(Not Quite) Live From Barbados


It was on a beach in the Barbados a few weeks ago where I discovered that a Dirty Banana is the most enjoyable (alcoholic) drink I've ever tasted. It's the stuff that trips to tropical locales are made of—rum, fruit, chocolate, yes. Multiple yesses. And a few weeks later, it was at an apartment in Brooklyn where I realized that endless YouTube tutorials and plenty of Hershey's syrup aside, I couldn't come close to making it on my own.

I’ve heard rumors that things taste better on vacation than when you get back to reality. Luckily that is not that case with beauty products—the same SPF that works well in the Caribbean also does the job in New York. It's a fair assumption, but to be sure, I used my week on the beach as an experiment for some new products that could suit my routine this summer...because when your job is in beauty, why never not be working? Reviews below:

Coola SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray: They say it's unscented, but it smells like coconuts to me. And right off the bat, it absorbs immediately into skin, and other places—I sprayed a bit in my hair in an attempt to prevent color fading. It also comes in a convenient can with a sturdy, secure dispenser up top, so there’s no chance of accidentally spraying the inside of your tote in SPF. People will want to borrow it—you've been warned.

Sisley Tinted Sunscreen Cream: I’ve never felt ready to head to the beach or pool after applying just one product. It’s not that I want to wear a ton of makeup, but if I use a sunscreen I’ll usually chase that with some light coverage tint or at least a spot concealer. This two-step approach comes from a history of hybrid products leaving me overly bronze or with a cast of weird residue. But this new guy from Sisley does everything you want and nothing you don’t. It gives you pretty comprehensive coverage without looking like a mask. After application, it feels like it bonds with your skin, leaving your complexion super smooth and even—and completely protected from the sun.

La Mer After Sun Enhancer: OK so you got the color you wanted, but not the dewiness you associate with “tropical getaway”? That’s what this new La Mer gel lotion is for. It’s got a light scent that’s something like Lemonheads, the self-tanner I used in high school (Jergens?), but with a sophisticated floral note. It cools down your body, while adding just a lick of warm highlighting sheen.

Giorgio Armani Maestro UV: This is labeled as a primer, but I used it on its own during off days when I didn’t want any color on my face—days when a good book and maybe a baseball cap were involved. It dispenses via a dropper and is creamy white at first. It left my face feeling moisturized and plump, not tight, like many primers do. And if I wanted to put on makeup, I’d be all ready. It has a slight scent, which doesn’t bother me—but what I do mind is the size of the dropper, since I want to slather my face in this as quickly as possible all summer long.

—Claire Knebl

Your face is covered, but what about your hands? Here are a slew of hand creams that have SPF in them.