beauty buzz: the best sunscreens for your summer fun

It’s that time, friends: brace yourselves for my annual lecture about sunscreen. I know, it’s all very “After-School Special” of me. But truly, more than anything else you can do for yourself, SPF will save you from nearly everything that’s awful about aging. Wrinkles, rosacea, age spots, moles, freckles, you name it. Not to mention skin cancer, which is no laughing matter. And while I firmly, no exceptions, believe it’s a 365-days-a-year necessity, summer is when I get particularly militant about the whole thing. Because hey, we’re not kids any more. And that dewy complexion that used to bounce back from any kind of abuse needs a bit more TLC than it used to.

The problem is that sunscreen isn’t sexy. It doesn’t always smell great, can cause breakouts (or rashes on those of us with sensitive skin), and no one ever applies enough. Some formulas are greasy, some are chalky, and it takes ages of trial and error to find one to love. But friends, I’m here for you. I’ve done the trial-and-error, I’ve suffered the breakouts, and I’m here to deliver a list of my all-time favorites, the best sunscreens for summer.

Best Sunscreens for Summer, via shopping's my cardio

Best moisturizer with SPF: Origins Brighter By Nature SPF 35. It’s rare to find a morning moisturizer that actually has a silky, calming feel to it but also packs a serious SPF punch (anything with SPF 15 is really just window dressing). This feels incredibly luxe, and isn’t ungodly expensive, so you won’t feel the need to be stingy with your application.

Best BB: First let me say that BBs do not count as your daily sunscreen. Unless you’re going for Kardashian levels of foundation, you’re not applying nearly enough to make them effective at full-strength. But, a BB is still great for summer. It provides coverage, a little anti-aging oomph and it gives you an extra layer of SPF. I’ve tried literally dozens, and hated nearly all of them. The two I love? Kiehls BB Cream and Peter Thomas Roth’s CC cream (the CC creams add a bit of color correction to the mix). Both provide more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but are lighter than foundation, have a great texture, and make my skin very happy indeed.

Best tinted SPF: If you want something lighter than a BB – really, just an SPF with a dab of color mixed in to keep it from being chalky, I love SkinCeuticals’ Physical Fusion UV Defense. With an SPF of 50, but a light-enough tint that you can slather it on in bulk, this is a great lightweight option for summer, whatever your skin tone. It’s also a great option to keep in your bag and apply when you’re headed for an al fresco lunch.

Best spray SPF: Because I’m completely lazy, I’m a huge fan of spray sunscreens. They’re quick, easy, work for the whole family, and are a cinch to reapply throughout the day if you’re poolside. Supergoop Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C gets my vote because it’s cheap, doesn’t smell, has a super high SPF 50 rating, and doesn’t have any of the toxic nasties you’ll find in most other spray sunscreens.

Best post-sun treatments, via shopping's my cardio

Best post-sun soothers: If you follow all this advice, but still have a day of too much sun (or a bad reaction to a product you’re trying), these are a few products I love to have on hand. Juice Beauty’s Soothing Serum does a beautiful job of calming redness and replenishing moisture. SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel is packed with anti-inflammatories and antiseptics, so it works wonders on a sun rash or a light sunburn. And Darphin’s Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum has an almost-instantaneous calming effect on the skin – it feels wonderful going on, and makes almost any irritation vanish by morning.

So, tell me – what’s your sunscreen of choice? Are you an SPF addict like me?

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10 comments on “beauty buzz: the best sunscreens for your summer fun

  1. Laurie @ Relishing It

    I’m kind of a nut about sunscreen, too. My favorite? Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch. It feels good on my face– not greasy. Though, I’m sure the ingredient list contains things that aren’t so great. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. A

    Totally LOL at Kardashian levels of foundation. But it’s true – they look frighteningly normal without. 😉 I just got a Paula’s Choice SPF 30 to try out. I use Neutrogena DryTouch in a pinch and usually when I only expect extended exposure. And of course, I can’t remember the name of the awesome sunscreen that my esthetician gave me that I promptly ruined by leaving in my car in 110 degree weather in Fresno, but it was really good until I killed it.

  3. Lisa

    I use Neutrogena products as my “go to” sunscreen but it’s nice to read some new suggestions like the SuperGoop.
    I’m going to pick some up this week! I am an uber Kiehls fan but haven’t tried their whole line (not knowing what is good and what isn’t). Thanks for the info on the BB cream!

  4. Roxanna @ Wholesome Hedonist

    Question for you, Becky…what do you do when you have to reapply sunscreen and you have makeup on? For my car drive home from work i always feel like I should reapply, but the thought of mixing sunscreen into the makeup that’s been sitting on my face for 8 hours just seems wrong. What to do? Use a spray instead? Or just go ahead and slather on the sunscreen?

  5. shoppingsmycardio Post author

    Roxana – good question! I’ll either use a very lightly tinted formula like the SkinCeuticals (it’s also very thin, so it will soak in quickly, without making a mess of makeup), or I’ll use a powder-based formula. Peter Thomas Roth makes a fantastic one that I keep in my bag. Just be liberal when you apply the powder…a light dusting won’t cut it!

  6. Kristina

    Make that three recs for the Neutrogena! I use it religiously and it’s the only one my husband will use too because it’s not greasy feeling at all.
    I just bought the Kiehls BB cream a few days ago. Love it!

  7. Vanessa

    No idea how this slipped through my radar a couple weeks ago but I’ll add an additional recommendation for the Neutrogena. I have been ultra-vigilant about sunscreen ever since my mom had some seriously scary basal and squamous cell carcinomas removed from her face a little over 10 years ago – while she was still in her 40s! I guess that’s what happens when you grow up on a farm. Anyway, at the time her dermatologist said that the Neutrogena line was the best stuff on the market, so even after 10 years I have to think it’s still a pretty good choice.

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