Sunscreen is an absolute MUST for me – and it should be for you too. The sun is the number one ager of skin, and this mama wants to look 25 forever 😆 I’ve tried about a zillion SPFs over the years, and I know what I like. It has to be lightweight, easy to apply, and it’s got to be free of chemicals! So today I’m featuring my top four physical sunscreens that meet all those checkmarks!
Once upon a time I slathered on chemical sunscreens. There’s a few from Supergoop! that are amazing, but I really hate the idea of applying chemicals to my face. Some of them can be toxic, and even harm the oceans and coral reefs. Plus, my skin has changed massively since having babies. It’s now red, reactive, and sensitive, so it just reacts better to physical SPFs than chemical formulas.
CHEMICAL VS. PHYSICAL SUNSCREENS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Before I get into my top picks, here’s a quick rundown of chemical vs. physical sunscreens. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are usually a cocktail of avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. Octinoxate hates my skin, and instantly causes breakouts, so it’s another reason I steer clear of it. These chemicals work by absorbing suns rays, and changing their radiation effect. There’s mixed opinions on their safety, but in general they are considered safe. Some pros include a thin texture that applies easily, and no white streaks. However, they take 20 minute to take effect, they can clog pores, and they can increase redness from rosacea.
Physical sunscreens are natural agents consisted of Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (usually a mixture of both), and they actually reflect suns rays by creating a barrier on skins surface. Some pro’s of physical sunscreens are that they go to work immediately, are less likely to clog pores, and they can actually reduce redness from rosacea (a HUGE reason I prefer it). However, a con is they can create a ghostly white cast in photos – or in person if not properly applied. So, for events with photos I always say skip physical SPFs!
4 PHYSICAL SUNSCREENS I LOVE
Now that we’ve covered our bases with physical vs. chemical SPFs, let’s get into the ones I adore for everyday use. These formulas are easy to apply, don’t take much work to absorb, and they feel light on the skin. Physical sunscreens get a bad rap for being heavy or greasy, but newer formulas designed for the face are totally different. I wear one every day, with or without makeup, and have actually seen a visible improvement in my rosacea.
FIRST AID BEAUTY ULTRA REPAIR PURE MINERAL SUNSCREEN SPF 40
I’m going to start with the SPF I’ve been wearing the longest. I first discovered First Aid Beauty when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2012, and I’ve been loyal ever since. This mineral sunscreen is white and thick, but it mixes well with other moisturizers, and it doesn’t take much work to blend it in. It will leave a white cast in photos (when flash is used), but I so rarely take photos with flash that I don’t even care. In person its undetectable on the skin, and it wears perfectly under makeup. It doesn’t leave me greasy, and it truly protects my face from sunburn.
Above is an example of the “white cast” I’m referring to in photos. My mom took this photo at the movies in a dark theatre (with flash), and you can see my face looks a bit ghostly. This is one of the only photos I’ve taken with flash in years, so usually my face isn’t affected by the SPF. But, I wanted to point this out so you’re aware.
PAULA’S CHOICE ESSENTIAL GLOW MOISTURIZER SPF 30
This is a bit different than my other go-to physical sunscreens. Instead of being white, it’s tinted to a pale beige shade, and it’s also supposed to impart a glow. It’s super lightweight, blends effortlessly, and it’s got Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. At first I thought this was a tinted moisturizer, but the beige colored formula doesn’t actually leave any color behind so it’s okay to use on all skin tones. Do I notice a “glow” with it? Ehh, not really, but I like how it wears. It’s weightless, doesn’t clog my pores, and it wears nice under makeup. Oh, and it does not have a sunscreen scent at all. It meets all my checkmarks, and I love the Paula’s Choice in general, so it’s a win for me!
REN CLEAN SCREEN MINERAL SPF 30
I recently raved about this on Instagram, but I wanted to mention it again here. This baby is the first ever SPF released from REN, and it’s got clean ingredients that won’t harm the environment. It also contains a whopping 22% Zinc Oxide, which is huge. Usually formulas are in the 4-10% range. I do wish this had a flip cap, instead of a screw on one, so that’s my one gripe. Everything else I dig. It’s got a spa like scent (think earthy like most natural products), and while it’s thick, it blends decently and within seconds it feels like nothing at all. I tested this at the park on a super sunny day, and my face was burn free – wish I could say the same about my shoulders!
DERMA- E SUN DEFENSE MINERAL OIL-FREE SUNSCREEN SPF 30
My last pick is hands down the best texture wise. It’s really thin like a chemical sunscreen, but it contains 20% Zinc Oxide. The thinner texture makes it the winner for application, and since its oil free it’s great for those who are prone to break outs. I don’t notice any “sunscreen” smell, and like the others it doesn’t interfere with the application of my makeup. It also contains Vitamin E and Green Tea, and it’s on the cleaner side since it’s from a more natural brand.
SHOP MY FAVS!
I’m constantly trying new formulas, so if you’ve got one you love be sure to leave it in the comments!
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