I marinate my face every night in Retin-A, otherwise known as prescribed paint stripper. One of the requirements of using the derm-beloved slop is that I need to be protected from the sun at all times. The issue? My protective headwear options are limited. I’m a runner and I can’t wear a hat because I have a zaftig ponytail that pops the hat up and makes it fall off.
Consequently, I’ve gone through several iterations of visors this past summer. There was the standard duckbill version seen on tennis players. That was a hot look, especially when I put my hair into a braided pony à la Anna Kournikova and galloped around my running route in Prospect Park. Yet I still felt those rays beating down. Seeking more protection, I graduated to a more techie iteration of the visor found on Amazon — it had sides that extended like a CD-Rom drive and looked like a hat from Resident Evil. Maybe Gattaca. Cool, but I could still envision the sun spots prematurely cropping up.
I needed something bigger. Something better. After more Amazon Prime scrolling, I found something described as “Women Sun Wide Brim UV Protection Fishing Hats Foldable Ponytail Summer Hat With Detachable Flap” for $16.19. This slightly Comme des Garçons–looking visor has the double-wide tractor trailer of brims, which extends well over the ears, and a vented flap to go over the face. I bought one in a modest gray hue, but those with an outré sensibility can get their UV-shielding freak on and opt for a version in fuchsia, purple, or blue.
I’ve worn the visor in all of its variations. Zipped off, zipped on. Mask on, mask off. In Soho, recently, I wore it with the face flap. I felt like a celebrity who was trying to be seen by not wanting to be seen. Like Leonardo DiCaprio holding an umbrella over his face! Or Shia Labeouf sporting the “I’m Not Famous” paper bag. As I was walking with my friend, I asked her: “Do I look like a freak?” secretly hoping that she’d say yes. Au contraire: “Babe, this is New York. No one cares.” Like clockwork, a tourist walked by us and stared at me, then turned to his friend and said, “Michael Jackson.”
But most of the time, I wear the visor sans the face flap. The XXL visor offers enough protection without it, thanks to the sombrero-size brim. One drawback to that brim? Because its so large and curves over the ears, I feel like I’m living in my very own nylon sarcophagus — one where I have to ask “what” multiple times as if I’m an elderly person. I’m not upset. Preservation comes at a price — which, as it turns out, is merely $16.19 and some of my dignity.
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