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The Violet Files

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In honor of high summer, the Streicher sisters—makeup artist Jenn, hairstylist Ashley, and brow guru Kristie—share their tips for successful skinny dipping.

Written By:
Lena Raff

We Streichers grew up in a community called Lake of the Pines, which is way up north of Sacramento. As the name implies, it’s centered around a large body of water and is really far from the city, so skinny dipping was obviously a big part of our recreation—and it has never lost its appeal. If you ask us, the natural way is still the best way to go for a swim. While there are certain pitfalls to avoid (in one notorious episode from her early twenties, Jenn was chased off by the authorities after taking a nude swim in the fountain outside the capitol building in Sacramento), we consider skinny dipping to be one of life’s great joys.

Here, we share our collective sisterly tips on beauty and beyond while taking the plunge.

The Streicher Sisters

1. Don’t be the first one in the water
Your bathing companions might take your clothes and run! We used to do that to boys—don’t let it happen to you.

2. Go big
We’ve dipped all around the world, from the fountains of the state capitol to the seas of Croatia to deserted beaches in the Phillipines to the depths of Lake Como to the surf of Sayulita. It’s so liberating to be naked in a large body of water—you can’t get the same feeling from a bath or a hot tub. Just choose a secluded spot with clean water.

3. Commit
Do it with confidence: it’s the only way. Don’t just go halfway and take off your top or your bottom—it has to be both for the full experience. It’s very liberating.

4. Let your hair down
This is about being as free as possible.

5. Or, put it up
Like Bo Derek in 10, you might want to take advantage of this opportunity to put up your hair in beach braids. Ashley is the master of the form, and we make her French braid our hair before we go in the water. You want a tight braid (or braids) close to the head. It only gets better after swimming—Kristie will keep hers up for a week. In doubt? Ashley will be sharing her French braiding tips on The Violet Files next week—stay tuned!

6. Use makeup sparingly
It’s hard to get your face wet without rubbing your eyes, and it’s easy to wind up with a raccoon look, even with waterproof formulas—a big skinny dipping faux pas. If you can’t imagine going without, try Serge Lutens mascara—it doesn’t come off—or Lancome Aqua Cils, which is what Jenn uses for weddings (it’s a crying bride’s best friend).

Skinny dipping is most often an evening activity (the cover of darkness and so forth), but if you have the opportunity to engage by day, make sure that those areas that rarely see the sunshine are properly protected with a water-resistant formula. We suggest a nice mineral variation from French pharmacy staple Avène. For the face, tinted sunscreen is great if you want a little coverage but not a full face of makeup. The ones from Sisley and Laura Mercier are great, but be aware that the titanium dioxide in them will make you look pasty in flash photos. But you’re skinny dipping, so this is no time for Snapchat.

8. Wax wisely
If hair removal is part of your beauty repertoire, make sure your bikini wax or laser appointment falls at least a few days before the big reveal—skin is more susceptible to infection if you swim immediately after. And while on the subject, we’re currently intrigued by Fur Oil, a new product intended to soften the “hair down there” and prevent ingrowns—sounds like a pre– and post–skinny dipping imperative.

9. Be silky smooth
Ashley recommends: “I love getting lubed up with a good slippery body oil before skinny dipping. It makes your skin feel amazing when you’re naked in the water. Right now I am loving the French Girl Beauty oil or Rodin Olio Lusso.”

10. Après dip hydration
Swimming dries out your skin. Quell the thirst with something ultra moisturizing like La Mer or Caudalie body lotion or Leonor Greyl beauty enhancing oil (great for body or hair). Jenn recommends: “My dehydrated skin loves the La Prairie Swiss Ice Crystal cream and oil. First put a little cream on your fingertips, then mix it with a few drops of the oil and apply for a divine hydration boost.”

11. Slip into something comfortable
After swimming in the buff, comfort is king. Here are a few of our favorite coverups. Jenn recommends: “The Sleepshirt. I am constantly on the hunt for something classic and comfortable, and these supersoft ones inspired by 19th-century men’s nightshirts are just the thing.” Ashley recommends: “The softest, sexiest robe you can find, like this one from Dear Bowie (although on occasion I have been known to don my leather jacket post dip).” Kristie recommends: “A supersize fluffy, soft terry cloth robe is my go-to. I love this slightly masculine, slightly sexy gingham version from Marigot.”