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

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How to Remove Sunless Tanner

Bad

At some point or another when using sunless tanner, you’re going to have an ut-oh moment and need to get the stuff off…pronto.  (Hey, it happens to the best of us!)  Whether you want to remove your sunless tanner because it looks orange, or it looks like someone attacked you with a paint roller brush and you have streaks from here to there, or just because it’s started to fade unevenly….fret not, it can be removed!

Here are your options (and in some cases they don’t work miracles the first time around so give them another go if that’s the case):

Baking Soda and Lemon

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine the two ingredients and mix well until a creamy paste forms.  Apply it to your skin and let it sit for a few minutes and then gently scrub and wipe it off using a cleansing cloth/wash cloth.

Lemon and Sugar

  • 1 cup raw/coarse sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice

Combine the two ingredients and mix well until a paste forms.  Apply to skin and let it sit a few minutes.  Massage into skin and scrub away that sunless tanner.  Rinse with water.

Baby Oil

Cover your body in baby oil and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Rinse.  (This won’t remove your tan but it will lighten it).

Exfoliating Mitt and Lemon

Pour some lemon juice onto an exfoliating mitt and start buffing your skin with it

Take a Long Bath

Soak in the bathtub and take a bubble bath for 20 minutes.  This will “loosen” the tan.  Scrub after soaking and your tan should wash right off.

Hair Removal Cream

Apply hair removal cream to the area(s) and wipe it off.  (Hair removal cream…not hair bleach)

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).

 

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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. Antioxidant Cooling Skin Mist

Skin Mist

Keep cool while refreshing skin with this antioxidant skin mist!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp. green tea
  • 1 oz. peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup lavender flowers
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 2 tsp. aloe vera gel

Directions:

  • Combine the tea, peppermint leaves and lavender together in the water; steep in water for 15 minutes
  • Strain mixture with a piece of cheesecloth to remove pieces
  • Add the aloe gel to the mixture; mix well
  • Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle (store in the fridge for a very cooling spritz)

D.I.Y. Aloe Vera Hair Detangler

Aloe Vera

Gently detangle hair with this detangling hair recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. distilled water
  • 1 tsp. aloe vera gel
  • 2 drops glycerin
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 12 drops grapefruit seed extract

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients; mix well
  • Transfer mixture into a spray bottle or jar for storage
  • Apply to wet/damp hair

*Shake well before each use

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