We love nothing more than spending the rare sunny summer days outside catching some rays – lounging on the grass or by the pool with a book and a cold cocktail, all while listening to some chilled summer tunes that slowly lull us into a soft slumber. That is, until we wake up an hour later, beetroot red and covered head to toe in insect bites. Thank you Beijing summer. In preparation for the next bout of long sunny days – that we certainly hope to see soon – we've rounded up our favourite (and easy-to-find) products to keep you protected from the sun and those creepy critters.
1. Rhodiola Fine Whitening Protection Lotion
With a sun protection factor of 30 and a promise to moisturise and protect against ageing, this product also claims to help protect your skin against pollution, making it an attractive proposition in Beijing. Be aware though that it's a whitening sunblock, so you might start to get paler the more the sun comes out...
2. Limi Sunblock
At 25 SPF, plus an 'anti-sweat formula' and moisturising ingredients, Limi's sunblock is compact, smells pleasant, and is sure to keep the sun's harmful rays at bay. It's another one that contains the ever-ubiquitous whitening factor, however.
3. Lemongrass Essential Oil
240RMB, eco & more
Unfortunately, as the sun comes out, so do the mosquitoes. A nicely scented liquid, this is one half of eco & more's plan of attack against the invading insects. Small enough to pop in your bag, the bottle's formula is lemongrass-based, which mozzies dislike. It's a little overly oily but proves a strong repellent. Buy it here
4. Anti-mosquito Soy Wax Candle
155RMB (large); 55RMB (small), eco & more
The second half of eco & more's anti-mosquito arsenal, this soy wax candle is an environmentally friendly way of keeping the bitey little bastards at bay – while we love the smell of these candles, the insects hate it, making for an effective form of defence. Buy it here
5. Huoxiang Zhengqi Shui
12.40RMB, most pharmacies around town
This potion promises to cure everything from sunstroke to dehydration. Inside the box are tiny rows of liquid, tasting like a mix of aniseed, liquorice and poison. Assuming you can overcome the flavour, this concoction helps to keep you hydrated and cool over the summer.
6. Liu Shen Anti-mosquito Spray
15RMB, most convenience stores around town
If you're one of those smug people that rarely gets bitten, this cheap and cheerful mosquito spray might be all you need. It's light, doesn't contain DEET, and smells fresh. Best of all, it's available on pretty much every street in the city.
7. Winshield Anti-Mosquito Spray
This nifty little spray smells truly awful, but it's effective and long-lasting, so fortunately you don't need to reapply too often. Just go lightly on it, otherwise it won't only be the mozzies who you scare away.
8. Watsons Sun Protection Facial Cream
You can't go wrong with Watsons' own branded range of sun care products. The 30SPF sunblock isn't oily, doesn't contain whitening cream, and even smells pretty nice. A summer must.
9. Vitamin Face Mist
50RMB, Yves Rocher
Purporting to smell like pink grapefruit, this product is designed to keep your face cool on a sweltering day. The scent is certainly light and pleasant – although not especially grapefruity – and the bottle is small enough to pop in your handbag. We'd suggest going gently when spritzing on your face though, otherwise it might backfire and make you look like you're sweating profusely. Wrist spritzing may be a safer bet.