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  • Writer's pictureRachael Scarr

Face Time

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

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Another very important product on the skincare front is sunscreen. We know it’s important for our body, especially when out in the sun for long periods of time - that’s drilled into us from an early age. We know, a la many a white-nosed lifeguard stock photo, that we should also lather it onto our faces while playing outside or swimming in order to keep from burning. We know what sunscreen helps us prevent and we are most likely to execute its application on beach-filled, activity-laden days…but, where its use is even more important is in the day to day.

Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis is now, luckily, becoming part of our culture and more of the norm. Doctors ask us how often we apply it. Beauty brands mix it in with their moisturizers. People carry it with them in travel sizes for easy application. As a society, we are finally understanding that wearing sunscreen is not only important for the prevention of burning, scarring, and developing cancer, but also for the prevention of dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. And among these lessons, we are also learning how important it truly is to treat our skin with care.

Even when our coolers are stored away and our beach towels are folded in the closet, sunscreen is still imperative. The sun’s pesky UV rays can get to our skin whether we’re lounging on the beach or walking short distances from place to place, whether there’s full cloud coverage forecasted all day or not a single cloud in the sky. Your skin needs protection through it all.

Body sunscreens are important and readily available at any drug store. I certainly have my favorites and my go-tos. But, what I’m on here to talk about this week are facial sunscreens in particular. The skin on our face is treated differently in all other realms of beauty products (facial cleanser, facial moisturizer, facial mask, facial makeup), so why should our sunscreen be any different? Our faces are exposed to toxins and pollutants on the daily and, therefore, are more susceptible to certain cloggings and sensitivities. If I don’t use body lotion on my face, why would I use body sunscreen lotion there?

As this realization comes to light, there are many companies jumping on the band wagon and creating their own versions of facial sunscreen. I do love some of the heavier, generic facial sunscreen products for my fun-filled beach day outings, like Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen. It comes in a larger 3 fl oz tube, ensures ample coverage, and generally keeps my pores from clogging. On beach days I’m not concerned with grease or shine (or makeup), just a strong SPF and a lotion that’s slather-able. However, when I’m applying facial sunscreen on a more daily basis, especially when applying it under makeup (no matter how much or how little I choose to dawn that day), I am more likely to gravitate towards a lighter, smoother, less shiny formula. For this, there are a few products in particular I have come to love and alternate between.

For most of my life I’ve used a Clinique tinted moisturizer as the basis for my makeup application. I enjoy the light coverage that it offers, helping to even out my skin tone without adding too much grease or heaviness. An added benefit for me had always been their SPF 15 label. While it is great that my choice of daily foundation offered some blockage from the sun, in the research I’ve continued to do on the topic, I’ve discovered that it was nowhere near enough protection for my highly susceptible skin. Using formulas with an SPF of 30 or higher is known to be best for guaranteed full skin coverage. In addressing what SPF (sun protection factor) actually means, I also recently learned in a Women’s Health magazine that the number SPF stands for the added amount of time it would take your skin to burn with the lotion than without (i.e. wearing SPF 30 means it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing anything). This also means that proper application is key, and reapplying is necessary (which is always recommended).

Luckily, however, Clinique’s products have also seemed to adapt with the times. Their recent version of a tinted moisturizer is their Moisture Surge CC Cream, offering color correction and a broad spectrum 30 SPF. They also offer an Age Defense BB Cream with SPF 30, an Acne Solutions BB with SPF 40, and a Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator with SPF 25. Because of my combination skin, however, I’m not necessarily always looking for the extra moisture these products provide - especially when it comes to makeup application. I also am not always in the mood for the added color or thickness. (While it prides itself on being minimal, I still find these type of products to be rather heavy and sometimes even suffocating to my skin.) It also has been noted by a few sources, that adding an extra layer of skin protection is helpful regardless (even if your makeup claims to do the job already). But, how do we keep it still from feeling heavy when adding on more product?

Tula Skincare offers a daily sunscreen gel called protect + glow - first recommended to me by my girl Whitney Simmons, who’s a longtime fan of Tula’s products. This was my first time trying their brand and I was not disappointed. The creamy, golden yellow balm boasts a broad spectrum SPF of 30 and provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays, as well as from blue light and pollution. It comes in a smaller 1.7 fl oz tube and is chock full of probiotics and superfoods (like pineapple, papaya, and wild butterfly ginger root) helping to hydrate the skin, strengthen its barrier, and promote even skin tone. Tula’s formula has a bit of a sparkle to it and therefore, in my opinion, creates a significant shine on the face. It’s perfect for creating that coveted dewey look and extra nice if you generally seem to have dryer skin. I like using this product if I’m craving that extra glow and/or going about my day sans makeup, but using it for a daily pre-makeup application provides a bit too much moisture for me - as I typically tend to get greasy in my t-zone throughout the day.

Another one to try, which is my roommate's current fav, is NU Skin Sunright available in both SPF 50 (!) and 30. She loves the way it feels like a moisturizer, doesn't just sit on her skin, and won't smear when layered under her makeup. It's her pick when it comes to protecting her face, and, to quote Sam, "this is coming from a ginger who has worn lots of sunscreen in her life." When trying it for myself as a trial, it did feel a bit greasy on my fingers, but not necessarily on my face. It lingered like a moisturizer in terms of feel, but not shine, which is nice, left no visible residue, and smelled absolutely delicious. Sunright is also water resistant to sweat for up to 80 minutes and is available in a 3.4 fl oz tube for cheaper than the smaller Tula tube.

My absolute favorite product for typical daily pre-makeup facial sunscreen application, however, and another recent discovery of mine, is Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Skin Face Sunscreen. This product is incredibly reasonably priced, touts a 40 SPF broad spectrum label, and is so smooth and gel-like in consistency that it basically melts into the skin upon contact, leaving behind ZERO greasy residue in look or feel (and I mean zero). You barely know it's there! This formula, also available in 1.7 fl oz, provides the perfect base for layering any foundation or primer on top, but also holds up as a base on its own, should you choose to skip foundation and go right in with concealer and/or mascara - my particular routine as of late.

With all three products you’re going to want a nice, even layer all over the skin, as well as re-application every few hours, for best results.

As mentioned in my Good Morning Beauty blog post a few weeks ago, protecting our skin is vital. Each and every person’s skin is unique to their own bodies, and we only get one shot at treating it right. Harsh environmental conditions will naturally try to break down our skin barrier, congesting and clogging it wherever they can. Our job is to combat that as much as possible and give our facial skin the same amount of love and attention we would give to any other part of our body - either external or in.

No matter what kind of facial coverage it is that you want - whether you need more moisture, less shine, some color, none at all, thinner layers, or thick - there are products out there for you to try. Ones that will help you look and feel like your best self. And, ultimately, ones that will provide you with the confidence that you are doing all you can to shield, protect, and treat your very own self. It’s finally the face’s time to shine…or not (your preference). But it’s certainly the face’s time to be properly protected.

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1 Comment

Trudy Raveaux Scarr
Nov 18, 2020

Love all the info. Wish I would have started my skincare routine when I was younger- like much younger. Back then we sat in the sun with oil on our bodies holding foil trifold reflectors to tan our face🌞😳 thanks for introducing me to some new facial sunscreen options!💕😘

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