Living on the Floridian coast has its perks. All the images your mind conjures about Miami Beach – fine sand beaches, endless sunshine, epic waves – I have them all less than half a mile away from my home in northern Florida. However, being the #puterililin* (Google it, Singapore!) I am, I’ve yet to venture past the dunes and onto the coastline… until a week ago.
I reminded myself of a Portlandia** (watch it. you have to.) skit aptly named “Get the Gear”. There I was, throwing into my trusty (read: dusty) beach tote – a gift, mind you, I’d never have the need to buy one – item after item my mind made me believe I needed. Facial sunscreen, body sunscreen spray, SPF lip balm, beach chair, beach towel, bath towel, flip flops, umbrella, book, phone in a ziplock bag, waterbottle, hand sanitizer, sunglasses (should I bring the case?), et cetera, et cetera. I was so exhausted by the end of packing all that beach gear I thought the trip was hardly worth it any longer.
Which is why this article was born. Because, if you are like me about getting the gear, you’d likely not ever venture out to the beach this summer. You’d likely not get to see the beautiful surf, feel the bathwater-warm waves around your ankles, or have the balmy breeze lull you into a restful nap.
So you don’t miss out on any of what summer has to offer, here’s our simple beach-proof guide. Use it for a jaunt down to the beach, or even for a beach vacation. As long as you get out there and enjoy.
1. One sunscreen is more than enough. And a spray one is even better.
Some of us get queasy thinking about reapplying sunscreen – especially on our faces – after our hands have been in sand and water… and who knows what else. To simplify the task, get Kiss My Face’s Sun Spray Lotion SPF 30. It’s fuss-free to apply (no hands on face!), inexpensive, and safe for breakout-prone skin on both the face and the body. Paula’s Choice also makes an SPF 43 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Spray that’s alcohol-free, which means it won’t dry you out or sting. Only thing is, it’s not water-resistant. There’s also La Roche Posay’s Anthelios SPF 60 – lightweight and scent/stink-free, it’s great for the body and for the face.
If you tend to have breakouts from sunscreen or have oily skin, use Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce for Sensitive Skin – it’s also water-resistant, which means you need to re-apply less. No spray version though.
2. Stay off the sand.
Sand makes us bring more than we need. Thanks to sand, we try to find non-stick sunscreens, we need a beach towel and a bath towel that we keep sand-free, and we keep our food and drink wrapped up. Say no to sand invading your space with a beach chair, like BeachMall’s lightweight, rust-resistant, quick-dry aluminium one that reclines from sitting to prone positions – and even comes with a cup/bottle/can holder so your beer doesn’t get gooped up. An even more lightweight barrier between you and the sand can be found in a foldable, portable mat like Camco’s – large enough for two people, and folds right into a tote. Cheaper than a beach chair too.
3. Get a sippy cup.
This sounds trivial, but here’s why a sippy cup – like the one Yeti makes (with straw lid accessory) – trumps all other receptacles for beach drinks. One, you don’t have to get your grimy hands anywhere near the place you touch your mouth to. Two, you only need one hand to pick it up and drink (or maybe even NO hands). Three, it’s waste-free, meaning you won’t be hunting for a place to throw your recyclable plastic bottle. Four, it keeps your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold. Lastly, and most crucially, no one would know if you were boozing out like a lush. Until someone smells your breath.
4. Bring a bag that has compartments.
Ruffling through a sea of stuff in your bag with filthy hands is gross, and quite inefficient too. What if there was a moment you needed to snap quickly with your phone, but it’s hiding under the apple, which is under the towel, which is under the sunscreen? Gahhh! Be smart, and get organised. Find a bag, like Herschel’s water-resistant Alexander tote, that has easy-to-reach compartments, so you don’t get your grubby fingers over everything, all the time. Plus, it’s a tote so you won’t have to fiddle around with zips and clasps – a nightmare if your hands are greasy from sweat and sunscreen.
*puterililin – slang, Malay language; someone who is averse to sunny outdoors.
**Portlandia – an IFC comedy sketch series starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen.