6 years ago by

In Los Angeles, like in Japan, actually, you often see women with umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. Honestly, I don’t know if an umbrella does much in terms of SPF, but I have to say, it’s totally possible I’ll end up becoming an umbrella lady one day.

Or a lady who drives with gloves to protect her hands from the sun. Since I JUST GOT MY DRIVER’S PERMIT TWO HOURS AGO and pretty soon I’ll be in a convertible with Justin Bieber blasting, my hair blowing in the wind.

Sometimes I even try to go surfing (in other words, I get pummeled by 25 waves before swallowing my pride and going back to the beach, cursing Chris under my breath for being able to do backward somersaults on his surfboard and looking at me like, see how easy it is!) and I say to myself, no this is no good. By the time I become a super surfer (I’ve calculated, and at this pace, in 2045 I’ll reach the level Kelly Slater was at when he was four) I’ll have spent hours in the water, without good sun protection, without sunglasses, squinting like crazy in the sun, losing all the progress I’ve made protecting my skin all these years and literally watching sunspots and frown lines form on my forehead.

Yes, I really think these types of things sometimes.

Then sometimes, I say, who cares, people age, it’s life, stop this nonsense with the umbrella, the gloves, and go surfing, you’re so beautiful when you get knocked over, and almost murder a child playing by the water because you lose your board and come out of the water covered in seaweed glide across the waves.

But even so, we do need to talk about the sun.

I ride my bike, I walk, I love going to the beach, in short, I’m currently living in a place where it’s sunny nearly 360 days a year (fortunately) and I have a permanent tan now, even though I’m careful.

So I want to keep seeing you, sun, but to protect myself, I’ve decided to implement some ground rules:

(because solid sunscreen isn’t enough)

1. Face (and neck and cleavage)

Every day, I apply it, no matter what my plan is for the day. I try to choose non-toxic brands obviously, I spend my life testing them out. Because let’s be really, really, really honest – non-toxic sunscreen works, but applying it isn’t always the best. Last time I went out after putting on sunscreen and Chris said, “Babe, why is your face all blue?” Yep.

So I try out different products. But I could do better. Like, during the day, I never reapply it.

My favorite brands are: Sun Bum, Coola, Drunk Elephant, True Botanicals. I’ll give you a full recap once I’ve tried them all!

2. Body

Hands and forearms. THE thing to never forget, because they are super exposed all the time. One of my friends is 60 (yes, I’m like Harper’s Bazaar, I have chic friends of every age) has totally discolored forearms (sun spots, white spots) and the left arm is worse than the right, from driving. So you have to be careful.

For that, I always have a little vaporizer with me. I reapply as needed and just because I’m totally paranoid about my hands since I already have a few small spots (mostly on my right hand, no idea why). When I need to, I put some on my ankles and feet, and when I wear crop tops, I spray some on my stomach with an adorable little giggle, and I don’t leave out my belly button.

You crazy? I don’t wear crop tops. And I don’t giggle.

(because liquid sunscreen isn’t enough)

1. Ironic trucker cap

I don’t know if I’m ready to wear the straw hat on vacation look all year, but one thing is sure, I’ve bought some good hats. I gave up on trying to make them work with my look for now, especially since I didn’t have a look anyway (I’ve just gotten all my clothes back after three months of living out of a suitcase) and I figure people will understand that my ballcap is ironic.

Ball caps are more practical than actual hats, you can throw them into your bag in one second and also, it won’t fly away. But I know one day I’m going to have to take a good look at my hat look: ball caps, even if they are extremely ironic, don’t protect you from much, actually. Just your forehead and the tip of your nose, and I think we can all agree that’s not enough if we want to stay looking young, beautiful, funny and active like Jane Fonda.

So I’m going to have to start wearing real hats again and looking chic very soon.

2. Gloves and other accessories

Nope, I’m not kidding. Not only am I paranoid about my hands, I’m also a woman on the go. I’m on my bike every day, with my hands super exposed and my goal in life right now is to find a pair of practical gloves to protect my hands from the sun. Recently, feeling desperate, I wore leather gloves, but they were too hot and I did look ridiculous. But my intentions were good.

Next, and you have to know, I refuse to go to the beach without a parasol. And yes, really, sometimes, when I walk down a street without trees in LA and the sun is beating down on me, and the music from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (millennials, google it) starts playing in my ears, I tell myself an umbrella wouldn’t be too bad. And then I change my mind, but suddenly I see a real Angeleno who has it all figured out, walking her dog with pasty pale skin, visor covering her face, gloves, umbrella, glasses, and that’s when I wonder:



Since I grew up in the South, this is something I’ve always done: I walk on the shady side of the street. I rarely go to the beach between 11AM and 3PM. I don’t eat lunch in the sun without a parasol. The list of my habits is really long and I’m so used to doing those things I don’t even realize it anymore, actually. But living in LA has brought them back in mind.

So there you go.

And besides all that, it’s true that some sunspots are pretty and don’t bother me, and above all, you have to live your life and have fun and being in the sun is really one of the secrets to happiness (literally, because sun is a source of vitamin D and we can only synthesize it by spending unprotected
time in the sun, even if it’s only a few minutes per day)…

… But I was wondering what you all do. And where exactly the line is between being a woman who wants to stay fresh and protect her skin and the hysterical person who forgets to live because she’s so busy worrying about it. And if you’d say hello to me if you see me one day in umbrella-visor-gloves-sunglasses mode.

Actually, if I were wearing all that, you wouldn’t recognize me anyway.

Maybe the woman I saw on the street that day was Angelina Jolie, actually.


I’ll never know.

Translated by Andrea Perdue

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  • Linda May, 9 2017, 9:50 / Reply

    You can buy an umbrella with UV protection. I have one.

    By the way, I love your site.

  • Hi Garance!
    Recently I moved to Japan… to beautiful Fukuoka to be exact – which is sunny & hot & sweaty most times of the year. I am a blond, blue-eyed easily sun-burned northern German woman… go figure

    BUT – Japan has a crazy range of sun protection to offer: I’ve got a spray to protect my hair & skin (alwys in my bag to re-apply), I have make-up & CC-Cream with strong sun protection, I bought a ball cap as well (which was a serious challenge to my pride, since non of them seem to fit – but now I have cute denim one, wearing it on my bicycle, for running & hicking – basically everything where I do not want to put up a hand on my head all the time to keep my hat from fallin down) – since it does not protect my neck, I am about to assemble scarfs (elegant, sporty, cute, fashionable… you name it, it’s damn fun to play with them!). I got a huge straw hat as well~ but only for days out in the city or my balcony.

    The gloves…I do not like wearing gloves, not even in winter. It’s too warm… so I am still re-applying sunprotection all the time. For my arms: long linen blouses & light woven linen pullover are great! also cardigans in all colours (I’ve yet to battle the 40°C plus with this strategy)

    Please keep us updated on your journey to get accustomed (again) to the sun. Especially about the brands you are using.

  • J’ai des allergies solaires sévères depuis que j’ai 5 ans – Petite je passais mes étés à courir les dermatos (top !!!) depuis j’ai appris à vivre avec et à me protéger avec des crèmes à indices très élevés c’est chez moi un réflexe comme me laver les dents. Je peux dire que j’ai utilisé des tonnes /litres de solaires (j’en ai toujours dans mon sac) et je n’ai rien trouvé de mieux que les solaires DayLong – Leur avantage on en met le matin et hop on est tranquille 6 h ) – Elle est recommandée par les dermatos et dernièrement j’ai lu que Joelle Ciocco la recommandait aussi.. J’en ai même une anti âge et du coup l’été je ne mets que ca !! fini les allergies sans avoir à me pommader toutes les 2 H ce qui est bien pratique surtout lorsque je pars faire de l’alpinisme à plus de 5 000 M . Mais bon il est vrai que l’été je n’ai qu’un léger hâle style bonne mine mais je me dis que toute façon c est bien plus joli qu’un bronzage à la Magda (la voisine de Cameron Diaz dans Mary à tout prix)

  • Hi Garance!
    Recently I moved to Japan… to beautiful Fukuoka to be exact – which is sunny & hot & sweaty most times of the year. I am a blond, blue-eyed easily sun-burned northern German woman… go figure

    BUT – Japan has a crazy range of sun protection to offer: I’ve got a spray to protect my hair & skin (alwys in my bag to re-apply), I have make-up & CC-Cream with strong sun protection, I bought a ball cap as well (which was a serious challenge to my pride, since non of them seem to fit – but now I have cute denim one, wearing it on my bicycle, for running & hicking – basically everything where I do not want to put up a hand on my head all the time to keep my hat from fallin down) – since it does not protect my neck, I am about to assemble scarfs (elegant, sporty, cute, fashionable… you name it, it’s damn fun to play with them!). I got a huge straw hat as well~ but only for days out in the city or my balcony.

    The gloves…I do not like wearing gloves, not even in winter. It’s too warm… so I am still re-applying sunprotection all the time. For my arms: long linen blouses & light woven linen pullover are great! also cardigans in all colours (I’ve yet to battle the 40°C plus with this strategy). But I do use an umbrella – there are special ones with UV-protection doubling as rain protection as well.
    One thing never to forget is the after sun care – Aloe gel is my favourite, but I’ve yet to find a good here in Japan.
    Please keep us updated on your journey to get accustomed (again) to the sun. Especially about the brands you are using.

  • Thank you for this. It’s smart.
    I like the “sun capital” theory, that you have X amount of safe exposure (different for each person depending on genetics) and when you use it up, you get cancer. I think that applies to specific body parts as well. Your legs are less likely to use up their capital because they are usually in a vertical position in the sun and get hit less. Whereas your hands, your shoulders, your nose are getting slammed. As you say, reapplying sun block is a pain, so physical protection, especially of those hard-hit areas, is smart. It’s about saving your capital as much as possible while still living life.
    I don’t want to end up like my aunt, who lost one nostril to skin cancer. Not pretty and above all not fun to go through.

  • I used to be the crazy lady with the hat, the gloves, the umbrella and the white face from the SPF 50 sunblock. And then I moved from Spain to Germany. That changed my approach to sun /SPF in so many levels… mostly because there’s no sun here. At first I was very happy because I was going to have porcelain skin, white by nature, not by the tons of greasy SPF. But then my Vitamin D levels dropped so much that I got sick. My hair was falling like crazy, my skin was super dry and I was always sad and tired. My doctor prescribed Vitamin D tablets and told me to go to the beach. True story. What surprised me the most was that me, the woman who hated going to the beach because the sun was a threat, started to feel the urgent need of going to the beach. It was a physical need, my muscles and my skin were asking me: where is the sun we grow up with? Huh? So, even though I’m always careful (I grow up knowing that you don’t sunbathe without SPF, you don’t expose your skin to the sun in the peak hours of the day and all the things we Mediterraneans know) I am aware now of the extremely importance of enjoying some warm shunshine in your skin. As I’m writing this I’m having goosebumps! I’m heading back to Spain next week for a much needed holiday under the sun and I just can’t wait. Those rays of sun in my face are therapeutic! But I’ll be using the VICHY Ideal SPF 50 bb cream, by the way, which is amazing because it gives you a nice colour and it’s not super greasy. And I need that tad of colour because Germany makes my skin look green (not the white porcelain I was hoping for when I moved. Ugh!)

  • Caroline May, 9 2017, 10:31 / Reply

    Garance, ce que tu dis sur les mains me parle depuis que je me suis retrouvée à faire de la moto au Ladakh (= énorme kif) sans gants et en tongs (= énorme erreur). Au bout de quelques heures, mes mains et mes pieds avaient pris 100 ans. Angoisse absolue – heureusement, les marques sont parties, mais plus jamais ça… Donc, s’il faut porter des gants quand on fait du vélo, pourquoi pas. Aussi, le soleil n’est pas le même selon les latitudes et l’ombre est ton meilleur ami…

  • Bonjour Garance,

    j’habite Marseille et il fait souvent chaud surtout en ce moment, mais alors je ne fais rien du tout (comme une vraie française) je me laisse vivre, j’y pense pas vraiment bon en même temps j’ai 22 ans donc j’ai pas trop de ride pour le moment, mais je pense que le soleil doit être moins fort qu’à LA. Je pense qu’il faut profiter de la vie surtout si on aime s’habiller, je pense pas que tu es autant dehors qu’un ouvrier donc l’expo doit être moins dangereux, et j’ai le souvenir que dans un post tu disais avoir la peau épaisse (je crois qu’un anesthésiste t’avait dit ça avant une opération) donc peut être que ta peau résiste mieux au soleil ? Sinon c’est quand Garance que tu reviens sur Marseille, ça serait cool ? :)

  • DaveysHouse May, 9 2017, 10:56 / Reply

    Fingerless biking gloves, Mizz Garance. They protect the top of the hand, which takes such a beating :-). XX

  • Yes. You can also get fingerless very light gloves on ebay for cheap. Paranoid about my hands getting spotty; when I used to sunbathe in college, I would keep my hands and fac e out of the sun!

  • carole May, 9 2017, 11:06 / Reply

    C’est effectivement compliqué de trouver une protection solaire non toxique sans défaut !
    Je viens de d’en découvrir une qui est à la fois efficace, agréable et facile à appliquer (pas de traces blanches, d’effet masque ou quoi que soit d’indésirable). Il s’agit du sun face protect de la marque Feather Eagle Sky. Sa créatrice, Jessika Le Corre, vient également de créer un sun body face (non encore testé). Je partage cette trouvaille car le travail de Jessika, son éthique méritent d’être mis en valeur.
    Bonne journée !

  • breevandekemp May, 9 2017, 11:32 / Reply

    Actinica Daylong m’a simplifié la vie et mes rapports avec le soleil. Ayant un mélasma qui m’omnibulait je n’arrivais même plus à profiter du beau temps sans que cela me mine. Remettre de la crème toutes les deux heures bof, marcher au soleil me faisait flipper. Depuis que l’on m’a conseillé cette crème mon rapport au soleil est plus sain, moins prise de tête. Les solaires australiens ont la réputations d’être parmi les meilleurs. je confirme!

  • Oh man! I know this one well, it’s love/hate relationship. I would love to hear about your favorite sunscreen choices. I am still hunting for the perfect mineral formulation. I thought I had it until I discovered, now I’m looking up their ratings on everything I apply to my body. Another item I’ve see in Asia is umbrellas for your bike, maybe you need one of those : ) It’s way too windy where I live for one, but I love the idea. What kind of gloves are you wearing? I have short arms and am always pulling my shirt sleeves down over my hands. I do wear gloves for water sports, but they are not cute. Don’t give up on surfing!

  • Garance:
    belly button?

    I thought you lost the plot for a moment.
    Glad to see you were joking.
    Love the post, thank you.

  • J’habite le sud de la Floride depuis une dizaine d’annees, je fais tout ce qui est possible pour me proteger du soleil en ville, surtout avec du spf 50 sur les parties du corps exposees et a la plage c’est parasol obligatoire et de l’eau, beaucoup d’eau, et bien sur, les indispensables lunettes de soleil !

  • I have written my experience of staying in the sun with no fun here:

    I really want to stress that the main cause to protect yourself from the sun is not aging! It’s health!

    So many people think that skin cancer is not their concern but I have my own experience with this.

    Protecting your skin from the sun can be really tiring but everyone should do it if you care about your health.

    I guess it gives me one reason to be more content with living in a cold northern country… :)

  • De mai à novembre j’ai toujours un petit tube de crème indice 50 (Avène, je n’ai pas trouvé de meilleur rapport prix/compo/portabilité) dans mon sac (j’habite à Marseille), et je m’en tartine le visage et les bras matin et midi. Mais jamais les mains !!! Et j’ai pourtant des petites tâches déjà…. Oulalalala je vais vite remédier à cette mauvaise habitude

  • Gretchen May, 9 2017, 3:32 / Reply

    Hello! This post totally resonated with me. I live in the Sonoran Desert after living in the forested Pacific NW and the number of days as well as intensity of the sun here is anxiety producing. I totally think about the sun! In fact, some new transplant accused me of crazy fear of summer (aka ‘sun times’). One of my best additions to my life has been a shirt with UPF in it, its like built in sunscreen. I own a button up shirt from North Face that looks semi-linen(ish) and I wear it over my tank top for biking and when I take breaks from work and take a little walk. I wear it ALL the time! I also love Roche Posay sunscreen and am considering adding gloves too, especially for biking.

  • Porter des gants en faisant du vélo c’est une bonne idée. Je vis en Bretagne et au bord de la mer. Aller à la plage fait partie de notre culture comme au Brésil mais du coup j’ai des tâches brunes et l’hiver je ne le vis pas si bien que ça, notamment sur le décolleté et les mains. Je pense même faire un peeling l’hiver prochain. L’année dernière, j’ai réduit le temps en maillot de bain à la plage et mon Dieu je ne m’en suis pas portée plus mal, j’aime porter une grande chemise homme et en plus les rayons du soleil me font moins mal. Un été j’ai vu la différence avec ma main gauche et ma main droite parce que je jouais au golf sur un parcours qui longe la mer et ma main droite était bien plus abîmée puisque la gauche portait toujours un gant.

  • Bonjour Garance,
    Je t’ai laissé un petit message tout à l’heure sur Instagram mais il a dû être noyé dans la masse. Je voulais te parler de la marque de maillots de bain SPF 50+ que ma cousine vient tout juste de lancer. Elle a eu un gros pépin de santé dermato, ce qui l’a amené à revoir complètement sa façon de s’exposer au soleil et de s’habiller. Il n’y avait rien qui lui plaisait en boutique car les modèles proposés étaient toujours stigmatisant et criaient “je suis malade” alors qu’elle ne rêvait que d’être comme tout le monde à prendre du plaisir sur la plage. Du coup, elle a décidé de se lancer dans la Mode et plus particulièrement dans le vêtement de bain , . Je suis sûre que cela te plairait !
    Bonne journée et félicitations pour ton code ! ??

  • Sommer May, 9 2017, 6:21 / Reply

    Love a good sun-protection post! I recently purchased Paula’s Choice – Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 for face & body—no need for cream segregation! Love it so far. Doesn’t ball up or have an overly white cast.

    Digging the new site, btw. :)

  • Kirstin May, 9 2017, 7:31 / Reply

    I live in Australia, in a small coastal town. I swim daily at teh beach, walk and ride everywhere, and I garden… it is always sunny here…
    I wear a long sleeve swimming rash and never go to the beach between 10am -4pm.
    I usd to be allergic to every sunscreen I tried, but then this summer I came across RATIONALE, and their skincare and especially the 50+ sunscreen is the best! I truly encourage anyone to try it. Their whole range is vegan, except for the sunblock which contains some beeswax.
    In summer I always carry a scarf, so I can cover myself if for some reason I am stuck in the sun.
    But other than that I try not to worry too much. I try hard to protect myself from skin cancer, but otherwise the face of someone with a life well lived, will always be better than one that is pristine, surely? I see women in their 50s who allow their vanity to smother their joy, and there is nothing pretty about their un-lived faces. When it comes time to spend our final years bound in a chair because our bones are weary, I want to remember vividly all the days I explored the world. I don’t want to think “oh dear, I spent the last 40 years sitting inside, protecting my ‘beauty’…. I made the wrong choice.

  • Glossier sort justement une nouvelle crème solaire ! À tester ! Baci da Firenze, Ali

  • Velouria May, 10 2017, 1:48 / Reply

    Moi aussi j’ai plus de tâches brunes sur main droite alors que je fumais de la main gauche …incompréhensible ou alors la nicotine protège des uv ?

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira May, 10 2017, 3:20 / Reply

    I just Love your sories,Garance! They’re a lot of fun and uncompromising!!!And this one ends up to be very pedagocical too, you know what i mean?Congratutalitions!!! And as for surfing…are you goofy or regular ?

  • alexandra May, 10 2017, 4:02 / Reply

    I had to adjust too when I moved to Hawaii. Luckily (or not) I work indoors from about sunup to sundown, but I always keep a spray bottle of SPF 15 in my car. I’m a huge fan of powdered sunscreen for my face and for my hair part. I use one from Colorscience and keep it in my bag at all times. Lately, there’s been a lot of news about how most newer sunscreen chemicals aren’t safe for use near coral reefs, so now I am trying to find something made of titanium or zinc. It’s hard when you’re by yourself and need something that comes in a spray can!

  • I am always very careful with the sun, and then last week I wore sunglasses with reflective lenses and my cheeks and forehead for burned, never realized how stupid it is to wear sunglasses like that in the sun. Anyway, lucky to have sun every day, enjoy it also!

  • I totally agree with Kirstin. I am one of the lucky ones whose skin can cope with a lot of sun (particularly in every day life in Brussels). Unless I am traveling to a tropical/Mediterranean place in summer and know that I will be exposed to direct sun light for a longer time (then I use sunscreen, a tunic and a sunhat, of course), I don’t really worry about it and enjoy the moments outdoors fully instead. But seeing friends around me who suffer much more than me and need to pay much more attention to the effects of the sun hurts of course, and I am very thankful for my Mediterranean genes.

  • I’m from Australia. I have dry, sensitive, mature skin & I have found La Roche Posay is excellent for face & body. It doesn’t feel thick. Peter Thomas Roth powder brush is also good for quick touch ups on the face. I’d definitely avoid the beach between 11am-3pm.

  • I have gloves from Coolibar I wear to drive and when I push my baby in the stroller on walks because hands are pretty exposed on the stroller handle. The other day I was out and met our neighbor’s realtor and shook hands with my gloves on, forgetting them, he may have thought I’m cuckoo!

  • I swear by my fingerless UV gloves from I keep them everywhere just in case :-)

  • Je vis en Bretagne(Finistère nord)il pleut 360 jours par an,je dois porter des collants et des bottes en été,des gants aussi parfois pour conduire et un chapeau contre le vent et la pluie…Je pleure en regardant tes photos…donc ,oui, profite bien de ce merveilleux soleil :)

  • @luxberliner May, 10 2017, 10:00 / Reply

    étant donné le manque chronique de soleil à berlin, je t’envie plutot, là…

  • Congratulations on your driver’s permit!!! Does this mean you are going to become one of those crazy LA drivers who turn left after the red light? (I kid)(my boyfriend is one of those. He insists two cars can turn left after the yellow.)

    This article has me thinking more seriously about protecting myself from the sun. I live just a little north of LA and also spend some time outdoors every day, and typically get a tan face/chest and arms/hands every summer. Looking forward to hearing your recommendations for sunscreen!

  • I am coming from the Mediterranean as well and I love the sun, so much that I used to get charcoaled at the beach all me adolescence life, ignoring all the warnings about skin cancer. For the last 10 years I have been living in a country where the sun comes out about twice a year (am not kidding!!) and I guess because of that my skin cannot stand the sun any more. However, I was recently diagnosed with a melanoma – and at a spot where it does not get a lot of sun. So I freaked, cursed my young self for being so irresponsible and totally changed my behaviour towards the sun. I am paranoid now and scared with a huge scar to remind me that I cannot be so reckless. Therefore, I am up for all of the protective solutions you are mentioning. I will probably look ridiculous especially with the gloves, but rather that than anything more serious. Thank you for bringing up this subject as it is something that we should be talking more about and taking more measures on a personal, and not only, level.

  • Living in Miami where the sun is intense year round, I use SPF driving gloves from Sundriven. They come in gorgeous colors and long or short length. I absolutely love them.

  • I use Coola on my face as well. Absolutely love it. Recommended by EWG. Super Matte (for those of us with oily skin) and stays like that all day. I almost have started using it in the winter as well just for the mattifying effect.

  • Aucun problème de soleil à Paris! You know what I mean… ;)

  • Fingerless gloves are a good idea all you Garance fans. I begin every summer worrying about spotty hands from driving and invariably get sloppy and stop applying SPF very soon. I’ve never been able to find one that doesnt get white smudges all over the steering wheel and door (yes, I’m more worried about my car’s epidermis than mine, apparently.) I’ve tried sprays and they all seem to eat my nailpolish.

    So I’ll try fingerless gloves this season — let’s see how long it lasts. 30 degrees celcius might be a challenge!

    Merci et bisous!

  • Sur ce sujet il FAUT SUIVRE LES CONSEILS D’UNE AUSTRALIENNE! Ici la couche d’ozone est faible mais on passe quand même nos vies au soleil. Je vous conseille notre marque du “Cancer Council” qui est une fondation de recherche de cancer qui crée des cremes solaires, des vetements et produits de protection. Moi, j’utilise depuis longtemps leur creme “Day Face Wear” au lieu de mettre du fond de teínt. Il y a deux couleurs: medium et light et je change avec les saisons

  • Super pratique et très efficace :

    ET ca marche vraiment bien aussi pour “finir” le makeup!!
    Banco :)

    ET ca existe en taille mini a avoir toujours dans son sac!!

  • Ha! I’m one of the crazy ladies in LA who use a parasol regularly! I have really pale, sensitive skin that I already ruined by getting too much sun when I was younger and now I have rosacea. So I hide like crazy from that super intense LA sun now. I’ve been using an umbrella for years hoping it will become more fashionable – so Garance please start using one, you would help the cause greatly! It is so much easier than dealing with hats all the time and getting your hair all greasy as soon as it’s clean. After trying many options I’m happy these days with with La Roche Posay for my face and the back of my hands – haven’t gotten into gloves yet, but it will probably happen ;). Hope you’re enjoying LA life – I will cheers you from under my umbrella if I see you around!

  • I am also french living in LA for the past 3 years and I still not sure what to do about the sun… I am very fair skin and I just get red and never tan so I gave up trying to go to the sun a long time ago… But in LA it is not going to the beach and lying down it is just walking, going outside, eating outside… And I discovered my skin doesn’t react well at sunscreen everyday (redness, feeling of burning skin, dry patches, pimples…) + I am not sure about the safety of an everyday use on the long run.
    So I don’t put sunscreen everyday… and I have a big hat always with me and a scarf on my shoulder.
    I don’t think LA is for me

  • Theresa May, 11 2017, 1:55 / Reply

    Besides hats and general coverage, I reapply sunscreen throughout the day. One dose of spf in the morning absolutely will not provide all-day protection.

  • Raquel May, 11 2017, 7:27 / Reply

    Well Garance, having just moved to Parma in Italy from colder climates of Ireland I really relate to your sun ‘issue’ I have darker skin but super sensitive and also grew up in a hot country (our gypsy lives always sound complicated)
    Anyway I am surprised to see my hands tanning soooo fast just from riding my bike, also the sunscreen urrrgh which one is going to work, so I look forward to your trial results, currently I am using the la Roche Posay and its ok for face – no blue face or 2 shades wrong foundation look!
    The hat issue, so at least in LA they wear hats here urrr NO! I have very dark hair and riding even for a short while I feel like I am frying my little head, so not only do I need to protect my currently not so wrinkled face but also my poor head. I just bought a fanatastic hat in Bennetton what has street chic and beautiful cobalt blue.
    Finally on covering up riding I have decided a white cotton shirt jacket is going to be cover up.
    But having the sunshine is sooo great and I continue to protect instead of hide from the Sun.

  • It all sounds a bit of a nightmare. I think I prefer the four seasons. But summer comes, even in temperate zones.

    I have already wrecked my hands with years of gardening but don’t worry or care particularly. On my face (smooth still) I wear an Aveena 30 spf every single day of the year. My dyed hair always suffers in the sun; goes too blonde and brassy. This year I plan to wear the two hats I bought last year, and left in the closet because I was a tad self-conscious. (I am getting over that, finally.) One has a glamorous wide brim. I would also like a little cotton one with a small brim like I had in the 70s.

  • Maartje May, 11 2017, 5:55 / Reply

    Ah, thank you for this.
    Here in The Netherlands summer still hasn’t arrived, and I’ve wondered why we do this to ourselves: live in a country with so much rain, so little summer. I’ve pondered figuring out a career where I’m here in spring and summer, and abroad during the coldest part of winter.
    But of course: I’ll probably miss the seasons. And I’d have a hard time with the sun. So… bless these damn clouds and grey skies? (And I might move eventually, but at least I’ll be somewhat prepared for full-time sun thanks to this post)

    Also – thanks for the crop top joke, made me smile. ;-)

    Good luck with the sunproofing!

  • Maartje May, 11 2017, 5:55 / Reply

    Hi Garance + team,

    I still get a ‘file not found’ error page after clicking ‘send’ on my comment.

  • Natalie May, 17 2017, 1:45

    Hi Maartje, your comment is coming through but I have passed this note along to our developers so we can get the issue resolved quickly! Thank you for letting us know xx

  • Michelle May, 12 2017, 7:02 / Reply

    When it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to live forever and that ageing affected everyone (I had my 50th birthday!!) I got some of the good perspectives of getting older.Which was nothing’s perfect in life,everything is changing all the time including skin and it’s really important to enjoy life and not take it too seriously all the time.thankfully I also feel wiser in my head too!

  • I’ve never had an umbrella in the summer.

  • I live in Sydney and really like marie veronique spf 30-it is super natural, choke full of antioxidants and zinc based – it is tinted and goes on very light.

  • Plumelle May, 14 2017, 10:17 / Reply

    pas encore testée mais sur ma liste depuis qq mois et très prometteuse.

    la crème MIMITIKA, développée par une ancienne de Chanel, qui veut allier texture, parfum, formule clean et protection (des exigences qui manquent généralement aux autres marques dont le solaire n’est qu’une gamme parmi d’autres).

    La marque est mono produit et uniquement visage pour l’instant (j’attends de pied ferme la version corps!).

  • Ai-Ch'ng May, 14 2017, 11:20 / Reply

    Hello from gloriously sunny Perth! We live by the beach, and we never wear sunscreen. We do take care to avoid ever deliberately lying out and sunning ourselves; don’t head out for walks, or bike rides between 12 and 4PM in summer (gets pretty warm); and never wear sunglasses (fondly known as, “sunnies”, as it disrupts the circadian rhythm for some people).

    Some days I wear singlets out; some days I wear a lightweight, long sleeve, loose cotton shirt. Sometimes I wear a black straw fedora, or pale panama hat when I am in the garden for daily for an hour to water/harvest/weed/read; sometimes I wear no hat – no hard and fast rules.

    I’ve seen so many of my clients suffer from low Fit D levels due to covering up, which impairs their mood and immunity. So, I prefer to absorb the sun in moderation, and choose to forgo any worry about lines/wrinkles/crinkles/sagging. My friends say I’m lucky, because I don’t look near at all to my age… but I do think that’s more due to a state of mind, than physiology.

    And, what is this worry about wrinkling and ageing, sunspots and lined right/left hands anyway? As long as we aren’t sunning ourselves into skin-cancer, just enjoy the bets source of Fit D you’ll ever get.

    There is an inspiring and eye-opening saying: “Age is a privilege denied to many”. I now realise at 48 years of age that as long as my joints are strong (I’ve had two years of muscular skeletal issues and am now almost back to my former strength – albeit with slightly wonky knees), I am healthy and can work and love wholeheartedly, that’s all that matters. So, forget the parasol! As they say, “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows away fall behind you”.

  • Garance,
    Love your site and so glad you’re here in L.A. My tip….always wear sun glasses. Don’t squint. Am eager to read what non-toxic sunscreen you settle on, I’ll use it.

  • Linh Dinh May, 14 2017, 6:39 / Reply

    Love this article and the importance of sun care!

    My current favourite sunscreen that is also non-toxic is from the brand Nucelle:

    Really is the best!

  • Mamavalveeta03 May, 15 2017, 2:25 / Reply

    I love the sun and the way it makes me feel too much to stay out of it totally. I’m a BIG proponent of high SPF’s, umbrellas on the beach (NO parasol!), cover-up chambray shirts, big sunglasses and avoiding the hottest, strongest hours of 10-3. I use La Roche-Posay Tinted Mineral Sunscreen for the face with SPF 50 and I swear, I’ve got the whitest face underneath all of that sunscreen! But I love a little bit of a tan on my body, so I go with regular reapplications of SPF 30 spray and lotion by L’Oreal and I still get a bit of color.
    My view is this: Aging is normal…don’t get sucked-in by all of the LA crap. Don’t give up everything you enjoy: All things in moderation. I take the best care of my skin with products, including Retin A, vitamin C, and Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula oil and at age 56, my skin has never looked better!!! If you love the sun, live in it!

  • Garance! I became interested in streamlining my morning skincare routine. I wanted to find a nontoxic SPF that was also an active moisturizer and radiant primer (but without color or glitter of course). Through GP’s GOOP site I researched this amazing luminescent SPF 30 face cream by Kypris, called Pot of Shade. You must try this.

    Now my morning skincare routine is pared down to me applying 3 things: serum/oil + spf/moisture/primer + eye cream. After this, beauty/makeup is minimal.

    SPF as part of morning skincare routine for me is a no-brainer. But what do you do when it wears off? You don’t want to have to re-do a whole face. Answer: the Supergoop brand Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50 in the handbag size (30ml). It’s super light and fresh feeling, and nontoxic too.


  • julent May, 22 2017, 1:38 / Reply


    After much trial and error, I now have two go-to SPF products:
    1) MD Solar Sciences Mineral Beauty Balm SPF 50 – It’s mattifying but not drying and is lightly tinted
    2) Tarteguard – not tinted and very moisturizing; physical protection without the white cast

  • I live in L.A., and I definitely sympathize with trying to figure out how much vigilance is too much! Every morning, I sunscreen my whole upper half no matter what kind of day I’ll be having. HOWEVER, I recently realized that in spite of using good sunscreen on my arms, I am developing “drivers arm”—my left arm has a few sunspots, whereas my right arm does not. I’m starting to wonder if I need to buy a linen shirt to wear in my car. It just seems so anti-cultural and scrooge-y!

  • I live in Greece and it’s sunny 300 days/year. I use sunscreen all year around. Don’t forget to aplly sunsceen to ears and the back of the neck. Also I find really useful to have an after-sun lotion ( I apply ofter the shower and I keep it in the fridge)and also a sunscreen for my hairs! I also have more spots on my right arm, I think it’s because I sit on the passengers site of the car.

  • Genevieve May, 31 2017, 3:31 / Reply

    I tested the new Glossier sunscreen in the California desert this weekend. I have to say I’m impressed! I am very sensitive to the sun and it kept me protected.

  • j’ai du mal à comprendre les femmes qui souhaitent ne pas s’exposer, jamais, pour protéger leur peau, quelle horreur, elles doivent être dépressives… ! après il y a une marge entre s’exposer violemment, aux pires heures de la journée, ne pas mettre une crème appropriée etc finir rouge comme un homard, et se protéger mais savoir profiter du soleil sans mettre une crème.
    J’ai découvert la crème Mimitika, toute nouvelle, indice 50 et destinée au visage, mais que je mets partout sur le corps en fait, le petit pot, la texture non collante et son odeur sont hyper chouettes, je pense même m’en racheter pour l’automne.

  • Try Josh Rosebrook non-chemical sunscreen. I like the tinted one better than the non-tinted one. :)

  • Physical sunscreen is the way to go for my face. The chemical ones actually get into my eyes by the end of the day, and burn like hell. Coola is good as is Olay SPF30.

    Tinted non-chemical sunscreens don’t make your face white, but I can’t stand any tinted facial cream on my face, so I use those only on occasion.

    On my hands and chest I use regular (chemical or non-chemical) sunscreen, I don’t care about brands for my body.

  • heather West July, 18 2018, 3:03 / Reply

    My story isn’t couched in metaphors… I grew up in the hot Aussie sun, spent weekends sailing & fishing on my dads yacht & now am about to have the 6th, yes 6th operation on my nose, the dreaded forehead flap eeks! I’m a teacher so my students really get to see the end result of too much sun exposure. But each day as I walk on Byron’s beautiful beaches I still see way too many beautiful people soaking up way too much UV. Once I would warn them but now I just cover up & hope that this is my last op.

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