Winter Sun 101

In my opinion, winter has one single redeeming quality: the holiday season. For a short period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, the people are kinder, the twinkle lights brighter, and the weather...well, it's tolerable (in an It’s a Wonderful Life kind of way). Not to mention, it's socially acceptable to eat your weight in frosted sugar cookies.

But after that, it goes downhill—fast.

If there’s one silver lining to the dark, cold months that follow, it’s the plethora of long weekends on the horizon: MLK, President’s Day, and sometimes even Easter. While you could spend those weekends lounging après ski in the mountains, I rather recommend escaping to the tropics instead.

Admittedly, taking a warm weather vacay in the dead of winter can be daunting. There are swimsuits to unpack, legs to be shaven, and a general sense of disorientation to deal with (if you’re anything like me, your body was emotionally prepared to hibernate for a few more months). 

All things considered, the search for winter sun is worth it. You just need to know what you’re doing (and bringing): 

Prep Work

Worried about your “winter body” (dun, dun, dun…)? Well, let me be the first to tell you that there is no such thing. No matter how pale or doughy you think your body may be, I promise it works just as well buried under layers of blankets or layers of sand.

If you’re still concerned (which, again, you really shouldn’t be) you can always opt for a quick, at home tan. Since I’ve never needed an artificial tan before, I yield to the experts when it comes to suggestions. Beauty guru Jean Godfrey-June praises this tanning water for it’s easy application (it whips into a light weight moisturizer) and it’s quick drying nature—meaning you can step into winter whites almost immediately after applying. And, as with most things, if it’s good enough for Jean then it’s more than good enough for me.

As for any other concerns about your body, there’s not much a great fitting bikini can’t fix. The secret is shopping for the body you have right now. Sure it might be fuller/rounder/less perky than its usual summer shape, but that just gives you an opportunity to try new styles and new fits that you normally wouldn’t wear.


If you’re reading an article titled Winter Sun 101, you’re probably in a location which requires some flying to get to said sun. This step is simple: buy ticket, pack light, and wear sunscreen (yes, on the airplane). 

Why the sunscreen? The trick is twofold: it protects you from increased UV radiation that comes with a higher altitude and creates a barrier between you and the literal thousands of germs floating in the air (breakouts in the making!). 

If you hate the feeling of sunscreen on your skin, you can start with a heavy layer of moisturizer (which I do anyway as an added barrier). A combination of this lush moisturizer and this K-beauty sunscreen are my personal go-to for any flight, but I’ve been eyeing this sunscreen ever since Jen Shoop blogged about it. On a similar note, I’m looking to try out this natural, affordable La Mer dupe.

On Location

Remember that bit about just packing bathing suits and cover ups? That might have been an exaggeration.

You’ll also need to pack a teeny tiny make up bag with a few multi purpose beauty products. While my first recommendation is to go sans makeup all together, I recognize that at times this is just not practical. Enter the NARS multiplier in the cult classic color orgasm. Used properly, this is your eye shadow, highlighter, blush, and, when you’re really feeling froggy, lipstick too. (As a side note, I don’t recommend using it in all its capacities at the same time.) Follow up with a waterproof mascara—for lashes and brows, naturally—and voila! You are as made up as anyone on an island vacation needs to be.

Bon voyage!