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Pro-Surfer Sunscreen Tips for Protecting That Pretty Face

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Welcome to Esther Tested, where pro surfer and Racked intern Esther Hahn shares her best tips for staying cute, even in the harsh realities of Bay Area outdoor life.

Esther, surfing and wearing sunscreen

Surfing around the world for nearly two decades, I've met the sun in all its glorious forms. As an invincible (read: ignorant) young teen, I refused to wear sunblock because too often it would run down my forehead and into my eyes, blocking a clear view of the hungry monster waves trying to swallow me whole. But a few too many up-close encounters with the weathered faces in and around the sea straightened me right up into the face-specific sunscreen aficionado that I am today. These are my all-time favorite picks for the days I'm surfing, the days I'm lounging, and all those other days in between.

1. SkinCueticals C E Ferulic protects against photoaging by "neutralizing free radicals, boosting collagen synthesis, and providing unmatched antioxidant protection." I apply a few drops to my face a few minutes before applying sunscreen or make up primer. I absolutely swear by this stuff. I first used it on a surf trip to Mainland Mexico four years ago and noticed a huge difference in sun protection.

2. I love the paraben-free Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection Sunscreen. It's lightweight and uses natural ingredients like cherry blossom, lemon balm, and white tea extracts for their anti-inflammatory properties. I like to use this as my beach lounging sunscreen (don't let that S.F. fog fool you—the UV rays shine through) but not for water activities. Just be sure to shake the bottle before applying as the ingredients tend to separate.

3. Shiseido suncare is a surfer's best friend. When I'm heading out for a four-hour surf at Bali's Uluwatu at high noon, I'm wearing Shiseido: a base layer of Ultimate Sun Protection Cream+ and a slick of the Sun Protection Stick Foundation over the t-zone. It's a surfer's recipe but it also works for all sun-heavy, water activities. Tip: remove with a cleansing wipe to free pores of remnant sun protection—this stuff is no joke.

4. My newest find is La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, a truly lightweight sunscreen that provides protection at the cellular level. Easy to find at the drugstore, I wear this as my everyday sunscreen from sitting in my sun-drenched living room to running errands in Union Square. Because let's be real, those clouds may block the light but it doesn't block those UV rays.
--by Esther Hahn
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