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Lately, I've tried a few new sunscreens, so I thought I'd give you a rundown of them, in order of preference, to talk about which ones worked and which ones didn't so much (though, to be honest, I wouldn't say I totally hated any of them!) If you're in the market for a new sunscreen to try; keep reading...
Just as a very quick overview; there are two types of sunscreen: mineral / physical and chemical. Mineral sunscreens physically block UV rays from being absorbed by the skin, whereas chemical formulas neutralise them. Mineral formulas can be quite thick and leave a white cast on the skin, but on the flipside might be the only option for those with sensitive skin. Chemical sunscreens tend to be lighter and you don't have the same issues with white-cast, however many chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that can be damaging to coral reefs. Therefore, you should use a mineral formula if you're going to be swimming in the sea. Living inland, the chances of your sunscreen affecting coral reefs from showering or cleansing your face are more remote, but you can still take steps to minimise its impact, such as using a wipe-off cleanser with a cotton wool pad and throwing the pad in the bin after use (though, obviously, cotton wool has its own issues in terms of its carbon footprint and the issues surrounding single-use products). 'Broad spectrum' sunscreens protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, so are absolutely essential. You should also wear at least an SPF 30 every day, no matter what your skin tone is.
6. Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defence SPF 30* | £49 | My main issue here is that this sunscreen isn't invisible on me and won't be on anyone with a deeper skin tone on me. Maybe it's 'invisible' if you're white, but I am not and it is not on me. For this reason, I've since passed this sunscreen on to my partner. I've also just tried mineral formulas that are far less thick and have far less of a silvery-blue white cast. Whilst I appreciate that mineral sunscreens are hard to get that sheer, invisible effect with, but I've tried great mineral sunscreens and Dermalogica is a luxury brand and this product isn't cheap; so I think they could've done better. (Sidenote: if you want a far more invisible mineral formula; try the one from SkinCeuticals, which is actually also cheaper!) This is broad spectrum SPF 30 which is absolutely fine for everyday wear, but it's so heavy that it almost feels like a short-change that it's only SPF 30. When I first started using this; I thought it was ok, but then I began trialling the other products in this post and saw how much this costs in comparison and my opinion just hardened against it!
5. Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 | £20 | Like a lot of Glossier products, the actual size of the bottle with this sunscreen is a little on the small side, however it's a decent price, so that wasn't much of a deal-breaker for me. This is a chemical formula so the 'invisible' claim is a little less bold! This is also broad spectrum SPF 30, which is fine by me, and comes in a white-cast-free gel formula. I like how this applies and doesn't feel like a thick, heavy layer on my skin. I would say, however that it might feel slightly slippery for some people, such as those who have oily skin. My main negative is that this sunscreen just doesn't mesh well with certain primers and foundations. Sometimes it's fine, but other times it pills up and gets really messy! It's also formulated with some fragrant essential oils, which might be irritating to some skin types.
4. Ark Skincare Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer* | £36 | Ok, we're moving into the 'products I like' portion of this post! This is a pretty genius product; I'm not sure why I've never tried something like it before now! Obviously, sunscreen should be the last step of your skincare routine and primer is the first step in your makeup routine, so why not fuse the two?! This is a chemical formula that doesn't instantly look invisible on my skin tone, but it also really doesn't take much massaging in to be undetectable. I'm not totally sure how this would look on deeper skin tones than mine, which is the only reason it isn't higher on my list. This is broad spectrum SPF 30 chemical formula that comes in a moisturising, light formula that never pills up on me when I apply my makeup. I think this is a great everyday option for people who struggle to remember to put on sunscreen or find it messy, because it's so easy to use and isn't an extra step you have to do in your morning routine. It contains lovely moisturising ingredients like jojoba oil and Vitamin E, which I appreciate, though there is fragrance in there too so might not suit you if you're sensitive to that.
3. Bioderma Photoderm Max Aquafluid SPF 50+* | £13.50 | I actually think this product has overtaken the La Roche-Posay as my favourite drugstore sunscreen! It gives broad spectrum, high-protection coverage but the texture melts into my skin without leaving a white cast, however the product is white in colour, so again I can't guarantee this for every skin tone. This is a chemical formula and, being a more dermatological-focussed French Pharmacy skincare brand, there's no fragrance or fragrant essential oils in this product. It's gentle, it works under makeup without pilling up, it isn't heavy and it has that extra-high protection that I want during the summer months.
2. Dr. Ceuracle Cica Regen Anti-Dust Sun Gel SPF 50* | £24 | I was kindly sent this to try by K-Beauty stockist Kosame earlier in the year, and I finally 'get' why people hype so much over Korean sunscreen. Cica is a great skin-soother that can also help with redness (niacinamide, which is also in this sunscreen, has a similar effect), so I like its inclusion in this formula, which feels very moisturising. This is a cream-gel, that has a slight green tint and doesn't give me any sort of a white cast (or green cast!) Also, as it's a Korean brand (I assume), it does all of this without containing any of the potentially harmful ingredients to coral reefs, so you can use it, wear it to the beach and live your life without worrying. It never pills up and it actually feels nice on the skin - imagine that for an SPF 50! My only real negatives are that it contains fragrance and how quickly I'm getting through it. Though it comes in at a reasonable price, so oh well. I'll definitely be repurchasing this one either way.
1. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 30 | £30 | I was really confused by this product when it first arrived in the UK, as it was advertised in the US as broad-spectrum SPF 40. Additionally Cult Beauty's description says it's 'broad spectrum' yet the product packaging only makes reference to UVB protection. So, I reached out to brand to clarify. They advised me that the formula is exactly the same, but they had to repackage the product for the UK market to comply with EU standards. I did also notice this with another product I use (the Ilia Skin Tint) which is American-made but I ordered from a British site. Whilst it was advertised as SPF 40 in the US, mine had a sticker over it so it read 'SPF 30'. All in all, if it's safe for people in the US as a broad-spectrum sunscreen, whether it's SPF 30 or SPF 40; I feel comfortable to use it for full protection. That out of the way; this is a chemical formula, though I'm confused as to whether it's 'reef safe' or not. It's marketed as being friendly to marine life but contains octocrylene, which may be harmful, based on a handful of studies, so I would probably avoid swimming in the sea wearing it. Onto the formula; I absolutely love how silky smooth this is and that it has a clear gel consistency, so there's no possibility of the dreaded white-cast. It feels light on my skin and doesn't pill up or interact negatively in any way with my makeup. It's been my go-to since I got it!
Have you tried any new sunscreens this year? What worked for you and what didn't?