Now that Summer is officially here, it’s time to break out the sunscreen!
If you’d like a primer on sunscreen, then the EWG website is a great place to start. Long before I was aware of the greener, cleaner options for beauty products, I found their annual sunscreen guide while searching for alternatives to avobenzene and other synthetic sunscreens. As a result, I’ve been strictly relying on physical sunscreens for several years now. However, since I’ve switched to natural beauty, I realized I needed to find sunscreen options that not only relied on a physical sunscreen as the active ingredient but also minimized other chemicals.
At $39.95 for a 2.5 oz tube (approximately $16/oz) Sun Love is the least expensive sunscreen on the list. It does not have an SPF rating. View Annmarie Skin Care’s explanation of why. I’m okay with this as I don’t use sunscreen as my only method of protection from the sun and rely primarily on hats, sunglasses, shade and avoiding peak hours.
Sun Love is a thicker cream and while it can be used on a bare face, I prefer to use a separate moisturizer underneath. It has a light tint which is just enough to allow it to blend easily without leaving any white cast. However, where Sun Love really excels is as a primer under foundation. Unlike many sunscreens that leave a slick finish that either allows foundation to slide around when you apply it, or results in your foundation melting a few hours later, this one has a matte finish that actually extended the wear of my foundation. This alone made Sun Love a must purchase for me. I’m usually in a rush in the morning and don’t relish the idea of adding another step to my routine, which is one of my excuses for not wearing sunscreen. However, with Sun Love I’m motivated to take the extra step.
Samples of Sun Love are available on the Annmarie Skin Care website for $5 with free shipping and a coupon for your next purchase. If you are interested and it is available, you should snag it while you can. If there is any downside to Sun Love, it is the recurring lack of availability. It was out of stock when I initially tried to purchase the full size version and it’s currently showing out of stock again. Sun Love is my best pick for a sunscreen to use under foundation, especially if you have oily skin or live in a humid climate. It does not have an EWG rating.
Next up is Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen SPF 30 at $36 for a 2 oz pump. (My review is based on a sample but I do plan to purchase the full size pump when I place another order with Pratima.) The Neem Rose Face Sunscreen has a lightweight, creamy consistency that blends in easily and is moisturizing enough on its own. Unlike some sunscreens that tend to sit on the surface of the skin, the Neem Rose Face Sunscreen does not feel the least bit heavy.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the photo, it isn’t tinted and when I applied it under foundation it did leave a noticeable white cast. So while I can’t recommend the Neem Rose Face Sunscreen for use under a foundation, it is still a good option for those who don’t want to wear a foundation or tinted moisturizer. (I didn’t notice the white cast when worn alone.) I also appreciate the relatively short list of ingredients. As someone with very sensitive skin, fewer ingredients means fewer substances for my skin to react to.
Because it eliminates the need for a separate moisturizer and is easy to reapply, this is my best pick for a day at the beach. A customized set of 3 samples, including the Neem Rose Face Sunscreen is available for $7 on the Pratima website. It does not have an EWG rating.
Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint / Natural BB Cream was the first sunscreen on this list that I tried. The SPF is derived from a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It’s priced at $36 for a 1.7 oz tube ($21/oz) and is available at many online retailers, including Sephora and DermStore. It does contain silicones which provide a nice “slip” for easy application with or without a separate moisturizer; however the same “slip” also tends to cause it to sit on the skin. The matte finish allows it to be worn under foundation without adding any extra shine but it also works equally well by itself for a beach day. Although it is tinted, I found the coverage to be very minimal and wouldn’t choose it for a foundation alternative.
While I haven’t banished silicones entirely from my make-up or body products, I avoid using them on a daily basis and since there are now several other options for facial sunscreens without silicones, this is not a product that I would purchase again. The Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint has an EWG rating of 3. Coola also has several other varieties of facial sunscreens so you may want to check out the other options as well.
Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF 30 is the only sunscreen on this list that I would consider using as an alternative to foundation on those sweltering summer days. It’s priced at $48 for a 2 oz pump. Everyday Coverage is available in 3 shades – extra light, light, and medium. Because the coverage is minimal you probably don’t need an exact match. It is a liquid with a very thin consistency which makes it easy to apply. However, you do need to blend it quickly as it dries fast. While Everyday Coverage can do double duty as a foundation, you will still need a separate moisturizer underneath.
This lightweight formula is very comfortable on the skin and it doesn’t feel like you are wearing sunscreen. I do have concerns as to whether a product with such a thin consistency can provide sufficient sun protection. It’s not a product that I would chose for a beach day anyway because it needs to be applied (and re-applied) over a moisturizer and it comes in a glass pump which isn’t convenient for throwing in a beach bag. Unfortunately, this product does contain Emu oil, something that I overlooked when originally reading the list of ingredients. As much as I like Everyday Coverage as an alternative to foundation, I probably wouldn’t purchase it again for this reason. Everyday Coverage has an impressive EWG rating of 1.
Suntegrity “5 in 1” Moisturizing Face Sunscreen is a popular sunscreen brand that has recently expanded its line to include lip color with SPF. In addition to the “5 in 1” they also make a combination moisturizing face sunscreen and primer. Although the photo above is of the trial size tube, the full size version comes in a 1.7 oz pump and is priced at $45 ($26/oz).
As described, the “5 in 1” is hydrating enough on its own that you don’t need a separate moisturizer. And it works equally well under foundation or on its own. Like most tinted sunscreens I tried, I wouldn’t consider it the equivalent of a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream that I would use in lieu of a foundation.
Like the Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint, the “5 in 1” does contain silicones which, while allowing for an easy application, often result in the product sitting on skin. Although the “5 in 1” didn’t feel as heavy as the Coola, it also didn’t feel as light as the sunscreens without silicone, especially when used under a foundation. Suntegrity “5 in 1” has an EWG rating of 1 and samples are available for sale on the Suntegrity website.
Hynt Beauty Sun Prep is different from all of the other sunscreens on this list because it does not contain Zinc Oxide and instead relies solely on Titanium Dioxide as the active sunscreen ingredient. While my skin is not sensitive to Zinc Oxide, it does irritate my eyes. Even if I avoid applying it to the eye area, I find that it sometimes migrates into my eyes anyway, especially when washing my face. So I do appreciate a Titanium Dioxide option and if you have experienced any eye irritation from sunscreen you may want to consider this as well. Also, because I love the feel of Sun Prep so much, I can see myself using it during the winter months when I otherwise wouldn’t bother with a sunscreen.
Sun Prep is priced at $55 for a 1.7 oz pump ($23/oz) and is also available from EcoDiva. Although my review is based on a sample, I do plan to purchase the full size version. Sun Prep has a very light, whipped texture. There is a slight cooling sensation when applied and it is easily absorbed into the skin. Despite the fact that it’s not tinted, it didn’t leave any white cast on my skin, even under foundation. And speaking of foundation, I found it moisturizing enough for me to use as combination moisturizer/primer/sunscreen under foundation or alone during the summer. It also layered well over my regular moisturizer when I first tried it before the humidity kicked in.
While Sun Prep is an excellent option for those that are sensitive to Zinc Oxide, note that the EWG website indicates that Titanium Dioxide may not be as effective as Zinc Oxide for protecting you from UVA rays. Sun Prep does not have an EWG rating. Samples can be purchased for $5 on the Hynt Beauty website.
Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream – Tinted has what may be the most unique and carefully curated ingredient list of any sunscreen available. At $55 for a 1 oz pump it is also one of the most expensive. I’m a big fan of Josh Rosebrook and had high hopes for the Nutrient Day Cream as well. Even though his products tend to be pricey, I usually find that the ingredients justify the expense. Unfortunately the impressive list of ingredients must have been too active for my very sensitive skin. As soon as I applied it my face turned bright red and began to burn. I tried it a second time with the same result and had to wash it off right away.
I’ve tried several other items in the Josh Rosebrook Skin Care line and never had a bad reaction. In fact the Moisturizing Cleanser and Hydrating Accelerator are both products that I use to calm my skin whenever it’s inflamed. But obviously at least one ingredient in the Nutrient Day Cream doesn’t agree with me so I can’t provide a full review. The good news is that samples of the Nutrient Day Cream are available on the Josh Rosebrook website for $6. Nutrient Day Cream does not have an EWG rating.
I just received the Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28 in my July Beauty Heroes box and I also have a couple of samples of other sunscreens that I’m waiting to try. I’ll add the reviews to this list once I have a chance to test them.
Have you tried any of the sunscreens on this list? If so what are your thoughts? Do you have any other sunscreens that you recommend?