The Lowdown on Sunscreens

Lowdown on Sunscreens

Summertime is here!  That means plenty of picnics, pool parties, trips to the beach, and outdoor activities!  It’s important to remember that despite all the fun in the sun that you’re having you still need to take care of your skin and be smart by protecting it from the sun by using a sunscreen each and every time you venture outside.

There are countless different sunscreens available to purchase each with different options so if you are wondering which one is right for you it’s best to first know the basics:

Just like we all have our own preferences when it comes to the types of makeup we like and what it does to our skin, sunscreen is no different.  What works on one persons skin may cause breakouts on another person and so on and so on.  Below is a breakdown of the types of sunscreen you should look for depending on your specific skin type as well as examples of sunscreens that are most suitable for you.

 

Dry Skin

  • Creams/lotions with extra hydrating ingredients (aloe and glycerin)
  • Steer clear of spray or gel sunscreens that contain aloe (they’ll just dry out your skin that much more)

Try

Murad Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 15

L’Oreal Dermo-Expertise Futur-E SPF 15

 

Oily Skin

  • Oil-free sunscreen
  • Non-comedogenic sunscreen (won’t clog pores)
  • Water or gel based sunscreens are most commonly oil-free

Try

Ocean Potion Anti-Aging Sunblock SPF 50

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 45

 

Acne Prone Skin

  • Light and/or oil-free lotions
  • Sunscreens that contain the chemicals avobenzone and oxybenzone
  • Non-comedogenic sunscreen (won’t clog pores)
  • Fragrance free sunscreen

Try

Hawaiian Tropic Oil Free Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50

Murad Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 30

 

Sensitive Skin

  • Paba free sunscreen (this is very common)
  • Oil-free sunscreen
  • Fragrance free sunscreen
  • Chemical free sunscreen
  • Hypoallergenic sunscreen
  • Mineral based sunscreen

Try

Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion for Face

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion SPF 60

 

Active/Outdoor Skin (for those that spend a lot of time being active outdoors; sports/swimming)

  • Water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen
  • Highest SPF sunscreen available

Try

Coppertone Sport Sunblock Spray SPF 30

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with Helioplex SPF 70

Tips for Applying Sunless Tanner

Sunless

The Basic Rule of Sunless Tanner (whether you’re using gels, lotions or sprays)

Never go more than 2 shades darker than your natural skin color (otherwise you’ll end up looking cheap, fake, orange and like an oompa loompa…none of which are attractive)

 

Back side view of a young, blonde woman's perfect body.

The Proper Way to Apply Sunless Tanners

Exfoliate.  This step is very important yet a lot of people skip over it.  Exfoliating helps ensure an even and smooth application.  Exfoliating scrubs away any dry and dead skin which is important in achieving a flawless application.  Dry areas (such as elbows and knees) absorb the tanner more than other areas therefore, those dry areas end up looking darker.  You want to exfoliate everywhere but you want to exfoliate the most in those rough and dry areas.  Also, when exfoliating, don’t use an exfoliator that is very oily or greasy.  These types of exfoliators leave behind a greasy/oily residue which repels tanner.  The best exfoliating method to use in this case is plain sugar (or plain sugar mixed with a tablespoon of water).  You can apply this standing in the shower without the water running because the dry exfoliation method actually does a better job exfoliating than doing it under the running shower water.

Shave or Wax.  You should shave or wax prior to applying sunless tanner.  If you wait until after applying the sunless tanner to do either of these, you’re going to mess it up.  (And I don’t mean 5 minutes later….later in the day, later that night, etc.)  Shaving and waxing will actually lift up some of your tanner and will leave you looking uneven and/or blotchy.

Dry Yourself.  Make sure your body is completely dry before applying any sunless tanner.  Also, do not apply lotion prior to applying sunless tanner except on dry and rough areas (such as elbows and knees).

Protect your Nails.  Prior to applying sunless tanner, you should apply a little bit of Vaseline to your nails and toe nails.  If you don’t, the sunless tanner can stain nails or get around the nail beds and cuticles leaving you with dirty looking nails (which no one should ever want).  This is also important in protecting your manicure and pedicure.  If you want to avoid this all together, slap on a pair of latex gloves and you won’t need to worry about getting orange hands or nails.  (But you’ll still have to protect your toenails).

Top to Bottom.  The proper way to apply sunless tanner is from the top of your body to the bottom of your body, not bottom to top.  (You can dilute your self tanner for those rough and dry areas by mixing it with some lotion too…if you aren’t using the spray sunless tanner.)

Clean Up.  After you’ve applied your sunless tanner, take a damp washcloth and gently buff those rough and dry areas (such as the elbows and knees).  This will help them from ending up darker than other areas of your body.  It’s also very important to carefully wash your hands after applying sunless tanner.  If you don’t you will end up with orange palms and markings between your fingers.  But be very careful when washing them because if you take your hands and dive them into running water you’ll most likely end up splashing further up your arms.  It’s not a bad idea to exfoliate your hands after applying sunless tanner either….this just ensures you really got it all.

Let it Dry.  Let the sunless tanner dry completely.  Do not try to throw on clothes immediately after applying the sunless tanner or you will end up staining your clothes or messing up your tan (or both).

 

a0069-000394

The Quick Version

  • Exfoliate
  • Shave or wax
  • Dry yourself completely (no lotion except on dry areas such as elbows and knees)
  • Apply Vaseline to nails or slap on a pair of latex gloves
  • Apply from top to bottom (do your face separately if you are using a special facial sunless tanner)
  • Buff rough and dry spots with a damp washcloth after applying sunless tanner
  • Wash/Exfoliate hands (very carefully) after you are completely done applying sunless tanner
  • Let it dry

D.I.Y. Beachy Waves Hair Spray

Beach Hair

Create your own beach waves styling hair spray with this easy D.I.Y. recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. hair styling gel (whichever you have on hand or prefer)
  • 3 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients; mix well
  • Transfer mixture into a spray bottle
  • Spray hair and gently scrunch to create sexy hair beach waves

*Always shake well before using

Sandy Foot Polishing Scrub

F

Give your feet a beauty treatment….while relaxing on the beach!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. suntan oil
  • 2 tbsp. dry sand

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients; mix well
  • Massage the mixture onto feet for a few minutes
  • Let sit for 10 minutes
  • Rinse with water

Sun, Sea & Sand…..Beach Beauty Essentials & Tips for Hair

beach

It’s not news that the sun and salt water of the ocean causes damage to hair and skin….yet we still love it so much!  I refuse to give up my trip to the beach each summer in the name of keeping my locks from drying out (and I am sure a lot of you out there feel the same way!) so I’ve decided to share some of my favorite beach beauty products as well as beach beauty tips that I follow and have found.

Hair

Yes, the beach is the absolute perfect place to get sexy tousled beach wavy hair but it’s also the place that can leave hair ending up super dry and knotty (especially for those that swim!).

I’ve learned the hard way (unfortunately on more than one occasion) that the way you wear your hair when swimming in the waves makes all the difference between coming out of the ocean with manageable locks and coming out of the ocean with knotty disastrous locks.

I’m a big fan of the lazy messy bun on top of the head look but have found that this is absolutely NOT a winner for swimming in the ocean.  This has personally caused me the biggest and knottiest mess out of all the ways I’ve ever warn my hair while swimming.  The beating of the waves and the drying salt water just wreak havoc on my hair when I wear it like this and I always end up with a big knotty mess (and that’s after fighting to get my hair tie out).  I will never wear my hair like this to swim ever again….ever.

There’s always the option of wearing your hair down too.   This one isn’t my favorite but it is certainly doable.  The only downside for this one for me is that I find you can still end up with knotty/tangled hair if you have longer hair (especially nearer to the bottom of my hair).  I can usually remedy this problem though by applying detangling conditioner to my hair after getting out of the ocean.

My favorite way to wear my hair when swimming and the one that causes the least disastrous results is the braid.  I’ve worn my hair in one big braid down my back or in two side braids (the more childish/cute look of the two) and have always been able to swim without exiting the ocean with a big rat’s nest coming out of my head.

Recipe for Fool Proof Ocean Braid/Braids

  • Prior to hitting the beach, brush your hair
  • Apply a generous coating of conditioner or leave in conditioner to your hair (wet or dry) (my favorite is the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner)
  • Braid your hair as desired and hit the beach and swim
  • Upon exiting the ocean, gently squeeze excess water from your braid/braids
  • Remove the hair tie(s) and gently separate hair from the your braid(s)
  • Apply more conditioner or leave in conditioner and gently finger comb through your hair which should be tangle and knot free!

*I normally tote a little spray bottle of either leave in conditioner or a little bottle with some Aussie conditioner in it that I use for my hair after swimming in my beach bag.  I swear by the Aussie conditioner for after swimming because if there is any bit of tangle in my hair it instantly banishes it.  I also always shower after a day on the beach so between swimming and sitting on the beach and actually making my way to the shower it gives the conditioner plenty of time to soak into my hair leaving it super soft and smooth when I wash it out in the shower.

*If you don’t plan on showering right after the beach, apply less conditioner so your hair doesn’t look dull and overly weighed down when it dries.  I apply a lot but that’s because I wash it out before going out.

Here are some more tips for caring for your hair after spending a day (or two, or three or four, or more) at the beach:

  • Apply olive oil to the tips of hair (which gets the driest) and sleep in it – wash it out the next morning (or the next time you take a dip in the ocean) and you’ll have lusciously soft locks (this also helps to prevent split ends)
  • Apply a mashed avocado for a nourishing hair treatment, leave on for 15-20 minutes, rinse
  • Always wash hair (with shampoo, not just a rinse) after swimming in the ocean before you go to bed (the longer you leave the salt water on your hair the more it dries it out)
  • Whipped Shea butter acts as a natural sunscreen for hair….apply it to the ends or all over while sitting on the beach
  • NEVER blow dry hair after swimming (this just adds to the damage and causes it to dry out even more)
  • Hot Oil treatments are a great treat for hair after a day at the beach

My Favorite Beach Hair Products

abc

Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner

bbb

Alterna Bamboo Color Care UV+ Fade-Proof Fluide

 

 

John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Sea Spray

JF

This was by far my favorite beach waves hair spray that I’ve ever tried and used.  Why this product was discontinued I will never know or understand :(

This spray had the most amazing smell.  I remember anytime I used it people around me would constantly ask me what I was wearing that smelled so good.  It didn’t just smell good – it worked!

This product gave me beautiful beachy hair without feeling gross, dirty and like there was a pound of product build up on my hair.  It also added shine to it and didn’t dull out my hair (like the bumble and bumble surf spray does to me).

Oh how I wish this would return…..I would buy it in bulk!

 

Pros:

  • Smells amazing
  • Gives hair beachy waves
  • Adds shine
  • Doesn’t dry out hair
  • Doesn’t weigh down hair

Cons:

  • Discontinued

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

eeee

I think most people agree, sexy beach wavy hair always look good and can never be achieved at home quite like it can on the beach.  So when I saw this product, I was excited to try it out thinking that it wouldn’t turn out too far from the sexy beach wavy hair look that so many of us love.

Well, I was wrong (and out $25.00).

Unfortunately, this product was just one big all around let down for me.  It didn’t give me sexy beach hair at all.  What it gave me instead was a nice big knotty mess of hair that felt like it was wearing 5 pounds of filthy hair product.  After a day of wearing this all I wanted to do was run home and jump into my shower to wash it all off.

This can be applied to wet, dry or damp hair.  I’ve tried all three ways and every time the results are bad for me.  I’m thinking that after reading other reviews of this product, it is best for people with hair that is more on the straight side.  My hair is naturally wavy and I’ve read other negative reviews (like mine) and most of them state that they have wavy hair similar to mine.

I was told when I got this product to not go overboard when spraying it because over using it will not yield great results.  So I followed this rule and have tried using a very minimal amount to using a ton.  Of course, neither (and anything I tried in between) worked for me.

For starters, I feel like the most it did was accentuate the waves I already had in my hair.  It didn’t really create a new beachy waves for me….it just really made my waves more prominent.

I understand that this product is also supposed to give hair more of a textured feel and isn’t supposed to end up looking super shiny and soft but what it did to my hair just wasn’t very pleasing to me.  I feel like it made my hair look incredibly dull and blah-it just sucked any shine right out from it.  (Yes-I know this isn’t a shine spray but this just seemed to take the life right out of my hair….)

I didn’t fuss with my hair after applying it aside from doing what the instructions said.  Well over the coarse of the say, I swear it just got worse.  My hair seemed to get somewhat matted together.  (Not literally matted but you get the idea).  And when I touched it–icky–the product felt like it left the thickest layer of residue filth all over my hair.  (Yes, I know it’s supposed to have the beachy feeling which normally involves salt water but this just felt really gross.)

Every time I use this, I end up pulling my hair into a ponytail by mid day to avoid the gross feeling and the forthcoming knotty mess that always seems to come for my hair.

Luckily to my surprise, the stuff washes out really nicely!  I was afraid that washing it out could be a bit of a task being that it made my hair feel so gross.  I thought for sure I was going to have to get a really good clarifying shampoo to get the stuff off but my normal shampoo washed it right out.  After showering and washing my hair, my hair went back to normal and there wasn’t any of this product remaining in my hair.

I feel like this is one of those products that you will either love or hate and it’ll either work for you or it won’t.  In my case it’s just an all around fail and it just seems to be one that’s never going to work for me :(

 

Pros:

  • Nice scent (not too strong)
  • Washes out easily

Cons:

  • Didn’t work
  • Left my hair feeling knotty
  • Made my hair look very dull
  • Felt heavy and like there was a ton of product buildup on my hair after one use