Anyone who knows me knows that I’m borderline fanatical about sun protection. When someone tries to compliment me by saying, “It looks like you’ve got some color,” my immediate response is, “Oh, I hope not!” When I go on warm-weather vacations, I inevitably come back paler than when I left, thanks to pre-trip spray tans and ginormous beach umbrellas. But I wasn’t always a sunscreen geek—or perhaps freak is a better term? It wasn’t until age 20 that I learned the true importance of SPF.
It was my junior year of college, and I was in the Bahamas with my family for spring break. Despite my red-headed Irish mother slathering sunscreen on me as a kid, my high school and most of my college years were spent soaking up UV rays with minimal protection or, even worse, laying out wearing oil. On the first day of this particular vacation, I planted myself in a comfy beach chair about an hour before lunch, and didn’t bother with sunscreen. About three hours later, I started to feel that all-too-familiar stinging sensation, and by nightfall, I was as red as a lobster. I’ll spare you the gory details, but here's a hint: Blisters covered a good 50% of my body for the next week. I vowed that I would never get a burn again—and 10 years later, I’ve kept that promise to myself.
Over the last decade, I’ve done my fair share of research into sunburn prevention and sun protection more generally. From sticks to sprays to lotions, I’ve tried everything under the, well, sun. I’ve found plenty of winners but nothing has changed my routine quite like Supergoop’s City Sunscreen Serum. It checks all my requirements: the broad-spectrum SPF 30 formula protects against both UVA (responsible for aging) and UVB rays (responsible for burning) and blends in without feeling the least bit greasy or heavy. I also happen to have chronically dry skin and it has just enough moisture to keep things flake-free, not to mention it layers nicely under makeup. The fragrance-free formula doesn’t smell like traditional SPFs—a major bonus if you happen to like your perfume (or you just don’t want to give off pina colada fumes). And any reformed sun worshiper will appreciate that ingredients vitamin E and B5 work to reverse past damage (because nobody’s perfect).