As you’re probably well aware, being a human being (or a robot? Who can tell with technology these days! Tomorrow the world might end! If so, it was really lovely getting to know you, robots...), the holiday season is upon us. For a few lucky souls, that means getting away from it all, and for some luckier souls, that means getting away from it all to someplace warm. Or, even if you're staying put, you might be the luckiest type of soul who actually lives somewhere that’s warm right now (Southern Hemisphere, we're looking at you!). With all that in mind, we thought it the perfect time to prepare you for temperature extremes. First up: hot weather (which is to say, Part One). So jingle those bells, all the way.
If you’re going to be in the sun, first and foremost you want to take care of your skin (largest organ, friends! Take care of it so it can take care of you). Tans aren't that great, or anyway, you can get one from a bottle or a spray gun. Having great skin forever is just so much better. When it comes to sunscreens, stick with non-comodegenic (a.k.a. "doesn't clog pores") ones that won't make you feel sticky and disgusting/anything less than your babe-selves. And you know what else is great? Sunhats! Sleeves! Chilling out in the shade!
But if you do venture into the light, take a cue from L'Wren Scott and keep your beauty simple and stripped-down: kohl is your friend (we like MAC Eye Kohl or Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Black Velvet). Nothing's sexier in a sultry climate than a vamped-up eye and glowy skin. And, highlighters and bronzers were created to help you fake that (we enjoy Nars Body Glow oil for the body, and Michael Kors Leg Shine stick smells great and makes your gams gleam in that you're-in-a-photo-shoot-and-someone-just-rubbed-you-down way). Also remember Kate Hudson’s note about creams versus powders (in a warm climate, if you're well-hydrated, creamy makeup will look the most natural).
But back to the pre-gaming. What to pack/locate in your foreign locale? We looped in three excellent dermatologists (because what's better than a second opinion? A third! A fourth, counting ours!), combed through reader favorites, Top Shelf shout-outs, and our own packing lists, and this is what we came up with:
For your body:
Overall winner, especially if you’re lazy/ busy/not into lotions, not even a little bit: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist in SPF 45 is weightless and has that cool, 'clean feel' that is so light you think it couldn't possibly be working. It is—it's recommended for outdoor sports, but we like to think of our lives as a sport. You know? Walking is a sport. Reading on a beach towel can be a sport. Be more athletic.
For your face:
If you like the smell of sunscreen: "What matters is that your sunscreen is a texture you like, a smell you like, something you're going to be happy to use," L'Oréal Paris' consulting dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstner told us, recommending moisturizers enriched with SPF 15 to 30 for everyday use ("you can get sun damage through windows in your car and office, even just walking to get coffee from your office on a cloudy day"), and something closer to 50 for high-intensity sun exposure. If using a cream, apply "about as much as shotglass-full, and re-apply every time you get wet, or think you rubbed some off." L'Oréal Sublime Sun Crystal Clear Mist in SPF 50 is great, and you can get cream versions that will fit in your TSA-approved carry-on ("I brought twenty of them with my family to Costa Rica, and I never check luggage—nobody burned!"). Though the doctor reminds you to "remember to re-apply! And don't forget your scalp." We also like Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital (SPF 30), a vitamin-infused daily moisturizer that glides on silky and stays put. (The Bienfait line also makes an SPF 28 eye-specific sunscreen, which is delicate and awesome, since your browbone and under-eye areas are often forgotten.)
If you don’t: Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery (and proponent of the Melafind, a skin-cancer determining device), told us that "the best sun protection is avoiding the sun at its strongest (between 10am and 2pm), using a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, and reapplying constantly. Wear sun-protective clothing and seek shade whenever possible! Practice 'safe sun.'" Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Daily Face Shield (SPF 40) has a luminous effect on the skin; there's a reason Mercier was known as the go-to editorial makeup artist for glowy, beachy skin. Also, Michelle Harper has great skin and loves Elta MD SPF 30 Cream.
If you want some faux-color: Lorac protecTINT (SPF 30) is lightweight, oil-free, and very sheer.
If you're actually sporty, and maybe aquatically inclined: Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas (remember her? she answered some of our pressing deodorant questions) explained that "UV rays are absorbed by chemical sunscreens and thereby 'used up,' so a starting SPF of 30 will dwindle down to around SPF 15 by hour two. So, start with a higher SPF than that for better protection, re-apply every two hours and after water exposure and exercise, and the more water-resistant the sunscreen, the better." In that vein, Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream in SPF 38 does not mess around. It’s 'Very Water Resistant,’ and retains its sun-blocking power for 80 minutes after getting wet. Also! It’s recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. So, there you go.
For your other bodily parts:
Hair: Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum is ideal for tresses that stress out at the beach/humid climes. Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil is a Gloffice favorite and jam-packed with beach-ready UV filters to protect your head. And, it smells like vacation. Kérastase Huile Celeste protects, ups glimmer, and, notably, detangles (a cause that you know is dear to our hearts). Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray can be your spray-and-go styling tool at night, wherever/wherever, if insouciant waves are what you're after. (Aren't we all, always?)
Hands: Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream is paraben-free, enriched with natural oils and has an SPF of 25. Who would think about SPF hand cream! Deborah motherf*$*ing Lippmann is who. The product name leaves a little something to be desired, sure, but we guess "rich girls" have nice hands? And it doesn't matter, because it’s true that the first “sign” of your age is the backs of your hands. Also: use something to protect your nails from direct sunlight (even just a regular polish and top coat, in a pinch), but Duri Rejuvacote is good, healin’ joy for nails that have been made brittle or weak by sun/surf. Of course, you can avoid that situation altogether by swiping on Essie Sun-E polish, which protects against UVA/UVB rays.
Lips: Have you ever had sunburned lips? You know what’s not cute? Sunburned lips. Also, hurts like the dickens. Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment has a light sheen and SPF 38. Plus, the bullet is appealingly futuristic and 'cool,' so nobody will think that you’re that girl, primping by the shore. But! If you are that girl and don’t want anybody to know about it, Becca Beach Tints work for both cheek and lip, come in a bevy of flattering, natural shades, and are water-resistant. We also love Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balms (SPF 25), which come in all sorts of delicious flavorways.
If you don't heed our advice: ...and get too much of a good thing (well a thing that feels good but isn't really much good for you), may we recommend Jason Aloe Vera 98% Moisturizing Gel for soothing burns? Dr. Gerstner also notes that "taking an anti-inflammatory [such as ibuprofen] will help, right when you get burned, and so will soothing the skin with whole milk. It's the fat in the milk that helps, so skim won't work; it has to be whole. Then, just be sure to keep the burned skin out of the sun!" You heard her.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway. Bikini by Eres.