Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The Hit List

What’s the Best Sunscreen for the Face…?

What brand/products win this category? What makes it so great?

Thanks to Tricia for today’s topic!

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71 thoughts on “Hit List: Best Sunscreen for the Face

  1. KD

    Josie Maran SPF 40 is awesome!

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Aida Aida

    I prefer to use natural sunscreen on my face. I’ve been using MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 Coconut for the past two years. It’s cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan friendly. I absolutely love this product.

  3. Neutrogena Pure Screen is my go to face sunblock. I can’t use any chemical sunscreen and this gives me the broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection I need.

  4. Wilcoa

    Coppertone Faces has always been my go-to staple. Cheap and it works!

  5. STephanie

    Esthederm. Gentle, effective and comfortable.

  6. Duygu

    Lancaster- La Roche Posay both are spf 50

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Por Por

    Shiseido Sunscreen ~30SPF (blue bottle with yellow cap) for face. I love how creamy and hydrating it is. I use it everyday in the summer because it doesn’t smell like sunscreen! It’s my favorite face sunscreen.

  8. Ana

    clinique spf 50 :) the only one that doesn’t break me out

  9. Frances

    La-Roche Posay SPF 60 fluid sunscreen!! I’ve tried a LOT, and this is by far my favorite. Feels literally like nothing on the face once it’s applied, matte finish and high broad spectrum sun protection (both mineral and chemical filters). I always have a couple of these on hand!

  10. Kate Somerville SPF 55 Serum Sunscreen!

  11. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of nancy nancy y.

    clinique city block SPF 40. Been using for the past few years and i love it. its oil free and doesn’t break me out.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of nancy nancy y.

      forgot to mention another reason why i love it is that its safe to use around eye area and doesn’t sting like other sunscreens do!

  12. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Cat Cat

    I’ve never found a budget-friendly one that doesn’t make me break out :( Since I really want to start wearing it every day (we have sunshine basically everyday of the year here) I might have to invest in a quality one that’s more expensive, so I’ll be watching this post like a hawk!

  13. AwwRITE!

    EltaMD UV Clear!
    -Doesn’t break me out
    -Doesn’t leave a weird film on my face
    -Contains niacinamide, which is good for the skin

    • Tam

      I’ve been wanting to try this.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Pami Pami

      Surprisingly that one causes breakouts for me, however, I LOVE EltaMD UV Physical 41 SPF. I prefer a physical sunblock because it’s also good for your skin, and takes effect immediately. I use it every day.

      The only low budget sunscreen that doesn’t cause breakouts is Coppertone Sport. If I’m going to be outside, I use both – Coppertone Sport first (since it’s a chemical sunscreen), with the EltaMD physical on top.

      Until I found the Elta, I was using one from Japan that I liked really well. It had a thin milk consistency, and was also a physical sunblock. I can’t remember the name offhand, but I found out about it on MUA (makeupalley).

      I also really like Colorescience mineral powder sunscreen.

  14. Kry

    I can’t praise it enough: Shiseido Urban Environment UV SPF 35. I cycled through everything in the drugstore and the organic shops, and Sephora before I settled on this. It protects well, disappears into the skin without the slightest feeling of greasiness. It’s great under makeup, too. Pricey, but one’s lasted me all year.

    • Hi,
      I was thinking of buying this one (but the SPF 50 version) when I noticed that on the packaging it said ‘UVA’, but not ‘UVB’. (I live in Europe, so maybe it’s different in the US, but I was wondering whether UVB is a standard ‘ingredient’ in sunscreen, so it’s not mentioned anymore. just wondering…)

      Happy Easter!

      • Claire

        Definitely – UVB is not mentioned anymore because all sunscreen ingredients protect against UVB, whereas only some of them do against UVA. In Europe, we also have regulations that state that UVA/UVB > 1/3 so we cannot have sunscreens that have high UVB protection but no UVA. I hope that made sense, it’s a bit difficult to explain. :D

        • So lucky! The US needs to implement rules like this, and they will soon as I hear. I just wish the decision had been made sooner. A lot of people have been using just UVB sunscreens and going to beach/staying outdoors for hours. Eek!

        • Thanks! That’s a relief :-)

  15. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Malia Malia

    I love Lancome. It doesnt dry my face out and it feels smooth. but the Neutrogena one which is more accessible to me. I like the texture also and I can wear makeup over it without it rubbing off.

  16. Tricia

    Hey this was my question! :D I don’t have an answer, which is why I submitted it lol. Right now I’m just relying on the SPF of my foundation. No bueno :/ I’m gonna look into all the ones mentioned in these comments.

  17. Supergoop Save Face is amazing! It’s a little pricey at $28, but it’s completely worth it. :) It has never left my face feeling or looking greasy and I’ve never noticed any white residue. The only complaint I have about it is that the sunscreen scent is still there but luckily it is VERY faint and goes away within 10 minutes or so.

  18. Cas

    Well I’m sadly allergic to products that contain sunscreen, like break out in hives all over my face kind of allergic. So I have to use powder products that have spf protection like Chantecaille’s Protection Naturelle SPF 46 Powder.
    Anyone else in the same boat or have some advice on alternatives? I’m always worried about the powder not really being effective, especially on those days at the beach!

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Rachel Rachel

      I have super sensitive skin and have used Colorscience Sunforgettable. It is a mineral sunscreen available in several tints to match your skin tone. They also make an “orb” which has a balm-type consistency. I’m not sure if they are 100% mineral though, so with your allergies you should definitely read the ingredients first.

    • I am also allergic to chemical sunscreen. I use Neutrogena Pure Screen for my face. It is naturally sourced mineral sunblock and gives wide spectrum UVA and UVB protection with not irritation. It works under makeup, too. :)

      For bod, I just use a drugstore brand natural sunblock lotion that uses mineral and no chemical. It is more affordable and is effective. :)

    • Hi Cas,

      Avène has a “High Protection Tinted Compact SPF50″ (100% mineral sunscreen), possibly similar to what you’re using, only with a slightly higher SPF.

  19. Jieun

    MDSolarSciences Mineral Screen Lotion SPF 40 has been my go to facial sunscreen. It feels so lightweight on the skin, and the lotion texture makes it really easy to apply. I love that this only has physical sunscreen, which is great for my sensitive skin, which tends to react to chemical ones.

  20. Being a pale girl living in southern Cali, sun screen is an everyday requirement! Vasseur Day 25 is a “holy grail” product for me and has been since I first tried it almost two years ago. It provides enough spf whilst not turning me red or breaking me out like most sun screens do. I also like that it doesn’t have that white cast like some mineral sun screens. It can be a bit too moisturizing at times, but this is easily remedied with a blotting paper.

  21. Sarah

    Anessa by Shiseido, definitely! Never feels greasy, gluey and lasts all day! Never had a break-out wearing it…
    Love MAC Prep+Prime SPF50 too!

  22. NeenaJ

    Elta MD. Their line is just awesome. The tinted chemical sunscreen has such nice coverage that I can use it in place of foundation (my skin tone is light but it would work up to medium complexions). The Facial SPF 30 sunscreen is terrific under makeup. Both are designed for sensitive skin, which I have. Neither has ever stung or reacted in a negative way (and I’ve had this applied immediately after IPL treatments). The aesthetician in my derm’s office turned me onto it and I’ve never looked back. Pricing is around $27 for 3 oz. Dermstore ships it for free.

    • NeenaJ

      Correction: the Tinted sunscreen is physical (not chemical). The Facial is a combo of chemical and physical.

  23. For me, the best sunscreen has to fulfill five key requirements:

    1. Be a mostly mineral-based sunscreen so I don’t have to apply 30 minutes before sun exposure (who has that kind of time in the morning?!)

    2. Provide excellent UVB AND UVA protection, including consistent protection from long UVA rays (>340 nm), which means that sunscreens with just titanium dioxide are inadequate.

    3. Contains good amounts of well-documented antioxidants that further protect the skin, such as vitamins C, E, green tea, pomegranate, etc…

    4. Contains mattifying agents such as isododecane or silica, since I have incredibly oily, but sensitive and slightly flaky skin. So direct contact with products containing alcohol is avoided, because while it degreases oils well, it accentuates any dry (flaky skin.)

    5. Enhances foundation application and is compatible (sits well) under said foundation.

    As you can see, these are rather high standards. And so far, there isn’t a single product that satisfies all of these requirements.

    Currently, I’ve been having to combine and layer products to achieve this “ideal.”

    I first apply the Paula’s Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum. I let that sit for about 5-10 minutes.

    Then I mix the Hourglass Mineral Veil SPF 15 Primer with the Shiseido SPF 55 Cream (in about a 2:3 – 1:1 ratio approx.). I let that sit for about 5-10 minutes.

    Finally, to lock that all in place, I use a foundation that contains alcohol, such as the new Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation. I haven’t found my favorite foundation with alcohol yet, but this one looks like a front-runner! xD The alcohol encourages the evaporation of the various cyclic silicones and emollients such as cyclopentasiloxane. Therefore, with less “filler” ingredients, the pigment of the foundation will last longer on my skin. Furthermore, I’ll be less oily throughout the day.

    With this routine, I can get 10-12 hours of excellent wear; I don’t even have to blot! And that’s something incredible!

    However, it would be nice if I could find a singular product that, like I said, fulfills all of the requirements. Ah well, nobody (nothing) is perfect. :)

    • Khalilah

      After this entire routine, how does the finished result stand up to flash photography? Just wondering since I’m prepping for my wedding but cringeing at skipping the sunscreen for photos.

  24. Kat

    DHC white sunscreen! I don’t care for chemical sunscreens, and this physical sunscreen works great under my makeup (I don’t really need primer when I use it). I also think the Neutrogena pure (?) sunscreen is pretty good…it’s much cheaper than DHC but my fav foundation won’t play nice with it :(

  25. I love Marie Veronique Organics Moisturizing Face Screen. Its a zinc oxide based physical sunscreen and comes tinted to avoid the white cast and is spf 30 and doesn’t let me tan a bit!!! reasonable enough at 40$.

    • Hiddy

      I’ve tried MVO’s Moisturizing Face Screen but I can’t seem to get it to blend properly on my skin. Everytime I try to apply it, it seems to “ball up” and look very streaky. Do you have any tips on how to apply this? Thanks :D

  26. Anna L

    Really? No one has said the DiorSnow UV Shield White reveal moisturizing SPF 50? It’s the only face SPF that doesn’t smell, or break me out, and can double as a base. It’s my holy grail sunscreen!!

  27. Yumi

    I like Neutrogena Dry Touch. It’s cheap and it works for me. :)

  28. Joni

    I recently started using a Walgreens brand baby sunscreen in a stick form. It cost like $7, makes my face look a bit white, but seems to do the job well and it doesn’t look bad under makeup.

  29. Kelly B

    Hi…I’ll apologize up front for the mega message. I also want to thank Christine and the other people who responded so kindly to my first posting about sunscreens on 3/23/12. It is so critical, that I feel I must share part of that information again. I HAVE skin cancer, melanoma to be specific and it is the only type of skin cancer that can metastasize to your organs and kill you. I am fighting for my life and will be every day I am alive…because melanoma doesn’t go away after surgeries. Everything below is factual, per oncologist. As I mentioned in the March question response, PLEASE don’t be scared..just educate yourself and spend the extra few minutes per day to put on your sunscreen. Be sure you use the correct type of sunscreen (particular ingredients and percentage of each ingredient is critical. You can get those details on melanoma websites, which I would recommend over websites regarding skin cancers that are not life threatening like melanoma). Use proper application or it doesn’t matter that you even put any on. The 2 sunscreens that I use have been approved by my skin cancer dermatologist: Josie Maran Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40 for the face. Yesterday I received Josie Maran’s body sunscreen but have not allergy tested it or had my cancer dermatologist give me his approval of that product. I took advantage of Sephora’s 15% sale and ordered the sunscreen which I can return if not approved by cancer doctor. Last year, before I knew about Josie Maran’s products I used Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 30 or SPF 45 dependent upon what is better price on both face and body…it is excellent, inexpensive and was specifically recommended to my by the dermatologist. “Facts” per dermatologist: You only need SPF 30 anything with a higher SPF # does not do anything more to provide protection than the SPF 30 would have done, and you need sunscreen every single day, it does not matter if it is winter/summer, sunny/cloudy, you need full sunscreen every day. Do not think that using makeup pieced together to make SPF 30 is sufficient, it does not work that way (bummer). If you would like more rambling information from me :) please look at the 3/23/12 posting people responded to regarding a question about sunscreen. Sorry this is so long, anything I can do to educate someone and save them from my situation would make me very happy. Prior to cancer, I only knew the basics…and most of what I had heard and thought I knew was inaccurate. Thanks!

    • Full of Woe

      Yikes! I hope your treatment is going (or went) smoothly and that you’re doing well. Thanks for your input :)

    • Melody

      Thank you so much for sharing. Wishing you wellness!

    • Miss J

      No apologizing for the mega message! I don’t feel like you are “scaring” us at all, either! If cancer of any kind doesn’t scare people, I’d say they have some issues, lol. Again, the information and reminder is greatly appreciated, Kelly, and I wish you wellness!

    • BooBooNinja

      Kelly, I echo the others who say no apology is required.
      Rather, I extend my thanks to you. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I was relieved and happy reading my go-to face & neck sunblock (Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 45) on your list. I haven’t been using it on my body because I find it too thick. Do you have any recommendations for a lighter suncreen/block formula for the body?

      I haven’t tried the Josie Maran Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40. I’ll try to check it out the next time I’m in Sephora. (I didn’t take advantage of the 15% discount as I decided I didn’t need anything new. Now I wish that I had!)

      • Kelly B

        Hey BooBooNinja, sorry for the delay…I’ve been living at doctor offices. Thank you for the kind words! I’m very pleased to hear you wear sunscreen face & body, my cancer started on my calf (much of which is now cut out in addition to behind my knee in that soft place…ouch…and some groin lymph nodes)…so PLEASE wear your BODY sunscreen.

        I’ve tried every type of sunscreen my cancer dermatologist recommended and….you won’t like this…but the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch is by FAR the thinnest body type I found. Seriously, even if it’s a bit thick feeling…it drys down thinner, clear and non sticky compared to the numerous models and brands I have tried. It meets the requirements as long as you apply it properly (let me know if you need info on that…I HATED what I was told to do). Bottom line, it’s a pain in the *!#%@ but you DON’T want to go thru what I’ve been living for the past year (which includes wounds that were too large to stay closed, got infected and as a result I landed in the hospital for 33 days straight, then 4 months of wound care coming to my apartment every couple of days while I was in a wheel chair. That was just the first few months of the continuing DAILY nightmare…but I’m alive for the nightmare which is the good news).

        So, Boo…just slather that stuff on and call it good. I do think you could might like the Josie Maran for the face…not only is it a great sunscreen but it is pretty natural and has anti-aging properties. I just allergy spot tested the Josie Maran Body sunscreen this evening and need to use it in a larger area tomorrow to see how I like it…feels a bit sticky but I may just need a shower :) My dermatologist was sick and moved my last appointment out until Monday (they are human, wow) so I don’t have an answer yet as to if he approved the body ingredients (they are different from the Josie Maran face) but I bought it anyway to test since he didn’t call me back before the sale ended. Regarding your missing the Sephora sale…I think it would be a great idea for you to get a sample of the face and maybe even the body one when you stop by Sephora next. You might consider signing up for emails from Josie Maran’s website…she is pregnant right now and I am wondering if she will have a sweet sale when she gives birth…in the past she has had VERY GENEROUS sales on her own website. She also sells on QVC and sometimes has great package deals there…since we are going into summer soon that may be worth checking periodically if you like her product(s). I’m not a big QVC person but I watch her and a couple of other beauty lines to get ideas on new products or packages.

        For now, the Neutrogena one we’ve talked about is the least expensive I have found plus works great on both body and face with or without makeup. I see the doctor in 2 days, if I hear of a thinner body sunscreen…I’ll post it here for you ok? I hope I wasn’t so late replying that you don’t check this!!!

  30. Elice

    Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream SPF 38 PA+++

  31. stephanie marie

    I use Dermalogica Solar Defense booster. It’s spf 50. I like it because it doesn’t break out my super sensitive skin, and has UVA and UVB protection. The only downside that it’s $48 a bottle. :/

  32. Melody

    I have never found one that is affordable, doesn’t break me out, doesn’t sting like hell, and has a high enough spf (I prefer 50). I have got a sunblock from Japan that’s a gel formula so I’m looking forward to that, but it is too expensive to follow the nickel-sized dollop for your face rule. I tend to depend on my spf 45 bb cream since I use a lot of it.

    • That’s why it’s smarter to find something that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! The rule is at least 2 mg/cm^2 of product is needed to achieve the labelled SPF. The average human face is about 600 cm^2, give or take. That amounts to roughly 0.05 oz of product per application. So if a sunscreen, like the Dior Snow Reveal SPF 50 ($50), contains 1.3 oz, you should be going through one every 26 or so days. And THAT is way too expensive. Seriously, who likes throwing away money?! That’s $600 per year on just facial sunscreen.

  33. Krista

    I really like Cliniques City Block for the face because it’s a bit tinted beige, so I don’t have to wait a couple of minutes for my sunscreen to “sink” into my skin to get rid of the white look before I put on my foundation. It’s not greasy, dries really quickly, and with SPF40, I’m not complaining.

  34. Cupcake

    I use Anthelios by Roche Posay with SPF 50 – it works very well, but it makes my face very greasy looking. So I dust it over with a powder, mostly Chanel loose powder, because it looks the most natural.

    Though I would prefer a sunscreen with a matte finish, I can’t find one here that suits my skin.

  35. Heather

    For day-to-day wear, I like Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA+++, but when my tube is finished I’ll be looking for something else since this one just has UVA and not UVB. If I’m going on a sunny holiday I like No.7 Anti-Dark Spot Facial Sun Protection in SPF 30 – it’s a bit thicker so it’s not that good for everyday (non-holiday) wear. I’ve just noticed, though, that the No.7 one also is only UVA and not UVB. Time to keep looking :( Oh, and for my lips, I like Banana Boat Aloe Vera SPF 45.

  36. Charito

    I have been love, love, LOOVVIINGG the Nars Multi-Protect Primer SPF30/PA+++ ($32.00usd) !!!

    I have NC40, acne prone skin and this is the only sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast and doesn’t make me oily and shiny. Plus, it acts as a primer/mattifier.

    From the Nars Website:

    Product Story
    Multi-Protect Primer SPF 30/PA+++ harnesses the benefits of anti-oxidants, anti-stress and anti-pollution skincare ingredients to protect, soothe and balance the skin. Ultra light and creamy to the touch, it keeps all skin types in balance by promoting hydration and absorbing oil where needed. Mineral powders blur fine lines and wrinkles, allowing for a smooth, even makeup application. This multi-tasking primer works with all skin types to protect and prime the skin for a makeup-ready finish.

    Powerful anti-oxidants shea butter and the Tibetan urnula flower protect against free radicals and the irritation caused by environmental pollutants
    Indian frankincense, known for its potent anti-irritant benefits, balances reactive skin and creates a more even tone
    Oil free, alcohol free, paraben free, synthetic-fragrance free
    Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic.
    Consumer testing results: * 90% felt it left their skin feeling soft * 90% thought that their makeup looked fresh and vibrant for hours after using this product * 85% felt it left the surface of their skin smooth

    • NARS can say whatever they want, but the fact is that this primer doesn’t provide adequate protection against long UVA rays. Oxybenzone, octocrylene, and enzulizole do protect against short UVA rays, but that simply isn’t enough. :(

  37. Barbara

    I use Clarins UV Plus HP SPF40 ecran multi protection,
    its oil free.

  38. Ao

    Anessa(pink) by Shiseido
    I’m allergic to metal, so natural sunscreen breaks out my skin horribly.
    So I’m sticking with regular chemical sunscreen.
    This Shiseido sunscreen is the most gentle and milky sunscreen I’ve ever used.
    A bit pricy but definitely worth it.
    Japanese sunscreen is awesome.

  39. Hiddy

    La Roche Posay Anthelios AC SPF 30 is the best for my oily acne-prone skin! I think it is the EU version as I can’t seem to find it in the US.

  40. Emeline

    Laroche-Posay 50+ hands down, if you have nordic-type skin. Wonderful stuff! Makes you a bit shiny but after 20 mins setting time you’re good to go. I buy mmost of my stock in the winter when it’s on sale XD

  41. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Melissa Mel

    Clinique City Block SPF40. It’s oil free and you can use it around your eyes too!

  42. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jennifer Jennifer

    I’ve found two that I really like because they don’t feel like sunscreen. Zo Oclipse Primer and Sunscreen spf30 and Osmotics spf 45.

  43. Tamara

    I have a combination skin that is sensitive + I’m fair skinned. Most face sunscreens make my skin oily and cause spots.

    I recently bought No 7 (line by Boots pharmacies in the UK) face sunscreen called Anti Dark Spots SPF 50 and it’s great so far, it sinks in completely and it’s mattifying. No break-outs either.

  44. Genevieve Chuachiaco

    I LOVE Clarins UV Plus HP SPF40 Ecran Multi protection.

    Thank you Clarins for producing such a great product! Nothing comes close!

  45. Jennifer

    Definitely the Christian Dior Diorsnow UV Shield White RevealMoisturizing UV Protection SPF 50 PA+++. It protects me from UVA and UVB rays, offers a matte (but still glowy from within) finish, doesn’t break out my product-sensitive skin, and brightens my complexion. The only qualm I have with this facial sunscreen is the pricetag. I am willing to spend $55 on 1 oz. of this sunscreen, but this unfortunately is one that not everyone can just pick up at the drugstore for cheap. A cheap alternative I love is the Shiseido Senka Mineral UV Gel SPF50 PA+++. It’s a shake up bottle and provides great protection for skin. The formula is light and when absorbed feels like your skin while fighting UVA and UVB rays. Another plus is that the Shiseido Senka is only $16…the only reason I prefer the Diorsnow is its mattifying properties since I don’t like to blot/apply powder to my face.