Please don’t skip over this part, there is some good stuff in here!
Research the event and location. Find out if the event is in a hotel. Hotels are air conditioned and are the most common location for events. However, if the event is at a bar, a convention center, warehouse, or some other location, contact the event lead or place of business to find out if there is air conditioning. No matter where the event is, read the information or ask if any of the events or vending is outdoors, so you know what to expect. If you really have issues with the heat or can’t cool down your costuming, it’s best to skip the outside events and outdoor based conventions. If the outside events are only a day or few hours worth, then may find many of the suggestions in this article very useful!
Here’s a staple basic – drink lots of water. If you don’t like water, get those Mio Shakers or Crystal Lite to add flavor to your water, or drink water based drinks like gatorade, lemonade, and iced tea. It’s okay to have soda with your dinner, but avoid it a majority of the time as it can contribute to dehydration. You can also adjust your eating habits to promote a cooler body temperature. Eat light and cool foods, like sandwiches (Tip – salami and pepperoni do not require refrigeration), salads, potato salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, hummus wraps, gazpacho, fresh fruits and veggies, and snacks keep you going between meals (like pudding, chips, Little Debbie Cakes). Eat salty foods, because salt makes your body retain water. Eat spicy foods that will promote sweating. Don’t be afraid to sweat! This is your bodies’ natural way of cooling down the body.
In the heat, there’s really no way to avoid sweating. If you stop sweating, you need to get out of the heat because this is a sign of heat stroke and IT IS DEADLY! Since we are on the topic of sweat, we all know this comes with body odor. We have found that you can purchase clinical strength deodorant over the counter from brands like Secret , Degree, Dove, Gillette, etc. We (both male and female crew members) have used this stuff and it’s fan-frickin-tastic! It keeps you protected for HOURS. We like to bring it with us around the con floor in a bag so we can re-apply later in the day… if we even need it.
This may sound strange, but our lovely Captain uses deodorant under the breasts to help keep them dry and to protect against heat rash and yeast infection (yes, you can get those in other places too). Guys might feel like this part is just about women, but the unwise man may find out that MEN can get yeast infections too. Yeast is a natural bacteria that is found on the human body, but in moist hot conditions they can breed an over population and cause a lot of discomfort for both men and women. You can get yeast infections on your naughty bits (both upper and lower hemisphere), your feet, and arm pits. Another way to avoid yeast infections and heat rashes is to use baby powder (like your mother did for you when you were in diapers), and to change socks and underwear often. Bring several pairs of CLEAN undies, bras, and socks, and then make time to change them out a few times during the day. In fact, if you can sneak in a shower before meals and change your delicates out, you’ll be avoiding infection, odor, and con crud too. A tip for the ladies, don’t wear a bra or underwear to bed – let your unmentionables air out overnight in comfort. A tip for everyone, shower BEFORE bed, not just in the morning. You want to be clean and dry and wash off all the germs you may have picked up while out on the con floor so your body and rest with you. You can also use Fabreeze on clothing to help minimize body odor and embarrassment – and it saves life long friendships from suffering the wrath of Steamfunk (a term used by Cpt. Whittaker). For us heftier ladies and gentlemen, we can avoid chafing on the thighs and other areas with creams like Goldbond and Baby Butter. Several ladies have recommended wearing bike shorts under the skirts to protect the thighs, which our Captain has used and it works great.
Ladies have also suggested the use of face powder (such as Airspun Powder) to keep the face dry and cool. There are SPF makeup products you can use to protect against sunburn too. SPF is a measurement used to identify the strength of sunscreen needed to protect your skin against UV rays from the sun. If you’re like me and don’t wear makeup, then just use sunblock to avoid sunburns. I’ve been suggested to use BB Cream as well. Make sure to apply sunblock on all exposed skin which includes cleavage, chest, front and back of the neck, face, legs, arms and shoulders, and even the ears if you have short hair. Cutting your share short for the summer is an excellent contributer to keeping your head cool. My advise is to check yourself for sunburns every single time you go to the ladies room. If you just don’t like make-up and sunblock, then make sure to wear light fabrics to protect your skin. Parasols are a wonderful Victorian way to generate some shade too! Just remember that the paper parasols will ruin in the rain, so get a cloth/fabric parasol.
Hand fans go well with parasols. You can often buy matching parasol and fan sets. Yes, they are like the Asian hand held fans, but you can also find Victorian lace fans. Fans are a great way to cool your face and head and minimized heat induces headaches. Micro fans (battery operated fans) aren’t steampunk, but when you’re hot you won’t care; besides, with some creativity you could steampunk it! No matter what you wear or how cool your body is, if your head overheats you’ll sick. Having a cool face helps to take your mind off the rest of the body.