After having skin cancer, one of the most common questions I get on Instagram seems to be what my favorite sunscreens are. I’m no stranger to them these days – I wear it every day! Keep reading for the sunscreens that I like!
I’m going to break out sunscreens into 2 categories: mineral and chemical. Mineral suncreens physically block the sun from your and are the ideal kind of sunscreen that every dermatologist will recommend. Since they are physical blockers, they tend to be a little thicker but the ones I’ve found are actually pretty darn good (maybe only slightly thicker than chemical sunscreens). If you have skin cancer in your family history, are fair skinned, or have melasma and dark spots, you’ll probably want a mineral sunscreen! Chemical sunscreens are exactly what they sound like: they use chemicals to block the sun from your skin. Generally, they’re lightweight formulas that require little to no rubbing in if you’re using a mist!
A few more sunscreen tips before I dive in! Always look for broad spectrum, UVA and UVB protection. You’re also supposed to reapply every 2 hours as well. When you’re wearing makeup, this can be challenging but keep this in mind and wear a cute hat if you’re going to be out in the sun all day. Here are some of my favorites!
I’m also a coverup wearer 99% of the time especially after my skin cancer journey! Here are some of the brand I go back to year after year!
All of the sunscreens below are really good and you can’t go wrong with either! I’ve broken the out just for your knowledge and caveated performance where necessary!
Best Mineral Sunscreens for Face
If you don’t want to feel like you are wearing sunscreen, Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense is the SPF for you. I’ve been saying this for years! It has a lightweight flawless application that isn’t greasy at all. It’s a must have and is mineral!
My favorite is the Beautycounter Daily Sheer Defense because it’s a lightweight application with no white cast that layers extremely well under makeup. For a mineral sunscreen, it feels as close to a chemical sunscreen as you can get and is reef friendly. Arguably even better, is the Beautycounter Mineral Sunscreen Stick although it’s not specifically formulated for face (you can use it anywhere). It smells incredible and can be applied in seconds because you just swipe the stick across your skin and there is no white residue. It’s multipurpose (can be used on lips) and works well on kids too since it’s so quick to apply.
Sunbum’s Mineral Face Sunscreen is also great and is in between Beautycounter and REN in terms of weight on your skin and thickness. It probably has my favorite smell and is reef friendly.
I also love REN’s Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen (code JENNA20 gets you 20% off) for layering under makeup. It’s a bit thicker than Beautycounter’s and has a mattifying texture similar to the Make Up For Ever face primer which some people don’t care for. I find that it works really well as a primer for makeup though and it is reef friendly!
Best Mineral Sunscreens for Body
Blue Lizard is the dermatologist recommended option and it comes in a sensitive skin option! I have heard that the kids version is even better but have not tried it yet! Beautycounter also makes a great Mineral Sunscreen Lotion that is similar to Blue Lizard. The Coola Mineral Body Sunscreen is really similar to both so I’d recommend purchasing wherever is easiest for you!
I have yet to find a good mist option that is also mineral. I feel like all of them require you to rub them in which kind of defeats the purpose of the mist. This is true for Beautycounter’s Mineral Sunscreen Mist ends up requiring you to rub it in anyway. The Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Mist also required rubbing in and I found that it rubbed off quite a bit on my white coverups so I wouldn’t repurchase! The The Coola Mineral Body Sunscreen is really similar to the Beautycounter one as well. is really similar in that it requires a lot of rubbing but it also leaves a white cast behind.
Best Chemical Sunscreens for Face
Coola’s Face Sunscreen is my top pick for this category because of the application and the ingredients! Supergoop’s are good but generally they feel a little more like sunscreen to me. I have not tried Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen though and have heard AMAZING things. They’re not quite as “clean” ingredient wise as a brand in general.
Best Chemical Sunscreens for Body
If there is a mist option (as opposed to lotion), I’ll take it and for this reason, Coola’s Organic Body Spray ranks at the top for me here too. Their body lotion also is incredible. The only downfall of mist is I feel like you often get fewer applications out of it albeit your hands stay clean (no rubbing needed like with mineral options)! Alba Botanica is also another great brand that can be found at CVS if you run out of sunscreen on vacation!
Best Foundation with SPF
My favorite is the Ilia Super Serum because it acts the most like a foundation. With all foundations that contain SPF, I’ve found they’re a little oiler upon application so if you have oily skin, you might also want to grab a powder below or use a setting powder. This is probably the most full coverage option I’ve tried. In order of most to least coverage, my favorite options are Ilia’s Super Serum, Saie’s Slip Tint, Saie’s Sunvisor, and Supergoop’s Glow Screen which is really more of a glow than a foundation.
If you’re in the market for a BB cream or something intended to go under your makeup, the Coola Tinted BB Cream is my favorite because it’s the lightest weight. When you’re layering, that’s usually what you’re looking for. However, if you have super dry skin you may want to try 100% Pure because it’s significantly more hydrating and it’s a lot thicker.
Best Powder with SPF
I love powder SPF because you are supposed to apply sunscreen every 2 hours and if you have a full face of makeup on, it’s unlikely you’ll want to reach for a regular sunscreen to apply over your makeup or even reapply your foundation. They’re really easy to apply and won’t spill in your bag. Plus, it’s extra peace of mind that you have something to protect you on the go. My personal favorite is the Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection because I like the brush application – the bristles are longer and it’s a little softer on application for your skin. It comes in tinted and non-tinted options. That being said, it’s almost identical in application to Ilia’s new Radiant Translucent Powder Flow-Thru. I love that there is an open and a close notch so you know that the product is dispensing or not and can retract the brush accordingly. If you prefer a higher mattifying product and don’t mind carrying a makeup brush around (or plan to apply before you leave the house), the Ilia Radiant Translucent Powder is incredible.
Best SPF for Lips
SPF for lips used to be more rare but I love how many products are coming on the market that contain SPF! My personal favorite is still the Beautycounter Mineral Sunscreen Stick because it is multipurpose (although not specifically made for lips). That being said, I love the Coola Liplux Lip Balm which comes in clear or tinted shades. The latter is really nice for if you want a little bit of natural color to your lips and is my most used. Plus, it’s mineral whereas the clear is not. Coola also makes a lip oil with SPF if your lips are severely chapped. Sunbum and Supergoop also make good lip products to try. For lip products, I’m a little less picky with texture and feel since we’re so used to wearing lipsticks, glosses, etc. I don’t mind a little extra dew on my lip!
Best SPF for Scalp
Do you have any favorite sunscreens? I’d love to add more to my list to try!