I just spent two weeks sailing in the Caribbean, and I hardly have a tan. Now, much of my paleness owes to the rainy weather that followed me from the British Virgin Islands, site of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship, right down to the Heineken Regatta Curacao. But, mostly, it’s because a particularly potent sunburn a few years back caused me to swear—the way one swears off tequila on a hungover morning—that I’d never get sunburned again. In pursuit of this goal, I’m sticking to Mike’s Sure-Fire Total Body Sunblock Method, which plagiarizes heavily from the fine print on the back of the Coppertone bottle.
For years, Coppertone Sport SPF 30 lotion was my go-to on account of its effectiveness in sunburn prevention, its non-greasy consistency, and its resistance to both water and sweat. Now, Coppertone Sport doesn’t smell as nice Hawaiin Tropic or Banana Boat—which does not, I testify, taste like bananas. But the the stuff in the ubiquitous blue bottle has all the performance characteristics a racing sailor could want. Coppertone doesn’t market its Sport line as organic or ocean-safe, which could be considered a strike against. On the other hand, I recently tried an all-natural, zinc-based formula, and it didn’t work very well. If anyone knows of a good, eco-friendly, high-performance sunblock, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Earlier this year, the folks at Coppertone were kind enough to send me samples of the entire Sport line, everything from the SPF 15 face lotion to the SPF 100 spray. The combination that works best for me is the SPF 50 face lotion and the SPF 30 spray. I use the face lotion for my face (duh) and neck, then I use the spray for the rest of my extremities. The face lotion has a creamy consistency; it won’t clog your pores, sting your eyes, or transform your forehead into a reflective surface. As for the spray, I used to take the extra step of rubbing it in with my palms, but I’ve found that it’s really not necessary to do so. One caveat: using Mike’s Sure-Fire Total Body Sunblock Method, you’ll need about two cans of the spray for every one tube of face lotion. The 4-ounce face lotion costs approximately $9, while the 6-ounce spray goes for around $10.