Many people jump at the first sign of sun in the summer, eager to get their tan on. In Chicago, we have a huge lakefront brimming with beaches, which themselves are brimming with everyone under the sun, rocking their bikinis and hoping against hope that the end of their sunny rest will give them a golden glow, not a reddish hue. Personally, I've never really wanted to get any more tan. My ethnicity guarantees that I'm pretty tan to begin with, and I'm not really interested in getting tanner. In fact, I'd love to lighten my skin's shade a few hues or two, but I know that the procedures involved in that are unbelievably risky. So, during the summer, all of my friends poke fun at the fact that I am forever loading up on sunscreen, making sure to hit any exposed part...and doubling the dosage on my face. Maybe my desire to be paler is from my family, because both cultures value paler skin over darker skin...or maybe it's because of recent fashion influences. Once upon a time everyone wanted to be the golden-bronze Brazilian model, but now, fashion's taken a turn in the "au naturale" direction and allowed paler girls to shine in their own right.
So, here are tips for those that want to stay skin-friendly and sun-unfriendly:
1. Layer, layer, layer
It's really important to make sure that you aren't just globbing on sunscreen two seconds before you leave the house to go for a noontime bike ride. In order to make sure I don't shine like the sun, I apply layers of sunscreen before I leave. I'll apply a pretty generous layer before getting ready, and then a little bit before leaving I'll apply some extra. This ensures that you'll get adequate sun protection, as well as preventing the oil-slick look for those of you that have oily skin.
2. Wait, then makeup
I mentioned above that I usually put on two layers of sunscreen: one a long time before leaving, and one just a few minutes before leaving. Personally, I try to keep my makeup as natural as possible during the summer so that it doesn't get sweated off, and so that it coincides nicely with the sunscreen I'm putting on. Though I do wear sunscreen in the winter, it's usually not to the same degree and it usually doesn't merit reapplying. So, to make sure my makeup doesn't conflict with my sunscreen application, I put on a generous layer of sunscreen before getting ready, then pick out/put on what I'm wearing, then put a small bit of sunscreen, then get bags/keys/the like together, then put on makeup. Voila! No one will even suspect you're sun-protected.
3. Be a good sport
If I had all the money in the world...er, well, if I had a larger chunk of my budget to devote to beauty and skincare products, I'd shell out the $37 for Shiseido's Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55.
I have a big huge 8 oz. bottle at home, and then I pick up the travel-sized versions from Target to tote around with me (but they only come in SPF 30). I've found that a lot of sport sunscreens, especially Banana Boat's, are kind of similar to Shiseido's sunscreen in that they appear deceivingly runny but they are in fact very protective. They also don't leave you with an ashen face, and don't dry out your skin at all. My bottle of Banana Boat has stood by my side through many a tropical vacation, and I definitely have never rocked the oil slick look (except on my nose during the day, but that's just me and my oily nose).