Sunblock: They're Not All Created Equal
A zesty sunglasses tan has our Broadneck Patch water columnist out shopping for the most effective sunblocks around.
On a stunningly beautiful mid-summer day, when the sky is blue and the water cool, the sun is a warm hostess inviting everyone to indulge in the delights of the season. Its warm yellow rays bring on the day, creating miracles in the garden and setting the stage for a perfect afternoon of waterskiing and cookouts.
I love the summer sun as much as chocolate and birthday presents, but even I, the most ardent of outdoor enthusiasts, will admit that the big golden ball in the heavens can seriously mess you up.
Though born to Caucasian parents, my endless hours on the water, at the beach, and in the garden have left me a toasty shade of mahogany…in some places. Due to the nature of my outdoor activities, my suntan is interrupted with the creamy evidence of my lifevest, boat shoes, and board shorts. Unfortunately, despite the constant use of sunblock, I have managed to develop seriously stupid looking tan lines. The most impressive and dramatic of these discolorations is the one that I am unable to hide, my zesty sunglasses tan. Oh yes. It’s intense. (See embarrassing photo).
Not wishing to appear so ridiculous, I have embarked on a search for the ideal sunblock, an odyssey of SPF exploration. I discovered that no all block is created equal and there is no such thing as the go-to applications. Different sunblocks are appropriate for different activities.
Best for Face - Clarins Sunscreen for the Face, $30 for 2.7 ounces, available at Nordstrom's, Sephora, and Ulta. Yes, it is expensive but oh so worth it. This smooth light cream disappears into the skin easily and leaves behind no residue. When used daily, it provides a great moisturizing base layer and doesn’t sting if (while sweating) it runs into your eyes. Unlike other sun blocks, this product is super lightweight and wears well under makeup. A must have for outdoor lovin’, ladies. Its tiny tube tucks easily into your purse and it smells great, too.
Best for Everyday - Coppertone Sport Spray- $20 for 15 ounces, available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere. Once you’ve mastered the art of the continuous spray application, you will love this sunscreen. The downsides include a risk of clothing stain and a wide spray area. As a daily use of sun protection, this product is outstanding. Light, sweet smelling, and sweat-proof, I recommend applying this non-aerosol continuous spray while standing in the shower, before dressing, but wait for the product to dry!
Best Waterproof - Coppertone Waterbabies- $20 for 15 ounces, available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere. The reality is that no sunblock is actually waterproof. Some formulas are resistant to moisture and can withstand splashing and spray. However, these formulas tend to have an oil base which makes them feel kind of nasty on the skin and then often leave a greasy residue on clothes. Waterbabies feels cool on the skin, which make reapplication something to look forward to, especially on a hot day.
Just for Fun- Zinka Colored Noseblock, $10.42 for two small tubes can be found here. I love this stuff. Kids tend to like it, too. This colored zinc-based sunblock is a good idea for those scorch-sensitive areas on the face like the nose, cheekbones, and bottom lip, and the funny colors embrace all that is silly about summer.