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Stock Up on Sunscreen: Five Products for Summer

Summer equals sunscreen. If you live in Houston, and sunscreen isn't a 365-day-a-year ritual, you should revisit the idea. Immediately. Clothes, hats, scarves, and sunglasses are great barriers to the sun's harmful rays, but your skin needs protection all the time, guys.

Each year, drugstores and beauty counters roll out new, SPF-laden products for us to play with, and no release is more exciting than Sephora's annual Summer "Sun Safety" Kit. The kit has become a cult favorite, packed with creams, lotions, and make-up that are loaded with various levels of SPF; Sephora "VIB"s ("beauty insider" status is conferred through points accrued during a year of purchases) anxiously await their first crack at the kit every spring. Thus far, we have no word on a kit for 2014; in the meantime, let's take a look at the latest buzz on how to protect your skin this summer.

One to Watch: Bare Minerals Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation

Paraben, oil, and silicone-free sheer coverage from everyone's favorite mineral makeup--only this is liquid form. Could be the Bare Minerals Bareskin be the answer for those of us who find the mineral make-up lacking in coverage and longevity? Fingers crossed.

Ohh La La: French Pharmacy Favorites Are Stateside

Look for French faves Vichy and La Roche Posay at your local Walgreens--yep, right here in Houston. You might have to search a bit, but you'll have better luck in stores near shopping districts like Rice Village and the Galleria.

La Roche-Posay's "Anthelios" line is often recommended by dermatologists; Vichy's "Capital Soleil" is a favorite for under makeup.

An Old Standby: Coppertone

Is it even summer if you're not drenched in Coppertone? True story: During the darkest, coldest part of my last winter in Alaska, I used Coppertone as moisturizer just to remind myself that June exists.

Eco-Friendly: COOLA Classic and SmartShield

Some of us received this facial sunscreen from COOLA in our March Birchbox. It blocks UVA and UVB rays, and boasts an ingredient list that is 70 percent organic. If you have sensitive skin, a separate facial sunscreen can help prevent breakouts and irritation.

H-E-B carries another eco-friendly brand, SmartShield; oil-free, hypoallergenic, PABA -free, DEET-free sunscreens and bug sprays made with an Aloe Vera base.

A Niche Option: Mario Badescu

This niche line isn't loud or flashy, but it is a mid-priced powerhouse, delivering a lot of bang for the buck. Mario Badescu Oil-Free Lotion with SPF 30 includes UVA and UVB protection; the line also includes a post-sun cooling gel and a self-tanner.

You can fill out a skin care questionnaire for a free, personalized skincare analysis on the Mario Badescu website, as well.

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