Everything I need to know about SPF I learned in three days at Disney World

DISNEY WORLD. It’s the land of cute mouse ears, screaming toddlers, long lines for short (but super exciting) rides and…sun.
So. Much. Sun.
After a very snowy winter on the east coast, I was thrilled to fly down to Florida for a couple days recently. But I know the Florida sun is no joke—so I was also kind of terrified about standing underneath that blazing ball of gas for 3 days straight. (FYI: At the beach, I’m an always-under-the-umbrella kind of girl.)
Would I have to skip my makeup and slather myself in chalky lotion to keep from getting burned? Would I look like a hot, greasy mess in all the cute pics I planned to take? Or worst of all, would I actually *get* burned? I know (from a horrible experience) that a vacay burn can ruin an entire trip…not to mention, cause major skin damage. And I was NOT letting it happen again.
Before my trip, I decided to stock up on SPF options—and was thrilled to find that in addition to the classic lotions and blocks, almost every beauty essential now comes in an SPF version (primers, powders, setting sprays, hair mists and more!). So off to Disney World I went (with a very heavy beauty bag)—and, spoiler alert, I didn’t get burned. But I *did* discover some really awesome new skincare and sun essentials that I'll be using all summer long. Read on for the rundown of my new SPF squad...

Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15, $10
Lesson #1: Layering is essential. If you apply a moisturizer after you wash your face in the AM, make sure it’s one that contains SPF. Then, keep topping with more SPF-filled products.

ColoreScience Sunforgettable Face Primer SPF 30, $54
I can not say enough good things about this primer. It’s definitely a splurge item (and there are plenty of similar, less expensive alternatives out there) but I put this on my list because it became my favorite product of the entire trip. The first time I put it on, I planned to use it as a base and then put my foundation on top—but after applying a thin layer all over my skin, I didn’t need any more makeup. It has a slight tint and sucks up oil all day, making your skin look even and matte (and feel like velvet). Perfect for that not-really-trying look when you’re at the beach or a pool party (or, um, Disney World). I popped it in my purse for touch-ups if I felt like I was getting red, and my face was protected (but picture-ready) the entire trip.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20, $14
And if you do want a bit more coverage? Just grab an SPF foundation and pop it on top.

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist with Rosemary SPF 50, $12
The setting mists of the past seemed kind of intense—like a spray-on shellac that would keep your makeup in place no matter how much your broke it down on the dance floor at Homecoming. Now, they’re a genius addition to your summer beauty game. Spray this on any average day to set your makeup, help control oil and shine *and* add another layer of UV protection. Key for every summer social sitch.

Not Your Mothers’s Love For Hue UV Protector, $8
Of course you want to protect your color from fading or getting all brassy—but what’s really important is keeping your scalp safe. Mist this all over your mane, but especially along your part. Even better? Pull hair back into a pony or bun so you don’t have one. 

Wet n Wild MegaShield SPF 15 Lip Color, $3
Don’t neglect your pucker! Use an SPF lipstick or balm at all times.

ColoreScience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30, $57
This. Is. So. Genius. Another rule to remember? Reapplying often is *crucial*—and this SPF in powder form makes it a breeze.

My three days at Disney had a fairytale ending: I took a pic in front of Cinderella’s castle, ate a turkey leg in Frontierland and rolled around Thunder Mountain—all without the slightest trace of a sunburn. With so many awesome ’block-based products available that won’t clog your pores or cramp your beauty vibe, there’s no excuse for skimping on the SPF anymore. You guys, summer is *almost* go stock up. And share your *own* favorite SPF tips in the comments below!
by Kelsey Haywood | 5/13/2016