Since Memorial Day weekend pretty much kicks off the summery season of barbecues and beachy fun, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's rays. I know I sound like a broken record, but it's a cause dear to my heart; my dad had to have a pre-cancerous mole removed from his face a few years ago, and if he'd worn sunblock, it may have never developed. And on the beauty end of things, wearing SPF keeps your complexion healthy, too. Since there are so many self-tanners on the market, there really is no excuse not to protect your skin. Here's what I suggest you take with you during your Memorial Day adventures — these are actually the same products in my "sun kit."
- A wide-brimmed hat: Essential for keeping the sun out of your eyes, it's also a great fashion statement. This one, from Target, is only $12.99, and it comes in black as well.
- A killer pair of shades: The best sunglasses are large and in charge, with lenses that provide shade all around your eyes — above them, below them, and to the sides. I picked up my Nour sunnies for $40 at a sample sale, but you don't have to spend even that much for a good pair. Look for shades labeled UV400, which protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- A high-SPF sunblock: SPF 15 is the absolute minimum, but SPF 30 is better. Beyond that, higher numbers mean only slight increases in protection, but if you're going to be outside, you might as well do it carefully. I've been using Neutrogena Ultra-Touch ($7.49) because of its broad-spectrum protection. It doesn't feel heavy, it isn't greasy, and although I could do without the too-strong scent, it's a wise buy. After all, the trick to sun protection is to never over-pay for it.
- The little details: Don't forget to protect your lips and hands. Look for a lip balm or gloss with SPF. I always carry Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector ($16.50) because it moisturizes and adds just a hint of hue while it protects lips. For hands, Palmer's Therapeutic Hand Cream ($4.69) offers SPF 8 — not amazing, but if you're a frequent hand-washer, applying this cream can't hurt.