The Beauty Edit: All About Sunscreen

May 17, 2023

As an olive-skinned person who tans easily, I admit that I boarded the SPF train a bit late in life.  I wanted that tan.  I needed that tan.  I probably aged my skin 10 years in pursuit of that tan.  But now, in my 40s and the parent to a fair-skinned child, I am fully on board.

For the Baby // Let’s start with Sloane’s sun care.  Beyond the rash guards, hats and sunglasses that now fill her dresser, she needs a sunscreen.  I asked my pediatrician for a recommendation and she told me she uses Botao Sunscreen on her kids.

Botao is an SPF50 mineral sunscreen that’s free of parabens, sulfates, and other harmful additives.  It also comes in a spray foam, so it’s easy to apply.  My #momhack is to apply it to her face with a makeup sponge (and don’t forget behind the ears!).

For older kids, several influencers I follow recommend the SolarBuddies roll on.  The design makes it convenient to reapply on the go.  And you can fill it with any sunscreen that you like, but many influencers recommend on of my favorites, Supergoop in the giant pump container.

For the Hands // Of all of the spots on my body that catch sun exposure, your hands and the tops of your feet are the two parts you never really think about.  But even when the rest of you is covered up, that skin is probably out in the sun.  That’s likely why I don’t have wrinkles except on my wrists.

Supergoop’s HandScreen gives you SPF 40 Protection for your hands and feet that you can reapply throughout the day from a purse size container.  I keep one at my desk to reapply after my lunch commute.  It’s also a good idea to keep a bit in your car if you have a long drive since the sun beating down through the windshield can still expose you to UVB rays.

Already worried about skin damage to your hands and feet?  I love this Strivectin Crepe Control cream for hands.

For the Face // As an acne sufferer, finding SPF for the face is a challenge.  After trying a few products, a friend recommended the SunTegrity Sunscreen for face a few years ago, and I’ve never looked back.  No noticeable uptick in acne.  No greasy feeling.  Just a nice every day sunscreen that, as a bonus, works as a primer.

Need something stronger than an SPF 30?  Shiseido makes a popular — so popular it sells out — water resistant facial sunscreen that several of my friends swear by.  The interesting thing about this sunscreen is that the veil becomes stronger when exposed to heat or water.  So if you spend a lot of time outside, this is the product for you.

Lastly, I needed something that was so easy to reapply at the pool that I would never forget.  So I picked up this Coola spray on sunscreen.  Just spritz and go.

For the Hair // Yes, for the hair.  Do you spend money on your hair color?  Because I do. And I don’t need my dye job taking a sunbath.  Sure, a good sun hat helps at the beach, but for every day protection you need the Aveda Sun Veil, a product that I have been buying every April since I was a lowly Capitol Hill Staff Assistant.

For the Body // For myself, I need a sunscreen that’s 1) effective, 2) easy to apply, 3) not greasy, and 4) doesn’t smell like I strolled through a pile of rotting tropical fruit.  That’s why I buy LaRoche Posay Anthelios Sunscreen.

This 60SPF mineral sunscreen is the perfect product for someone who hates applying sunscreen.  It doesn’t grease up my skin, and it feels ultralight after application.  It also can double as a face sunscreen if you forget because it’s non-comedogenic.  It’s also water resistant.

Do you have a favorite sunscreen?  Leave your recommendation in the comments.

 

Beauty, Skincare

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  1. Jenn S. says:

    +1 on sunscreen! May is also Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month, so this is also timely content in that way.

    Abra, if your facial sunscreen ever goes the way of the dodo, I have similar requirements for facial sunscreens re: not greasy, don’t cause acne or other reactions. Over the years, I found that importing (no, it isn’t wildly expensive!) products from Biore Japan and Nivea Japan have fulfilled those requirements at drugstore prices. In particular, I use Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA+++ and Nivea Super Protect Water Gel SPF 50/PA+++. They give me that lightweight primer quality; I’ve been using both for over 5 years now. They can be found on Amazon for between $10-15, usually.

    In other sunscreen-related things, for anyone concerned about benzene exposure (read: carcinogen) from spray products, several spray sunscreens have been recently implicated in contamination discoveries. Not trying to chide or judge anyone (I still use *one* spray sunscreen and hope that discontinuing dry shampoo usage instead is enough exposure limitation), just sharing info in case that’s something the ladies here are watching.

  2. Beth says:

    **Hair part sunscreen** not a particular type of sunscreen, but a PSA to remember to apply sunscreen to your part when you’re out in the sun hatless (says the woman who wore her hair in a pair of french braids on a boat to avoid tangles, but came away with a pink stripe down her scalp).

    • Kate says:

      I’ve been fighting this fight for years because my hair is so fine and thin that my scalp regularly burns. Any liquid sunscreen is too greasy for my hair, but I have had luck with powdered mineral sunscreen. I have brown hair so I get ones that are darker in tint and just reapply along my part whenever I reapply to my skin.

  3. Aam1 says:

    Do you self tan at all? I haven’t since about 2014, but with age, I think my thighs could use a little color in the summer!

  4. Jen says:

    Abra, this post is perfect and timely for me! I was about to email you to ask about a facial sunscreen rec because I need something higher than SPF 30 that I can wear under my makeup or while I’m playing golf without makeup. I’ve been using CeraVe Ultra-Lightweight Lotion, and while I really love the formulation and consistency with my makeup, it isn’t enough to keep the sun away. I love to slather on sunscreen during the day, so I’ve been reluctant to spend much on it, but I think I’m becoming more open to the idea. Especially if I could find the perfect product!

    • Jill says:

      Looks like places are sold out but I have Clarins tinted sunscreen for the face that wears like iron, to the point that I have work to get it off before bed, but that’s good thing for sunscreen. Also love all Neutrogena sunscreens, face, body, etc.

  5. strin012 says:

    EltaMD and Vanicream’s combo moisturizer/sunscreen were recommended to me by my derm. I prefer EltaMD’s tinted product, which I frequently wear instead of foundation.

    I have severe skin allergies, which cause breakouts, so I have to use an app to ensure products don’t have ingredients that cause flare ups. My next product I plan to try is DRMTLGY’s tinted sunscreen, which is a little cheaper than the EltaMD.

  6. Emma says:

    I’m a La Roche Posay fan myself so I just got the dermo-pediatric version for the baby! Goes on well and seems to work ok so far, although I keep her out of direct sunlight so I haven’t exactly put it to the test. I got sun damage during pregnancy (yikes) so now I’m very careful with the sunscreen.

  7. Jules says:

    For my toddler’s face I also like the Baby Bum stick sunscreen. I just swipe it on his face/neck/ears and no mess! It’s mineral spf 50. We live in Hawaii and he’s never gotten burned with it.

    For myself I like Algenist under makeup and Cotz in beach days .

    • HH says:

      Plus one for the Baby Bum sunscreen stick! I keep it in our diaper bag for when I didn’t think to apply before we left the house.

  8. Mandi says:

    I tried the Suntegrity after you first recommended it years ago. I love the brand! The tinted sunscreens are great as well. I also like that you can get a refill for the pump for the one that doubles as a primer. I have never paid full price either because they tend to run promotions during holidays. So thank you!

  9. Erin says:

    Does the Supergoop moisturize your skin? Does it smell like sunscreen once it’s rubbed in? For several years I’ve been desperate to find an everyday body lotion with SPF (or just a moisturizing body sunscreen that soaks into my skin and isn’t sticky and doesn’t make me feel hot) that doesn’t leave me smelling like sunscreen- that smell really irritates my throat.

    • Laura says:

      I haven’t used it as a daily moisturizer but I do think that the Supergoop in the big pump container feels moisturizing and rubs in really nicely (no residue) so it could probably work for that.

      I also like Supergoop’s mineral Sheerscreen for the face. I switched to mineral when I was pregnant and this also rubs in well and goes nicely under make up.

    • Melissa says:

      Maybe try Alba Daily Shade spf 15 body lotion. I use it daily, all year round, and love it.

    • ABVV says:

      I picked up Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Body Cream on a whim at CVS, and as a fair-skinned person I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well it works as a daily sunscreen (e.g. hands, arms, and feet during commuting). The texture is thick enough you know it’s moisturizing; it rubs in easily and feels/smells more like lotion than sunscreen. The tube is large enough I don’t get scarcity mindset and apply less than I should, but it’s also not quite as much of a space hog as the giant Supergoop with the pump.

  10. Andrea says:

    Has anyone tried the Trader Joe’s Supergoop dupe? It’s been sold out forever and I’m debating ordering on Amazon. It’s more than it would be at TJ’s, but still half the price of my beloved Unseen Sunscreen.

    • Ashley says:

      I am a devotee of the TJ’s Supergoop dupe. So much so that I bought up 6 boxes last time I saw it was available. It’s more easily back in stores now because they’ve brought back all their bestsellers – it was sold out every time for months and it’s been easily available here in Florida for the past 2 months. I have used the Supergoop (love the product, hate the price) and they’re SO similar for me. I have sensitive skin and easily break out, making finding a facial sunscreen challenging. I don’t have any issues with the TJ dupe.

  11. Mags says:

    In a pinch, I really like the pipette (from target!) for both me and baby. It’s clean cruelty free mineral sunscreen without scent,and does a good job keeping us both protected!

  12. Firstgirl says:

    I use Paula’s Choice hydra light shine free daily mineral complex as a daily face sunscreen. It’s a mineral sunscreen, moisturizing, doesn’t make my acne-prone face break out and doesn’t smell like sunscreen.

  13. SC says:

    Late to the party, but I SWEAR by Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50 PA++++. It’s incredible–no white cast, sinks in, doesn’t make me shiny, doesn’t freak my very sensitive skin out. I just bought 5 tubes on YesStyle. (FYI, their shipping can be slow, so stock up like I did or order well in advance of when you might run out!) I think Stylevana has it too…whatever your Korean sunscreen supplier of choice may be. 🙂

    • KC says:

      Also late to the party, but scanned the comments hoping to see this rec. I love the Isntree sunscreen, it was the first product that made me *want* to regularly apply sunscreen. I’ve had luck finding it on Amazon but also don’t hesitate to ask friends to stock up when they’re a road

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