Heels & Picks: Top sunscreens for summer

Jun. 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

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BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Summer is upon us, and while the rest of the world collectively rolls their eyes at the idea of a Hawaiian summer, those of us who reside here realize things are heating up.

PHOTO COURTESY ERIN SMITH

Beach time for Erin Smith includes a healthy coat of sunscreen.

For those on the windward side of Oahu, we really do have lengthy stretches of rainy, cloudy, snuggle and hoodie weather that is beginning to break up for the summer months.

Now, I live with a sun baby from New Jersey. My longtime love T is a sun baby of the highest order, and I literally chase him around our cottage with sunscreen. I got a little lax with my sunscreen routine when I first moved from Maui to Oahu, and that’s just not smart — nor worth it — for a fair-skinned girl of Irish descent.

Sure, if I get super tan my eyes look even more blue. But it also fries my face… and ain’t noboby got time fo’ that!

I actually feel sun damage is one of many great injustices between men and women. Hear me out. Men go grey and they look kind of distinguished and handsome.

Women look lovely that way, but we generally panic and dye it out because we can.

Men can get sun damage and maintain this quality that makes them look like they have become suddenly more worldly.

Women, we end up with that leathery look that is not so cool. Hashtag #notfair.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a woman, am super girly and wouldn’t have it any other way. I just know that sunscreen is key and it’s best to have it around the house in several varieties.

In the spirit of health, summer, sunshine and all things glowy, let me walk you through my top five sunscreens for summer. They all have specific strengths and will help you out in varying occasions. Trust me.

CLARINS UV PLUS ANTI-POLLUTION (SPF 50); $42

I love Clarins. Love love love it. As a product, I feel it delivers on maintaining youthful glow.

They have a sunscreen that is perfect for day to day. It works well over moisturizer and under makeup and it’s not greasy, yet it really protects.

This is a product that Tantra, hip-hop artist and Power 104.3 morning show host, loves as well.

NEUTROGENA ULTRA SHEER DRY-TOUCH (SPF 45); $9.49

This is what you need at the beach and while doing water sports. This brand of sunscreen kind of feels like you are slathering yourself in heavy-duty glue, but it definitely protects your skin on lengthy hours of sun exposure.

My former band mate Ola Shaw from The Throwdowns would slather on 100 SPF of this stuff on his inter-island paddle ventures from Maui to Lanai to protect from the sun’s harmful rays.

HAWAIIAN TROPIC SHIMMER EFFECT (SPF 20); $7.99

I’m pretty mad at this company. We’re kind of fighting.

I love this sunscreen, and not because it’s all that good of a sunscreen. Truth be told, I’ve found it to be not terribly effective as a proper sun protectant.

However, there is gold shimmer powder in this stuff. So when you put it on your arms and legs for an evening out, or even at the beach over your regular sunscreen, you look like Beyoncé. Yes, truly.

Over the past few months, I have stopped by Longs and Walgreens to pick up this product only to find it woefully missing from the shelves. I get the impression they have discontinued the shimmer series and I hope to Gaga I am wrong.

I resigned myself to buying a bulk pack of the shimmer sunscreen and the non-spf straight up shimmer cream on Amazon, but I fear that if it’s discontinued, even the coffers of the mighty, endless Amazon will run dry.

Why, Hawaiian Tropic? Why?

HAWAIIAN TROPIC SHEER TOUCH (SPF 8); $8.99

And on to the next product from this company. This is the sunscreen to make you feel like you are screening something, when in fact you are tanning something. I have used this on occasion and you definitely get brown fast!

While it does protect from burning, I don’t think it’s blocking many of the more harmful rays from your skin. I have this debate with my man all the time, because this is his go-to stuff. And then I chase him around with 30 SPF.

ALBA ORGANICS GREEN TEA (SPF 30); $12

I’ve heard there really is no such thing as a truly organic sunscreen, but here’s hoping! For those who like to keep things as green as possible and those who just want a break from the heavier sunscreens, this is a good alternative.

It really does seem to block pretty well, and it is lightweight and smells nice. You can find it at most health food stores and I believe at Longs as well.

What are your favorite sunscreens? Let me know in the comments below!
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Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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