Sunscreen Diaries: The Model

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Life is full of challenges and we're about to throw another one at ya: Wear sunscreen every day. Sunny, overcast, whatever. We don't even care if it's ours! (That'd be great, but hey—live your life.) Just make sure you wear some sun protection. Sound good? Great. To inspire you, we threw this obstacle at three of our favorite New York women—along with a care package full of some of the top-rated and most-talked-about sunscreens to grace this domain. (The list: Coola Classic Sunscreen, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, La Roche-Posay Anthelios, Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream with SPF 25, Elta MD, and Glossier.) Then we asked them to keep a diary of the trial period. So far we've tested stylist Ilona Hamerand writer Marjon Carlos. To bring it home is model and known pale person Ali Michael. Make us proud:

Thursday, April 27th

Morning
I have super sensitive skin so my morning skincare routine is pretty much the same every day: I wash with Avène Antirougeurs Dermo-Cleansing Milk, follow up with Sunday Riley Luna Oil and the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich. Even in the spring and summer, I love a heavy moisturizer.

I'm obviously super pale—my nickname in 7th grade was "Glow Sticks" because of how pale my legs were—so I'm adamant about using sunscreen all the time. This morning I'm using Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 55 which I've used on-and-off since middle school. It's not my favorite because it's thick and has a heavy fragrance, but I can find it everywhere and it doesn't break me out. I'm also on a cleanse right now—I would normally be downing instant coffee, but I can't have caffeine—and my skin is definitely brighter and clearer, which helps motivate me to keep it up for the nine days I've got left.

Evening
I've got a flight to London tonight at 11pm. I always make sure that my Ziploc bag of liquids and gels is under my seat so I can grab it whenever I want. The first thing I use is Honest Hand Sanitizer Spray because who knows how many disgusting things I've touched at the airport? Then I spray my face with a travel-size Avène water and apply the Luna Oil and Glossier Rich Moisturizer. Then I usually apply Eight Hour Cream as lip balm and then re-apply and re-apply again. I also always bring Thermacare patches when I travel to put on my stomach. Have you ever seen what happens to a bag of chips or water bottle between take-off and landing? I feel like it does the same thing to our bodies. The heat from the patch just makes me feel like the traveling isn't taking such a hard toll on my internal organs.

Friday, April 28th

Morning
I slept a bit on the plane so I feel OK, although plane sleep never seems to count. It's raining in London (obviously) but I still use sunscreen—UV rays still get through clouds! Today I use La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60. I love the packaging because it's super slim and since I'm a horrible over-packer, the less space something takes up, the better. You do have to rub it in a fair amount like most sunscreens but eventually it pretty much feels like nothing is on my face.

Evening
Since flight sleep doesn't count, I'm exhausted. I get ready for bed with my normal routine. Something I've recently started doing is making this drink concoction every night which is part treat, part beauty supplement. I take Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, Dandy Blend (a coffee substitute made out of dandelion, chicory, rye, and barley) and Sun Potion's Anandamine (a combination of good-for-you things that's too long to type mixed with raw cacao), add with hot water and a little almond milk. The collagen and dandy blend both come in individual serving packets that are really easy to travel with while the Anandamine requires me to carry a gross looking plastic bag full of powder. But it's worth it. I've seen a definite improvement in my skin and hair since taking it.

Tonight, I used the Sunday Riley Good Genes between oil and moisturizer. It's a lactic acid treatment that really brightens my complexion and also helps with fine lines. I use it 3-4 times a week in the evening.

Saturday, April 29th

Morning
I wake up well-rested-ish and go on a run. Once I get back and in the shower I use the Kiehl's Rare Earth Daily Deep Pore Facial Cleanser. I love this stuff. It's an exfoliant that is super gentle but still gets the bad stuff out of your pores. Sometimes I leave it on for a couple of minutes which probably doesn't do anything, but a it's a placebo effect. I follow up with my usual routine and try the Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46. It's unscented, which probably means less irritating, and it blends easily into my skin.

Evening
I run a bath with these Umeboshi Bath Salts by Three, which is this company from Japan founded by my friend Rie Omoto. I can only get them when I'm in Japan or if Rie sends me a care package—they're so calming and don't irritate my skin. I always try to make every effort during and after flying to avoid feeling puffy and taking a bath helps. I follow this with my usual routine.

Sunday, April 30th

Morning
My skin is looking strangely good for having been on a red eye recently—maybe it's the lack of instant coffee? But I still decide to use a mask. I stuffed a couple in my suitcase—today I pick the Kiehl's Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque. I leave it on for about 15 minutes, wash it off and feel brighter right away. I follow that up with my usual routine and use some Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream with SPF 30. I like a lot of Kiehl's products so I have high hopes for this. Being a moisturizer and a sunscreen in one is so easy to pack. I'm going to watch an English football game today so my hope is that it will provide a thick barrier between me and all of the weird smells permeating the pub.

Evening
The pub smell got through the Kiehl's barrier. I also got drenched in other people's beer. I think about taking a bath but I'm too lazy. I shower and do my usual routine.

Monday, May 1st

Morning
Today is my first day of castings in London so I need to look cute. I do my usual routine but add some Origins Ginzing Eye Cream to make me feel more awake. While I don't use it that often, it really does help at least convince me temporarily that I'm more well-rested. Hopefully it tricks other people too. Then I use the Glossier Invisible Shield Sunscreen. SPF 35 is a bit low for me, although I heard that once you get past 40 the number doesn't matter. For peace of mind, I like mine to be around 60. This is my first time using the Glossier version and it's genuinely unlike any sunscreen I've used before. As an avid sunscreen user, I've come to accept that most of them have that chalky white thick texture and end up pilling off later in the day. The texture of the Glossier is like a clear jelly so it really melts into your skin. And it smells really good—like how you want your face to smell in summertime when you know someone hot might be getting close to it.

I use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly in any areas of my face that are uneven, dab RMS Lip2Cheek in Modest on my cheeks, and curl my lashes with my Shu Uemura eyelash curler.

Evening
I come home delighted to find that the sunscreen hasn't made the concealer I put on this morning look like crap by evening. My skin just looks fresh—and no tan! Not that anyone has ever gotten tan from being in London.

Tuesday, May 2nd

Morning
I've woken up with a hellish spot on my chin. I try to never pop them but I'm working today so it's got to be done. I make sure to clean the area really well afterwards and follow up with my normal routine. No sunscreen today because I'm working in a studio and it would just get wiped off immediately upon arrival.

Evening
After the job, I use the makeup artist's Bioderma Crealine to take off my makeup. We did nine different makeup looks so my skin is pretty tired and irritated. I use Glossier Milky Jelly when I get back to the apartment to take off what I didn't get earlier. It feels really moisturizing, but is also good at dissolving anything on my skin.

Wednesday, May 3rd

Morning
Many of my mornings are spent over-analyzing my face in a 10X magnification mirror and today is no exception. I'm really crazy about plucking my eyebrows—they grow fast and sometimes I get so obsessed with getting one hair out that I end up accidentally performing minor surgery on myself. Today I do exactly this, and put Calendula cream on the blemish. I got it at Whole Foods and it's really good for everything from self-inflicted tweezer injuries to dry lips to burns. I follow up with my usual routine followed by Coola Classic Sunscreen Moisturizer. I feel like one would assume that a product is less likely to cause a breakout if it's organic, but I haven't found that to be true. However, because this one is unscented, it probably won't irritate my skin. I don't know if you're supposed to use this as a 2-for-1 but it's definitely not thick enough for me to replace moisturizer.

Evening
I just found out that I'm flying out tonight to New York for a night and then LA for a job the following day. Hectic! As usual, I pile on the moisturizer and lip balm in flight and fall asleep to an on-demand showing of The Matrix.

Thursday, May 4th

Morning
I land in New York in the morning. It's the first time I've seen the sun for an extended period of time in a week! This usually doesn't excite me but it's a great opportunity to keep testing sunscreen. I do my usual routine followed by the Glossier. Since it's the most unusual texture I want to see how it sits on my face when it's actually warm out.

Evening
I'm ready for bed by 5PM New York time because of jetlag. When I'm packing I decide to take the La Roche-Posay and Glossier sunscreens with me to LA. They're my favorites of the bunch I've tried AND the packaging coincides with TSA carry-on regulations.

Photos via Ali Michael.

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