We just got back from an epic journey through the Gulf Coast (#bluebootsgogulfcoasttour) and I knew it was going to be hotttttt. Coming from the Northeast, we aren’t used to being baked outside, so I packed strategically and brought along my favorite, easy-to-pack, natural sun protection that I knew would keep us sun safe on all the types of adventures we had. Part of the tips I shared at a recent event, Pack Light, Style Right, included thoughtful consideration in selecting items to bring while traveling. I share my Top Safe Sun Care Picks for Travel this Summer below, and I hope they’ll be helpful to you as you plan your own adventures!
This post was written in collaboration with our lovely friends at Follain <3.
Why the epic adventure? We each had cousins getting married, so the weddings were bookends to a great adventure through the south east Gulf Coast. Our road trip took us from Ft. Lauderdale — Palm Beach — Orlando — Destin — Pensecola –Tallahassee – (passed through Alabama — Mississippi) — Baton Rouge — New Orleans — Austin — San Antonio. We were on the road 34 hours in total and traveled 1700 miles. That equates to a LOT of outside, sun time.
I like to be prepared on my adventures as much as possible. In reality, packing for me means packing for myself and for my husband. He knows I will probably have whatever it is that he didn’t pack, so that is a beautiful partnership right there, am I right? He usually takes care of transportation and logistics, so I’m happy with that.
BlueBootsGo Travel Tip #1: be up for learning new skills always, but also be sure to play to the strengths of you and your travel companions for smooth journeys.
Traveling to a new climate means packing a little differently. I knew we would be hot, wear less clothing, and be exposed to dehydrating heat and sun. Our skin is our largest organ, so I did a little research and picked out some helpers to bring along to keep both of us protected from damaging UV rays.
While I’ve only ever sunburned twice, and both times were very mild, I have noticed other aspects of sun damage – spots, dryness, and skin elasticity – which combined with normal growth and aging, aren’t the best. I’ll admit that without obvious sunburn, it may be surprising that my concern about sun exposure didn’t emerge till about a year ago. While I usually just tan, my husband has fairer skin and will burn. Sun care both before and after sun exposure will help skin to recover from damage and look younger and healthier for longer.
I have been endeavoring to take better care of myself and my family in little ways with respect to the kinds of foods we eat, products we use, and activities we do. My line of professional work is in preventive medicine, and the premise for prevention is that it is the long-term or accumulated exposures to toxins or harmful elements which result in diseases. So, to carry that principle over here, wherever we can prevent, let’s do it, I say!
Zero toxins – Follain’s mantra – as well as #askwhatsinside infuses smart purchasing into self care. It is empowering to be able to control some of the potential exposures to harmful things, since no one can live a happy life under a rock, shielded from all possible dangers, their whole life.
I brought a large scarf that could be repurposed as a coverup, a small-sized reusable water bottle, and a brimmed hat to shade delicate skin on my face as well. Dark clothing that is UPF certified was a help – I brought a couple of bottoms on the trip. As an added benefit, they’re usually quick-drying and will keep sensitive skin protected and feeling good.
Excited for the rare treat of beach and pool time, I brought along some old favorites and new products to try – my adventurous spirit encourages me to give new things a chance.
Before I left for the beach, I put on this moisturizer from Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense Lotion, which I wear just about every day at home on both cloudy and sunny days. It has a pleasant, very light scent and applies like a regular moisturizer.
This small (smaller than deodorant!) stick by Raw Elements USA Eco Stick was the best for quick application/reapplication on-the-go. It fit in my small cross body purse and it is safe for use on kids, water resistant, non-nano (won’t get stuck in your pores and get into your bloodstream like a lot of other sunscreens do). It is a dense stick, so I recommend applying it and then spreading it a little with your hands on your neck, arms, legs. You may choose to blend it with a more fluid product, like the Ursa Major Daily Defense lotion. It worked well for all the non-beach, non-pool outdoor time we had touring around. For more beach/BBQ time this summer, I’d opt for the lotion tube form of sun-proof Raw Elements. With no chemicals or fragrances and the fact that it won’t run (ouch – remember stinging eyes from sunscreen?), it wipes the usual concerns right out.
After being in the ocean and beach time, I liberally spritzed Herbivore Botanicals After Sun aloe mist. Although I already like to use a face mist, the fact that this is cooling and good for skin made it a must-try on this summer adventure. I sprayed our faces and body and it provided a clean-scented, cool relief that made me keep it close to me all trip. An unnamed someone got sunburned, and it was a relief to have on hand for that as well. I’d bring a small spray refillable spray bottle (you can find these at your local drugstore or a place like Target in the travel section) of this around all summer for quick refreshment on-the-go.
After a few hours at the beach, we took a break and then jumped in the pool (when in Florida…). A quick reapplication on easy-to-burn areas like the backs of ears, noses, and neck and shoulders worked great.
My simplest skincare routine for face: First, I cleanse. Then, I use a light face oil, applied in circular, upward motions, to treat dry skin. Afterwards, I add my moisturizer with sunscreen.
When we were going to be out all day walking in the 90-100 F heat, I didn’t want to wear makeup that was going to melt right off or clog pores, but I still often wanted a little smooth coverage. As an alternative to foundation that added a little bit of healthy color, I used this tinted moisturizer with SPF for face from Raw Elements. While I don’t like to pack several kinds of one item, bringing the right kind of sunscreen along makes complete sense because this tin is small and serves the simultaneous purpose of evening skin tone on my face while protecting it from UV rays.
BlueBootsGo Travel Tip #2: Find sunscreen with zinc oxide as an active ingredient. It is “non-nano” which means it is safer for regular use and won’t get into your pores.
Double duty time saver? Check!
BlueBootsGo Travel Tip #3: Find products that do double-duty.
We made it to Disney World one day, and after hours of being outside at Epcot without shade, and then having to get in the car and drive 5 hours, I was feeling less than wonderful. I had these Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes in my purse and they not only smell amazing but also left me feeling 100% refreshed and ready for a long car ride. I only had a couple of these left, but I definitely recommend packing a bunch for a trip, and even keeping one in your pocket or bag normally in case you need a pick-me-up!
I love companies that think of practicality in their packaging (single wipes, packable TSA friendly and leakproof tins and sticks) and who are thoughtful in how they create their products (good for you).
Whenever possible, I pack minimally and expertly for each adventure, and also prefer to not have to change up my routine from day to day. These little wonders allowed us to not worry about ouchie sun exposure, and freed us to enjoy all the new sights, sensations, tastes, and sounds of our Gulf Coast Tour.
A little preparation goes a long way, so I hope that this post helps you pick up a few sun care essentials that will streamline your sun care this summer for all of your adventures!