What is the most vital step of your skincare regimen? These days, with the sheer abundance of beauty products, the answer to this question can be uncertain. However, sunscreens are my obvious answer, as they provide a protective shield for the skin. This is everything, both for the inner health and the visible complexion. And sunscreens aren’t only for summer, as our skins and the sun exist all year, rain or shine. Applying SPF when you don’t leave the house is equally crucial.
Sun protection mainly falls into two categories: Chemical and mineral.
Chemical sunscreens absorb UVA and UVB rays on a cellular level and transform them into non-damaging heat. They must be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure. Contemporary formulations are almost quickly absorbed and don’t leave a white cast. Plus, different types of chemical sunscreen for different skin types are numerous.
On the other hand,
mineral (or physical) sunscreens protect the skin by reflecting UV rays with two active ingredients: Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They work like a mirror. Mineral sunscreens defend the skin immediately and are ideal for children and sensitive skin types. I know that they have gotten a bad rep for their thick textures in the past; after all, no one wants to look like Casper or Mark Zuckerberg on a surfboard. Here is the good news: The new wave of mineral alternatives is formulated to have lighter, more invisible textures. So much so that you will forget their existence under your makeup. Plus, the infamous white residue effect is long fixed.
Wondertip: Remember to double-cleanse your skin to remove sunscreen from your pores deeply.
SPF For Face
Bioderma Aquafluid SPF 50+, $24,99
The water-based, oil-free, and mattifying sunscreen is suitable for combination and oily skin types with updated packaging and formulation. It has chemical filters,
citric acid, and tocopherol to fight dark spots.
Chanel UV Essentiel Complete UV Protection Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50, €60
Chanel’s sunscreen with hybrid filters provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB, pollution, and oxidation and helps prevent photoaging. The texture is lightweight and silky, leaving a subtle glow. The ingredients list's blue ginger and Tahitian gardenia work as a skin-strengthening complex.
Dermalogica Porescreen SPF 40, $55
We are big fans of
Dermalogica sunscreens. The Californian brand has recently added a multitasking mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide to its lineup of products. Porescreen has light coverage and works to minimize the appearance of pores. The paraben and mineral-free formula contains skin-nourishing ingredients like sebum regulating niacinamide, moisturizing squalene, and antioxidant Vitamin E.
Diorsnow Brightening UV Protection Fluid Luminous Finish SPF 50+, £48
Diorsnow checks all the boxes with ultra-lightweight texture, transparent finish, and effective protection. The chemical sunscreen has a slightly hydrating formula, making it an ideal option for combination and oily skin types who don’t love a matte finish.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30, $34 at Sephora
Skinceuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense lives up to its name. The chemical formulation aims to brighten the complexion with powerful ingredients while protecting the skin. The magic happens with the sebum-regulating niacinamide and brightening tranexamic acid. The light texture works both on acne-prone and oily skin types.
Heliocare 360° Gel Oil-Free SPF 50+, £31
This one is for oily, combination, and spot-prone skin with its lightweight and oil-free texture. The popular dermo-cosmetic brand’s hybrid sunscreen mixes mineral and chemical filters. Its formula includes antioxidant-rich caffeic acid,
green tea, arginine, and ferulic acid. Don’t forget to shake before use.
Kosas DreamBeam Silicone-Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40, $40 at Sephora
Hello, dewy skin. This Kosas mineral sunscreen has a radiant finish thanks to moisturizing and skin barrier-strengthening ingredients like
peptide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. It also blends perfectly with makeup.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVmune 400 Fluid SPF 50+, $31.99
La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen is sensitive skin-friendly. The easily absorbed texture feels ultra-light and non-greasy. The ingredient list includes new-gen chemical filters and antioxidant
tocopherol. One of our go-to SPFs, all year round.
Skinceuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50, £50
Skinceuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense lives up to its name. The chemical formulation aims to brighten the complexion with powerful ingredients while protecting the skin. The magic happens with the sebum-regulating
niacinamide and brightening tranexamic acid. The light texture works both on acne-prone and oily skin types.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 30, $30,20 at Sephora
Supergoop!’s Unseen Sunscreen is genuinely a game-changer. We love its weightless, transparent, leave-no-cast formula. It also works as a primer under makeup.
SPF For Body
Bioderma Photoderm Lait Ultra SPF 50+, $39.99
Bioderma Photoderm Lait Ultra contains new-gen chemical filters. It’s fragrance-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and gentle on sensitive skin types.
Caudalie Vinosun Very High Protection Sun Water SPF 50+, €33
This half-water and half-oil formula has new-gen chemical filters,
polyphenol, niacinamide, and Vitamin E for antioxidant-powered protection and hydration. The lightweight SPF is oil-free and can be applied to hair and skin. Make sure to shake before use.
Clarins Sun Care Oil-in-Mist SPF 30, £26
This dry oil spray has gained a well-earned buzz. Non-greasy and easily absorbed despite being in oil form, it hydrates the skin with
aloe vera while protecting it against UVA and UVA rays with chemical filters.
Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, $28
Contemporary classic sunscreen brand Coola is committed to having clean, sustainable ingredients. This vegan chemical sunscreen is at least 70% certified organic. Raspberry seed, buriti, and
meadowfoam seed oils guard the skin against free radicals. Its spray form makes it a quick and convenient option.
Lancaster Oil-Free Milk SPF 50, £28
This lightweight, oil-free sunscreen glides smoothly on the skin and absorbs quickly. It provides broad-spectrum protection with chemical filters and is suitable for sensitive skin types.
Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50, $22
Paula’s Choice is known for its popular BHA tonic, but its sunscreen is just as good. We love this broad-spectrum sunscreen because it has a grease-free matte finish. It is infused with chemical filters,
Vitamin E, and soothing aloe vera and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Shiseido Sports Invisible Protective Mist SPF 50+, €49
This one is a great fit for outdoor activities and sports with a water and sweat technology called WetForce. The face and body formula is non-sticky and instantly absorbed.
Sun Bum Original Broad Spectrum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, £14.79
Sun Bum uses
Vitamin E to minimize free-radical damage and photoaging and chemical filters to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. Its vegan formulation is free of sulfates and parabens. The lotion is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Make sure to shake the bottle before use.
Suntegrity Unscented Mineral Body Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, $24
Suntegrity’s mineral sunscreen is formulated with zinc oxide.
Aloe vera and green tea soothe the skin, while pomegranate seed extract and hyaluronic acid provide moisture. The best part? It is free of essential oils and fragrances. Ideal for sensitive skin types.
Vacation Classic Sunscreen Mousse SPF 30, $22
Whipped cream or SPF? Both, please. This easy-to-apply chemical sunscreen is literally light as a feather. It’s packed with hydrating ingredients like
coconut oil, aloe vera, shea oil, Vitamin E, and banana extract. Plus, the mousse is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.