The Decoder :: Beach Bag Beauty Essentials

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

In my summerland fantasy, I make like Anne Marie Chadwick (Kate Bosworth’s character in Blue Crush, one of my favorite movies as a teen) and simply brush my teeth before putting on my bikini, grabbing my surfboard, and dashing to the ocean to hang ten. Unfortunately, my reality is a little more complicated (girly?) than that — and, without a bag that’s been properly planned and packed with a few beauty essentials, I end up feeling less surf goddess and more sun-ravaged beach urchin. To truly feel my best while braving the wind, sun, ocean and sand, I need proper full-body SPF (plus versions for face, lips, and hair), a few key hair accessories, and a handful of key primpers to make me over in time for a round of rum punches at sunset. Click through to check out my must-have list of beach bag beauty items, and take note next time you’re prepping for a day by the shore. You’ll be perfectly prepared whether you’re braving the waves à la Anne Marie, or lounging on the sand with a juicy book (like, um, me).

Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30 — It all begins with the perfect sunscreen, right? If it were possible for a sunblock to be sexy, this translucent oil would fit the bill. Clarins’ SPF 15 oil spray was so popular that the brand went and created a SPF 30 version, which will ensure that your bod is protected and nourished all day (salt water be damned). Bonus: If there’s no time to shower off before dinner, your skin will still be positively glowing at sunset.

Supergoop Lip Balm — Without a doubt, one of the most important items to pack for a day at the beach (and one that I often annoyingly forget to pack) is lip balm with serious SPF. If you’ve ever experienced the terrible feeling of having burned lips, you’ll know why I’m so gung-ho about this one! This balm has a sheer pink tint and SPF 30 — plus, the fact that it’s in a tube rather in solid form means that you’re not risking any melting.

Lulu Frost Malibu Headwrap — Despite getting creative with different riffs on the braid/bun/ponytail, I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to keep my fine waves contained (and snarl-free) on a windy, salty beach day. Next time I head to the shore, I’ll make sure to pack one of the ultra chic head wraps from my friend Lisa’s company, Lulu Frost, which will hopefully make me feel like a Grace Kelly goddess (rather than a frizzed-out beach bum).

Ombre Seamless Hair Ties — Decidedly less glamorous than the silky head wrap, but nonetheless necessary. These seamless ombré ties are basically as cute as hair elastics get — they even look cute worn on your wrist as bracelets.

Alterna Fade-Proof Finishing Gloss — Speaking of protecting that hair — whether you’re wearing a head wrap or not, you’ll want to slap on a UV-protecting product regularly throughout the day, especially if you have color-treated hair. This bamboo-and-kalahari-melon-infused finishing gloss from Alterna adds a major dose of shine along with killer UVA/UVB protection.

Detangling Comb — Another one of those “no, duh” products that I nonetheless find myself forgetting way too often: A lightweight wooden detangling comb to keep wind-and-wave-swept hair from turning into one large, unruly knot.

Lancome Cils Tint Lash Enhancer — If you’re the kind of woman that loves hitting the beach with zero makeup on…I applaud you. It’s not like I spend a ton of time applying a full face of pancake before zipping to the shore — but, you know, sometimes a girl’s got to have a tiny bit of help to feel her best (especially when she’s appearing in public mostly naked). Topping my list of beach makeup must-haves is this lash tint, which adds the perfect amount of bulletproof definition for subtly glamorous lashes.

MD Solar Sciences Creme Mineral Beauty Balm — Rather than foundation, I’ll apply a tinted SPF to my face to ensure that I’m getting serious sun blockage along with sheer coverage. This mineral beauty balm features antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, which brighten skin and even tone while shielding your mug with gentle mineral-based protection.

NARS Matte Multiple — If you’re not already familiar with NARS’ brilliant new Matte Multiples, let me introduce you. These dry, lightweight creams are super-pigmented, meaning that you only need a tiny bit on lips and cheeks to nab the perfect beach-bunny flush. I’m obsessed with Siam, a red-coral hybrid that truly might be the ultimate summer makeup color — but, if you prefer a more subtle flush, take the pale-coral Anguilla for a spin.

Tarte Brow Gel — Rather than applying a ton of makeup, I love to add a bit of glamour post-beach with a tinted brow gel. A strong brow plus a flush of color on lips and cheeks makes me feel like a serious summer goddess — and this water-resistant arch definer is basically foolproof.

You Smell Luxury Paper Soap — Throw these ingenious “soap papers” into your bag for a super-easy post beach sudsing: These thin films dissolve in your hands with water, creating a paraben-free, citrus-scented lather that will whisk caked-on sand and salt away.

Comodynes Radiant Glow Instant Body Bronzing Gel — Feeling left out of the party when, after diligently applying your SPF One Million all day, you leave the beach decidedly un-tan? (Three cheers to you, by the way!) Worry not: This long-lasting body-bronzing gel will give you all of the glow, with none of the damaging side effects. Win-win!