Having a "beach body" is easy–you simply take your body to the beach. You don't need to juice, fast, or go on any other crazy pre-holiday diet, and you certainly CAN eat carbs before El Nido, or whatever other sun-soaked destination you're headed to.
However, loads of us struggle to maintain an "I look awesome" attitude when we're basically in our undies–a privilege usually reserved for partners and doctors–in front of a bigger audience, to the point where it can turn a dream holiday into a body-confidence nightmare.
This is where these clever tips come in. From confidence-boosting beauty tips to optical illusions we can ALL learn to create, these tiny tweaks can make you feel much happier about being, well, naked in public.
1. Try heaps of stuff on
Your bikini doesn't have to be a trend-led string-side number. Before investing in your summer suit, test out a variety of different styles, sizes, cuts and materials. While you might not feel amazing in a halter neck, you could feel fab in the same print, just with some more supportive shoulder straps. Don't discount high-waisted bikinis either–if you're conscious of your tummy, they're a great halfway point between covering up completely and flashing a flirty patch of skin.
2. Get a tan
No we don't mean go and bake yourself in the sun (unless you're slathered from head to toe in SPF, of course). A little bit of fake bake can go a long way to boosting your confidence. A subtle tan can make your limbs appear more toned and improve the appearance of cellulite, without masking your shape.
Alternatively, if you're not keen on the uber-bronzed look, but still want your skin to look tip-top, exfoliation is another easy way to make yourself look fresh and glowing in a matter of minutes. Use a gentle scrub and remember to moisturize afterwards–it'll get rid of any dry patches and leave your pores looking healthy and hydrated.
4. Waterproof your makeup
For some of us, it's not the thought of getting our limbs out that knocks our confidence–it's being seen with a bare face. And heavy makeup doesn't really bode well in the summer months: If you manage not to sweat it all off, it can go a bit cakey and crap in the heat. So if you really want coverage, go with a slick of BB cream and some waterproof eye makeup that will last through any number of banana boat rides. You'll still feel polished but won't have to worry about melted makeup. Plus, you'll have more time to focus on the important stuff, like ordering the next round of poolside cocktails.
5. Stand up straight
Even the most toned gals don't feel their best hunched over, as posture makes ALL the difference when you've not got layers to hide beneath. Let's all agree to stop sucking everything in (it's uncomfortable and impossible to maintain anyway). Just stretch up tall, throw your shoulders back, and stand with as much confidence as you can muster. Straightening your spine is literally the quickest and most effective change you can make, and it's free, so don't underestimate its value.
6. Choose the foods that work for your body
Not to be confused with dieting, obvs. Choosing foods that prevent you from feeling sluggish or bloated can help you feel lighter, healthier and all round up for bikini-clad adventure. It's not a case of healthy vs. unhealthy–vegetables like broccoli and legumes like beans can cause bloating, and they're really good for you. So, if you want your tummy to feel fabulous during your beach day, go for anti-bloat options like leafy greens, potassium-rich fruit such as banana and melon, or probiotic yogurt.
7. Think about your hair
"Big hair don't care" really does apply here, as curling or volumizing your hair draws attention to the upper half of your body, balancing your silhouette and providing a distraction from any parts you're not so keen on. Ponytails are also effective, as they add height to your stature and stretch you out, or ladies with a short crop can try a wide-brimmed sun hat instead.
8. Try a heel
Only if it's practical, obviously–it's much safer to have a confidence wobble than a physical, leg-breaking wobble!–but opting for a wedge sandal or small heel can make your entire body appear longer and leaner, just as it does when you're wearing a killer dress, or a freshly-pressed interview outfit.
9. Look to others
There are hundreds of thousands of pictures of stunning women in their bikinis online, and not just of those whose dress sizes are in the single digits. Looking at their snaps can give you a much healthier sense of perspective when you can't find it looking at your own body–try My Body Gallery, where you can search pictures of woman who weigh, wear the same size, or are the same shape as you. Seeing how amazing they look will help you realize that you do, too! Now dig your toes into that sand and get too busy enjoying yourself to care what other people think.
This article originally appeared on Comopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.