I grew up about 30 minutes from the beach. Albeit, Galveston, Texas barely counts as a beach — if you’ve never been to Galveston (and let’s face it, no one has), imagine beach and Texas, put them together, and you’re probably not far off. It may lack blue water and white sands, but what it lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in being a beach in the most technical sense of the word and an enormous volcano-shaped Rainforest Cafe.
It’s a little grimy, and there are probably a few too many wildly drunk Boomers wandering around, but it’s home, and I love it.
So, I’ve perfected the beach day routine: wake up at the crack of dawn, go to Starbucks for an enormous iced dirty chai, and listen exclusively to 2012 Katy Perry and Ke$ha tracks on the drive down, and carry a beach bag full of every little thing anyone could possibly need.
As the resident mom-friend, I’m a chronic over-packer. Will everything on this list get used throughout the day? Maybe not, but I’ll be glad it's there. Just in case. Here’s my complete list of must-brings for the perfect beach day.
I always start the day with a full-body coating of sunscreen. Vacation’s smell so good, which makes the process of lathering up almost enjoyable.
I don’t love reapplying lotion sunscreens, so I always make sure to carry a spray with a high SPF. This one has a really fine mist, so it feels like you’re putting on something much more luxurious than SPF 70, and it ensures that everything gets covered. [Editor's note: J.Lo's makeup artist, Scott Barnes, uses this as a full-body highlighter for Jenny!]
cocokind silk spf SPF 30, $25
This beauty’s a hybrid chemical and mineral sunscreen. Best of both worlds. It’s also lightweight enough that reapplication doesn’t give me a breakdown.
If you haven’t noticed by this point in this list, I’ll say it: I’m a sunscreen girl. Through and through. This mist is great for easily reapplying your face SPF.
Let’s say that post ocean, you’ve decided to grab a bite or a drink or anything else that requires a little decorum. This offers light coverage to smooth out the sun.
I have curly hair, so salt water is my friend. I’ll bring along a wave spray to amp things up, though. This one’s got a light, fresh smell that makes me feel very, very classy.
This works perfectly for when I don’t want to wear a hat all day and still don’t want a sunburn on my scalp. And who does?
Caudalíe Grape Water, $17
I’m a classic lay-on-a-towel-and-read-all-day kind of beach-goer. So, here’s a little necessary skin refresh, with soothing ingredients for sensitive skin. It will be the thing all of your friends steal throughout the day.
It may not be sexy, but it’s the damn best lip balm I’ve ever found. (Plus, SPF!)
I keep this in my bag to use on my cuticles when they get dry, so if you’re in need of a little after-swim nail care. And if you have any concerning, irritated spots, it’ll help restore those too!
In my experience, a trip to the beach almost always comes with spotting a diaper somewhere in the sand and, consequently, refusing to get into the water. It’s a small fix, but carrying this little hand sannie gives me some peace of mind. And it smells like coconut, so it’s perfect for pretending you’re somewhere much more tropical.
OTM Monaco Insulated Makeup Bag, $145
Because there’s nothing worse than going to put on chapstick and finding it’s literally gone liquid, this is a heat-protecting makeup bag — which means it keeps your products temperature stable, and stops any melting or separating from taking place.