A sunscreen upgrade for everyone

Whether you’re living on the edge in that SPF 0 life, or you’re that vampire binch who visors up every time you go outside, we’re here to let you know that there’s a happy medium that can keep you non-oily, properly protected, and looking 4 when you’re actually 24. 

Sunblock doesn’t have to feel sticky, smell like sunblock, or worse: cast a weird white cast over your skin (unless you’re into that). It also doesn’t have to be tinted! If you’re like me and change shades every four hours – I got a clear, silky, barely-there sunscreen with your name on it. Actually, three. 

SEE ALSO: You don’t know s*** about SPF!

And to the vampire binches: on the days when you don’t feel like rocking the funeral veil and the driving gloves, a good sunblock will have your back. And it can do so much more than just protect you from UV rays if you let it. What else can a sunblock offer, you ask? Step into our office. Below, we’ve got you covered with upgrades from level 1-3. Whether you’re a sunscreen newb, looking for something new, or a pro, here’s some sunscreens you should try, now.  

Level One: Glossier. Daily Sunscreen +: Invisible Shield

If you’re an SPF 0 type of person, take this. Glossier is a great place to start because it’s so straightforward and easy to use, it’s basically Skincare for Dummies. The Daily Sunscreen +: Invisible Shield is a clear watergel formula that absorbs into the skin via hydrating microcapsules. Not only is it actively blocking the sun’s rays, but it’s simultaneously blocking those super damaging skin pollutants and neutralizing harmful free radicals. It’s truly “the sunscreen for people who hate wearing sunscreen” — I’m looking at you, SPF 0. Within seconds of application, Invisible Shield feels truly undetectable. The flip side of such a light and airy formula is that it’s not water or heavy sweat-resistant, so you need to reapply. Glossier says it’s a once-a-day use, but you should quickly pat it onto your face and neck at least two to three times a day for extended protection. 

The Invisible Shield is also SPF 35 and Broad Spectrum, which you should always seek out a in a sunscreen. Broad Spectrum sunscreens protect you from both types of damaging radiation, so don’t even bother with a product that only lists the SPF. SPF tells you the level of protection the product offers from UVB rays, but not from UVA rays. While UVB causes physical sunburns, UVA penetrates the skin deeper, causing aging and putting you at risk for cancer. The single + on Glossier’s sunscreen indicates that this is the most basic level of UVA protection out there. The takeaway? This is the baseline for skin protection, the bare minimum you should be doing to shield yourself from developing sunburns, skin cancer, and wrinkles.

BUY HERE glossier.com – $25.

Level Two: SuperGoop! Everyday Sunscreen 

SuperGoop! Everyday Sunscreen brings us up to level two. She’s a little stronger than the Invisible Shield, coming in at Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (another plus! there’s enough product in one bottle to regularly use on your face and body). Think about sunscreen this way: SPF 35 will protect you from sunburns 35x longer than bare skin, and SPF 50 will protect you from sunburns 50x longer than bare skin. It may not sound like that much of an improvement given that sunscreen across the board lasts around two hours at max strength, but if your skin is sensitive, this is a world of difference. 

While the Everyday Sunscreen smells only a tiny bit sunblock-y and sits a bit more like a light cream than a gel on your face, trust that it’s the lightest of the SuperGoop! Sunscreen products — their Unseen Sunscreen and Glow Stick, for examples, run oilier. IMHO, slightly heavier weight for stronger protection is a fair trade! For big sweaters and athletes, the real sell is that the Everyday Sunscreen is water and sweat-resistant and lasts at maximum protection for 80 minutes at a time. But just because it won’t slide off with sweat doesn’t mean it’s trapping oil and clogging your pores. Because this product is super moisturizing, you’re going to be producing less natural oils while you’re wearing it. So if you’re going to be outside for longer periods and you’re going to be sweating this summer, she’s your girl. 

BUY HERE supergoop.com – $10

Level Three: Dr. Oracle A-Thera Sunblock

Vamp binches, we see you. The A-Thera Sun Block from Dr. Oracle is the best of both worlds. Offering SPF 50+ PA+++ (which we’ll get into in a minute), this product is just as light and airy-feeling and has the most extensive protection. Labelled “Sensitive” (Dr. Oracle offers a Hydrating version as well), the A-Thera Sun Block is designed specifically for oily skin. And this is what makes it so amazing: most people’s biggest fear with daily sunscreen is that it will clog their pores and trap sweat, causing crazy breakouts, right? This sunscreen is infused with centella asiatica extract and bamboo water, so it calms inflammation and hydrates without interfering with your skin’s natural oil production. Not only does it relieve me (a person with naturally oily skin) from stress over the idea of giving myself acne with my sunblock, but it actually fights acne while I’m wearing it. 

If you’re still not sold, here’s the lowdown on that PA+++ figure. The PA grading system is a Japanese metric for UVA damage, and PA+++ is the highest grade of UVA protection currently available. This level of Protection Grade no doubt beats the somewhat vague “Broad Spectrum” label (sigh, Asia is literally always on the next level). After all, if you’re like me and rarely sunburn, what you’re really looking for is the anti-aging component of UV protection. As with all sunscreens, you still need to reapply every few hours that you’re spending in the sun, and the A-Thera Sun Block is not water and sweat resistant so this is much more of a daily-use situation. Luckily, this one doesn’t smell or feel like a sunblock at all, and it leaves a moisturizing silky finish. After all, sunblock — like your other skin care products — should feel like a simple luxury, not a chore!

BUY HERE sokoglam.com – $30.

The one reason you’re breaking out this Hot Girl Summer

Any day after the Fourth of July is an excuse to literally do nothing.

Work? That can wait. Relationships? Never knew her! Bills to pay? Isn’t there a season called fall for that?

When it’s hot, humid, harsh, feeling like a um, wet marsh, you can find me sprawled out on the ground melting into the wooden floors. And so it may come as a surprise to you to know that my summer laziness comes with one caveat: I will never, ever go without moisturizing my face.

SEE ALSO: I got a dramatic perm, but a more dramatic outlook on life

Yes, you heard that loud and clear.

Summertime is the one season that’s lazy AF but it’s also one when you’ll finding me even more diligent about moisturizing. Two summers ago, my face literally started developing cysts – like, all over – and it was probably one of the worst skin moments of my entire adult life. (I wrote about it my experience with cysts here). I was living in Fort Greene and New York City’s weather was completely unforgivable with frequent days that felt like I was walking into a hot shower filled with sewage water. It’s then that I made the mistake of ceasing all facial moisturization altogether. I mean, if it was already getting what it needed from the natural humidity, what was the purpose of wasting precious creams when mother nature could do it for you?

via GIPHY

Well, you live and you learn. My face began becoming so unhappy that cysts sprouted over all summer long. Since, I’ve researched that your skin still needs your help. After all, she’s sensitive, needy and completely hopeless, but you still love her, anyway. Because as we know, your skin is the first means of defense when it comes to blocking out anything harmful. This includes but isn’t limited to bacteria, viruses, fungi and other foreign agents. And the purpose of skincare isn’t just about looking or feeling your best – it’s often to strengthen your skin’s protective barrier. For that, you need to not only balance its pH levels, but work at making it well hydrated so that nothing breaks down.

A moisturizer, then, is extremely important in keeping your skin’s barrier intact, happy and healthy. It defends it from the elements. When it’s compromised, it goes out of whack and is when you’ll find problems like blemishes, cysts, rashes or more.

Long story short: When you stop moisturizing, your skin signals to itself to produce even more oil to overcompensate. The excess oil then, does major damage, which is where summer breakouts come out in full force.

So take your light, oil-free moisturizer (use it both day and night) bask in your skimpy clothing, your freedom, your light and yes, have that Hot Girl Summer! You deserve!

Every single beauty product I’m obsessed with for this awkward summer to fall transition season

Fall products

There’s a certain energy in the universe that comes with summer finally coming to an end. Or is that a seismic shift of my angry skin, pissed off that the weather is changing yet again?

As with all seasonal changes comes a recalibration of mind, body and spirit, but mostly skin. Summer is a time where you sweat, produce more oil, are hydrated from the humidity. But in the fall months your skin starts becoming needy again. Suddenly, there are dry patches you haven’t seen in months, breakouts because your skin is demanding more moisture, and even more blackheads because of your tightening pores.

SEE ALSO: Is eye cream a scam? Experts weigh in. 

To keep my own skin happy (well, as happy as it can be until um…winter), I’ve already gotten a head start with my favorite summer to fall transitional items. Below, is every single product I’m obsessed with right now. After going through hundreds of products, here’s a good list of every item that’s been telling my skin to STFU. And it’s working. For now.

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Belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist cleanser

Belif’s very name may induce migraines in every editor, but it’s forgivable because the Korean brand is really, very amazing. Its array of products are super gentle, free of toxic ingredients, and puts hydration first and foremost. I’ve been obsessed the brand’s Aqua Bomb as well as its sleeping mask but I was really surprised when the brand actually had a great cleanser as well. Made from vitamin C, soapberry to detoxify and wormwood to help with breakouts, this natural, gentle cleanser goes into a luxurious, creamy lather that leaves your face feeling completely clean without that stripped feeling. So. Good.

BUY HERE, $26

Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel

My Korean mother swears this product has allowed her pores to absolutely glow even in drier climates. And after testing out Amore Pacific’s Treatment Enzyme Peel, I’m totally a believer. The gentle daily exfoliating powder comes to life when mixing with warm water. It then activates and when coming in contact with your skin, completely removes dead surface skin cells while leaving you with a beautifully polished complexion. The secret to this bestselling product is in its papaya enzymes, a natural exfoliator that sloughs all things dead and leaves you with that glistening glow.

BUY HERE, $64.90

Harry’s Fig Body Wash 

A sexy body wash? What an oxymoron. But Harry’s, the e-commerce shaving brand now sold in Target stores, has one that leaves me at least feeling like I could be my sexiest self. The brand’s Fig Body wash smells so refreshing with its Mediterranean fruit and spices and allows me to feel as if I’m bathing underneath a waterfall in Santorini. AHHHH. So good. Its creamy formula leaves you cleansed without stripping your natural oils and is the best body wash I’ve come across thus far in my ripened age. Can you be obsessed with a body wash? Yes, I’m now a believer.

BUY HERE, $6.99

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

A rare late night out for me had me looking like an early aughts Pete Wentz by all of 10 p.m. My mascara was melting down the side of my cheeks, my eyeliner smudged. But this was no match when I went to my bathroom and cleansed all of my beauty sins away with Farmacy’s Green Clean Cleansing Balm. The gentle cleanser completely dissolves everything on your face, from foundation, SPF, to even waterproof eyeliner. Yes, it’s that powerful. It includes sunflower and ginger root oil, as well as extracts from the Moringa tree, native to India and parts of Africa to purify your skin. I went from Pete Wentz to babyfaced Pete Davidson in SECONDS after using this. Fallout Boy be DAMNED.

BUY HERE, $21.99

Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence

Dave Cho, my friend at Soko Glam, who’s the co-founder of the brand alongside Charlotte (his wife!) has THE BEST skin. It partly has to do with genetics, but I’m convinced it also has to do with his use of Hanskin’s Hyaluron Skin Essence. He swears by it and if he does, I do, too. The product contains an advanced form of hyaluronic acid, allowing it to hold 1,000 times more moisture than water. It’s something that your skin will drink up immediately, leaving you with plump, baby soft, Dave Cho-like skin. So good.

BUY HERE, $28

Ren AHA tonic

I came across Ren’s AHA tonic after being obsessed with the brand’s anti-pollution mist, which I highly endorse. As we know, AHA is an incredible chemical exfoliator that sloughs away dead skin cells. Ren’s version has lactic acid for this very purpose, the ingredient we all love in products like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. This product also has willow bark extract to minimize pores as well as Azelaic Acid, an ingredient that’s SUPER great at minimizing scars and lightening those sunspots aka hyperpigmentation. It’s been doing a good job evening out my blotchy skin tone.

BUY HERE, $37

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream

If a cloud could be cold pressed, juiced and served, it would surely come from Peter Thomas Roth. The brand’s Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream feels as if your skin has been kissed by deep, soothing hydration. The product is made from 30% hyaluronic acid and ceramides that lock in moisture for up to 72-hours. It left my skin feeling super soft, deliciously supple and oil-free for the entire day. Sunny days are better with cloud cream, for sure.

BUY HERE, $34.49

Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil

There’s nothing new when it comes to facial oils. There are TONS of them out there. But nothing is quite like Le Prunier’s Plum Beauty Oil, a new product I recently came across (AND LOVE!) thanks to the team at Neiman Marcus. The brand launched in 2016 by three Californian sisters and is all about the benefits of the powerful plum. Who knew that the plum was so adept at anti-aging, restoring and refreshing the skin? According the Le Prunier’s site, plums are naturally abundant in omega fatty acids, free radicals, vitamins A and E as well as hydrating and healing. The texture is luxurious and the smell – OMG THE SMELL! – is so soothing, so delicious, I couldn’t help want to eat it. After applying this at night, I felt by morning, my skin had a beautiful dew and a glow like never before. Here’s to eating – and using – more plums in the near future.

BUY HERE, $72

Corpus

I’m going to go out on a limb and just say this: Corpus will become the next Le Labo and Byredo. Yep, a bold statement, but I really stand behind it. The natural deodorant has become such a success, it’s now completely sold out on its website. After testing this, I feel I was fresh throughout the entire day with zero traces of stench (even after Crossfit!). With bergamot, pink lemon, orange blossom and cardamom notes, this is a beautiful and elegant deodorant and the chicest one on the market.

BUY HERE

Byredo Gypsy Water body lotion

Speaking of Byredo, there’s a reason why this Swedish luxury brand has become what it is now. Its luxurious fragrances are completely indulgent, like the brand’s bestseller, Gypsy Water. The brand describes the fragrance as “memories of a late-autumn forest, hot tea and campfires with every hair flip and flourish.” Yes, its smell is so reminiscent of colder weather ahead. With pine needle, sandalwood and lemon along with vanilla and bergamot, this is a beautiful fragrance that will soothe your body – and soul.

BUY HERE, $65

Olay Foaming Whip White Strawberry and Mint Body Wash

This is like whip cream in a bottle – except it isn’t sticky and you certainly can’t eat it. Instead, it goes on your body velvety smooth, lathers up into beautiful foam. Its fragrance is a delectable strawberry mixed with mint and the cream will cleanse any and all impurities on your body. You only need but a small amount as its gentle, weightless formula goes a long way.

BUY HERE, $5.49

Moroccan Magic Lip Balm

How important is it to actually nourish your lips of good ingredients? Very. Mostly everyone uses petroleum jelly, an ingredient that’s viscous but actually doesn’t moisturize, rather, closes off your skin. Moroccan Magic has a range of lip balms that are completely organic and come from essential oils like argan, coconut, sunflower, beeswax, along with vitamin E. Using the balms allows your lips to become instantly hydrated. Instead of that waxy consistency like other lip balms, this one is super slinky smooth, thanks to the oils it uses. Already, it’s been said to being Oprah’s favorite lip balms – and obviously Oprah has exceptional taste, so there you go!

BUY HERE, $3.99