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 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 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?