Our 21 Favorite Beauty Products for a Day at the Beach
Keep your skin and hair protected from the elements.
Beach days are without a doubt one of the best parts of summer. Whether you’re a quick walk from the shore or you make a yearly pilgrimage to the nearest coast with your friends, there’s nothing quite like spending an afternoon on the sand and in the surf. And while we like to think we’re minimalist sun goddesses, the truth is we inevitably haul a whole bag of necessities with us to keep our hair and skin protected and looking their best. No apologies here! If you’re in the market for a few new product recommendations to keep your beach beauty game on point, check out 21 of our favorites below.
Senior Beauty Editor
1. Kinship Self-Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 32: I typically use a chemical sunscreen in the colder months—which sits a little better under makeup, in my experience—but if I’m heading to the beach, I switch to a physical one. Did you know that only a mineral sunscreen can help prevent melasma? It’s true! This formula is featherlight, never causes irritation, and there’s zero of that tell-tale white cast that you often get with zinc formulas. My partner uses it as much as I do, so I’ve been going through multiple bottles this summer—it’s really that good.
2. Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray: If you assume your hair is safe from sun damage, think again, especially those of us with color-treated hair. I want my blond highlights to stay sandy and bright, not fade or turn brassy, so I always keep this spray in my beach tote. A blend of niacinamide, biotin, and panthenol conditions your hair, while the brand’s signature complex of lychee, watermelon, and edelweiss extract protects it from environmental damage.
3. Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant: Don’t pretend like you don’t get a little stinky after an afternoon in the blazing sun. I’m a big fan of AHA deodorants in place of a traditional or natural formula, since the blend of alpha hydroxy acids creates a pH environment that prevents odor-causing bacteria from forming in the first place. I apply it in the morning before heading to the beach and bring it along in case I shower afterward. Bonus—it also helps to prevent ingrown hairs.
Head of Sales and Brand Partnerships
1. Kovo Essentials Face Toner Mist: My beach bag isn’t complete anymore without this new plant-based toning mist. While many people use this as the first step in their skin-care routine, I love to use this hydrating superhero throughout the day. It helps me maintain that summer glow with a cooling blend of coconut water, CBD, pre-probiotics, and peptides.
2. Fresh Sugar Poppy Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15: This cult-classic lip treatment from Fresh offers protection from fine lines and a pop of color for the beach. It’s also sheer enough that I don’t feel like I’m “overdoing it” with a dab of this and tinted moisturizer before lying out.
3. Supergoop! Shimmershade Illuminating Cream Eyeshadow SPF 30: It’s hard to believe that before I discovered this product, I was neglecting to properly apply SPF to my eyelids. I can only hope that I can make up for lost time. Now I always remember to use a touch of protective shimmer by the beach to combat the sun’s rays.
Associate Creative Producer
1. Virtue Leave-In Conditioner: My very thin and straight hair doesn’t exactly do the “beach wave” thing once submerged in salt water. In fact, my hair does the opposite. Once dry, my hair texture becomes akin to straw filled with tangles and knots. This leave-in conditioner does the trick to add moisture and detangle.
2. Tower28 Lip Jelly: While there’s no SPF in this lip jelly, I find it’s the best for hydrating my chapped lips pre-, during, and post-beach. I love “Clear”; however, when I’m rocking my vintage Oscar de la Renta sarong, black bikini, and gold hoops, I’m opting for “Spicy.”
3. Soleil Toujours After Sun Calming Mist: I’ve often made the mistake of forgetting to reapply sunscreen. In fact, my bum has currently taken on the form of a bright red tomato. There’s nothing worse than that burnt, itchy feeling you get from soaking up too much sun. This calming mist seriously does the trick to replenish my burnt-to-a-crisp skin.
Senior Manager of Sales and Brand Partnerships
1. Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Serum: Albeit not something I would apply directly at the beach, I am all for any product that protects against dry and sun-damaged skin. This serum from Vichy combines 15 percent pure vitamin C and natural-origin hyaluronic acid at a price point that doesn’t break the bank, making it the perfect addition to any youthful, summer glow!
2. Coola Classic Face Organic Sunscreen SPF 50: I purchased this face sunscreen on a whim, and I can’t even begin to explain how obsessed I am with it. For someone who has struggled with finding a strong SPF 50 face sunscreen that goes on light and doesn’t make me break out, it truly has been a game changer.
3. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Cooling Water Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30: OK, I am a self-proclaimed sunscreen fanatic. But for real...protect your skin, folks! I’ve been a huge fan of La Roche-Posay for as long as I can remember, so I’d be remiss not to mention this body sunscreen. Again, if you’re looking for a sunscreen that goes on smooth, is non-greasy, instantly protects, and still gives you a nice, sun-kissed glow, this is it.
Creative Producer & Social Media Manager
1. Sachajuan Leave-In Conditioner: Being a blonde is no joke in the summer. If you are coloring your hair and spending a lot of time in the ocean, proper hydrating and protection products are essential to the strength and health of your hair. The sun’s intense heat and the salt water’s (arguably amazing) drying properties will leave my hair in the dust if I am not spraying constantly. This leave-in literally smells like I just left the salon and is not too slimy or over-softening. I can fully go from day to night without worrying about my hair if I use this throughout the day.
2. Nuxe Body Oil: I know this is an old classic, but honestly, it is my absolute favorite. There is nothing better than feeling the slight crisp of a tan after a long day on the beach and giving yourself a boost of shine and glow (and amazing scent) on your way out. I know oil is controversial in the sun, but I think if you’re giving yourself some umbrella time, this product is fair game for any day at the beach!
3. Tata Harper Lip Treatment: Full disclosure: I put this on my eyelids (no reason at all) and anywhere else on my face that is getting a little too dry from the salt water. My lips tend to get pretty sunburnt, so the perfect fix for me is definitely a combo of a good SPF lip balm and this treatment for every application in between.
1. Avéne Thermal Spring Water: While I patiently wait for my air-conditioning unit to arrive (T minus two days!), I’ve been taking all necessary measures to stay cool. My favorite hack has been storing this facial mist in the fridge for the moments I truly cannot be bothered by the heat. Lucky for me, I also have a travel-sized version to stow away in my beach bag for a midday spritz.
2. Ilia Beauty Multi-Stick: There are fewer things I hate more than sweating off a face full of makeup. Which is to say I do the absolute bare minimum during the warmer months. Something I won’t compromise on, however, is a lip and cheek balm for some added color. Seeing that I’m slightly obsessed with the rest of their products, this multi stick from Ilia is currently at the top of my beauty wish list.
3. Ouai Leave-In Conditioner: Although I truly feel like my best self at the beach, my hair will say otherwise. Between the ample sunlight and ocean water, my mane has the tendency to become dry and brittle (i.e., the total opposite of the ideal mermaid locks). This is why I always carry my favorite leave-in conditioner for a post-swim spritz. Trust me, your hair will thank you later…
Head of Production
1. Bathing Culture Golden Hour Hydrosol: I am a face-mist addict, and Bathing Culture’s hydrosol spray has become my summer must-have. Every time I get a little too much sun (cue the SPF lecture from Hannah Baxter), I spray this baby on, and my face is instantly soothed and calmed. Also, the scent is intoxicating—floral, but not sweet. I can’t get enough.
2. OrganiGrowHairCo Hair Dew: We always think about sun protection for our skin, but sun protection for your hair is just as important! That’s why I am obsessed with this Hair Dew, which acts as a leave-in conditioner that is UV protectant and heat procreant thanks to the Sunflower seed oil ingredient. It also keeps hair moisturized and hydrated. The brand offers two types of hair dews—one version for low porosity, and one for high porosity—so you can find a version that suits any hair type.
3. Elemis Pro-collagen Marine Cream SPF 30: Elemis is one of my ride-or-die skin-care brands, and their pro-collagen moisturizer is my anti-aging holy-grail cream. This version of the cream has SPF 30, and unlike most other moisturizers with SPF, this formula remains true to their original. It is lightweight, blends perfectly, and doesn’t leave you with that dreaded SPF chalky residue.
Want more stories like this?