Although I used to be sure that all incentives for applying SPF regularly are merely a marketing strategy (#scepticforever), I changed my perspective in recent years. I slowly began noticing changes in my skin and now I’m most encouraged to take care of it because of all the examples of bad practice you can encounter at the seaside. One can spot people who only apply tanning jams or even spray their skin with sea water so that the sunrays are even more intense at every corner :( I don’t have to emphasise they usually look more red than brown, but no one will change their mind even though their skin looks completely exhausted.
Because I don’t want to be all wrinkly and dried up because of my bad decisions, I apply sunscreen on my face at least twice a day in the summer, or more often at the seaside. Even in the winter I apply it at least in the morning before makeup or more often when there’s a lot of snow that bounces the rays back to my face.
Please note that I’m not a chemistry of pharmacy professional, so my explanations and arguments will be fairly basic. Sunscreens can be mineral or chemical, but often they are a mixture of both. Mineral filters leave a white cast and without additional ingredients, our skin would be completely white. Products by Terra Naturi are one example, I use them only on my hands and shoulders because the white residue is too strong. Similary, the Shiseido Expert Sun Protection Lotion also leaves a white finish, but can be neutralised with BB creams or liquid foundations. However, chemical filters can be problematic for some people – they also irritate my eyes (such as Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Essence SPF 50) – and erode quicker than mineral ones. This is why I prefer something in between, i.e. a combination of chemical and mineral filters, because this is how I make sure that protection against sunrays is nonetheless more long lasting and because their finish simply suits me better. Sunscreens that fall in that category are Australian Gold SPF 50, Vichy Idéalia Soleil SPF 50 and Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50.
Which aspects should we consider when choosing an SPF? First of all, your suscreen of choice should provide protection against UVA (skin-ageing) and UVB (skin-burning), have at least SPF 30, although I prefer 50, and a high PA+ rate (PA++++ is the highest, but this rating is only declared on some creams, you can read more here). Most importantly, avoid buying and using home-made sunscreens as (probably) no dermatological testings have been performed on them.
And which sunscreen is my favorite? I bought all the products mentioned myself and have been using them in the last two years. I’ll discuss all of them quickly below:I
- Australian Gold SPF 50 – my favorite summers sunscreen! My mixed skin likes this one the most because of its extreme mattifying effect – to the point that the skin can feel tight, but I apply foundation on top and they both perform great throughout the day. I truly recommend it if you find other SPFs too oily, but not to those with dry skin. My third tube is almost empty now and I cannot wait for my friend to bring me two more from the US (you get two for the price of one there compared to Slovenia).
- Vichy Idéalia Soleil SPF 50 – a great summer sunscreen for those with dry or mixed skin. I love it in the autumn, winter and spring, but is slightly too oily for me in the summer. This is probably my fourth tube, that’s how much I like it. I have to really massage it into the skin before applying makeup, otherwise a thin layer stays on top.
- Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50 – a Japanese sunscreen that quickly absorbs into the skin has the most moisturizing effect, if you ask me. My skin was really dry in the winter because of all the retionoids I’d been using and it performed great underneath my makeup. Quickly sinks into the skin without making it too oily. I think it’s best for dry and mixed skin –I haven’t tried it in the summer, so I cannot say it would suit me at the moment.
- Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Essence SPF 50 – a Korean cream that has the most gel-like texture of them all. Unfortunately, it makes my skin more oily than I would’ve hoped for. This one irritates my eyes, so I only use it at home or if I want to protect my hands properly before leaving the house :P
- Shiseido Expert Sun Protection Lotion – bought it a couple of weeks ago and set the expectation bar too high. I expected it to be an improved version of Australian Gold as it retails at twice the price! It’s very oily and leaves a visible white cast. Having said that, I won’t use it in the summer, but it will probably come in handy in the autumn and winter when I’ll start introducing retinoids again.
A short post about my fave summer sunscreen suddenly turned into a whole discussion! But then again, I haven’t written about them extensively on the blog before, so it seems reasonable to set the “foundation” for further reviews and debates. If you have your fave sunscreen products, please share them with us in the comments! :) <3