Alternate title: Natural Products That Keep Your Melanin Activated and Lit AF!
Because it’s all sexy and fun in the sun until somebody gets burned (or eaten by mosquitos).
As some of you may have heard I’ve take an extended stay abroad and am currently residing in Mexico. And one of the things I noticed almost immediately on every tour booking site was the encouragement to wear biodegradable sun block and repellant when entering a cenote or the ocean water.
Being the naturally curious, tree-hugging do-gooder that I am, I immediately set out to investigate where I could acquire these biodegradable products. My search led me to a local spot called Bio & Organico. There are several locations near 5th Ave. here in Playa del Carmen. The one that I wandered into is managed by a very lovely local woman named Gabrielle.
Initially, I was debating between two different sun tanning oils—‘cause, you know, gotta practice safe melanin activation. And a good tanning oil, I’ve found, often helps to get a nice evenly baked coloring. Coco Bronze artisanal oil I settled on. It smells delish-- like coconut and vanilla. It's got a slightly heavy consistency and glides on without getting oil splatters everywhere.
For days when I’m not lying commando on my patio, but hitting the pavement in search of a strong wifi connection, I rely on Organicos Riviera Maya which has an SPF of 80. While the local temps seem to vacillate between 75-84 during the day—which is actually not that hot (given all the time I spent in the sweltering, soupy Georgia sun… let me tell you something… the sun down here by the equator is a completely different beast. The atmosphere may feel nice and breezy, but the sun actually feels ten time closer, which is why these times call for extra due diligence with one's skincare. I have never left the house without my sunscreen since I’ve been here. Not once. And if you don’t think melanin can burn, you’d be wrong. I know from experience from my time basking in Turks and Caicos, and that time I left with a 6-month tan acquired in Puerto Rico. It can happen to you.
That’s why I’m taking a moderate approach to tanning while in Mexico. I’m going with a slow build, since I plan to be here for a while. I go for a short, nude bake with the tanning oil from the neck down for about 15 minutes a couple of times a week. However, this does not include my weekly beach and outdoor excursions, during which time I use the sunblock with the maximum amount of SPF that I have in my possession.
Many thanks to Gabrielle at Bio & Organico, who took the time to not only explain the product ingredients, but also dropped a little knowledge about the supply and demand of clean, biodegradable products, and the importance of not polluting the beautiful turquoise waters with your garbage skincare products. She didn’t really say garbage, I did. Because to be honest—the insect repellant that I brought with me (Off, with mucho chemicals) turned out to be trash because I definitely got a few bites before switching over to the locally recommended brand, Repelente.
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about using a repellant that was basically only essential oils, but I figured I couldn’t get eaten anymore that I had with what I was initially using, so I figured I mine as well give it a try. I haven’t gotten one bite ever since—even on my day trip to the jungle in Sacbe (photo essay/vlog coming soon). Glory!
Because Gabrielle was so knowledgeable and helpful, I decided to implore her to tell me (and now you) more about the three products I’m currently using in heavy rotation:
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my tried and true products that I brought with me (plus one honorable mention).
Supergoop has been a favorite of mines ever I decided last summer that I needed to get super serious about my skincare. I’ve been a strong proponent for the use of sunscreen since my early twenties. However, I recognize that in order for sunscreen to remain effective, you MUST reapply it after so many hours. And anyone who applies a face full of makeup daily OR even just the perfect brow and mascara for the day knows good and well you are not about to wash your face just to reapply some damn sunscreen. Insert the holy grail that is spray on, SPF 50, mattifying sunblock, Supergoop.
This stuff does double duty as a setting spray and sunblock. Say whaaaat? Yes, girl. Both! Literally, all you have to do is blot, close your eyes, spray and go. That’s it. No messy, hard to rub in, ghostly white cast—none of that. AND they even sell a purse size *does praise dance*. Trust me when I say that this stuff is thee jam. Now—I only recently started using setting spray, but I guess the idea is that it's supposed to keep your makeup from running all over the place and transferring onto clothing. Full disclosure—Supergoop will keep your makeup from running, yes. The whole stopping it from transferring thing—not so much.
To me, this is a minor thing, because I don’t use a ton of makeup in the daytime when it’s hot. Really, just primer, maybe concealer, brows, mascara and a lippie. I’ll throw in some bronzer/highlighter and eyeliner if I’m feeling fancy. That’s it. To its credit, I still use this product religiously in other milder seasons, with very minimal accidental makeup transferring. So, Supergoop is A1 in my book. Plus, for you serious makeup addicts, I know for a fact you all already have the good setting sprays in your arsenal, so I think you’ll be fine to use this for what it is intentioned for—and that is sun protection.
Now, my second fave to the mattifying spray -- which is the Supergoop body oil sunblock, which boasts an SPF of 50. The Lord and sun gods know how I love a body oil. Slather me down, and shine me UP, baby. I want to glisten like the light of ten thousand suns. To me, this is the perfect beach or pool accompaniment that allows you to glisten, without fear of burning.
Both products can be purchased from Sephora.com, and you can sometimes find them in your local brick and mortar. Helpful hint: If you go to a ground store, and it’s not in stock, have them order it for you right there online and get free shipping. This is how I purchase all of my Jurlique products—which are only available in select stores. <--- Review coming soon!
Finally—my honorable mention:
For the love of summer, The Body Shoppe's Honey Bronze has been my ride or die body oil for some years now. Although it has zero protection or repellant... it is 100% guaranteed to have that tan blinging like 24k gold. Just slater it on top of whatever you're using for protection, and I mean... the proof is right here:
So... if you have any plans to escape the winter like I did, be sure to look into grabbing you some Supergoop and Bodyshop bronzer for the win. Then, when you get to wherever the warm winds take you-- I'd advise you to get to the nearest natural food store in the local area and seek out some regionally local biodegradable body products similar to the ones mentioned here. If you happen to be in the Playa del Carmen area, you can get the first 3 products mentioned at any Bio & Organico store-- we like the one between 40th & 42nd Norte. Be sure to tell them we sent ya!
So that’s it my loves! Leave me a comment or hit me on social to let me know what are your tried and true sun protectants and insect repellants from abroad at stateside? And remember, protecting your skin is a year-round task. Just because you can see the sun doesn't mean its UV rays can't see you. Step your sunscreen game up and protect all of that pretty! See you around!