I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Being single has its pros and cons, and, as a beauty editor, I tend to think of them in terms of skincare.
For example, did you know that being in an intimate relationship gives you a better shot at surviving skin cancer? A 2008 Northwestern study showed that having a significant other with whom you're comfortable examining your body means finding and treating melanoma earlier.
That's a pretty big check in the con column for being single, and it only adds insult to injury that it's difficult to thoroughly apply sunscreen when you don't have someone around to help. Sure, you could ask the friend you're meeting at the pool or a cute stranger at the beach to give you a hand once you get there, but if you've ever read the directions on a bottle of sunscreen, you know that you're supposed to apply it 15 minutes before you go outside. Blargh.
Luckily, more and more brands are creating continuous-spray sunscreens that work even when you're holding them at an awkward angle--you know, the one where you're trying to get your back by yourself.
Here are a few you may want to try this summer if you're going it alone.
COPPERTONE SPORT HIGH PERFORMANCE ACCUSPRAY SUNSCREEN
Active sun-filtering ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone. This is a chemical formula, as opposed to one with mineral/physical protection.
Other fancypants ingredients: Nothing special. It's a pretty basic formula that gets the job done.
Goes on: Clear and shiny. Feel free to spread it in, but even if you can't reach parts of your back, the easy-to-control spray will fully cover it. You just may have to wait a bit to let it absorb. (This is the case with pretty much all of these sunscreens.)
Water and sweat resistance: 80 minutes, and it promises not to run into your eyes, which, if you've experienced the ol' sunscreen-in-the-eyes, you know this is a very important promise.
Scent: A very pleasant tropical flower smell, though I have no idea which tropical flower it's supposed to be. Maybe all of them?
COOLA SPORT UNSCENTED SUNSCREEN SPRAY
Active sun-filtering ingredients: Avobenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene. (Chemical filters.)
Other fancypants ingredients: The formula is made with more than 70% organic ingredients, including algae, aloe, cucumber and strawberry. Even the alcohol is organic.
Goes on: Clear and shiny.
Water and sweat resistance: 80 minutes.
Scent: If you put your nose against your skin right after spraying, you'll get an (organic) alcohol smell, but it fades to nothing.
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS 60 ULTRA LIGHT SUNSCREEN LOTION SPRAY
Active sun-filtering ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone. It's the same group of filters as in the Coppertone spray above--at a slightly different percentage balance--but La Roche-Posay likes to call this group Cell-Ox Shield XL. Kind of sounds like a Vin Diesel character, right?
Other fancypants ingredients: Candle bush extract, which has a lot of antioxidant power. The formula is also said to be very sensitive-skin-friendly.
Goes on: White. This helps you tell where you've applied it, but you'll need some hand-spreading to work it in evenly and invisibly. It also promises to spray without fail, even upside-down.
Water and sweat resistance: 80 minutes. I'm noticing a trend.
AUSTRALIAN GOLD HELLO KITTY WET/DRY SKIN FORMULA BODY MIST SUNSCREEN
Active sun-filtering ingredients: Everyone's favorite clique: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
Other fancypants ingredients: This struck me as a little strange, but Australian Gold makes note of having included two Asian ingredients, Japanese yomogi and Chinese butterfly bush extracts--I guess because Hello Kitty and Sanrio are based in Asia? Both have sun-damage benefits, though, so they're not completely random.
Goes on: Clear and shiny.
Water and sweat resistance: 80 minutes. Hello Kitty is shown on the can swimming, and she can presumably hold her breath under water for the full 80 minutes because she doesn't have a mouth.
Scent: Australian Gold calls it "Paradise Pineapple," but it's a pretty classic piña colada fragrance.
HAWAIIAN TROPIC DRY OIL CLEAR SUNSCREEN SPRAY
Active sun-filtering ingredients: Avobenzone, octocrylene, oxybenzone. Despite the broad-spectrum SPF 30 rating, Hawaiian Tropic actually categorizes this as one of their "tanning oils."
Other fancypants ingredients: Among the "exotic island botanicals" promised on the can are coconut oil, papaya, mango, passion flower, plumeria, and guava.
Goes on: Clear and shiny. It doesn't seem any more or less like an oil than the other clear and shiny formulas.
Water and sweat resistance: Guess. OK, I'll tell you: 80 minutes.
Scent: Coconutty as heck.
KISS MY FACE COOL SPORT AIR POWERED SPRAY CONTINUOUS SPRAY SUNSCREEN
Active sun-filtering ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate. It's probably safe to say that mineral sun filters don't work for continuous-spray sunscreens.
Other fancypants ingredients: Aloe, chamomile and cucumber, to cool and soothe sun-exposed skin.
Goes on: Clear and shiny. Although these sunscreens are all pretty consistent when sprayed at any angle, Kiss My Face founders Bob and Steve make sure to remind you that this one's really good at it.
Water and sweat resistance: 40 minutes! I know--I'm shocked, too!
Scent: A very light coconut fragrance.
Which of these appeals to you the most? You do know you can also use them if you're not single, right? OK, good.