The perfect AM sunscreen

Hello sweet friend,

What did you do this week?

I re-watched Mona Lisa Smile, and the idyllic all-women's campus returned me to those days: when we were young.

How we teasingly set each other's hair before dances. How Sage cackled at us for trying to fit in.

Most importantly, Niva and I organized elaborate dorm-escapes. There were point-people, code-coughs, and cheesy-bread breaks for the troops. All for the nearest thing to freedom-- driving through the smokey-cool Virginia nights. That's when we learned the best way to listen to Van Morrison's Astral Weeks: turned up, way up loud, in a quiet surround.

I strove always to look a certain way: single strand 16" white pearls over a battered gray Yale sweatshirt (romantic loot), hair in an exactingly insouciant ponytail. Skirts that were too long, a rebellious, prairie-like homage to The Beauty Myth.

I remember that smirking swagger, raising our hands first in class, writing incendiary letters condemning the loving authorities. It combined with the pulsing, near-desperate mindfulness we pretended to ignore: avoiding Ophelia's fate. Eventually, we went to each others' too-young first weddings, drunk on the mixture of sherry and (the pretense of) adulthood.

In the movie, the strength of those girls calls me back: their determined unflappability, their big-C Character. Their poise shining through pearls, their physical hygiene reflecting intellectual discipline. An elegant self-assurance.

Were we that way once, too, back when life was so pure?

To illustrate our hair-setting abilities

A long introduction to this quote from the movie:
"I was in California once. How do you get any work done with all that sunshine?"
"We tan in class."

Somehow the "tanning" is what differentiates my time from theirs. Nary a UV ray touched my face since childhood, when I developed a little fear of skin cancer. (The banner blog picture, like most pictures you'll see online, is just for show.)

Since then, I've tried out ~hundreds of sunblocks, and settled on physical SPF. Physical are the "oxides": zinc and titanium. Zinc being the real go-getter of the two (which I remember by thinking "Zinc covers you from A to Z"), as it has broader spectrum coverage- it covers the spectrum from UVA to UVB. I think of UV rays as Aging rays and Burning rays, because UV is still a problem under water, under clouds, through precipitation, and behind windows. Turns out, the sun is no joke.

Physical is my preference because it's a physical block of rays (hence the name). It just won't open the door. Chemical, by contrast, lets the bad fellows in. It has them take off their shoes and sit in the entryway. Meanwhile, you're nervously watching, hoping they won't muck up your Stark Rug. The UV-neutralizing chemical reaction makes my skin tingle in a disquieting way, so I'd resigned my olive skin to a vaguely sunken pallor.

Until my best friend, AmazonPrime, brought me Asian sunscreen. Asian in particular, because they actually grade the UV-A-ging blocking properties of the sunscreen via the PA system (PA++++ is the best, as it has 4x "+" signs). Our western sunscreens only grade the UV-B-urning capability through the ol' SPF numerical system.

Through some witchcraft, Korean beauty made the perfect physical sunscreen. I know, because my MAKEP:rem UV defense cream sold out in its cheaper form, but is still available in a boxed set.

I can wear it without makeup (on top of moisturizer) without looking anemic. It also behaves quite cordially under my CC cream. It doesn't dissolve into a gloopy mess when I use the 1/4-1/2 tsp needed for my face/ears/neck (yes that's a lot; for some reason it's hard to pin down a reputable source online, and guess what.... I'm not either! This is for fun!)

What sunscreen do you use? I'm always on the hunt for the Next Best Sunscreen (in addition to the Next Best Concealer).

As mentioned, I want to know what you're thinking-- 
it would mean so much to me, to hear from you in the comments 💕  

Have a great week! See you again Sunday!

Wishing you the health of happiness,
Mama, M.D.

P.S.: Perhaps there were a few teasers in this one... would you like to see more on my makeup arsenal? My skincare routine? Otherwise you'll be in for my blatherings as to why I left neurosurgery.

P.P.S.: I found it somewhere else too!


  1. Hi Giannina, it's awesome to see you writing, I'm enjoying your blog! I'm trying to get into a writing habit too but it is tough!

  2. So wonderful to see you here!! Writing is such an incredible outlet— I’m enjoying it tremendously, and honestly I am SO happy to hear that you are writing also! You are such a wonderful person, I would love to read anything you write!!! It is tough for me too— a writer I recently met told me:if it isn’t hard, you’re not doing it right. But having this once a week version is manageable for me, and something I look forward to :)


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