If you read my last blog post - 9 step Asian skin Care routine then you understand how important sunscreen is to your daily skin care routine. I thought I would share what some of the best sunscreens available in the West are - Korean/Japanese sunscreens tend to be lighter but there are some very good western ones available - here is my list
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 30
Before I fell in love with Japanese sunscreens, I used to really like Neutrogena’s Dry Touch sunscreen. It’s funny because while it was really thick, once it goes on the skin, it leaves a matte finish and doesn’t feel heavy at all. The Ultra Sheer Clear Face sunscreen is much lighter than the Dry Touch; in fact it’s quite watery. Like the Dry Touch, this also leaves a matte finish on the skin and doesn’t make the skin look like an oily frying pan. The Clear Face sunscreen doesn’t come in higher SPF like the Dry Touch’s SPF 50 but comparing the two, I much prefer this.
Cancer Council Kids Sunscreen SPF 50+
This is slightly thicker than the rest of the sunscreens mentioned here but even so, it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin once the cream is blended properly on the skin. I prefer to use this on my body but I’ve had no issues using this on my face and neck either. I much prefer the Kids version compared to the other versions by Cancer Council because it’s lighter and better yet, it doesn’t smell of sunscreen. This doesn’t contain any less sun protection ingredients than the adult version but the dosage should reflect the size of an adult.
Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30*
I used this ages ago as my sunscreen and as I use it today, I remember why I liked it back then and still like using it now. It’s light, it’s pleasantly fragranced (no stinky sunscreeny smell) and makeup easily applies over it.
Dermalogica UltraCalming Super Sensitive Shield SPF 30
This is the only physical sunscreen in the mix with its active ingredients as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It’s also by far the lightest and easiest physical sunscreen I’ve tried. It’s hard to love physical sunscreens because so many of them are incredibly thick and gloopy so to me, this is truly a gem.
Dermalogica mediBac Oil Free Matte SPF 30
When it comes to lightweight Western sunscreens, I can’t recommend the ones by Dermalogica enough. I’ve used bottles of this and love it. It has a very light texture and goes on the skin matte. If you have oily to combination skin, you’ll like this one.
Nivea Sun Light Feel Every Day Sun Lotion SPF 30
This is a very lightweight sunscreen that blends and absorbs very quickly onto the skin. I was pleasantly surprised at how light this sunscreen is because I’ve tried the other sunscreens by Nivea and I wasn’t a fan. Now this one I can certainly get on board with. This is dry to the touch once absorbed.
Banana Boat Sport Cool Zone SPF 50+ Clear Spray
I don’t normally advocate sunscreens that come in an aerosol can because you need a hell lot more sunscreen that what you can spray on your skin. However, I’ve added this to the list because it also comes in a very handy bag-friendly size that you can keep in your bag at all times. We often don’t reapply sunscreen once we’ve had our initial layer on, so this will do the trick. It will not provide sufficient UV protection unless you spray A LOT of it on your skin but some protection is better than no protection at all.
When it comes to Western sunscreens, good ones to go for are sunscreens meant for children and/or sensitive skin. They’re often fragrance-free (they don’t have that godawful sunscreen-y scent that most of us dislike), lighter in texture and consistency and are free of preservatives. This also means that you cannot keep these sunscreens for long. You’re meant to change sunscreen at least annually anyway regardless of whether you’ve finished up a tube or not so this shouldn’t be a problem. As these sunscreens are lighter, they won’t be icky and greasy, which will make you WANT to reapply after a couple of hours.
I hope this helps in your search for great sunscreens to wear under your makeup. While they’re not as light as Japanese/Korean sunscreens, these are still good ones to use and ones that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Remember that it’s not just the face and neck that need sunscreen; your arms, legs and areas that are exposed need them too!