Monday, July 8th, 2013

Rant & Rave

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about Face Sunscreens!

my answer: It can be quite the process to find one that has the right consistency, that isn’t too expensive (so you can use it liberally without fear), doesn’t leave a white cast, and can work with photography.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

35 thoughts on “Rant & Rave: Face Sunscreens

  1. Christine, what’s your favorite/most used face sunscreen? At the moment I’m using DeVita SPF30, but it is a bit too thick and I’m looking for something better and less expensive, but that doesn’t contain chemical sunscreens. Thanks!

    • The only one that I’d actually return to is bareMinerals’ – but I usually just keep testing something new and find myself never really liking them!

      • I’ll give it a try :)

      • Victoria

        Are you using the BareMinerals SPF30 Natural Sunscreen? I’m kind of been going back and forth with that one just because it’s in powder form and I’ve never used a sunscreen that’s in powder form.

        • I use: bareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer

          I don’t use powder sunscreens (they are terribly ineffective since it’s unlikely you’ll actually apply enough to get the coverage!) myself, so I haven’t tried that one!

  2. Facial sunscreen is so hard! I feel like I’ve tried everything, and there is almost nothing out there that doesn’t either break me out terribly, or interfere with my foundation. These days I’ve been using CoTZ and I really like it a lot. It wears like a primer, so as long as you are using some foundation with a bit of heft it’s wonderful. The only issue is that you can’t put ultra sheer or liquid foundations over it because it stops them from blending with your skin. You really need a full coverage foundation that looks like skin on its own! So, it’s not perfect, but it’s the best I’ve found yet.

  3. I actually really like the Neutrogena Sport Face sunscreen. And it still looks good under makeup. I know some people have breakout issues with Neutrogena sunscreens, but I don’t.

  4. Hayley

    I have pale skin with a pink undertone and burn easily. In addition I have a history of skin cancer in my family and I’ve had to visit a derm every 6mths since 22. So sunscreen is very very important to me. I have trouble with Neutrogena breaking me out so I’ve come to use Origins moisturizer with SPF daily under my makeup. I usually use a BB cream with SPF on top of that. For my skin I use Aveeno lotion with SPF. I also use Josie Maran sunscreen on my chest and when I’m in the sun a lot. It seems a little greasy but it keeps my skin from feeling dry and the SPF is higher then the other types I use.

  5. Only sunscreen on the market that doesn’t make my EXTREMELY sensitive face breakout – Peter Thomas Roth brush on mineral SPF. It’s talc free and is fantastic!!! I carry one in my purse and LOVE LOVE LOVE that I can reapply and it’s easy to use with my already applied makeup. Use it under makeup, over makeup OR on a bare face. I recommend this to ALL my makeup clients (it’s not ideal for weddings photography since its mineral based)

  6. fiaspice

    NEUTROGENA ULTRA SHEER Face Sunscreen Lotion is my favorite one ever. It doesn’t break out of my face on run in my eyes. It easily available in drugstore and not too expensive (I got porcelein skin that burns in 10 minutes so I re-apply pretty often)

  7. Lee

    I use Elta MD UV Clear 46 (recommended by my dermatologist) and it’s amazing. Lightweight, absorbs well, doesn’t make me break out, and make-up doesn’t slide off so it’s easy to use very single day (which is important because I’m a redhead in Texas) I do wish it was cheaper but a bottle probably lasts me a couple of months or so.

    • Amanda

      I second this. My derm recommended this one for me because everything burns my face. Chemical sunscreens are out, and even some mineral sunscreens have additives that cause a reaction. This stuff is AMAZING. I bought the sport version, too, for when I am outside or at the beach and I cannot recommend them enough.

      • Elisa

        I third this. Elta md sunscreen is the best facial sunscreen for my oily acne prone skin. I order it off of amazon. I also like neutrogena clear face.

  8. Cat G

    Sunscreens and my skin do not cooperate and I always break out. However, I’ve found with Vanicream Sensitive Skin Sunscreen I have minimal breakouts. The problem is I can’t wear it with foundation :/

  9. Elena

    I abhor sunscreens, even though I wear them daily. I hate the feel, the look, the smell, and the fact that it totally screws up with the foundation application regardless if they’re too oily or too dry. Not to mention the poor quality ones ball up on contact with other products. I do think they can make an awesome foundation look like a total mess in 3 hours. Shiseido turned me into a scaly lizard. Others just make me really read and sensitive by the end of the day (even if I’m indoors).

    For more than 20 minutes of being outside, I wear sunblocks with at least SPF 50. For daily use I just rely on Avene moisturizer with SPF 25. I find BB Creams are totally useless, since pretty much all of them need to be sheered out to resemble anything looking like my skin tone, thus reducing the protection. Next on the list to try is La Roche Posay Hydraphase moisturizer with SPF 30. Fingers crossed.

    Sorry for the rant. I hope I don’t sound too negative. :)

  10. I am always on the quest for the best, but at the moment, I am enjoying two sunscreens for my face:
    Coppertone Water Babies 45 spf. It has a very slight baby powder scent that dissipates quickly. The other one is Coppertone oil free spf 30 pure and simple. (there is also a Coppertone oil free spf 30 FACES but I can’t tell the difference between them except the Faces one is more expensive). Both are fragrance free. All three of these go on very lightly and makeup goes on top easily. I hate that thick sunscreen feeling on my skin and none of these leaves that heavy , sticky feeling. I don’t know about photos, though. Also, sunscreens don’t tend to break me out so I don’t know how these would do if you are super sensitive. The Coppertone Water Babies is for children, however. PatsyAnn

  11. Taylor

    I just recently picked up Neutrogena Clear Face sunscreen, it’s about $11.00 and made specifically for acne prone skin. So far, no break outs, dries matte (but not too much so) and layers exceptionally well under both liquid and powder foundations. I am very pleased and will continue to wear/buy! :) This is coming from a girl who NEVER would wear sun screen because the greasy feel was such a turn off considering my face was already so oily, so huge win!

  12. I have had a terrible time finding a sunscreen for my face too because they ALL seem to break me out and smell, I don’t like heavily scented products on my face. I was using Aveeno until I tried COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face and it’s the best I’ve found yet. It sinks right in without being greasy and doesn’t irritate my skin or break it out and does a great job of protecting my skin against the sun, smells lightly light cucumber and nothing like sunscreen. Makeup doesn’t seem to be a problem over it if you let it soak in your skin for a minute or so before applying.

  13. I wear Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 50. So far I haven’t had any problems with it.

  14. Vanessa

    Finding a sunscreen that won’t irritate my skin and that rinses off cleanly when I get into work (I bike into work)! Anything that is even remotely good in texture is usually too darn expensive. This has been a long-time struggle for me as I need tons of sunscreen because of the bike. :)

  15. atrixe

    TiZo3 SPF 40 – it’s expensive but amazing. It has a weightless silky mousse-like feel to it and makeup layers on top very well. Unlike most other sunscreens, if I start to sweat I don’t end up with a burning sensation in my eyes. It is very slightly tinted, but as someone who is deathly pale I haven’t found this to be an issue. The tint is only visible if I don’t rub it in. FYI, it’s paraben, oil, PABA and fragrance free.

  16. Frizzy locks

    My holy grail sunscreen is australian compaby Mecca’s to save face sunshine it is utterly amazing. It sinks In super fast non greasy becomes matte. No white cast perfect under foundation. My skin never becomes greasy and my foundation lasts just as long when I apply it. It even smells amazing! It’s $50.00 australian but one bottle lasts about 4.5 Months for me so I am happy.

  17. Jan

    The doctor would like me in SPF 30 or higher. However, my eyes begin to burn from regular sunblocks or makeup with anything higher than SPF 20 WITH THE ONLY EXCEPTION SO FAR being the tinted sunblock the doctor himself sells.

    The formula is a little on the greasy side but if he ever got that under control, he would have a seriously marketable product. It wears like a tinted moisturizer, is almost scentless, spreads evenly and adjusts to skin tone. However, custom blended – it’s quite cost prohibitive.

    The second bests are a product that MAC used to make (I don’t think it’s available anymore) that has an SPF 50 and Neutrogena (which I can’t get within 1-1/2″ of my eyes. I ordered an SPF50 CC cream and maybe it will work. I’ll know within a couple of weeks.

  18. Soleil

    The ones I’ve tried that seem to work well under make-up are: Clinique City Block, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, Etude House, and now CC creams. I’ve heard raves about La-Roche Posay’s line but haven’t tried any yet.

  19. Melissa

    I have Rosacea not to mention oily and sensitive skin. Ugh. A sun-screen is a must for me! I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 45.My dermatologist recommend it and It works pretty good. I also liked Targets Sport Sunscreen SPF 30, it’s heavier but it works too.

  20. Kara

    I would love to find and SPF that I can apply over my makeup that will give me good protection without disturbing my makeup

  21. Lalaby

    Should I say that I love sunscreens? Not everyone that I’ve had but the one is lightweight, absorbs well and works like a moisturizer? Those Japanese drugstore brands are amazing, even the Euro brands selling in Japan is good still, works great on my skin, the Nivea Water Gel might the best for body, and the for face, I might pick the ANESSA, those are strong sunscreen, a little bit oily, for me, doesn’t make me break out if I do the cleansing good enough. Don’t forget to remove makeup even you are just wearing sunscreen, cleansing is a biIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIg part for break out.

    • I just got the Nivea Japan sun cream and it literally baffles me why Nivea doesn’t choose to sell the formula for their Japanese sun cream in the UK. NO ONE likes heavy sun cream so I don’t know why their UK formula is so damn heavy.

      I definitely agree with your point. If you’re looking for a good, cheap and lightweight sun cream, definitely check out the Asian, specifically Japanese, drugstore brands. The Japanese have literally got the formulation + any high SPF/PA requirements you need DOWN.

      • RT

        Nivea is owned by Beiersdorf. However, in Japan, it’s under KAO.

        Beiersdorf has some shares or partnerships with KAO to launch Nivea in Japan. So essentially, Nivea in Japan can market a different product/ formulation.

  22. fay

    the best ones i have found are josie maran spf 40. does not interfere with makeup and is light. the other is biore aqua rich. you can buy it on ebay for about $14. this one feels like nothing on your skin! chemical sunscreens usually make my face sting but this one does not.

  23. I’m using La Roche Posay – Anthelios SPF 30 AC Fluid Extreme, which has been highly raved but I honestly don’t like it. It’s super runny and has a strange smell. It’s also a small-ish bottle and you have to use quite a bit to spread coz’ it absorbs quickly into skin (which is a good thing, I guess) so the bottle probably wouldn’t last very long. Plus point – sunscreen is matte on face.

    I LOVED Uriage Hyseac SPF 50+ – it smells clean, is a reasonable runny texture and has SPF 50 instead of 30. Also, it’s for Combination to Oily Skin but it’s hydrating for my dry skin. & the bottle lasted me a good 9 months to a year even though I used quite a bit everyday!

  24. Josie Marans sunscreen is a miracle! High broad spectrum protection spf 40 & NO white cast. I love this sunscreen and it feels like Ive tried them all.
    Another great sunscreen is Neutrogena Dermatologics Retinol Nx SPF35. I like this because it isnt greasy, it drys down and does great under makeup. No white cast either.
    Its easy to find a sunscreen with spf 15 that doesnt white you out but anything higher makes you look like Casper. These 2 sunscreens are the exception in my experience.

  25. Emy

    Facial sunscreen is the most important item in my skincare routine, and it’s the one that’s the most difficult to purchase. Though I’m not terribly tan, most high SPF + high PA sunscreens turn me ghostly white and dry my skin out terribly. For US sunscreens, the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion is a pretty good (mostly) physical sunscreen. Sometimes, I purchase sunscreens directly from Japan, and of those, I’m currently using and like the Kanebo ALLIE line, though they still leave a very slight white cast on me.