I've been promising this post all summer long, and it's finally here. I definitely didn't use sunscreen as much as I should have been up until earlier this year. I'm cringing at all the times I'd be riding home in the car on a hot summer day, no sun protection, and arrive home red-faced with a few extra freckles. Now, of course, I know that the sun can cause damage through car windows and also clouds, so I'm making an effort to use some sort of sunscreen every day. A few family members have had skin cancer scares in the past few years, and as one of the palest of the Dadmun clan, it's time to suit up and protect myself.
Let's talk types of sunscreen for a minute - there are physical sunscreens, and there are chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens contain minerals like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide that form a literal screen on the skin that block, reflect, and scatter harmful UV rays to keep them from penetrating the skin and causing damage. This is why they typically leave some kind of white cast - that's what they're pretty much supposed to do. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain organic (as in carbon-based) compounds like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate. Rather than blocking the UV radiation altogether, they work by causing a chemical reaction in the skin that changes the harmful radiation into heat that then gets released from the skin.
There's much debate over which type is better, but in general, physical sunscreens are typically better for sensitive skin, but are usually thicker and less pleasant to wear daily under makeup. They can also leave whitecasts that make them harder to use for those with deeper skintones. Chemical sunscreens may irritate sensitive skin (especially as the SPF goes up), but they are usually more lightweight and more comfortable for daily use. It all boils down to your preferences and whether or not your skin is sensitive. Since this is a beauty blog, I've also gone through and found the sunscreens in my collection I've been using the most this summer.
The Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35* will always have a special place in my heart because it was the one that actually made me get into the habit of wearing sunscreen everyday. It's a chemical sunscreen, using avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate. It's so lightweight and sinks into the skin like nothing - it doesn't interfere with makeup or feel heavy and greasy on the skin. It's completely clear, so it will work on any skintone without leaving any kind of whitecast. I've gotten my family and Brett hooked on this - in fact, Brett told me to add that he uses this every day as he drives around in his police cruiser, and he's never gotten burned when he's out in the sun directing traffic for work.
Another favorite this summer has been the Farmacy Green Screen with SPF 30.* This is a physical formula, using both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. It's still quite lightweight and doesn't feel chalky or thick at all on the skin. It's non-greasy and smooth under makeup, and it doesn't pill. If you are sensitive to chemical sunscreens, then this is the one I'd definitely recommend you go for.
I've also been trying out the BeautyRx Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50* this summer, and it's a new go-to for sure. It feels more moisturizing on the skin than the previous two, leaving a dewy, but not greasy finish. It leaves no whitecast and feels lightweight on the skin, despite the high SPF. I love that it has a higher SPF, so it's the one I reach for when I know I'll be out in the sun. This contains both physical and chemical sunscreens - Zinc Oxide and Octinoxate. Sensitivities aside, many dermatologists have suggested a formula with both kinds of sunscreens is best, as it's got the broad-spectrum protection of the physical and the lightweight, easily-spreadable properties of the chemical.
When I'm on the go, I always make sure I have the Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 on hand. I always had issues with reapplying sunscreen throughout the day, and this makes it easy. It's a chemical sunscreen, using avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. It does have an alcohol base, so I restrict my use to only if I'm out when I need to reapply sunscreen. It doesn't make my skin tight or dry it out, and it controls any extra shine nicely. I kept this in my beach bag while I was on vacation, and by the end of the week everyone was using this to top up on their sunscreen.
One of the first physical formulas I started trying a few years ago was the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47. Before then, all physical sunscreens I had tried were way too thick and chalky and left a blue cast on my already super pale skin. This one is lightweight out of the bottle, and while it feels a little thick when rubbing it into the skin, it settles down and just feels like a moisturizer. It's super nourishing on the skin, since it contains Argan Oil, and the high SPF is a plus.
My skin has the tendency to get very hot and red in the sun, so a favorite this summer has been the Klairs Mid-day Blue Sun Lotion SPF 40. The blue color comes from Guaiazulene, which helps to soothe the skin and calm redness. This feels cooling and refreshing on application, and the blue tone helps to correct redness. It absorbs into the skin and doesn't leave any tint on the skin, and it sets down to a velvety matte finish. I'm amazed a physical sunscreen feels as lightweight as this.
I usually use separate moisturizers and sunscreens, but when I'm in a rush I grab the Purlisse Blue Lotus Essential Daily Moisturizer SPF 30.* It's a chemical sunscreen, with avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, and oxybenzone. The original Blue Lotus moisturizer is one of my favorites for everyday, and this version with added SPF is just as nice. It's lightweight yet very hydrating and leaves the skin plump and dewy. This never leaves the skin feeling greasy or tacky, and makeup applies perfectly over the top.
I'm a lip balm fiend, having multiple in every bag, so I know the importance of one with SPF. I've recently received the Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30,* and it's the most convenient thing ever. It feels just as lovely on the lips as the original Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments, but it's slightly more solid, so it won't melt in your beach bag like the originals would. It uses chemical sunscreens avobenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate. It's also great because it can be used anywhere on the face and also on the eye area - sometimes I'm wary of applying sunscreen close to my eyes, but the stick packaging makes it super easy. I haven't experienced it running into my eyes if I'm sweating, either, since it's a waterproof formula.
Congratulations if you got this far - let me know your sunscreen recommendations in the comments! I'm always looking to try new ones.
*Products mentioned have been sent to me for consideration, but all opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.