At age 14, my best friend and I used to find our way to the beach no later than 7am every day. Wearing mismatched bikinis, low-top Vans, and carrying 9-foot longboards over our heads, we’d spend the entire day talking about how we could get two different colored eyes like Kate Bosworth (our idol) and conning the concession stand guys down the road into give us free popsicles. Yes, the struggles of growing up in Southern California are real. We never brought towels, and we hardly wore sunscreen. That was a typical summer for us—until friends of ours started getting skin cancer removed from their backs, their noses, their shoulders, and we started pouring on SPF 50 and zinc. We were tan, had perfected the messy beach waves, and couldn’t have been in better shape (surfing takes muscles you don’t even know you have).
As I got a little older, the whole beach bum thing became less appealing—but surf spray didn't (I still keep a bottle full of ocean water in my bathroom in lieu of hairspray). I also continue to use the melted surf wax in my car as Chapstick. How does that saying go? If it's not broken, don't fix it? And now for my list of beach bum holdovers that work for surfers and non alike.
We’ve heard it a million times –sunscreen is key. I’ll say it one more time: Even if you’re tan, even if you never ever burn, get some SPF. For water babies like myself, I say pick up a waterproof sunscreen—two in fact; one for your face and one for your body. Sisley Paris' Super Stick Solaire Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is awesome because it has a bit of tint, is water resistant, and can be tossed into your backpack (takes up hardly any room at all, which is important when you’re lugging around your wetsuit, board, etc.). For body, Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Lotion will stay on even if you're in the water all day. But if you want to know a secret, almost every pro surfer I know—guy or girl—swears by Shiseido's Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion. If you forget sunscreen and have to run to the nearest Walgreens, Nuetrogena Ultra-Sheer is your go-to.
Since salt water and sand create a really natural exfoliant, I always need to hydrate after the beach. I used to just cut aloe vera off the branch and rub it over any remotely burned areas, but an after sun moisturizer or face oil is probably more convenient for most people. Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Ge l is a great one.
If you love the sun as much as I do, you have to find a way to make sure it’s not becoming an abusive relationship. Enter hair sunscreen. Without it, your hair just turns into brittle, course strings of overcooked Capellini pasta. Alba Botanica makes a dry oil with SPF that is great for your hair and body—and Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil is water resistant and made naturally from wintergreen and cinnamon-bark oils. After you get out of the water, it’s a good idea to comb your hair through (even with your fingers!) and pull it back into a braid or bun just to keep it from tangling and breaking.
It’s pretty simple: don’t bother. Honestly, if you let the salt and sand just do what they do best, your skin will be clear and glowing in no time at all. But if you’re going straight from the beach to work or school (like I often did), throw a lip tint (I always carry RMS Lip2Cheek), and a highlighter to really bring out the sun-kissed glow (Nars' Illuminatorin Hot Sand is great because it’s subtle) in your bag. When you get home after a long day in the sun, put on Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask , and call it a day. Repeat forever—or move away to Alaska.
Photo courtesy of the author._