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Last-Ditch Bikini Prep Tips

Every time we visit the beach, it's like another debut of our hard-earned bikini bodies—which can be unnerving, even if you've been putting in extra time at the gym. But it doesn't have to be! As someone who needs to be ready to rock a teeny bikini at a moment's notice, I've learned a few last-minute tricks to guarantee that I look and feel my best.

These last-ditch bikini prep tips take little time and even less effort, but they'll leave you feeling strong, confident, and sexy when your toes hit the sand. Pick the ones that apply to you the most, or use them all! It's my foolproof plan for looking fabulous at a pool party, boat trip, or just a day at the beach with friends. 

A cute outfit doesn't hurt, either! Here are 30 Sexy Swimsuits Built for Action when you plan on being active. If your lower-half is your concern, consider this guide to finding The Most Flattering Bikini Bottom for Your Butt.

Diet

1. Banish belly bloat. Avoid cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, and bok choy the day you're donning a bikini. While these foods are nutritional powerhouses and should be eaten as often as possible, they're tendency to cause bloating makes them a poor choice for a day at the beach. Besides select fruits and veggies, steer clear of these 5 Seemingly-Harmless Foods That Cause Belly Bloat.

2. Fill up on flat-belly foods. Reach for hydrating foods to help flush waste and excess water from your system, creating a lean, toned look. Made up of 92 percent water, grapefruit is an excellent choice, along with oranges and mushrooms.

3. Get regular. Bloating can also be a result of constipation, and the easiest way to relieve this is by eating high-fiber foods such as beans, oatmeal, and berries. My go-to breakfast before the beach is a bowl of oatmeal with flaxseed, almonds, and berries. (This Cherry-Almond Baked Oatmeal should do the trick!)

See what else to eat, drink, and avoid to Beat a Bloated Stomach.

Skin

1. Try airbrush tanning. There are many ways to get healthy, glowing skin before you step into the sun, but airbrush tanning is my favorite since it's completely safe and looks very natural. It can be pricey ($30 to $75 per session), but you'll look fresh off a tropical vacation for an entire week.

2. Safeguard your skin. You don't need me to remind you how important it is to wear sunscreen, but in case you haven't found a formula that works wells for your skin, check out this roundup of the best sun-protection products on the market right now. They're guaranteed to safeguard your skin and hair without the chalky, sticky, or smelly side effects.

3. Deepen your glow. For an extra bronzed bikini body, I love Maui Babe Browning Lotion ($15, mauibabe.com). The brown sugar-based product leaves your skin feeling moisturized and looking naturally golden brown. I wear this on top of an SPF since it's not meant to be worn as sunscreen.

Scared of streaks? We tapped an insider for Self-Tanner Application Tips You Won't Find on the Bottle.

Hair

1. Get perfect, beachy waves. My trick to get those loose, natural curls isn't that surprising (or hard to copy!). I simply apply a little product (Bumble and bumble. surf spray is my favorite) to damp hair before heading out in the sun. It gives my hair a sexy, wind-styled texture while also taming frizz and adding body—without any stiffness or crunch. You don't need a hairdryer, just the sun do it for you.

Tossled waves don't always require a full day at the beach. This video shows you how to Effortlessly Create Wavy Beach Hair, without going to the shore.

2. Wear a hat or use a protective hair spray. The sun can be very damaging to the hair, which is why it's important to protect it as much as possible. Without a hat or a protective spray, the sun can leave your hair looking brassy and dried out. I always use a protective spray on my hair any time I'm out in the sun for long periods of time. My favorite: Pureology Essential Repair Color Max ($40, amazon.com). I find it leaves my hair shiny, smooth, and damage-free.

3. Squeeze in some lemon for sun-kissed locks. Juice from real lemons can give your hair a natural sun-streaked style without any harsh chemicals. On days I'm heading to the beach for a few hours, I squeeze the juice from one or two lemons onto my hair and always come back with lighter, blonder locks. Just be sure to apply a deep conditioner afterward, as citrus juice can be very drying.

This citrus really is a go-to for beauty mavens. Just check out these 9 Lemon Beauty Recipes for a Sun-Kissed Glow for more.