Among my friends I am known as the Sunscreen Queen. I know they say it jokingly, but I am quite proud to wear my crown! I’ve been writing about the importance of wearing SPF daily for as long as this blog has been in existence, and bugged everyone to reapply sunblock at the beach and on sunny days even longer. I have since chilled down with bugging people around me, because frankly, what they do is none of my business and it was wrong of me to give unsolicited advice. This made me want to advocate the benefits of sunscreen even more; at least you guys come here to read my blog posts, so it’s not completely unsolicited.
You probably know this already, but sun damage is the number one cause for premature skin aging. An average woman spends hundreds of dollars every year on products aimed to reverse the signs of aging, but it would cost way less to simply prevent them by wearing SPF30+ every day. However, the aesthetics of a bronze tan are not lost on me. I do think caramel skin is quite beautiful, and it helps hide certain perceived imperfections that a person might be self-conscious of, like visible veins, acne scars, and cellulite.
Fair skin has been historically associated with sickness in the West, although in the Eastern countries it has always been a sign of wealth, and something to be admired. The logic behind it was that if you have fair skin, then you don’t have to work in the fields every day, so you must be of noble blood. In the West, having a tan meant that you can afford to vacation somewhere with lots of sun, which means you must have a pretty good job to be able to do so. Isn’t it funny how these trends all come down to being the signs of wealth?
The sun isn’t all that bad. It’s necessary for a healthy circadian rhythm, and it was proven to improve our mood. It also provides an easy natural source of Vitamin D, a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood, and promotes bone and muscle health. However, it doesn’t take much to get your daily recommended dose of Vitamin D: 10-15 minutes of unprotected exposure of any one body part, like your foot or a whole leg, for example, is all it takes to start the production of this vital vitamin within the body. Personally, I take Vitamin D supplements instead, the generic ones cost something like 3 bucks for a 100-count bottle, and that’s way less than the price I would have to pay to reverse the sun damage done to my skin.
With that said, I thought today would be the perfect time to talk about some of the sunscreens I’ve been using lately, since beach weather is right around the corner!
L to R: True Natural SPORT Stick SPF 30, True Natural Ultra Protect Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 50, Erin’s Faces Peptide SPF 30, Innisfree The Minimum Sun Cream SPF25.
1 // True Natural SPORT Stick SPF 30 – I haven’t been using stick sunscreens until last year, and now I always carry one on my purse. It’s a very convenient format for quick midday touchups, and I know it won’t leak all over my bag. This particular sunblock is formulated with natural ingredients and provides broad-spectrum physical protection without nano-particles. It’s listed in EWG database with a low score of 1 [EWG has a toxicity scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most toxic]. The formula is a little gritty at first, but it melts on the skin and sets without leaving white cast or streaks.
2 // True Natural Ultra Protect Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 50 – Another amazing natural physical sunscreen from True Natural! It has thicker consistency, but sinks in well after a few minutes, so I like using it on the exposed body parts when I go outside. The formula does leave a faint white cast when absorbed, but it’s distributed evenly rather than streaky, so I can live with that. Ultra Protect 50 Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 50 is listed in EWG database with a low score of 1.
3 // Erin’s Faces Peptide SPF 30 – This broad-spectrum, 86% organic, physical sunblock is currently my go-to for casual daily use. It has the most wonderful runny consistency and lightweight aloe-based formula that absorbs like a dream. It goes on white and slightly gritty, but the white cast disappears after several minutes, and the gritty particles melt into the skin. I love that it never feels heavy on my face, no matter how many layers of serums and creams I wear underneath. Erin’s Faces Peptide SPF 30 has a low score of 1 on Think Dirty app, which is an alternative skincare toxicity database.
4 // Innisfree The Minimum Sun Cream SPF25 – Of course, I had to include a Korean sunscreen in the mix, since I use them quite often. Right now I am trying to finish this broad spectrum physical sunblock that I got in a beauty box a while back. It’s a nice basic unscented formula without any bells and whistles, with medium consistency and very faint white cast. I usually wear it when I’m working from home and don’t have any plans to go outside on that day.
L to R: Jan Marini Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45, Shiseido Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce, Institut Esthederm Into Repair Age Control Sunscreen, Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50.
5 // Jan Marini Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45 – This tinted physical broad spectrum sunscreen is quite a treat! The formula contains Green tea extract and alpha bisabolol that soothe the skin and provide antioxidant benefits, while microscopic oil absorbing particles keep the oil production in check. As you can see from the swatch above , it has a peachy tint to offset the white cast, which works pretty well. Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45 might be my go-to sunblock this summer, because it keeps my combination skin looking matte for a long time after the initial application. It’s listed in EWG database with a low score of 2.
6 // Shiseido Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce – This is more of a tinted BB cream than a sunscreen, but boy is it a fabulous one. It has a runny formula, which makes it easy to spread on the skin, and the medium to full coverage is just perfect. I wore it several times on my bike rides, and it stays put through it all. In the photo below, this BB cream has been on my skin for most of the day, including an hour-long ride, and as you can see, it didn’t budge at all. These results are all thanks to new WetForce Technology, that makes UV protection more effective when the applied area is exposed to water or perspiration for 30 minutes. Shiseido Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce currently comes in three shades, and the lightest one is the perfect match for my skin tone. I read some not-so-glowing reviews about it on other blogs, so I want to stress that it is meant for active use, and the formula is only fully activated with prolonged perspiration or water exposure, like swimming or sweating.
7 // Institut Esthederm Into Repair Age Control Sunscreen Face Cream for Highly Sensitive Skin SPF 20 – While it doesn’t provide adequate protection for outside wear, this luxurious French sunblock is my go-to for indoor use when my face feels irritated and ultra sensitive after a strong peel. Ultra-sophisticated formula relies on state of the art technology that gradually boosts your skin’s natural defenses against the sunlight and free radicals. Since I got this tube, this sunscreen has been reformulated and repackaged.
8 // Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50 PA++++ – Last but not least, here is one more broad spectrum physical sunscreen that comes with a tint to offset the white cast. This sunblock is adored by the skincare experts at Beautypedia, and I can see why. It has a runny, non-greasy consistency, smooth texture, fragrance-free formula, and several antioxidants for free radical protection. I am on my third bottle already! This is easily one of the best sunblocks for my combination skin in hot weather. It doesn’t turn into greasy, streaky mess, and actually helps my face to look matte longer before I need to blot.
Shiseido Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce: 6+ hours of wear, including an hour of biking, and it didn’t melt off or settle into the lines! The photo is not edited (not even for contrast, sharpness, or brightness).
We are often told that we look healthier with a tan, but really, there is nothing healthy about it. Tan is our body’s natural defense mechanism. By releasing melanin it’s trying to protect itself from harmful radiation, but it is not an impenetrable shield, it’s a scar. Tanning is like an unhealthy habit that some people choose to do because they want to. It’s like biting nails; but if nails can grow back once a person quits, the skin will never go back to its real age. That’s why people who spend a lot of time in the sun always seem to look older than those who don’t. Obviously, it’s just a personal choice, and everyone has the right to do what they want with their bodies, as long as they are okay with the consequences.
I will repeat my own quote from 3 years ago – “Tanning today is like borrowing your beauty from tomorrow.” If you are not okay with that, start using sunscreen every day and your future self will thank you!
Do you use sunscreen daily? What is your favorite sunscreen product? Let me know in the comments below!
Disclosure: This post features products received for editorial consideration and may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to Disclosures & Content Use page.