At the moment it’s raining and a little chilly where I live, but despite the gloomy weather that rolled in earlier this afternoon, Summer is in the air and I couldn’t be more excited. I love spending hours at the ocean (year-round, but Summertime means I don’t risk getting hypothermia while I do it.) I love BBQs, bonfires, late night ice cream shop trips with friends, and being able to comfortably wear shorts and sandals.
Inspired by the season, I put together a small list of things I never leave home without during the hottest months of the year.
1. SPF. SPF. SPF. SPF. DEAR GOD, SPF: This will always be #1 on my list. I’m fair-skinned. Tanning is not an option for me. About two or three years ago, I had gone to the beach in the morning with some friends and we ended up staying well into the afternoon. I had applied minimal sunscreen, but amid swimming in the water, sleeping on the sand, and enjoying a picnic, I had moronically forgotten to re-apply. The resulting sunburn and sunstroke, both of which kept me out of work and bedridden for nearly a week, was one of the most painful things I’d ever experienced- and no amount of bronze glow or tan lines were worth it. The excruciating pain aside, there’s also the risk of skin cancer- and it can all easily be avoided by using adequate amounts of sunscreen.
Always remember to wear SPF on exposed skin (and not just in the Summer!) Make sure that it hasn’t expired (I replace mine every year), and re-apply it liberally and often. I personally prefer high-level protection aerosol/spray SPFs, since they make getting hard to reach areas like my back a lot easier, and the brand is entirely up to you depending on price point, fragrance, ingredients, and how much coverage you want.
Sun safety is the key essential in the Summertime.
2. A bright (REALLY bright) moisturizing lip balm: Matte lipsticks are too heavy in high temperatures, and lip glosses, although nice and lightweight, don’t give me the same hydration that lip balm does. I love the practicality of balms- you get moisturized lips with a nice pop of color, and in the Summer- the brighter the hue, the better. I’ve grown quite fond of my “Woppin’ Watermelon” chubby stick from Clinique, a bright pink that really stands out without looking like it’s caked on. The best thing about this balm is that it’s eye-catching enough where I can keep the rest of my makeup minimal, which is always nice on the hotter days when I want to take it easy on my face and not wear a lot of product.
3. A tropical-toned manicure: I always feel a little bit of glee when I’m busily typing something up at work, and then glance down to see a beautiful polish on my tips. It’s a small comfort to me. In the Fall and Winter, I usually stick to darker shades, but in the Spring. and especially the Summer- it’s a free-for-all of bright colors and wild designs. I decided to kick off this season by busting out an old favorite lacquer, “Orange Fizz” by Chanel. The color, a beautiful coral-orange, is flattering to almost any skin tone, and matches my Summer wardrobe so, so well.
4. A fresh fragrance: One of my favorite Summer scents (and it has been for years) is the original “Glow” by Jennifer Lopez. A clean-smelling floral-grapefruit blend, I always carried the perfume in my purse until Autumn rolled around and it was time to switch over to the more potent scents for the colder weather.
Despite my love and devotion to “Glow”, I do believe it’s important to mix things up a bit now and then so you don’t get bored. I’ve gone from “Glow” to spritzing on Estée Lauder’s “Bronze Goddess” (a more suntan lotion, beachy scent), to loving Bath & Body Works’ “Coconut Lime Breeze” body spray. I try to stick to fresh, crisp citrus fragrances in the Summer. Aromatherapy works for me, and if I can’t quite get to a tropical paradise as often as I’d like, at least I can smell like I have.
And if perfumes aren’t your thing- there’s always candles to liven up your home. I’m a big fan of lighting Yankee Candle’s “Fresh Cut Grass” and “Lemon” candles at the same time. It makes my place smell so fresh.
5. Salt spray: Getting my hair to look beach-kissed and wavy is a challenge in itself, but find the right salt spray, and my curls look relaxed, loose, and soft. This Bumble & Bumble “Surf Spray” has worked pretty well for me, but there’s also some great tutorials out there (like THIS ONE from Wellness Mama that my lovely Imogen linked me to, or THIS ONE from PINKSOFOXY) for DIY surf sprays for half the cost of store-bought ones. The sprays are probably the most effortless thing ever to apply- just spray into damp hair and go- and even though they have salt in them, there’s also other ingredients that will prevent your hair from drying out. This is my favorite hair style for the Summer, not only because of it’s simplicity, which comes in handy when I’m on the go- but also because on those days where I’m working and can’t make it down to the boardwalk, my hair still looks like I’ve spent the afternoon frolicking in the waves.
6. An awesome soundtrack: What’s Summer without good music? I recently joined 8Tracks, an online mixtape service, and created the above playlist featuring some ska, some punk, a little reggae, and a pinch of indie rock & pop to give me something to bounce along to during my drives along the coast and the weekend bonfires. Give it a listen, and be sure to share your own!
“Summer Essentials” not pictured: An oversized floppy straw hat to protect my scalp from the sun, $5 flip-flops, iced green tea lemonade, a cute and comfortable bikini (or one piece, depending on what kind of mood I’m in), a chilled eye mask to wear at night in front of the air conditioner/fan, a “getaway” kit that includes a map, a flashlight, and a first aid kit for any impromptu road trips or camping adventures, a good Summertime movie (“Stand By Me”, “Now and Then”, “The Seven Year Itch”, etc.), a pair of cat-eye sunglasses, bug spray, some extra change in case an ice cream truck rolls through the neighborbood (Choco Tacos!), a decent frozen margarita recipe, and a s’mores kit.
What are some of your “Summer Essentials?”