Tropical Getaway Essentials
Now that the holidays are over, the grim reality of four more bleak months of winter weather has set in. One’s thoughts naturally turn to escaping the cold with a balmy, sun-drenched vacation in the tropics. I must confess that I’ve already enjoyed a brief sojourn to the Caribbean in early December and would like nothing better than to return to its sunny clime. I always try to travel light (scuba gear notwithstanding), but there are some items that are indispensable to a proper holiday in the tropics.
In addition to a wide-brimmed hat, you need a good mineral sun block. Chemical sunscreens can harm sea life. If you’re planning on diving, snorkeling or even just swimming, you should invest in a natural mineral sunscreen (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide). I protect the coral reefs and my complexion with Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen SPF 30.
I’m a bit obsessive about keeping my hands out of the sun, so I always pack my Coolibar Sun Gloves when heading to a sunny destination. If this is too much for you, then simply slather on the sunscreen.
Who sports a face full of makeup on the beach? Certainly not I! A bronzer and tinted lip balm are all you really need, and maybe a touch of mascara in the evening (I loathe waterproof mascara, so I just eschew mascara if I’m diving or going for a dip in the ocean). I found Armani Beauty Rouge Ecstasy in Eccentrico the perfect translucent pop of color. And my bronzer of choice is 100% Pure Cocoa Pigmented Bronzer in Cocoa Glow, which gives a natural, sun-kissed glow.
A few years ago I discovered the wonders of monoi oil, coconut oil infused with the ravishing-smelling Tahitian tiaré flower. Polynesian beauties have traditionally sworn by its skin and hair perfecting qualities, and it has of late become a popular ingredient in skin and hair care products. I use it as a skin moisturizer, which also doubles as an intoxicating perfume, so redolent of the tropics. To revive sun and sea-ravaged hair, massage tiaré oil into your hair and leave it in for at least 30 minutes before shampooing. A citronella infused version of monoi is also available, which makes an excellent mosquito repellent.
Before embarking on your trip, get a manicure in a light, neutral nail color such as Essie Ballet Slippers, so that chipping is less apparent. In addition to sunscreen and regular moisturizing, I protect my nails and cuticles by applying Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum jelly before swimming (a great tip that I recently picked up from top hand model Ashly Covington).