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.
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:
AM I GOING TO LOOK LIKE THAT ONE DAY AND THINK IT’S TOTALLY NORMAL?
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