Sun Protection Products & Tips for Natural Curls and Dark Skin Tones

I’m not big on holidays. Christmas? The winter solstice isn’t my thing. Fourth of July? Excuse me, whose independence are we talking about? Halloween? She’s cute, but I’m not shelling out money for a costume I’m going to wear once. But tell me that it’s carnival season on an island, and I’m ready to choose my costume (which, ironically, I will probably wear one to three times), throw on glitter, and hit the gym weeks in advance to make sure my stamina and endurance are on point. There are few things in life I enjoy more than a carnival. I mean, sex is great and all, but have you ever been on the hot city streets of an island, listening to soca music, twirling around in blinged-out bikinis and colorful feathers? Even before the big parade comes, there are days of fetes (parties) to attend: on the beach, in parks, in stadiums, in remote fields, in the streets, or at a pool. And yes, this is all before you turn out on the road in all your glitter and plumes, twirling through streets lined with enthusiastic onlookers.It’s exhausting, but it’s a cultural tradition that’s been going on in the Caribbean for years — hundreds of years, in fact, depending on the island. The revelries took place as a way for freed former slaves to celebrate their liberation. These days, thanks to Instagram, Caribbean-style carnivals are more popular than ever and are quickly becoming a must-do trip for many travelers, particularly Black travelers. While these celebrations originated in the islands, those in the Caribbean diaspora have established their own in countries outside the region, like Notting Hill Carnival in London, where there is a large population of people of Caribbean descent.But all those hours spent  in the sun sipping rum necessitates some serious UV protection. Yes, my skin tone may be on the darker end of the spectrum, but in 2018, I got my first-ever sunburn at carnival in Trinidad and Tobago after spending two full days outdoors without wearing sunscreen. It was not pleasant, to say the least. For this year’s Trinidad and Tobago carnival, I was more prepared, but had a bit of peeling on my forehead after failing to apply sunscreen to my face — I didn’t want to mess up my makeup. (Insert face-palm here.) I’ve known other melanin-rich folks who decided to play mas (be in the road parade) without the proper reinforcements and succumbed to the sometimes cruel effects of the sun when they were in it for too long.

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