Dec 082013

Divers with long hair – here’s a familiar scenario for you to consider.  You surface from an excellent dive, remove your gear and meander (soaking wet, dripping) back to your liveaboard cabin or hotel room.  You make an immediate beeline for the shower, desperately seeking warmth and a freshwater rinse.  And suddenly you remember that you must deal with the long, tangled mess of salty knots growing from your head.  And if you dive with braids (like I often do), you must first untangle the braids before you can even think about tackling a comb through.

It’s annoying, but, like many of you, I’m not prepared to cut my long hair.  I like it too much.  It’s part of who I am.

Recently, I spied a display of brightly colored brushes at my salon.  They looked almost like children’s brushes and promised to detangle any type of wet hair with ease.

The Wet Brush

The Wet Brush in pink

While skeptical, I purchased The Wet Brush and decided to test it for myself.  My skepticism completely disappeared as this amazing little brush glided through my thick, curly hair as if it were as soft as spun silk.  I was hooked.

I bought a second brush to keep in my dive bag/travel kit.  I no longer fret over detangling my salt-hardened hair – it is simple and painless.

The Wet Brush in Black

The Wet Brush in Black

So now the scenario I outlined in the first paragraph goes something like this.

“You surface from an excellent dive, remove your gear and meander (soaking wet, dripping) back to your liveaboard cabin or hotel room.  You make an immediate beeline for the shower, desperately seeking warmth and a freshwater rinse.  And suddenly you remember that you must deal with the long, tangled mess of salty knots growing from your head. You rinse your hair, shampoo and apply a handful of conditioner.  Then you grab your Wet Brush and gently glide it through your silky hair.  Towel dry and move on.”

Note:  I purchased The Wet Brush and wrote this review of my own accord.

Do you have any special detangling tips?

Feb 072013

I’ve long been a fan of rashguards for snorkeling, swimming and beach going.  And while I still find them indispensable, I need more sun protection for my 2+ hour snorkeling expeditions.  You simply can’t count on sunscreens to protect the backs of your legs for 2 hours in the water.

I’ve recently found a perfect solution to this problem – this dive skin/stinger suit from ecostinger.

Ecostinger suit

Snorkeling in Savusavu Bay, Fiji

This suit is so comfortable you could sleep in it (not that I’ve done that).  It fits like a glove, and the fabric is holding up beautifully (no piling).  And the sun protection is UPF 50, which means no awful sunburns.

I think I’ve gotten a compliment almost every time I’ve worn this suit.  I’m often asked by strangers where they can get one, so I thought I would share the scoop here.

So maybe you only snorkel for 15 or 20 minutes at a time.  Why would you want or need to wear a dive skin?

  • You want to avoid jellyfish stings.
  • You want to avoid a full body sunscreen application (just remember your neck, hands and feet).
  • You become cold easily (a dive skin will provide a bit of warmth).
  • You take a medication that causes sun sensitivity, and you burn, blister or develop a rash even when using sunscreen properly.
  • It’s looks pretty sleek.
  • You are tired of burning the backs of your legs while snorkeling.

Needless to say, I’m sold on this suit.  It’s become a permanent part of my gear bag.  And as a disclaimer, I purchased this suit myself.  It was not given to me in connection with a promotion.

I should mention that these suits are not just for girls.  Ecostinger carries suits for men and kids too.

What do you wear while snorkeling?  Do you rely on a rashguard?  Do you simply load up on sunscreen and head out in your swimsuit?

Jul 212012

This photo is for the scuba girls out there.

I met her in Grand Cayman and immediately asked to take a photo of her feet.  “I’m not weird”, I assured her. “I just love your pedicure.”

What a fun idea for a dive trip.  Just use any red polish and one diagonal swipe of a french tip white.  Genius!


May 212012

So now that you know how to decipher the puzzling label on the sunscreen bottle, how do you know which brand  will work for you?

Thankfully, sunscreen makers have gotten really good at refining their formulas, so the days of thick white goop are over.

I am extremely picky about the sunscreen formulas I use on my face, since my skin is sensitive and prone to redness.

Here are some of my top picks for facial sunscreen.


Solar Sense Clear Zinc

This convenient stick is genius for the lips, backs of ears, cheekbones, nose or anywhere else you want to use it.  It is mild and non-irritating.


 Oil of Olay Complete Daily Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin SPF 30

This moisturizer is great as an everyday treatment.  It is light and provides non-greasy moisture to the skin.  It does not sting or burn my sensitive skin.

I do not use this at the beach or while swimming, due to the fact that it is not waterproof.  I also prefer a higher SPF if I plan to be outdoors most of the day.


La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Fluid Extreme, SPF 50

This is one of my absolute favorite facial sunscreens for the beach or outdoor sports.  The new formula is SPF 60 (this is an older bottle) and water resistant.  It has a light, almost milky texture and absorbs nicely into the skin with no greasy feel.


Elta UV Physical SPF 41, tinted formula

I just discovered this amazing product, and I find myself reaching for it almost daily.  This sunscreen contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for great broad spectrum protection.  It is a water resistant formula that has a sheer tint to even the skin tone.  It has been really soothing for my sensitive skin, and is a great replacement for makeup.

Elta UV Shield SPF 45

This is a great all-around daily sunscreen with a light yet hydrating feel.  It is quite sheer and undetectable on the skin.

Here are some other tips:

-If I am doing a morning dive, I avoid facial sunscreen and keep my skin shielded with a hat until the dives are over.  I find facial sunscreen and a dive mask to be a poor mix.  There is nothing worse that an underwater eye sting from running sunscreen.

-I always wear a hat in addition to sunscreen.

-Don’t forget the tips of your ears.  I can’t tell you how many times I have burned this neglected area (now I know better).

-While those spray mist sunscreens are nice for the body, do not spray them on your face.

-I use a sunscreen daily, even in the winter or when I will be indoors.

-Reapply your facial sunscreen often, especially after swimming.

What are your favorite sunscreens?  Do you have any tips or tricks?

May 152012

Navigating the sunscreen aisle in the drugstore can be a daunting task (kind of like me navigating my way around a hardware store).  Bottles and bottles line the shelves – all of them bearing labels with multiple promises.

There are SPFs from 4 (eek) to 100.  There are “sport” versions and spray cans – oils, creams and waterproof gels.  Now that you are thoroughly confused by all of the options, how do you really know that this potion is doing its most important job – protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays?

Here are some basic facts about sunscreen and the sun’s rays.

-There are two main types of UV rays that can affect our skin – UVA and UVB.

-UVA rays are the most prevalent.  They penetrate deep into the skin and are the cause of premature aging and wrinkles.

-UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn.

-You need a sunscreen that protects from both types of rays.  Many sunscreens have adequate UVB protection but lack adequate UVA protection.

-To ensure that your sunscreen provides UVA protection, look for one or more of the following active ingredients (for US consumers):  Avobenzone, ecamsule (also known as Mexoryl), titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

For those who are still confused (probably most of us), the US FDA has instituted new regulations for sunscreen labeling which will go into effect in December 2012 (some companies have already changed their labels).  The major components of the new labeling requirements are:

-The words “waterproof”, “sweatproof” and “sunblock” may not be used.

-The words “water resistant” may be used, however, the label must state whether the product is water resistant for 40 minutes or 80 minutes of swimming.

-The words “broad spectrum” may be used for products that have passed the FDA’s test measuring the product’s effectiveness against both UVA and UVB rays.

-The only sunscreens that may claim to reduce the chances of skin cancer and premature aging are those that offer an SPF of 15 or higher and have passed the FDA’s broad spectrum test.

In my next post I’ll let you in on some of my sunscreen secrets.

Here are some helpful links for further reading.

Skin Cancer Foundation

Q&A on FDA Guidelines