SKINCARE | The Best and the Not So Great Sunscreens Round Up 2023 with “Swatches”

Sunscreen Review

Some press samples (indicated with *)

It’s that time again where every day is a new sunscreen to try! I actually try to be really careful now of keeping track of my sunscreens since they expire so as much as I wanted to do a little Korean beauty sunscreen haul to review for you, it will most likely not be until next summer as I have more than enough sunscreen to use for the next year! I am not on the press lists for any Korean beauty brands/stores, but if one or two sunscreen REALLY pique my interest then mayyyybe you will see it here (*ahem* Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun)!

Paula’s Choice Youth Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50*
Paula's Choice Youth Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 Review

This is not a new sunscreen to me as I tried it years ago, but ended up having to throw it out as it had expired before I could really use it regularly. This is a super lightweight and water-like chemical sunscreen that rivals Asian sunscreen! Light enough to be layered with moisturizer, but hydrating enough to be used as your moisturizer/sunscreen step, this is a fantastic summer choice as it dries down to a matte texture. This is what I want in the summer! It also contains a number of really nice skincare ingredients in the top half of the ingredients list like Vitamin E and chamomile, green tea and grapeseed extracts. All in all, I don’t know why I didn’t continue using this years ago because the texture is just lovely!

Paula’s Choice Healthy Glow Invisible Sunscreen Oil SPF 30*

Paula's Choice Healthy Glow Invisible Sunscreen Oil SPF 30 Review

I was super intrigued with this new sunscreen oil from Paula’s Choice because any skincare lover would be curious about a different texture for a product category we all know and love so well! I have only tried one other sunscreen oil from Supergoop! and I just remember that it wasn’t for me though I can’t quite remember why as it was back in 2015 (I remember the year because I picked it up from Sephora Bellevue when I was still working for Tata Harper). 

This sunscreen oil is unique as you get your sun protection in the form of a nourishing oil which hydrates and supports the skin barrier. This waterless formula is wonderful on dry skin and even though at first it feels like too much oil, it actually sinks in beautifully and leaves skin with a dewy finish. So, don’t let the oil scare you! If you need to apply makeup right away then maybe choose another sunscreen, but if you have a good 10 minutes to spare or are just taking it easy with makeup for the day, this sunscreen is perfect for those who love a glowy finish.

Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40

SunSupergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40 Review

I am a big Supergoop! fan and though Glowscreen has been out for awhile, I wanted to only purchase it once I had gone through a few sunscreens. I ended up getting this during the Sephora VIB event back in April and initially, I was quite disappointed. While the formula is fairly lightweight, I found the pearlescent finish horrifically unflattering on me. It accentuated every bit of texture I had and even looked like I had accumulated texture in certain areas of my skin. I thought I would enjoy wearing this on my days off when I wanted a bit of glow, but instead I much prefer this under makeup/as a primer. The instructions say that as an SPF hack to “use this as a highlighter”, but let’s remember that if you are going to do this, DON’T do what Gwenyth Paltrow did and use SPF solely “on the high points of your skin”. Please already have applied your sunscreen to your whole face and then use Glowscreen as a highlighter!

Burt’s Bees Firming Day Lotion SPF 30*

Burt's Bees Firming Day Lotion SPF 30

Though I still prefer the texture of chemical sunscreens, I am never opposed to using a physical sunscreen as I have been pleasantly surprised in the past. The new Burt’s Bees Renewal collection features bakuchiol in their moisturizer along with an SPF 30 which I thought was convenient as this SPF alone is a feature that would make me use this more. As I always dread, this is a thick one. This takes a bit of time to work into the skin and it leaves a slight white cast. I only wear this if I am wearing foundation on top as I do not like how ashy my skin looks. It is definitely more lightweight than other mineral sunscreens I have tried, but still does not hold a candle to the texture of the other chemical sunscreens in this post. I know there is a big market for physical sunscreens so I will say that this is one of the nicer ones though the best mineral sunscreen for me is still the La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen because it feels JUST like a chemical sunscreen in terms of texture and is so lightweight, I can barely feel it on my skin!

Clarins UV 50 Sunscreen Multi-Protection*

Clarins UV 50 Sunscreen Multi-Protection

Now, we move back into one of the innovators and leaders in sunscreens and that is Clarins! This is a silky, oil-free chemical sunscreen with that classic Clarins scent (I find it VERY comforting) that has been a pleasure to use both on its own and underneath makeup. On the skincare side, this also contains Clarins’ Anti-Pollution Complex which is meant to defend against environmental stressors and fight free radicals. As you can see from the swatch below, this is a very fluid, lightweight texture with a dry touch finish. This also comes in a tinted version, but the translucent version, that I have, just vanishes right into the skin so if you are worried about the tint not being *quite* the right shade, go with the translucent! 
Sunscreen Review
Sunscreen Review

And there you have it! Five of the sunscreens that I have been using for the past two months – some meh, but mostly AMAZING! What have you been using?

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