Surviving Summer in Houston: Five Must-Have Items

That impending sense of dread as the mercury climbs higher and higher up the thermostat, coupled with increasing humidity; the inevitability of leaving the air conditioning running day and night; the explosive growth of displays of sunscreen at the drugstore. These are just a few of the signs that summer is just around the corner.

Plus, you know, the calendar. It's May.

Whether you covet the deep, dark tan of a 1980s Coppertone commercial, or (like me) you're counting the days until October, here is a list of must-have items to help you survive summer in Houston.

Photo by Hans Hillewaert
We've Covered This, But Again--Hats

You guys, there is nothing funny about skin cancers. Hats are amazing for so many reasons, but honestly a physical barrier from harmful UVA/UVB rays really is number one.

And for dudes who think a baseball cap is enough, don't forget your neck and ears; if you aren't into a hat with a 360-degree brim, you're going to have to get into the habit of applying sunscreen--daily. Which leads us to ...

SPF is Spiffy!

SPF protection is not just for days you plan on being outside for long periods of time. I used to skip SPF on days I worked from home, reasoning that I was only going outside to walk the dog or grab the mail. Then one day I was reading a review of an SPF product online; the reviewer, like me, reasoned she could go without sunscreen if she wasn't "going to be outside." The problem, she realized, is that if you add up all the minutes spent walking to and from the car during errands, or walking the dog, or even sitting in your car as you drive, that can add up to an hour or more of sun exposure each day.

Sunscreen time.

I've been anxiously awaiting the release of the 2013 Sephora Sun Safety Kit, but thus far I have been unable to find it. There are rumors online of its appearance in stores, but so far online listings are a bust. Some suggestions for favorite brands:

Drugstore: Neutrogena is always a good bet, and they have a wide range of options--lots of lines, lots of SPFs, lots of delivery methods. The husband loves the spray-on mists for golfing, I like the dry-touch Ultra Sheers; they now make a special sunscreen designed for application to wet skin--great for kids.
High-end: Two favorites include Chanel UV Essential Protective UV Care Anti-Pollution SPF 50 (great for those who don't like a moisturizer with SPF--this is SPF only) and Shiseido brand sunscreens. Both top-notch, as well they should be, for top-dollar products.
Other: Kiehl's is making an SPF 50 BB cream that is getting rave reviews, and I'm wild for anything by Clarins, which is a terrific brand for those with sensitive skin.

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Please consider choosing a physical sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage. Read the label for the ingredients - make sure they include either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. In the Houston sun these provide much broader coverage than the benzone derivatives (which is all the Neutrogena ones have).

- a dermatologist


Agree with everything.  Yes, with the 3 pair of sunglasses!  LOL I also prefer Blue Lizard sunscreen/block (from dermotologist) and don't forget lipgloss with sunscreen. I also keep a little battery operated fan in my purse.  That's been a lifesaver!


I must have iced tea all summer long and I can't believe you left water off the list. Despite the humidity here, we need to drink lots of water because we lose so much moisture to sweat. 

conebaby topcommenter

@Loona_c I love the Jack Black lippies with SPF 25. Colorless, but really moisturizing & shiny. Love the fan idea!

conebaby topcommenter

@RebeccaS God, I hope I don't have to remind people to consume food & beverages!

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