Camille Styles


The Decoder :: Summer Skincare 101

July 1st, 2014

It’s the Sophie’s Choice of sun care in our new hyper-informed world: To tan, or not to tan? Of course, we’ve now all had the mantra of no sun, ever drilled into our heads for years now, with the threat of premature aging and cancer looming over our heads like proverbial dark clouds. On the other hand…well, we’re all Vitamin D deficient, right? And, if we’ve ever had a bit of a tan in the past, we know how rested, healthy and er…slim a bit of color can make us look. So, despite our best intentions, many of us can easily fall into the trap of the “just a little color” cheat. Thankfully, the new sunscreens and self-tanners make it easy to protect our mugs, get a bit of a tan and sleep well at night knowing that we aren’t damaging the only set of skin that we’ve got.

To help you decode the myriad of sunscreens and self-tanners out there, we sorted through the best new new picks to find the creams of the crop — and, we organized them by personality, so whether you’re looking for a heavy-duty block to get you through your surfing vacation (consider us seriously jealous) or a self-tanner that will put you on the fast track to a healthy glow, we’ve got  you covered. Click through, and stock up — we promise that those damaging rays will be much less tempting when you’ve already been properly protected and bronzed.

featured image by ozzy garcia

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  1. alexa says:

    I’m the sensitive type. 😉 Thanks for this great rundown. I am always stumped. Every summer. Haha.

  2. Lily says:

    This is such an awesome collection — I think I fall under “perfectionist” hehe…

    x Lily

  3. Great post! I have sensitive skin and am always nervous about using a sun block that is heavy and greasy. It’s good to know that some of them have natural ingredients and work well on sensitive skin.

  4. Sisley products are great! Alexa Chung swears by them.

    Also, nice to see Tara’s article here (I love her Refinery29’s beauty columns)

  5. Belle says:

    Love the range of options, but I’m wondering have ya’ll come across any recommendations for darker-skinned women? I’m curious what SPF is even appropriate since some sun protection is needed (I assume?) but maybe not as much? I’ve never found a concrete recommendation, not even from my doctor….

    • Tara Rasmus says:

      Hi Belle!

      That is a fantastic question — I’m going to reach out to a dermatologist who will hopefully be able to enlighten us on this subject! Hold tight!


    • Tara Rasmus says:

      Hi Belle,

      My apologies for the delay. Below is a comment from Dr. Michael Shapiro, medical director and founder of Vanguard Dermatology ( I hope this helps!

      “Darker skin, like all other skin types, are just as prone to skin cancer. Skin cancer rates among Caucasians have been climbing steadily over the last decade, but so too is the incidence in darker skin. At the core of the problem is the erroneous belief that darker skin is immune from the sun’s carcinogenic rays. While darker women may naturally have higher SPF protection in their skin, it is still essential to wear proper sunscreen to prevent damage. A broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher should be worn all year round to ensure that the skin is protected from harmful UV rays. While some sunscreens can tend give dark skin a grey appearance after application, newer liquid formulas can provide darker women with protection without changing the way the skin looks. New clear zinc formulas are also great to try, since they are harder to see on the skin after application.”

      “The milder form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, is predominantly found among Caucasians, Hispanics and Asians. Individuals from the African American and Asian Indian communities more commonly develop squamous cell carcinoma. This form of skin cancer has the capacity to metastasize to other organs quickly. Basal cell carcinomas occur primarily on parts of the body that receive the most UV exposure. Squamous cell carcinomas show up in exposed areas too, but also present on legs and in the anogenital region on African American skin. Pay close attention to any lesion that bleeds, oozes, crusts, or won’t heal over the course of a few weeks; in those cases seeing a dermatologist is vital.”

      “The bottom line here is that is it imperative that everyone (no matter their color) wear SPF daily as well as receive a skin check at least once a year.”

  6. arielle says:

    love all of these suggestions. especially your ‘for the athlete’ recommendation. too often, sweat and sea make sunscreen efforts seem futile.

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  7. Emilia Jane says:

    Hi Camille, I’m honored that you like this photo enough from my personal photo shoot with Ozzy Garcia (slide 5) but I would prefer if you wouldn’t use it to advertise a product that I’m completely unaware of and have never used.

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