Give us a beach, some perfect weather, and a solid read, and we're good to go. Throw in a few warm-weather beauty essentials, though, and we're even better. We get that the shore is supposed to be a carefree, low-maintenance place of relaxation, but with natural extremes like skin-damaging sunlight and salty water, it's important to stay protected and, if we're being completely honest, feel confident and like the way we look, too. That's why we're sharing the products that make a trip to the beach the perfect tropical getaway sans burns, dry hair, or any other beauty blunder that'll take away from the perfect oceanside snap.
Below, take a look inside our beach bags, which we hope will inspire your next few visits before the season wraps up!
I'll admit it: I wear makeup to the beach. I feel painfully self-conscious when I'm barefaced, so a bit of mascara, brow pencil, and concealer become security blankets that I'm in no way ashamed of using. These are all things I apply pre-beach in the hotel room, though, so as far as my beach bag go-tos are concerned, it's all about protecting my skin. La Roche-Posay Anthelois Sunscreen ($20) is my new favorite since it's non-greasy and doesn't break me out in the slightest. I'm also a big fan of Pixi's new Sun Serum Sheer Sunscreen + Lip Balm ($22), which is a genius duo of facial sunscreen and protective and nourishing lip balm since my lips always feel the wrath of the sun after laying out. My face is always the last thing to get color, so I love having a bit of St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Face Veil ($30) on hand to speed up the process (minus the damage). Lastly, I pack a face mist from L'Occitane (not currently available) to freshen up after spending hours in the salt water and blazing sun. Some cute Raen sunglasses don't hurt either.
I try to keep my beach bag fairly light, so I appreciate products that can pull double duty. Since moving to L.A., I wear a makeup-setting spray every day, so Coola's version with SPF 30 ($36) is the perfect option when I know I'll be out in the sun. My lips are prone to chapping wherever I go, so I always make sure to carry a chapstick with SPF when I'm hitting the beach. I love Fresh's Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen ($25) because you can also use it on your lips for that added boost of protection. A facial spray is a must for me for cooling off at the beach (or resetting for makeup application if you have plans directly after), and Mario Badescu's aloe, cucumber, and green tea iteration ($7) is a beach-friendly alternative to its rosewater version I use daily. Finally, if I am going somewhere straight after the beach, I like to use a little bit of Drybar's Dry Conditioner ($23) to freshen up my (in a perfect world) beach waves and eliminate sweat.
I used to pack as light as possible when heading out to the beach—I figured it was easier to make it work with whatever I had on hand. Now I've completely changed my tune. I like having all my stuff with me, and I appreciate little luxuries that will help keep my skin protected and my day comfortable. I always have two sunscreens, one for my face and one for my body (my favorite of the moment is Moroccanoil Sun Lotion, $32, because it's super hydrating and smells lovely); a Mason Pearson hair brush ($105) for tangles; a pre-shampoo treatment ($59) to moisturize and protect my curly, color-treated hair; and a dewy face mist ($48) to freshen up my skin. Also, Raen sunglasses.
I have two main goals when I go the beach or pool: Don't run out of phone battery, and don't get sunburned. So everything I bring with me is in service of these two objectives. Ban.do's charming portable phone charger ($35) is the cutest and most compact on the market, and I bring it with me whenever I travel. Once I make sure that's in my bag, then comes suncare. Oddly enough, my absolute favorite body sunscreen is this cheap, classic sport sunblock from Hawaiian Tropic ($9), which smells like my childhood, absorbs crazy fast, and truly protects my skin. But I always slather on Osmia Organics's Naked Body Oil ($20) first, especially if I have a spray tan, because a fellow beauty editor once told me that sunscreen will make your spray tan fade faster unless you layer it over body oil. This trick has proven effective for me! Then I always have a Sisley Phyto Lip Twist ($50) on me because even though I don't like to wear a lot of makeup to the beach, a hint of this versatile product on my eyes, lips, and cheeks brightens my face right up. Add to that a swipe of Benefit Gimme Brow ($24) and a guilty-pleasure beach read (I just finished Cat Marnell's How to Murder Your Life), and I am ready for the sun.
RMS’s Signature Set ($44) in Mod has been my purse staple this entire summer because it contains everything I need to look pleasantly flushed and dewy in 30 seconds, no matter where I am. In my beach bag in particular, I always include Supergoop’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist ($28) because it’s refreshing and easy to use, Sun Bum’s Sunscreen Stick ($10) to protect my face and make it smell like bananas (that’s attractive, right?), and Burt’s Bees All-Weather Lip Balm SPF 15 ($4) to hydrate and keep my lips from chapping. After basking in the sun (responsibly), I slather myself head to toe with Make’s Succulent Skin Gel ($25) to soothe any redness, then spritz myself with Herbivore’s Rose Face Mist ($16) to wake myself up from my hazy post-beach state.
I try to keep things pretty pared down if I'm hitting the beach—I've never understood the point of making a huge effort on your face when you're surrounded by sand, wind, and water. SPF is obviously a must, and nothing compares to La Roche-Posay's cult-fave formula: Not only does it offer ample protection, but it also has a great matte finish and leaves my skin feeling moisturized, not sticky or greasy (or broken out). I also love misting on Supergoop's Setting Mist ($28), which contains rosemary for a cooling effect. Beyond that, it's just a swipe of Tarte's Lifted Sweatproof Mascara ($23) and some Leonor Greyl Hair Oil ($59) on my ends to keep my bleach-blond hair from getting too dried out by the sun. And I never go anywhere without a few Invisibobbles ($8): They're hair ties that keep my thick hair secure without leaving any kind of dent, which is great when you want to throw up your hair but also embrace some beachy waves.
What do you stash in your beach bag? Please tell us below!