Do you reflect the sun like a shining beacon of deathly light? Have you ever been mistaken for a fallen cloud, or alarmed friends and family by temporarily disappearing from sight while camouflaged against a white van? Does the beating sun have the power to turn you from snowy princess to beetroot beauty in the blink of an eye? Well, sweet pasty girl, you are not alone.
I know only too well the joys and perils (mostly perils) of being a pale girl on holiday, but as someone who is perpetually cold and is brought to a state of almost creepy happiness by sunshine, I’m simply not willing to give up on holidays in the sun. As such, and in honour of a trip to scorching Dubrovnik coming up on Saturday, I’ve developed a list of the top 5 must-have items for a successful, non-burny, fancy free holiday in the sun (pretty much all of which are essential for everyone regardless of pasty-ness levels, but especially essential for us colour-less creepers).
First on anyone’s list when spending time under the blazing sun should be sun cream, because obviously burning, aging, skin health yada yada you know. And if you’re fair as the day you were born then YOU KNOW. So, pack your favourite factor 50+ and slather it all over your body, several times a day, every day. A beauty blogger I am not, but my absolute favourite recommendation of all time is Ultrasun facial sunscreen; not only does it come in factors 30 and 50+, but it offers completely physical (as opposed to chemical, google it) protection, meaning it doesn’t break down in the sun so lasts for longer and is usually way less irritating to sensitive and acne-prone skin. It’s the only sun cream I’ve ever found that doesn’t break me out, and I wear it every single day and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Your Favourite Pair of Sunnies
As much as you might want to, it’s simply not practical, pleasant or advisable to put sun cream on your eyeballs. But those pearly orbs of jelly need protecting just as much as your skin, so make sure to pack your favourite pair of sunglasses and make good use of them. Added bonus: they make you look glamourous and aloof, and you don’t have to make eye contact with strangers. Bowler Vintage in York has some of the awesomest statement sunnies I’ve ever seen for about £10 a pop, so give it a visit if you’re in need of a pair.
A Sturdy Pair of Shoes
This one is particularly important for anyone who finds themselves cowering under the sun because of lifestyle choices rather than genetics; I’m talking to you, gamers, office dwellers, film buffs and people-haters. Years of semi-hibernation have no doubt made your feet as soft as freshly churned butter, so making sure they’re encased in a robust and comfortable pair of shoes is paramount if you’re planning on walking and exploring your destination of choice. My trusty pair of Vans have seen me through a couple of holidays so far with not a blister in sight, and so long as you’re not doing any serious hiking or going to any fancy restaurants, one pair can do you for the whole trip and keep your packing light. Noice.
Some Fly Head Gear
What is the most vulnerable part of the body for the semi-translucent guy or gal? The kneecaps, I hear you suggest? The neck? Or perhaps the nether regions? Nay – ‘tis the oft-forgotten exposed strip on the very top of our heads (providing you have a traditional parting). Another difficult spot to protect with sun cream alone, that strip will take the brunt of the sun all day long and you’ll feel it when you wash your hair the next day and wonder why the usually refreshing water feels like hot lava on your scalp. Caps and sunhats are the obvious choice for those of you lucky enough to have hat-heads, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan; due to an unusually small head I’ve had to give up on traditional hats but have found an alternative in the form of the humble headscarf. Visit any vintage shop or boutique to nab a one of a kind, or just rip up a tablecloth and get creative.
It sounds cliché, but one of the most important things you can pack away in the suitcase of your mind is a big ol’ heap of self-love. No matter how much you love and embrace your pasty beauty (and I hope you do), there may come a moment when you find yourself on a beach surrounded by olive-skinned locals, bronzed beauties and even the kind of pot-bellied bloke who for some reason seems to revel in his painful-looking sunburn. And instead of feeling like the unique sparkly unicorn you usually know damn well you are, you feel out-of-place, as if all eyes are on the glowing white flesh-tube that is your scantily clad body. ‘You don’t belong here’, their eyes seem to say. ‘Go back to whichever basement from whence you came, goth-girl’, their stares imply. But, sweet pasty girl (or guy), that’s when you must dig deep and hold your milky head high, because you are a rare tan-less wonder bringing light and love to the world one freckle at a time! And everyone on that beach knows it. Shine, sister, shine!