I’m writing another sunscreen post because I’ve struggled to find something that works for me for a long time. I’m tan and find that a lot of times the tint (or whiteness) of sunscreen doesn’t work for me. I also have skin that is on the drier side.
Why this review?
For years I used chemical sunscreens and then a couple of years ago I became worried about the health effects of using them. I tried to switch to mineral sunscreens (i.e., zinc and titanium dioxide) but just couldn’t find any that worked well. Also, at the time I was convinced I had to avoid all products with silicones because silicones were giving me milia. I’ve now learned I’m okay with silicones but still try to avoid using too many.
Fast forward to about a year ago and I found Hydropeptide’s SPF. But being that I always think there is something better, I decided to try some others. Also, the hydropeptide SPF is quite expensive. I often wanted to save it for special occasions since it works great under my foundation.
A reminder, this is my skin color. I’m a 2Y08 or a 3Y07 using Sephora’s color IQ system.
Background on my skin/what I wear under sunscreen
Although my skin is technically combination, I find my cheeks and chin to be quite dehydrated in the winter. I find all sunscreens make it more dry. I also live in a climate that is near freezing but we rarely turn on the heat in the winter.
My reviews are based on testing these sunscreens in the fall, winter, and spring. I will update if anything changes in the summer. But summer here is not that humid even on hot days. It is cool enough that most people do not have air conditioning.
I wear sunscreen on top of a moisturizer (and eye cream) that has been layered over several serums. I sometimes mix a drop of maracuja oil into my moisturizer but I haven’t been doing that lately. I rarely wear foundation on top of sunscreen.
I also use a separate eye cream with SPF over my regular eye cream. I put it on before putting sunscreen all over my face. I currently use Origins A Perfect World SPF 20 Eye Cream. I don’t love it but have no plans to stop using it. I’ve haven’t been able to find any other non-chemical sunscreen eye SPF that doesn’t sting my eyes or pill over all my serums.
Sunscreen Reviews (in no particular order)
The make p:rem Blue Ray Sun Cream SPF 50++++ is the sunscreen I now wear nearly every day. I also really like the Murad City Skin but it is more than double the price. I also like the ease of being able to purchase make p:rem from amazon or eBay.
I was concerned that this would be too drying because I saw a youtube review of it where the woman showed how it made the back of her hand dry. I’ve had no problems. I don’t know how that vlogger wears sunscreen and she may prefer it to be worn without a moisturizer. I find this might be a tiny bit whitening but it isn’t really noticeable unless I’m outside with full sun. I also think that no one else can tell that my skin is a tiny bit lighter when I wear this. I do find that I can sorta feel it on my face all day (it isn’t too heavy). And I’m okay with that and like it because I know it is still protecting my face and I don’t need to re-apply it.
Lastly, this didn’t pill over either of the moisturizers I tried it with and worked find with my SPF eye cream, too.
Overall grade: A
Ingredients*: Water, Cyclomethicone, Zinc Oxide, Propanediol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Pentylene Glycol, Magnesium Sulfate, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Fructooligosaccharides, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Pullulan, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Betula Alba Juice, Dipropylene Glycol, Xylitylglucoside, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Rubus Arcticus Callus Extract, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Sodium Hyaluronate
The Murad City Skin Age Defense is my second favorite sunscreen. I like it as much as the make p:rem sunscreen. I think this is the go-to sunscreen for people with tan skin tones.
I really like that it is completely non-whitening. It comes out of the bottle a peach-y color but it isn’t a tint at all. I’ve tried other sunscreens that come out of the bottle a beige-y color and they wear like a tinted moisturizer, this doesn’t. I’ve even had my husband wear this to confirm that it isn’t like a tinted moisturizer; he is several shades darker than I am. This works great for him and doesn’t leave a white cast at all.
Similar to the make p:rem sunscreen, I can feel it on my face all day and I like that feeling because I know it is still on my face. I don’t find either to be very drying. No pilling with this one, either.
Overall grade: A
Ingredients*: Titanium Dioxide 2.7% , Zinc Oxide 10% , Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polyurethane-35, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Xanthophyll, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Bisabolol, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Inositol, Taurine, Betaine, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Silica, Tapioca Starch, Sucrose, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iron Oxides (CI 77491)
I really wanted to like the Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen but I didn’t. This actually has one chemical sunscreen ingredient in it and is only SPF 35. I wanted this to work so badly that I the chemical sunscreen would be okay and I would wear it in the winter. This also leaves a tiny bit of a white cast but not enough that it bothered me. For some reason, this dried my skin out a lot and made it very flake-y. I also didn’t like the very smooth/slick texture. A lot of other reviewers mention this is a good primer under foundation. I can see that it would be.
This uses zinc and octisalate for SPF protection. Octisalate seems to be one of the safer chemical sunscreens with EWG giving it a rating of 4. I was convinced it was safe but then I googled it and panicked.
This is probably better for someone with oilier skin and it might work better for me in the summer. I also didn’t try it in the spring, only in the fall/winter.
Overall grade: C
Ingredients*: Zinc Oxide 15%, Octisalate 5%, Water, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propanediol, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Eriobotrya Japonica Leaf Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum, Sericin, Algae Extract, Lecithin, Inositol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sorbitan Tristearate, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Silica, Potassium Sorbate, Beheneth-20, Sodium Acrylate/Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Dimethylacrylamide Crosspolymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Methicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethiconol, Disodium Edta, Fragrance, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Iron Oxides (Ci77491), Tin Oxide (Ci 77861), Mica (Ci 77019), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).
My original review can be found here. I don’t really have any updates, I still really like this sunscreen. The only thing I will mention is I just realized that mine expired in December 2017. This means that the bottle I received was only good for 9.5 months. I don’t know if this is typical for the Hydropeptide brand or not. Other sunscreen brands that I purchased in 2017, expire in 2019 and 2020. So check the expiration date when you receive the product.
Overall grade: A
Thanks for sticking with me through this long review. If you use a mineral sunscreen that you love, please let me know!
In Part II, I’ll review Farmacy Green Screen, Glossier Invisible Shield, Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense, and Dr Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment.
I’ve also reviewed chemical sunscreens from Asia. That post is here.
Note: None of these products were gifted to me. I paid for them myself.