My Favorite Sunscreens
Sunscreen is the one product I wear every day, 365 days a year. Except maybe on rainy or very overcast days. Since I was a teenager I've been aware of how the sun could damage my skin, and determined to prevent premature aging, sun spots, and of course skin cancer.
Although I was protecting myself from the sun, I didn’t know that there were harmful ingredients in my sunscreens. Pretty much every sunscreen I used contained ingredients that I now know to avoid, such as:
Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Retinyl Palmitate**
So I switched to mineral sunscreens that don’t contain these kinds of chemicals. They rely instead on inert minerals - either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of the two - that block both UVA and UVB rays (that's what makes them “broad-spectrum"). Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sit on top of the skin, forming a barrier against the sun's rays. Which is why they start protecting you as soon as you put them on.
I thought I had finally figured out the sunscreen situation and all was good. But it wasn’t so simple (when is it ever simple?). The very fact that mineral sunscreens create a physical barrier against UV rays creates a serious cosmetic problem: the dreaded white cast. And when you’re pale like me, the last thing you want is to look even more pale. For years I used mineral sunscreens that made me two shades paler, and compensated by wearing foundation and bronzer to give me back some color. But when I had my first child I realized this was not practical. I needed something that I could put on and be done with. So I continued searching for the perfect facial sunscreen that had clean ingredients, was transparent and non-greasy, and doubled as a primer.
Well, I'm happy to report that I found TWO perfect sunscreens this past year! Both are non-toxic, mineral based with SPF 30, and leave your skin looking and feeling beautiful.
1. HYNT BEAUTY Sun Prep Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
If you’ve read my post on the Indie Beauty Expo or visited my Shop, you know how much I love Hynt’s makeup. Hynt also has two standout skincare products, one of which is the Sun Prep SPF 30. I discovered the Sun Prep at the IBE when Hynt Beauty’s founder, the lovely Meryl Marshall, sampled it on me. It was the most elegant formula I had ever tried. Absorbed instantly without any whiteness at all, leaving my skin with a subtle glow and very hydrated. I immediately blurted out to Meryl, “I must have this!”. Apparently I’m not the only one who loves it: demand for this 3-in-one sunscreen, moisturizer and primer is so high that the company can barely keep it in stock. So I ordered two bottles at once to have a backup. I was so excited when my order arrived in the mail that I had to share it with the world:
(The pink container is Hynt’s Finale Finishing Powder, another stellar product I will review soon.)
Sun Prep ticks all the boxes for a perfect mineral sunscreen:
- active ingredient is 9% Titanium Dioxide that does not leave a white cast;
- broad spectrum sun protection (UVA and UVB);
- has a “Drug Facts” label. This means the formula has passed FDA clinical screening for safety and efficacy. Many natural/indie/green sunscreens have not been tested by the FDA, often because the testing process is costly. So be careful to only buy sunscreens that have a “Drug Facts” label on the bottle;
- lightweight with a transparent, non-greasy finish that imparts the subtlest glow;
- doubles as a primer by creating a flawless base for makeup;
- infused with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich organic plant extracts such as rhatany root, green tea leaf, wild pansy and licorice that soothe and protect the skin.
50ml / 1.7oz (US $55.00) at hyntbeauty.com
2. JOSH ROSEBROOK Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30
I started using the Nutrient Day Cream before I had the pleasure of meeting Josh Rosebrook. It contains so many plant actives and hydrating oils that it’s more than a sunscreen - it’s also a luxurious moisturizer and a nutrient-packed serum. When I met Josh, I quickly understood why his products are so expertly crafted: he takes a wholistic approach to skin and hair and has deep knowledge of herbal actives and plant oils. And his passion is palpable. Here is a picture of me with Josh at The Detox Market in Toronto:
That day, Josh introduced me to the tinted version of his Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30. It’s the same formula as the original, with the addition of color-adjusting minerals that correct, even and brighten the skin. The Tinted Nutrient Day Cream has now become my favorite. It gives the most natural wash of color and allows me to skip foundation on those mom-in-a-rush days.
Nutrient Day Cream ticks all the boxes for a perfect mineral sunscreen:
- active ingredient is uncoated, non nano, high micron Zinc Oxide that does not leave a white cast;
- broad spectrum sun protection (UVA and UVB);
- recently passed FDA clinical trials for safety and efficacy (so you will see a Drug Facts label on the bottle soon);
- lightweight cream that finishes matte and transparent;
- doubles as a rich moisturizer with its blend of herbal actives and plant oils;
- infused with organic antioxidants, fatty acids and anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe and protect the skin.
Here is a swatch of the Nutrient Day Cream and the Tinted Nutrient Day Cream above it.
60ml / 2 oz (US $85.00) at thedetoxmarket.com
60ml / 2 oz (US $95.00) for Tinted version
**For detailed information on why these ingredients are potentially harmful, the EWG’s Sunscreen Guide is an excellent resource. You can find it here: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/