The official start to summer is here, which means long days and lots of strong sun light. I’m really trying to be good this year about applying (and reapplying) my sunscreen throughout the day, so I’ve curated a pretty well-rounded SPF collection. Every product is different than the next and sort of stands on its own; I’ve got both chemical and mineral (physical) SPFs to talk about here, as well as a variety of textures from cream, to gel, to liquid.
If you haven’t read any of my previous “collection tour” posts, here’s the format: I present and comment on each product in a ranking system that goes from my least favorite to my most favorite. So hopefully you’ll find this interesting and informative, especially if you’re currently shopping for your next SPF product.
If you’re unclear about chemical vs. mineral sunscreens and how they work to protect your skin against the sun’s rays, I highly suggest reading this article from the experts over at Paula’s Choice before reading this post. And if you’re not sure how much sunscreen to apply to achieve the full protection factor listed on your bottle, read this dermatologist’s suggestion here.
Let’s get started!
TAKE MORE TOURS OF MY COLLECTION
Take a tour of my (ranked) body care collection
Take a tour of my (ranked) foundation collection
Take a tour of my (ranked) cream blush collection
4. NEUTROGENA INVISIBLE DAILY DEFENSE FACE MIST SPF 50
In past years, I’ve been crap – absolute crap – at reapplying sunscreen! Read: I never did it at all. As I said, I’m trying to be better this year. But as a daily makeup-wearer I can’t just layer a gel or cream over my base products, so clearly I needed a spray in my SPF collection. I picked up the new Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Mist SPF 50 during a recent jaunt to my local CVS. While it definitely serves a unique purpose for me as a post-makeup top-up, unfortunately it’s the lowest-ranking product in my current SPF collection. Such a shame because I love a lot of other sunscreens from Neutrogena like the Ultra Sheer Dry Touch and my beloved Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen.
I’ll touch on some positives first. The spray itself is very easy to use and with just a few spritzes, you can cover your whole face. Also, as a chemical sunscreen, this formula is completely clear, undetectable and lightweight; so any skin tone could use this without looking ashy.
However – and this is completely personal to me – this sadly irritates my skin. For reference, I have dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin that’s prone to redness at the drop of a hat. Upon initial application of this spray, I sometimes will get a slight tingle or even burning sensation around my mouth in particular. Not cool. But even when I get past that, I start to notice a few little red bumps here and there – like burgeoning pimples before they form a head – if I use this more than a few days in a row. It’s just not for me, so I’m back on the hunt for an SPF spray. Suggestions welcome!
3. CERAVE AM FACIAL MOISTURIZING LOTION WITH SPF 30
The CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is the newest product to land in my SPF collection. (It was a total impulse grab during a recent trip to Target, truth be told.) While it may not be a dedicated sunscreen, it’s an SPF moisturizer that contains a factor of 30. CeraVe does offer dedicated sunscreens, if you’re interested, but I haven’t tried any personally.
You all know just how much I love this brand (see this post or this post for starters), so I’m shocked (SHOCKED!) to report that this may be the first product from them that I’m not 100% in love with. I know…this is big news! I’ll explain, but first, here is what I like about it. It’s CeraVe, so you know this packs a punch when it comes to both hyaluronic acid and ceramides. In other words, it’s very hydrating and that hydration really keeps giving throughout the day. But that’s where the positives end.
I find this cream very difficult to blend into the skin, most likely due to the mineral sunscreen. The texture is quite thick, so I’d say it takes a good minute or two to fully disappear into the skin. It feels like forever! It also tends to pill on itself as you’re massaging it in, so it’s just not an easy experience. If you’re going to apply makeup on top, good luck! I’d suggest wearing this on no-makeup days when you’re just running errands or hanging around the house.
Lastly, I have to mention the white cast. This is pretty typical of a lot of mineral sunscreens, and this one is no different. I’m quite pale and I still notice that my skin is half a shade lighter after I apply this cream. Deep skin tones beware.
2. LA ROCHE POSAY ANTHELIOS MINERAL LIGHT FLUID SUNSCREEN SPF 50
You may remember this sunscreen from a post I wrote last summer, but this bottle is ever so slightly different. Last year I got the tinted version of the La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Light Fluid Sunscreen. Loved the lightweight texture, but did not care for the tint; it was too dark and too orange for me. So I picked up the non-tinted version for this summer, which I much prefer.
This has a completely liquid texture, so you need to give the bottle a good shake first. Like I said, it’s incredibly lightweight and it blends into the skin without much effort or fuss. It does leave behind quite a sufficient white cast though – definitely more pronounced than the CeraVe – so if you have a deep skin tone, I’d suggest steering clear of this one. But it gives my skin a lovely hydrated, radiant finish that I really appreciate.
While I do like this product overall, I wouldn’t say it’s the absolute best under makeup. I have noticed that it makes my foundation bunch up a little particularly around the nose. This is the case with both the Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint and the Flower Beauty Get Real Serum Foundation. It’s not going to make me stop using it personally, but it’s something worth taking into account when shopping.
1. SUPERGOOP UNSEEN SUNSCREEN SPF 40
I’ve written about the loveliness that is the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen on the blog a few times already (see this post or this post), so it should be no surprise that this sits at the top tier of my SPF collection. There’s so many things going right here.
Firstly, it’s a breeze to apply and blend so hooray from the start! Secondly, it has a pleasing velvety gel texture that makes the skin feel soft and smoothed; the perfect canvas to apply makeup on top of. Thirdly, it’s lightweight but definitely provides a soft cushiony feeling to the skin throughout the day. Lastly, as this is a chemical SPF, there’s absolutely no color or white cast here so multiple skin tones could definitely take advantage of this product. And if you have more oily or combo skin, you’ll likely appreciate its matte finish as well.
What SPF’s are you using this season? I’d love to know!
xo, and be well, Erica
PIN THIS POST!
I need all of these! I’m constantly forgetting to put on sunscreen. I should know better, especially since my dad just had skin cancer removed from his scalp and arms. He never wears sunscreen, either. 🙄
I hear you! I was so lax about it in previous years, which was awful because my skin is so fair and burns so easily. So sorry to hear about your dad! Is he alright? My father doesn’t wear sunscreen either and I’ve been after him about it!
Yes, he has to have another check-up soon, but so far so good. 🙂 Men never listen! Lol!
Ain’t it the truth?!