I don’t know about you but I love the summer. Flip flops, boogie boarding, and lounging in the sunshine brings a smile to my face. 

I love the sun but the sad truth is the sun doesn’t love me back. Well, I guess you could say the sun loves me TOO much… I was the child wearing a t-shirt over my bathing suit with a big white glob of sunscreen on my nose and a giant hat on my head.

To help out my sunburned friends here are 15 summer life hacks. It’s a good reminder for all of you melanin-challenged folks out there that want to enjoy the summer without turning into a lobster. Or as my husband from Maine would say, a lobstah.

Make a Sun Emergency Kit

Ideally you should have sunscreen on you at all times, just in case. You never know when you’re going to find yourself in the middle of a barren field at midday with the sun blazing down on you.

Create an emergency kit to keep in your car or purse (depending on the amount of real estate you have in those areas and how large your emergency kit is). Invest in a cute bag that you’ll be inclined to take care of not a plastic grocery bag chances are it’ll disappear in the dark recesses of your car.

In your sun emergency kit you should have:

  • Sunscreen
  • Long sleeve lightweight t-shirt
  •  Hat
  • Foundation with SPF
  • After Sun

Keeping these items nearby will prove invaluable when you find yourself in a sunny situation. Get in the habit of carrying your kit with you at all times and of course share with others to get extra brownie points.

Buy a Hat You Love

Don’t just go for the first baseball cap that comes across your path. Find something that sparks joy (any Marie Kondo fans out here?). It needs to be a hat you will wear (obvious but worth mentioning). I have a large pink sun hat that suits my girly whimsical taste perfectly. Find something that matches your style and keep it with you at all times. 

Buy Small Sunscreen Packets

I love these small packets of sunscreen. They fit in a wallet, purse, or pocket easily and are a great back up to have on hand.

One of these packets goes a long way so if you’re planning on dabbing a little on your face be prepared to have a lot left over.

Unfortunately they are not resealable and are quite messy after you open them so I’d suggest using what you need, offering the remainder to anyone in your group, and tossing it after. 

Learn Your Color Palette

This is a game changer people! You can make your skin look clearer, more vibrant and have a natural glow just by wearing the right colors. Check out this website and find your color palette.

Not only will it tell you the best colors for your skin color you will also learn what colors to avoid.

I am a light summer so for me dark heavy colors are a definite no-no, so instead of black I opt for gray, and a powdery blue instead of navy). After learning my color palette and dressing accordingly I felt better about myself. Better yet? Other people took notice as well, and I received quite a few compliments. 

Buy Foundation With SPF In It

I wear foundation with SPF 15 in it even in the dead of winter. It’s a great habit to start since it provides protection for those times you are getting a lot of sun exposure but don’t realize it. It’s slightly expensive but it’s worth the extra money to protect my face since it burns quicker than you can say ‘lobstah legs.’ 

Stay in Shape

I’ll be honest, I don’t always love my skin tone, I look at my friends with dark olive skin and am immediately jealous.

it’s very important to love how you feel physically. So although it may seem unrelated, staying in shape is actually a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem and feel less anxiety over your lack of a tan.

Who needs a perfect skin tone when you have six-pack abs? (If I ever get my six-pack i’ll let you know if that last statement holds true).

Avoid Peak Sun Times

If at all possible stay under cover or inside from the hours of 10-2. The sun is strongest at that time of day and will burn you exceptionally fast. Okay duh right? But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been burnt by not taking this advice…

An added benefit of going to the beach earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon is that it’s much less crowded. Especially in the morning when everyone is nursing their vacation hang-overs. 

Stay Hydrated

If you know anything about gardening you know that the sun is vital for growing plants, you also know that too much sun without water can kill a plant.

When you’re out baking in the sunshine imagine that you are a delicate daisy that needs water to stay perky and healthy.

Drink water constantly. Drink it before you get thirsty and after you feel satiated. If you aren’t a big water drinker eat Popsicles or watermelon or anything that will keep you hydrated. You’re skin needs the hydration, especially if you are getting a lot of UV rays.

My favorite water bottle is this one made by under armour. It’s easy to carry, lightweight, and holds a ton of water.

Learn How To Get A Great Beach Picture

Nothing is worse than working out all winter and spring to get the perfect summer bod, going on vacation and hating every picture of yourself because you are so unbelievably freakin’ pale. So here are some tips on how to get that great picture on the beach.

  • Getting a picture at noon in direct sunlight will always make a pale person look washed out, the sun will light you up like a white beacon of pastyness. That is why it’s best to get pictures at sunrise or sunset, the softer hues will compliment your skin tone much better.
  • If you do get pictures midday take some under the shade of the umbrella or wear sunglasses to avoid shadowy eyes. Also it helps if you get pictures lying down to avoid those pesky shadows as well since they will be more exaggerated on your pale skin.
  • Never stand directly next to the tannest person in your group shot, you’re basically inviting the eyes to do a comparison of your skin tones.
  • Refer to my color palette advice when shopping for a bikini, wearing the right colors for your skin tone will make a huge difference in pictures. I wore an all black bikini once and I looked like a Rorschach inkblot test.
  • This is basic modeling advice, don’t slouch and don’t get pictures sitting on a beach chair. Your body will look best when its elongated or in motion. Try some candid shots of you throwing a Frisbee or jogging along the shoreline. Photos with your natural smile will always look better than a staged uncomfortable “did you take the picture yet?” smile.
  • I’m a very laid back person and I am relatively comfortable with my body, but if you start taking pictures of me I turn into a robot that doesn’t know how to work arms. That is why you should take a bunch of pictures to give yourself time to loosen up and relax. Have fun with the photo-shoot and try ridiculous poses and formations, you never know when you’ll strike gold.
  • Remember that everyone has their own brand of beautiful, yours just happens to be pale. Rock it, and don’t be ashamed or insecure!

Learn the Art of Asking Others For Things

Imagine a worst-case scenario, You’re at your daughter’s soccer game and you realize you forgot sunscreen! You also forgot your pale-person emergency kit (shame on you for not taking my advice).

You also are wearing a super cute tank top that reveals your shoulders in all their pale glory! What do you do? You suck it up and ask everyone around you if they have any sunscreen you can use. People are generally good and will help you out if you ask nicely.

This is a lesson that has taken me a long time to learn since I’m a non-confrontational introvert but it will save you in many occasions just by asking others for help.

Eat the Right Food

Did you know that certain foods and drinks can help protect your skin against the suns rays? I’m in no way suggesting replacing sunscreen for food but in my book anything that helps is worth a shot. Especially when one of the drinks is red wine right?

Red Wine builds up your antioxidant stores and helps your body fight those UV rays. Sweet Potatoes, strawberries, avocados, and tomatoes are foods you can eat that are chock full of vitamin C and E that help prevent sunburn. Other foods to mention are fish (high in omega-3) and olive oil. I suppose we can all suffer and snack on strawberries and wine in the name of protecting our skin right?

Have a Picture of You Burnt on Your Phone

The funny thing about being human is that you can convince yourself that certain things will happen even though all evidence points to the contrary. I still find myself trying to get a ‘base tan’ and ‘a little sun just to give my skin a little bit more color’.

You know how that story ends… Burnt and miserable.

To counter this, you should keep a picture in your phone of yourself sunburnt. It doesn’t have to be pretty and you don’t need to show it to anyone else. Just keep in handy so when you find yourself in a situation where you think ‘meh I’ll survive without sunscreen’ you can look at the picture and scare yourself silly into applying sunscreen liberally. Even if you dislike how you look pale, it has to be a better look than a lobstah (Sorry, can’t help it!).

Set a Timer on Your Phone

This seems silly, but it works, trust me. Try it once and see how much it helps. Hanging out on the beach or hiking is a ton a fun and that’s why it’s so easy to lose track of time and forget that you need to reapply sunscreen. If you needed to apply sunscreen while at work you’d be prepared every 30 minutes to reapply on the dot.

If you are at a location where you have your phone anyway, why not set the timer for 30 mins, or an hour and every time your alarm goes off reapply that sunscreen? I know it sounds like a drag but your skin will thank you in the long run.

Check the Weather Obsessively

Pretend you’re an aspiring weatherman or weatherwoman. Look up the weather the day before, the day of, and in the moment. Even though it said it would be rainy yesterday doesn’t mean it won’t be 100% sunny today. You never want to be caught by surprise with a hot and sunny day.

Keep After Sun on Hand

Even when you do all the right things you’ll still probably get a sunburn so be sure to take care of your skin as much as you can after the burn. Take a cool bath and apply the after sun liberally to any of the burned areas. 

Even though the sun-kissed glow may always allude you, these tips will make your summer more enjoyable, and less painful.

Enjoy and be safe out there my pale friend!

-Miranda