Nivea Kids Protect and Sensitive Sun Lotion with SPF 50+/PA+++ ($)
La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Smoothing Optical BLUR UNIFYING ($$)
IOPE UV Shield Sun Multi Fluid SPF 50+/PA+++ ($$, and it’s 100ml)
This is not an exhaustive list, as there are likely tons of sunscreens out there that I don’t know of that meet my standards. You may also find that you like a sunscreen from a category outside of your skin type. Feel free to experiment. I will be updating this list if I come across any new sunscreens that meet my criteria.
POC may want to stick with chemical-only formulas, to avoid white-cast.
Full disclosure: I have not personally used every sunscreen on this list. I compiled this list from ingredients lists and user reviews. I place an (*) before the one’s I’ve tried.
Beach season is upon us, Northern Hemisphere! We wish you sun-filled, happy days, and healthy, sunburn-free skin! Here are some tips for choosing a sunscreen for your summer.
Sunlight is composed of electromagnetic waves and is our primary source of ultraviolet radiation, which has a shorter wavelength than visible light and carries more energy. UVA, UVB, and UVC are classified according to their wavelengths. Short wavelength UVC never reaches the Earth’s surface, but UVB and UVA do Medium wavelength UVB rays can enter the skin’s superficial layers and long length UVA rays can penetrate into the deeper layers. UVB in small amounts actually helps us make vitamin D, which enables our bodies to build and maintain strong bones. However, prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB can damage DNA, age your skin, and promote the development of potentially deadly skin cancer. Sunscreen protects your skin either physically by deflecting UV rays with an inorganic blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or chemically by using carbon-based compounds to absorb UV photons that are then harmlessly dissipated as heat.
So, what differentiates one sunscreen from another? When we choose a sunscreen, we can compare application method, the SPF, and the active ingredients. Sprays can be convenient to put on, especially when you’re wet, but a recent study found that most people don’t apply a thick enough layer to get full protection. And the possible health risks of inhaling sunscreen compounds from a spray cloud might make you consider reaching for that bottle of lotion instead. Opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, although 30 is better. SPF is a nonlinear scale of how much UVB radiation is needed to give protected skin a sunburn. SPF 15 does a pretty good job by blocking 93% of UVB rays. You get a slight increase as SPF goes up, with SPF 30 blocking 97%, and 50 blocking 98%. SPF is based on the quantity of solar exposure. So how much time you have before you start to burn really depends on a long list of factors, including your genetics, and when, where, and how you spend your time in the sun.
Even though US marketed sunscreens have been deemed safe by the FDA, scientists are still researching the effects of many active ingredients on the human body. So if you’re worried about potential irritants, look for mineral-based formulas with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Even though they may go on a bit thick at first, they’re less irritating than carbon-based chemical sunscreens. These mineral-based sunscreens are preferential for the environment, too. If you plan on catching rays while splashing in a river or the ocean, keep in mind that carbon-based chemical sunscreens can harm marine life. Research shows that carbon-based chemical sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate, and 4MBC contribute to a stress condition called coral bleaching in corals, which are living creatures.
So you’re now ready to make an informed choice when picking out your next sunscreen. SPF is clearly labeled on the front. On the back under “active ingredients,” you can find whether zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and those coral-harming components are present. Taking a bit more time to check can be well worth it for both you and the environment.
Sunscreen will provide you with the advertised SPF for 2 hours of sun exposure. After those 2 hours, you need to reapply your sunscreen to keep your skin protected.
So, how do you reapply sunscreen during the day? Layering on more sunscreen throughout the day may make you cringe. At least to me, it sounds a bit unsanitary without fully cleansing your skin first. Let alone if you’re wearing makeup. You can imagine how pleasant layering foundation (even one with SPF) can be.
Thankfully, there are several methods of reapplying your sunscreen during the day that keep things mess-free, your makeup intact, and your skin safe.
First, in the morning, make sure you apply a layer of dedicated sunscreen. Consider this step non-negotiable. This initial and most thorough layer will provide your base of protection throughout the day. Over this, you can apply your makeup.
Ex. Australian Gold Botanics Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 50, Make P:Rem Blue Ray Sun Fluid SPF 50, Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Sunscreen SPF 30
This is my most highly recommended method, especially during the Summertime or for those with oily skin. Sunscreen powders are loaded with physical UV filters, providing gentle protection while mattifying the skin.
Ex. Colorescience Sunforgettable Loose Mineral Powder Brush SPF 30, Catrin Natural 100 Mineral Sunkill RX SPF 46, Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45
That’s right; all the convince of a cushion compact, filled with sunscreen! Using a cushion puff, sunscreen can be easily reapplied throughout the day. The only downside is that most are physical sunscreens, as they are intended for use on children. Physical sunscreens often mean white cast. Simply avoid the ones branded “mild” or “baby” if you have darker skin.
Also, consider carrying around a cushion puff and your usual base sunscreen. Dispense some sunscreen on the back of your hand and apply it directly to your face with the puff. The puff should make reapplication less disruptive to your makeup.
You could also opt for a bb cushion with light coverage and a high SPF. You’re layering foundation, but that could prove to be an inoffensive option, especially for those with darker skin.
Ex. LANEIGE Marshmallow Sun Cushion SPF 50, andLAB Xylitol Mild Sun Cushion SPF 50, The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Baby Sun Cushion SPF 34
Think setting spray, but with added SPF! There is debate about the level of coverage a spray can provide. To be on the safe side, make sure you apply a generous amount and cover your whole face. Oh, and definitely close your eyes.
Ex. Kate Sommerville UncompliKated SPF 50 Setting Spray, PRIVACY UV Face Mist SPF 50, L'oreal Paris UV Perfect Face Mist SPF 50
What if I don’t wear makeup?
If you don’t wear makeup, any of the above methods would work for you. You also have the option of carrying around some makeup wipes/micellar water soaked cotton pads and reapplying your base sunscreen.
Hell, skip the cleansing and apply the base sunscreen over your morning layer, you heathen. Whatever works for you, as long as you reapply that sunscreen!
Hey sunshine lovers! Summer will be here before we know it, which means long days spent under the sun. While the sun provides a healthy dose of vitamin D, too much of anything can be a bad thing – especially if you don’t protect yourself. Follow these tips for protecting your skin against
harmful summer rays.
I thought this was such a good question that it deserved its own post! You don’t simply wake up one day with a 10 step routine. You also shouldn’t buy all 10 steps at once (despite the temptation)! A full 10 step routine can be daunting for someone just dipping their toes into the KBeauty scene. So this poses the question:
All of these sunscreens ingredients are approved by me and should be suitable for sensitive skin as well.
All of these can be purchased on iherb.com
Read some reviews before purchasing to see if it really suits you.
Kiss My Face SPF 30 $9.97: cruelty free, no white cast, moisturising, no smell and good ingredients!
Alba Bontanica Natural very emollient sunscreen SPF 30 $8.29: Mineral, good ingredients, cruelty free, fragrance free
Holika Holika moisturising BB cream SPF 30 $5.01: good BB cream, very limited shade range though.
Nature Republic SPF 50 $7.48: great sunscreen, good ingredients, high protection, no irritants
Kidsport SPF 30 $5.59: not greasy, with white cast, cruelty free, great ingredients
Natures Gate SPF 50 $8.85: Vegan, cruelty free, Oily so if youve got oily skin already this will probably look greasy
Use a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, but 50 is best. Anything above that isn’t worth your time, as the amount of extra protection you would get is negligible and the formulas tend to feel unpleasant.
Keep these measurements in mind: a nickel for the face, a shot glass for the body. This is the amount of sunscreen you should apply. However, body shapes and sizes differ. In general, applying generously should be fine. 👌
Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen needs time to absorb. Also, don’t throw on clothes immediately after application. You don’t want to rub off the sunscreen.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours of sun exposure. This means that, on an average day spent mostly indoors, you should be fine with one application of sunscreen. If you’re swimming or exercising, reapply more frequently.
Yes, even if you’re wearing makeup.💄 This is where powdered and spray sunscreens work best!
Avoid sunscreen with oxybenzone or octinoxate! 🙅 These common chemical UV filters are linked to the destruction of coral reefs across the world. Very environmentally unfriendly. 🌎
Wear sunscreen indoors and in the car! UV rays can filter through windows.
Nothing elevates a look like a wide-brim hat! 👒
Don’t forget to protect the rest of your body! The neck, chest, lips, hair part, hands, and feet often don’t receive the same love as our faces. There’s a reason they say you can tell a woman’s age by her hands and neck!
Don’t leave sunscreen in your car during the summer!🔥 It may seem convenient, but the excessive heat disrupts the sunscreen’s efficacy.
Wear lightweight layers of clothing. A cute, wispy bathing suit coverup can be the difference between a pleasant and a painful beach day! Layer your sun protection!
Don’t rely on makeup alone for UV protection. The amount of makeup you would have to apply to achieve the advertised SPF would have you looking like a clown. 🤡
Get a small bottle of sunscreen and keep it in your bag. Alba Botanica makes 4oz bottles that are good for the face and body and fit comfortably in a purse. Perfect for touch-ups.
Utilize the shade.🌴 Not only will you keep cool, but you reduce your chance of sunburn. You won’t catch me on the beach without an umbrella!
Youve got to wear sunscreen when using a chemical exfoliator but you also should wear sunscreen for many other reasons, which you can google on yr own.
* = other sunscreens by this brand are also reccomendable
- Biore UV Aqua Spf 50*: irritating for some with sensitive skin, no white cast, holy grail for many people.
- LRP Anthelios Spf 50*: slight white cast, suitable for oily skin. May be irritating for sensitive skin.
- Biore UV Perfect Face Milk spf 50*: no white cast.
- Shiseido Oil free Spf 42*: suitable for oily and sensitive skin. Leaves a white cast.
- Jack Black oil free Spf 45: suitable for oily skin, no white cast, great ingredients.
- Ultrasun Baby Spf 50*: Im using this one rn, leaves a white cast which is manageable for light skin, not for dark skin. Gentle and does not break me out, no irritating ingredients
- Josie Maran SPF 47: Dark skin friendly and moisturising.
- Shiseido Senka SPF 50*: No white cast, not irritating, suitable for acne prone skin.
EltaMD SPF 47: No white cast but looks oily on the skin, not irritating.