Proven to be the only true anti-aging ingredient, applying sunscreen is the most important step in an effective skincare routine. No exceptions. Now that I have stated the obvious, let me admit it has taken years to make daily facial sunscreen application a habit. Finding that perfect fit? Not easy. Luckily, the beauty industry has brought the importance of sunscreen to necessary levels with options that fit every lifestyle, ethnicity, and skin type.
While requirements are always personal, my aging and easily congested skin benefits from:
- Broad spectrum only – UVA and UVB because 2 birds, 1 stone.
- User friendly texture – the lighter the better.
- Traceless application – ghost like: invisible, not white.
Partly due to successful marketing, and partly because of my own paranoia, I tend to gravitate to SPF 50 and thankfully, the sunscreens my face does best with perform equally well year round – in the city or the campo; at home or when away. If you shy away from SPF anything because it makes you look chalky or greasy, or maybe breaks you out, the broad spectrum suggestions below offer proven excellence. Each minimizes sun damage. Not one looks like a mask.
dermalogica solar defense booster spf 50
Legit holy grail status. This chubby squeeze bottle has traveled the world with me and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Lightweight yet creamy and all sorts of lavender dreamy, this lotion neither feels nor smells like sunscreen. You can mix it with your moisturizer or foundation, however, I have been using it ‘straight up’ with amazing results. Choc full of antioxidants, it doubles as a fantastic anti-aging treatment, absorbs beautifully, and moisturizes without feeling heavy. The herbal aroma makes me wish there were a jumbo size version for the body. $50 (50ml) dermalogica.com
SkinCuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SunscreenSPF 50
Clinical grade (read: serious stuff), this SkinCeuticals formula is perfect if you prefer a 100% physical sunblock. Extremely sheer, this light lotion goes on with a subtle blue hue that quickly morphs into the skin with a transparent finish. Spectacular all around, it is my go to layered over the brand’s Phloretin CF serum to maximize the antioxidant protection and deliver instant glow. If you’re prone to burning and feel most comfortable using a cosmeceutical solution, definitely pick up a tube of this sunscreen for everyday use. Remember to shake well before applying! $34 (50ml) skinceuticals.com
Cane+Austin Protect Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen SPF 50+
Ideal on days when my skin can skip a moisturizer, this Cane+Austin sunscreen is so lightweight, its consistency borders on watery. This is not to say that it doesn’t do a great job under any daytime formula because I’ve layered it over gels, lotions, and meatier creams with great success. A dream come true for oily or problematic complexions, this ultra sheer option barely sports a scent yet provides stellar UVA and UVB protection. If you have darker skin and hate sunscreen by default because it leaves behind a shady white cast, try this. You will not be able to tell you’re wearing it. Shake well and go to town – it sinks in immediately. $40 (2 oz.) Sephora.com
Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+
I love me some moisturiser with an s. Just over the weekend, a beauty editor friend of mine commented on Australians knowing how to make great sunscreen. Case and point. This Alpha-H daytime staple is indeed stupendous. While it appears a bit thick at first, the whipped texture glides on and absorbs without a trace, leaving the skin plump, hydrated, and nourished. Fueled by Manuka Honey, Aloe Vera, and Vitamin E, the formula is a multitasking one-step day cream with fantastic broad spectrum protection. Eternally grateful for my 100ml tube gifted by the brand! $33.60 (50ml) beautybay.com
La Mer SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid
If you’re a luxury enthusiast or a devotee of La Mer, your skin will appreciate the broad spectrum SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid. Infused with the brand’s Miracle Broth, it helps to firm, energize, and soothe the skin while protecting it against the harmful effects of the sun. Slightly thicker than its SPF 30 predecessor, this elegant lotion formula goes on so silky, it makes for a fantastic makeup primer. Completely non-oily and pleasantly scented, the La Mer SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid is one of my ultimate favorite high end sunscreens on the market. $90 (50ml) nordstrom.com or neimanmarcus.com