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Dress Races

How to Be Both Stylish and Sun Safe at the Races

October 26, 2018

The Melbourne Cup is quite arguably fashion’s biggest day out in Australia, so you want to look your most fabulous, but you have to protect your skin. This doesn’t mean getting a healthy glow with facials, filler and anti-wrinkle injections (although we are fans of those treatments), and it doesn’t just mean avoiding a red sun-burnt face. Sun protection means looking after yourself for the long-term. Sun damage is cumulative. We’ve treated thousands of men and women for sun damage in their skin, from pigmentation to wrinkles, which could have been avoided with some simple steps. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice elegance and style for sun safety, either.

Cover up

While many venues are becoming more relaxed about dress codes, tradition still holds strong. Fashionable spring racing attire can still include slightly longer hemlines, higher necklines and attire that covers your shoulders. If your clothing is made of an airy fabric that lets the light through, you will still need to apply sunscreen underneath, but the fabric will add a little bit of extra protection from the sun.


Before putting on your makeup and primer, apply a generous layer of sunscreen and, if you have time, let it set for at least 15 minutes before applying anything over top. It’s an excellent bonus if your makeup has some SPF protection, but the SPF in makeup is not enough to prevent sun damage on its own.

How do you reapply sunscreen without ruining your makeup? This can be very difficult, especially if you use contouring and highlighter. You can try spray-on sunscreens and lightweight formulas, and gently pat them into your skin rather than rubbing them in. Whether these tips work for you will also depend on your makeup, so you may want to test it ahead of time.

Our best advice is to use a mineral powder in place of foundation. It is lighter, less likely to show smudges when you top up your sunscreen, and it’s easier to reapply. As a bonus, mineral powders are better for your skin as they won’t clog pores the way that many foundations do.

Stay Hydrated

If you’re out in the warm spring air, sipping on chilled champagne, you can lose hydration rather quickly. You’re probably already aware of the dangers of severe dehydration, but even mild dehydration is bad for the skin, and it can make you more prone to sun damage. Be sure to drink plenty of water, or if your beverage must live up to some racing day style, a glass of sparkling mineral water with a mint garnish and a side of lime.


As an extension of last years’ headwear trends, race goers are setting their fascinators aside in favour of headbands, and for 2018, big bows as hairpieces. This means even less sun protection, so you should try to take note of shaded areas where you can mingle and be even more diligent with reapplying your sunscreen.

At Rejuvenation Clinics of Australia, we’re most in favour of the straw hat trend that Vogue Australia writer Angelica Xidias called “ever-so-relevant1.” Remember, the larger the brim, the better the protection.


The area around your eyes has the most delicate skin on your body, so it needs an extra bit of protection. Your eyes themselves can accumulate sun damage as well. It does not hurt to add a pair of sunglasses to your race day outfit, and it may help you see the horses more clearly.


Planning ahead is everything. Will your sunscreen fit inside your little clutch? Do you have the right sized sunglasses to go with your fascinator or hat? While you plan your outfit and sun-safety gear, don’t forget to top up your look with some pre-race anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers or a pre-race facial.


  1. https://www.vogue.com.au/culture/racing-carnival/racing-outfit-inspiration-from-the-2017-spring-racing-season/image-gallery/9dc78d9a25d924e942286bd1d2cb3503?pos=1

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