Four prominent Laguna Beach ladies offer a glimpse at their go-to products for summer days filled with surf and sand.
By Ashley Probst
Curating the perfect beach day—and corresponding beach bag—depends on one’s lifestyle.
Some beachgoers are like fashionista Andréa Bernholtz and clean beauty aficionado Laura Linsenmayer, and may prefer to lounge on the sand for a relaxing experience. On the other hand, those who are more athletic would likely follow suit with the adventurous spirits of open-water swimmer Stephanie Havelka and stand-up paddleboarder Erin O’Malley.
These four prominent Laguna Beach ladies offer an inside look at all of the favorite products in their bags for long summer days spent on sunny Southern California beaches.
Andréa Bernholtz, founder and CEO of Swiminista swimwear, loves taking her 12-year-old daughter to Moss Point, which is near their Laguna Beach home.
Beachgoers will likely see this iconic mother-daughter duo in matching Swiminista one-pieces: the women’s Strong and girl’s Sunshine swimsuits, both of which feature long sleeves and a zip-up front for adjustable sun protection. If they aren’t already wearing these swimsuits, they’re the first thing that Bernholtz will throw into her custom-made floppy straw beach bag with lime green details.
She usually pairs her swimwear with the Superb Sarong, which is made of recycled micro-mesh, and a wide-brimmed Palma hat by Lack of Color that she got from Attu clothing shop in downtown Laguna. Turkish towels (that she bought in Paris) are also a must because they’re lightweight and dry fast. She also brings a water bottle—a former Swiminista collaboration with Bindle bottles—featuring a secret stash for cash built in.
When it comes to suncare products, Bernholtz swears by Newport Beach-based LĀ SOL Collective, which makes clear zinc mineral sunscreen and an obsession-worthy vanilla lip balm.
One especially admirable item in Bernholtz’s tote is a small recycled bag that she uses to pick up trash, including her own and that of other beachgoers who don’t follow the “pack it in, pack it out” rule. And, of course, hand sanitizer to clean her hands afterward.
Geared Up, Gone Paddling
Sunset Stand Up Paddle owner Erin O’Malley practically lives at the beach, where she offers SUP rentals, lessons and excursions to her adventurous clients.
When she heads to the beach, O’Malley opts for the Highwater Backpack, a dry bag by paddleboard company Bote.
No matter what, she always packs her favorite products for sun protection: “The OG” SurfDurt tinted zinc face sunscreen that comes in a reusable bamboo container, a hooded rash guard from REI and Blenders sunglasses.
She also always carries water in a Bote bottle, which features double wall vacuum insulation to keep her drink cold. “When you’re on the water and on the sand for as long as I am, you definitely want something that has thermal capacity,” she explains, adding that this bottle also has a magnet on the bottom that attaches to the top of her inflatables so it doesn’t float away.
A couple other staples are her DaFin bodysurf fins as well as her GoPro camera. Though they may not fit in her beach bag, she also brings Beach Brella umbrellas from The Shop Laguna Beach and inflatable Aero Chairs, which are also made by Bote.
Finally, after a long day on the water, a change of clothes makes all the difference. “It feels so nice to get out of my wet suit and put on some cozy shorts and a T-shirt,” O’Malley says, noting that her favorite companies for post-ocean attire are prana and Patagonia as well as REI Co-Op’s Sahara Shade Hoodie with UPF 50+ fabric for added sun protection.
Rooted in Beauty
Clean beauty is always at the forefront for Laura Linsenmayer, founder of Roots the Beauty Underground, a local hub for nontoxic cosmetics, skin care and hair care.
When packing her late-2000s Fendi beach bag, the first thing Linsenmayer grabs is her Surf Mud Body Oil by Eir NYC, which incorporates zinc oxide, cocoa powder and a variety of oils from coconut to almond, olive and chamomile.
Her other go-to product is an eye care item by H. Hazel; the company is no longer in business. “I keep these gel cactus collagen eye patches in my bag and, when I’m at the beach, I’m straight up treating my eyes,” she says.
In fact, Linsenmayer often turns beach days into mini spa retreats. “I take my glass nail file [and] I always have a … tweezer and a little mirror—all in my little beach cosmetic case,” she says. “While I’m lounging and absorbing sunshine, I can also groom.”
Additionally, she brings a leave-in hair spray from Rahua for hydration and UV protection that also helps keep her organic hair color vibrant.
This focus on wellness also extends to Linsenmayer’s mind. “I found that, instead of reading, [I] like absorbing more content from the earth,” she says. “I bring my journal and I find that it’s so much more effective … [for] my relaxation to write.”
Swimming With Sportkini
Open-water swimmer and coach, Sportkini founder and swimsuit engineer Stephanie Havelka knows the importance of good gear—that’s why she created her bikini line with athletes in mind.
In addition to proper swimwear, Havelka packs her polka-dotted beach bag with equipment like a fluorescent Sportkini swim cap (complete with motivational saying printed on it) and Roka swim goggles. “I like the big lenses and they also have really good optics,” she says. “… In these goggles, you get a crystal clear view of the beauty of land, the sky [and] the water below you.”
She also brings Ethical Zinc mineral sunscreen, a ChafeZone anti-chafing stick, Teleties hair ties, shampoo and conditioner from TriSwim, California Mango lotion, and baby shampoo to keep her goggles clean. “That’s a swimmer’s tip,” she notes.
When rinsing off after one of her favorite swims from Woods Cove to Montage Laguna Beach or Crystal Cove to Shaw’s Cove, Havelka utilizes a DIY shower made from a repurposed laundry detergent bottle and a Sportkini tech towel. “I have an entire regime,” she says.
She then slips on a T-shirt dress, custom-made flip-flops from the Sandalman in Newport Beach, the now-discontinued Leila polarized lens sunglasses by Kaenon, and a mermaid hat.
If she spends time relaxing on the sand, she’ll typically dive into a book about fitness and nutrition, another self-help topic or an inspiring story about an elite athlete or underdog business—kind of like her own.