MY SUNCARE TIPS
Whether you’re off for a mini-break to Tenerife or just a picnic in Hyde Park, proper suncare is essential in the summer to avoid burning on the spot, as well as more serious skin problems in the long term. As a Londoner I’m an absolute sun worshipper since there is never quite enough of it. But I’m also a fidget of a sunbather, which is great, because I won’t bask in the midday sun — unlike mad dogs and Englishmen!
Unfortunately, as a model, I was sometimes stuck in the hot sun for a decent length of time for shoots, and I was also NOT a fan of conventional sun cream. I didn’t like the idea of chemicals on my skin, let alone roasting in them. Fortunately, my skin is very olive (or let’s say yellow) -based so I don’t tend to burn (although I have twice and man it hurts!!!*) but I’ve received my fair share of sunspots and superficial marks to my face and back over the years (and let’s not forget the sun beds that I experimented with as a teenager).
The sun is a pretty controversial topic: how much is safe and how much should you get? When I was in Australia 8 years ago I kept hearing how Vit D was a major problem in sun-drenched Sydney — people travelling in air-conditioned cars to escape the heat or covering themselves in sunblock weren’t receiving the appropriate rays. I know from my own experience that the right amount of sun used to clear up the eczema I occasionally suffered in my younger years, warms up my city-living pallor, improves my moods and sleep, resets my appetite and lifts my spirits. Basically, as a sometimes Vata-deranged individual it sorts me right out!
I get to go on trips to sunny places for work, so over the years I have employed a few easy strategies to enjoy the lovely warmth in a safe, responsible and natural way.
1. COVER UP IN STYLE
The clothes you wear can also be really effective for protecting you from the sun, although some materials do this better than others (make sure to give this article a read). Some items I always pack for a sunny holiday are a rash vest, a kaftan, a hat and of course sunglasses (don’t want to be squinting in high sun!) — you can definitely get creative so you look great while protecting yourself from unnecessary overexposure to the sun.
2. HIDE FROM THE SUN AT PEAK TIMES
Ideally, you should be avoiding the sun altogether between 10am and 12pm when the rays are the most damaging. This doesn’t have to mean hiding in your Airbnb with all the blinds drawn until it’s safe to venture outside. Although a siesta might be just what the doctor ordered, you can also deploy a giant parasol like a shield and enjoy a nice book under it, or visit local museums and monuments to keep cool and avoid heat exhaustion — the options are endless.
3. APPLY NATURAL SUN CREAM
Applying sun protection before you head to the beach is probably already a no-brainer for you, but there are two things you may be overlooking. Firstly, it’s very important to slather it on wherever you’re going, so even if you just plan to take a stroll through the local outdoor market, you should still protect any skin that’s on show and therefore in the sun. Secondly, many commonly available sun creams are packed full of chemicals that seep through your skin, so make sure you choose a natural, chemical-free product — what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it!
Watch out — because of their natural formulas, these products won’t be quite as lovely to apply or wear as synthetic sun creams which very much have their usability in mind. Do avoid alcohol-formulated sun creams (even if they say organic!) — yes they are often less sticky to apply and often come in spray format, making them even more user-friendly, and are often clear (so no blue-white smears), but this is super drying on the skin, not to mention in the sun! They will age the skin even if they protect from the UVA and UVB rays.
Since my arms are probably the part of my body that’s in the sun the most and the skin on your hands and chest becomes thinner with age, I apply suncream to these parts at the same time as doing my face in the morning — applying it over my handcream in intervals during the day.
Below is a list of favourite natural sun products available in the UK, as well as the U.S., and even a great one I found in Denmark:
Whilst we all know you have to apply sun cream to your face and body, what many people often forget is to protect our lips too. This Salt + Stone lip balm is an SPF 30 and incredibly nourishing and hydrating as well. A must-have for any summer beach basket.
I was lucky enough to meet Andrea Rudolph, the woman behind Rudolph Care, when I attended the Copenhagen Fashion Summit earlier this year. I picked up some of the brand's sun care products at the airport on the way home and they’ve been some of my favourites to use this summer. The Sun Stick is easy to apply and perfect for touch-ups out and about (great for my nose which always catches the sun!) without getting it all over your hands and while avoiding those dreaded white marks.
This SPF 30 sun cream is ideal for use on your hands, body and face. It has a lovely raspberry seed oil base and is high in vitamin E too, it also has a zesty fragrance which means it’s something I always enjoy wearing during the warmer months rather than that horrible sun cream smell!
A bit of a special one, this is on the pricier side but offers a two-in-one element so you do get more bang for your buck. As well as being an SPF 30 sun cream, it’s also a tinted moisturiser that gives a lovely natural glow without covering up any natural colour you’ve got. Great for a summer wedding, when you're often outside in the glaring sun for most of the day and with only a tiny handbag to fit anything you need to take you through to the evening celebrations.
I shared this on Instagram as one of my holiday favourites when I was in the Maldives at the beginning of the year and so many of you in the U.S. agreed with my choice! This product is on the thicker side but I’ve definitely found it to be a good barrier when you’re in and out of the water.
I discovered this brand in Australia and have never looked back; this is a really good moisturiser with the added benefit of being an SPF 30. Anyone I’ve recommend this to has always had great feedback, so definitely a good one to try if you’re on the lookout for a good summer base.
* Watch out for overcast summer days and sunbathing in high altitudes — these were my reasons for getting burnt in the past!