Summer is a’comin’ and if you aren’t ready for super-hot and sticky days—you know, those lovely, long, luscious days which wreak havoc on your hair, skin, body, and overall mood. There’s nothing like getting stuck in the subway when it’s 98 degrees in the shade to make you feel all cool, calm, and collected (ha!).
The number-one summer essential, of course, is sunscreen. Please, please, slather it on. You need sunscreen no matter what your skin tone. Even mega-star Hugh Jackman is begging people to use sunscreen as he’s just had a second skin cancer removed from his nose. (And Australians are far more sun-savvy than Americans tend to be!)
Be sure to use your sunscreen properly:
*Buy a good full-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Check the expiration date—you want it as fresh as possible as sunscreens lose effectiveness over time.
*Apply it at least a half-hour before you go outside. Put it on after your shower. Let it soak in. Most women don’t need to add a moisturizer if they use a moisturizing sunscreen. The reason for this is simple: the active ingredients need time to activate. This is why you can get badly burned at the beach even if you slop buckets of sunscreen—you’re totally unprotected for about 20-30 minutes.
*Put it on your kids, too, of course.
*And your hands and neck.
*Reapply every two hours or after exercise or swimming.
*Do not keep sunscreen anywhere that gets heated up—like your car, your window, your bathroom, or your purse if you’re outside a lot. Heat degrades it, too!
*You are excused from sunscreen use only in case of a monsoon, hurricane, or torrential thunderstorms.
Now that you’ve got your sunscreen primer, it’s time to enjoy some of the best summer essentials that will make the heat a lot more endurable. (There are so many incredible products that my list is a lot longer than usual!)