough to create any number of desserts.
Our favourite is the Magimix gelato expert (Nisbets, £429.99) which while expensive, is well worth the investment.
If you’re an ice cream obsessive, it doesn’t get better than this, allowing you to make all the more predictable flavours right through to the weird and wonderful such as roasted pineapple, mascarpone and black pepper ice cream and watermelon and tomato sorbet.
Our reviewer loves the dense but creamy granita. It’s quick, with “cooking time” taking as little as 20 minutes, and consistent in its results, while the three automated programmes make it a doddle to use (for more tailored results, you can override it with manual modes) and it has a generous two litre capacity.
If you’re after a machine more budget-friendly, try the Krups ice cream maker GVS141 (Love Ice Creams, £50.94) which as long as you pre-freeze the removable bowl for 10 to 12 hours, you can enjoy soft scoop ice cream and sorbets in just 20 minutes.
It makes about a litres worth, which should be enough to feed a family and it’s got some handy features, such as the clear lid to check on progress and the splash guard to keep things clean.
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