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Must-Have Beach Bag Essentials

Beach bag essentials include hat, sunscreen, coverup, books and musicBy Amy E. Goodman
Author of Wear This, Toss That!

It’s been a while since you hit the beach, right? Here’s a quick list to make sure you have the standby staples and helpful new accessories in your beach bag.

Avoid raccoon eyes post-swim. Before you head out (since you’ll honestly only need to apply once—isn’t that refreshing?) here’s a fabulous new liquid eyeliner that’s impervious to beach challenges like water, sweat and oily skin: Aqua Liner by Make Up For Ever (15 shades, $23).

The trend is big, bigger and biggest when it comes to the It Bag this summer: the carry-all tote. But retain some sense of proportion and make sure that your bag isn’t bigger than you. A good rule for petites is not to have the width of the bag dip much farther than beyond your hipline or it will indeed engulf you. Add the requisite towel and water bottle and you’re ready for a day in the sun.

If you want to share your tunes, try Pottery Barn’s Speaker Beach Cooler with MP3 player that allows you to hook up your iPod (and keep it sand-free) and rock out ($89).

Sunglasses strike a broad stroke from last year’s oversized look to smaller frame offerings. Consider colored lenses, which offer the sexiness of seeing the eyes, and retro looks, including the cat eye, the aviator ,and the round lens. For classics, I’ve always loved Banana Republic’s choices, all under $100.

Try a cute cover-up, sarong or fashionable tunic that perfectly fits your body and makes you feel utterly comfortable and confident.

Wear Sunscreen
When skin cancer affects one out of five Americans, the biggest rule of the beach is simple: don’t forget your sunscreen–and wear a hat. Get a broad-spectrum, active sport one like Banana Boat’s new 110 SPF Ultra Mist Ultra Defense Clear Spray sunscreen, that’s easy to apply every two hours or after swimming as recommended ($8.99; drugstores nationwide).

Remember to toss your sunscreen from last year; some of the ingredients may be inactive.

Think SPF in your makeup alone is enough protection? Think again, says dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin. “There are several reasons why an SPF in a makeup or moisturizer should be considered icing on the cake and not be the sole SPF protection one chooses,” she notes.

“First of all, many women apply cosmetics unevenly or just in certain areas where they need them. This can leave areas of the face, as well as neck, décolletage, and back of the hands vulnerable. Second, makeup tends to wear off more easily than an SPF base. Third, many makeup products contain an SPF below 15.”

Post-Beach, Pre-Dinner Products That Refresh
I keep a packet of facial cleansing wipes in my car for when my face needs a fresh start. My top picks include Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Oil-free Detoxifying Wet Cleaning Towelettes ($5.99 at drugstores; they smell so yummy!) or Josie Maran’s Bare Naked Wipes ($12).

Feel sticky and sweaty post surf? Try Deodorette, an all-natural, mini-deodorant in super small packaging (.3 oz.) that slips easily into a purse or even your cover-up pocket. With eight lovely scents to choose from with catchy names like Aim to Be Pleased and Once Bitten, it’ll make you feel oh-so-fresh ($10).

Oil blotting papers are an item I never leave home much to my husband’s (“Hey hon, you have those sheets?”) and makeup artists’ (“Amy, you are so prepared!”) delight. My faves are Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets ($5.99; drugstores) and Shu Uemura Face Paper ($17).

Didn’t actually dip in the ocean, but want to rock sexy sea-salt tresses? Spritz on Sally Hershberger Salon Mineral Spray Styler ($24).

Don a simple, chic maxi dress for post-beach activities. Complete the look with your slouchy beach bag, stunning sandals, and a layered necklace.

Tell Us: What’s in your beach bag?

For more of Amy’s style tips, like Wear This, Toss That! on Facebook or follow Amy on Twitter.

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