Don't make my mistakes! Below is a list of the products I hated and the ones I should have brought instead.
My dermatologist recommended using a mineral sunscreen instead of a chemical one (or at least in addition to), so I got Neutrogena Baby Faces and Banana Boat Natural Reflect SPF 50. Both sort of = a giant fail. I know that mineral sunscreens don't sink in as well, but these basically do not sink in, ever. They remain white, opaque and sticky. Expect to look like Ug on Salute Your Shorts.
Don't even think about trying to wash off the sand that sticks to it, and you'll find a fine white layer on your skin for DAYS after you get home.
Wanna know what I should have bought? Read on!
I should have gone with my go-to sunscreen, La Roche-Posay Anthelios.
Neutrogena version. The non-mineral version is just as nice, and I use that too when I run out of this.
For the body: Fallene Complete Spectrum Total Block.
2. BODY WASH
To wash all this stuff off, you need something effective but still gentle on your skin. I love Eucerin's oil wash! It's true that oil combats oil, and it really works at cleaning your skin but keeping it moisturized. I use a facial oil wash as eye makeup remover too!
3. HAIR/SCALP PRODUCTS
And while we're on the topic of oil, you should probably bring some for your hair too.
The one I use is actually the Couture Color Pequi Oil Treatment, but I bought that before there were so many reasonably priced drugstore varieties available. Salt and sun are really drying for hair, so you're going to need some extra help conditioning, and for me, a few drops of oil in damp hair makes a huge difference!cowashing! Basically, you use a bunch of conditioner in place of shampoo and it cleans your hair a lot more gently. If this is the first time you've done it, your hair will still be more oily than you're used to right after a wash, but if you're going to the beach again the next day anyway, there's no reason to strip your hair by washing every day with shampoo. Get a really cheap kind, because you're going to be using a lot! Suave Naturals is a great brand to start with. Don't bother with that Wen hair stuff, because it's the same thing as the $2 Suave but costs way more.
And as a final note on hair/head, don't forget to put sunscreen on your scalp! I did, and now it looks like I have some insane dandruff. Try this Banana Boat spray SPF, and don't skimp! I ended up borrowing Raymond's baseball cap and looking like a college co-ed.
4. AFTER-SUN CARE
If you do get burned while you're there, you can get aloe at any drugstore. If it's especially itchy and painful, try spraying on some vinegar! After you spray it on, let it air dry. You can reapply after a few hours if you start to feel uncomfortable again. If that's not really practical for you, bring some Chrispy Critter gel.
I've never tried it, but it combines aloe, vitamin E and vinegar, so it sounds like it could work!
What are your go-to products for beach vacations?