Open Thread: The Best Products for Summer

silver-liningsIt’s May 1, and here in NYC the sun is shining, things are in bloom, and it seems as if Bare Leg/Flip Flop Commuting Weather has finally arrived.  (Of course, we all know that you’re not supposed to walk for miles in flip flops, but everyone here does anyway.)  I was thinking it might be fun to have a conversation of some of the best products you’ve bought that can help working women through the summer and changing seasons.  Some ideas:

  • Silver Linings, which are shoe inserts with antimicrobial silver ions to help de-funk your shoes (or keep them from smelling in the first place)
  • Zakkerz, which help you temporarily hem your pants with magnets
  • Sunscreen in a brush — I haven’t tried this yet, but I just ordered some for my son (Tickle Time) and noticed while researching it that bareMinerals makes some as well.  Given that I hate the greasy feel of sunscreen on my face, I’m looking forward to seeing how this works.
  • A wrap.  I’ve sung the praises of your basic wrap before, but I think they’re particularly great for the office at this time of year.  A) If you’ve layered a blazer on top of a dress or lightweight top and are still freezing, you can add a wrap on top of the blazer.  B) You can use it to cover your legs if you’re freezing in a skirt.  C) Add length/coverage to your skirts while you’re sitting (I explain this more fully here).

Readers, which are some of the products you count among your best summer finds? 


  1. Don’t know how I missed your prior review of the Silver Linings! I’m definitely going to order some.

    Somewhat related TJ — any recommendations for what to do when you have destroyed the inner lining of your pumps from wearing them without socks? Do you just put in an insert, or is there something a cobbler can do? I’m kind of afraid to inflict lining problems on a cobbler because the shoes can get so gross.

  2. I love, love, love Silver Linings. They just keep my shoes feeling so much cleaner (and I’m no socks pretty much year round unless there’s a lot of snow or I’m going to court).

    • Do they really work to fix shoes that are already gross?

      • love silver linings :

        yes! they do for me. i love silver linings, but they are an expensive habit. note: they’re not interchangeable between shoes, so if you’re only going barefooted in one shoe for one day, maybe use foot powder instead.

  3. I just ordered some – will be here on Friday (thanks, Amazon Prime!).

  4. I end up with a little shine (ahem, sweat), after walking just 2 blocks! I love blotting paper to blot it all away, such as Neutrogena Shine-Control Blotting Sheets.

    • Jessica Glitter :

      You don’t sweat, you glisten! :)

      • Senior Attorney :

        Back in the day, we used to say, “Horses sweat; men perspire; women glow!” ;)

        • Senior Attorney :

          That should probably have been “LADIES glow!” LOL

          • Veronique :

            Babysitter’s Club? Whenever I hear that saying I think of Mme Noelle (Jessi’s ballet teacher)!

  5. TO Lawyer :

    Equity’s Darling – I don’t know if you’ll see this but weren’t you looking for something like the Silver Linings?

    • Yup! I can’t seem to find a Canadian retailer though? I think I might bite the bullet and order it from their website, pay the $6 shipping, and keep my fingers crossed that duties aren’t exorbitant/that they make it through customs and don’t get sent back at the border.

      I assume they’ll take about 3 weeks to arrive, which is probably just about right for when I’ll be free of socks for the summer. Though who knows- there were flurries last night, and it’s supposed to be 20C this weekend? I assume there will be another sneak attack of night snow sometime in the next couple weeks.

      • Yes, I had to break down & buy new tights Monday because mine were pretty much all past their prime & I didn’t think I could count on tights weather being behind us!

      • Let us know how much it ends up being for shipping! Maybe we should all go in on a Toronto shipment! :)

  6. S in Chicago :

    I just wanted to recommend Jergens self-tanner. I’ve always thought it was absolutely disgusting in the past, but they redid their formula this year and it has been wonderful on my legs. (I also use a cocobutter gel [I think Vaseline makes?] at night and the result has been outstanding.Really soft legs with no weird greasy look.)

    For face, I really like Sephora’s Kate Somerville pads. The most natural look and very gentle. (Expensive though.)

    • SpaceMountain :

      Does it still have that smell?

      • S in Chicago :

        No. The Jergens smell is gone. Like night and day.

      • phillygirlruns :

        completely agree on the jergens daily self tanner – it smells fantastic and works really well.

        that said – i’ve used the jergens daily stuff for years now, and never worried much about washing my hands immediately afterwards the way i would with normal self-tanner. wiping them on a towel was always fine. this year i’ve noticed that my palms are a little stained – whether it’s because of the new formula or just because my hands are more callused this year than in the past, it’s something to be aware of.

    • SoCal Gator :

      I also love the Kate Somerville tanning wipes. So natural, no streaking, no terrible smell and now they have a lotion that helps the tan last longer. They work best if you exfoliate first.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I just bought the St Tropez mousse self-tanner (also expensive), upon the recommendation of somebody at Sephora. They said it was one of their bestsellers. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m hopeful that it will look natural. The typical St Tropez image that I have in my head would not work for me at all!

      • Vintage Lawyer :

        St. Tropez tanning mousse is fabulous. Worth every penny. Be sure to get the applicator glove (about $6) that St. Tropez makes. It really makes application easy.

    • Island girl :

      My skin tone is fair, and not especially pretty: it’s the color of bread dough. I use Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Cream-Gel. I put it on a night, before sleep. I wake up with a soft tan that makes me look healthy, makes my ice-grey eyes stand out, and leaves my skin moisturized.

      It’s a super product for fair-skinned people. Because the tan is so gentle, I don’t know if it would work with other skin tones.

  7. 1. Band Aid Blister Block. Put it on when you have an inkling those flip flips / sandals are going to leave you with a giant blister by the end of the day => no blister.

    2. Body Glide so you don’t get chafing when you wear a skirt without hose. Makes life so much more comfortable.

    • +1 for blister block and body glide! Two essential products in my life during the summer!

    • Lady Harriet :

      I use cheap solid deodorant in place of blister block and it also works really well.

    • Monistat also puts out a comfort care anti chafing gel that is available at CVS and drugstore . com

    • Skip the blister block and use Body Glide on your feet too. One less product to keep track of.

    • For you BodyGlide ladies–do any of you find that you have to reapply it during the day? I have tried in the past and found that I can get only about a block from my house before the chafing begins. Maybe I am using it wrong…or my thighs just touch too much for it to work…

      • Monistat. Changed. My. Life. Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder gel. It usually lasts all day, unless it’s 90+ hot outside. I no longer wear stockings in the summer. It’s the best.

        Some people use it as a primer on their face.

        • I meant to say, only on the really hot/humid days do I have to reapply. Perhaps this will help vs your Bodyglide situation where it doesn’t stay.

  8. Veronique :

    I’ve tried powder sunscreen (Peter Thomas Roth) and it’s great as a supplementary sunscreen/shine remover, but you still need to wear another lotion/moisturizer with sunscreen underneath. Otherwise, you’d have to cake on the powder in order to provide adequate sun protection, so that it would be really obvious and unattractive.

    I like to make my own anti-shine tinted moisturizer by mixing a few drops of foundation with an anti-shine lotion/gel.

    I love lipstick/gloss/balm with sunscreen in the summer. Some of my favs are Fresh sugar lip treatment, Eos lip balm, Kiehls lip balm, Tarte 24-7, Wet n Wild juicy lip balm, Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream lip protectant, and Cover Girl natureluxe gloss balm. I might be a bit of a lip addict…

    My beach/pool hair trick is to slather hair in conditioner before hitting the beach. It’s a hair protectant and treatment in one.

  9. Greener Apple :

    I like Silver Linings, but they don’t seem to stick that well for very long, so I just use them for shoes I won’t be walking in very much.

    I’ve been looking for a good summer gym bag. I’ve noticed a few recommendations here for the OG bag–just wish it came in lighter colors. Has anyone found one they really like?

    • Just received my espresso OMG after months on the waiting list and it is amazing. I imagine the OG would be even better if you have a lot of stuff to cart around — the OMG is pretty much full with my usual purse crap, macbook air, and gym shoes.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        I also have the espresso OMG. I love the color; it often looks more like a dark aubergine to me and I haven’t found anything it doesn’t match in fall and winter. I do swap it for my tan bag often in the summer, though, when I’m wearing pastels or brights.

  10. Scalp Sunscreen :

    What sunscreen do people use on their head (like in your part)? Just your normal face or body sunscreen? I invariably forget to put sunscreen on my part and have wound up with painful sunburns (leading to oh-so-attractive peeling).

    • King Kong :

      Lush coat block sun.

    • darjeeling :

      I’ll be interested to hear this too. I usually “address” the problem by changing around my part like 10 times and trying to pull it straight back so nothing is showing. the thought of putting greasy lotion in my hair is not too appealing and I would love to find some other option.

    • I’ve never really put sunscreen on my head because I couldn’t figure out how without getting it all over my hair. I’m very fair though and spent a lot of time outside when I was younger, resulting in my scalp burning a lot. I’m now paranoid that I’m going to get skin cancer on my head and pretty much always wear a hat when I’m going to be in the sun for extended periods of time. A hairstylist once told me about a spray for your head & scalp – its supposed to protect your scalp from burning while also protecting your hair from getting lightened by the sun (not a health concern of course, but a beauty concern for some people). I tried it and I thought it made my hair greasy and didn’t really seem to prevent my scalp from getting burned. If anyone has scalp-specific sunscreen recommendations, I’m definitely interested.

    • While I also don’t need sunscreen, much like my buddy King Kong, why don’t you wear a hat? Especially when you’re going to be outdoors for a while.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Ha, I wish I just could wear a hat. I have a gigantic head so most hats don’t fit me and/or look really bizarre.

        • Diana Barry :

          Tilley hats! They come in big sizes. I have a giant head too and they are great.

    • Greener Apple :

      I just keep buying hats. It’s a little hard to find one that doesn’t look a bit odd, but I do wear one whenever I’m going to be in the sun for long.

    • I pull my hair back in a ponytail, clips, etc. and eliminate the part, or I wear a hat. If it’s a day-at-the-beach thing and I’m dead set on braids or something, I’ll just use spray-on sunblock on the part. Doesn’t look any worse than wet beach hair.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have one that comes in a solid stick that you rub on like deodorant. I just rub that along my part. It comes in a really small container so the stick is only an inch thick and less than a centimeter wide. I can check the brand tonight and post back later but I bought it at Rite Aid and it is a mainstream name.

    • Meg Murry :

      California baby makes conditioner that contains sunscreen, and notes that it can be used as a leave in conditioner. Maybe that would work? Or some other kind of leave in conditioner for color treated hair that contains sunscreens? I plan to buy the California Baby for my poor bald kiddo – at almost 18 months he has very little hair, and I don’t want to have to try to scrub sunscreen out of it every night, or trust him to keep a hat on everyday (even though I’ll try).

      I’ve also used the spray on sunscreen in my part, either by spraying on directly or spraying into my hands then rubbing my fingers over the part.

    • Nioxin makes a product called Scalp Shield that is made just for this! I love it, because it dries to more of a hairspray finish than a greasy finish, and it is clear — no white or flaking to worry about. It is spf 20 and my fair scalp has never burned since I started using it. I found it at TJ Max but I’m sure it’s available online.

  11. Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense sunscreen is an absolute must. It looks a bit strange compared to other sunscreens (it’s a liquid), but it isn’t greasy (in look or in feel), goes on easily, and is effective. It is expensive, but a little bit goes a long ways and it is worth every single penny. I can’t recommend it highly enough (and as a redhead, I’ve tried a lot of sunscreens!).

  12. The Monistat anti-chafing gel also works really well as a makeup primer. Better than my (more expensive) L’Oreal undereye primer, in fact. Learned about it in a Disneyworld forum.

    Solid or spray antiperspirant on the feet does help to prevent blisters. The Army actually did a study on it (blisters in combat boots are a problem).

    When I do get blisters (or the beginnings of blisters), I prefer to use 3M’s clear flexible medical tape than bandaids.

    If I wear Bare Minerals foundation, it comes off where my sunglasses hit my nose. Any ideas on preventing that?

  13. Re: powder sunscreen. I used the brush-head BareMinerals SPF 30 religiously–and unlike the commenter with the Peter Thomas Roth powder sunscreen above, actually had a great experience with it. Was liberal with application, but never felt like I had to double up with a liquid sunscreen underneath, even in the tropics. (Granted, I’m not extremely pale or prone to burning.) It also did a decent job of evening my skin tone like a mineral veil.

    But I eventually stopped using BareMinerals SPF because it oxidized like crazy. My “light” color went on a nice pale beige, but after a few hours could wipe off at practically the same shade of orange as the label on the bottle, ick. I’m greasy and combination, though, so maybe others don’t have this experience.

  14. Anonymous :

    Thanks for the bare minerals powder sunscreen tip! I’m a runner and have been looking for something like this.

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