8 Sunscreens You'll Want to Wear Everyday
If it wasn’t clear from my last post (published 500 years ago), sunscreen is an everyday essential for me (and it should be for you too if you’re awake during daylight hours!) Coupled with the fact that I’m a beauty blogger, I’ve tried a LOT of sunscreens. Last year alone I tried around 30. Out of all those sunscreens, here are my favorites.
SO how does a sunscreen make it onto my favorites list? First and foremost, there’s no room for a white cast. I have medium/ dark skin, but I feel comfortable saying that none of these sunscreens will leave white casts on skin tones darker than me (I even asked my dad to try some out and he’s a few shades darker than me.) Next, they need to provide superior protection. All the sunscreens on this list have at least SPF 45 PA+++ rating because if I’m taking the time and energy to apply sunscreen, might as well get the best protection. Lastly, they have to feel nice on my skin. No dryness, no thick greasy feel, no gritiness.
If you know me, it’s probably no surprise that all the sunscreens on this list are either Japanese or Korean. The US is years behind in sunscreen regulations; new filters haven’t been approved in almost 20 years. There are some newer sunscreens that are massive improvements on previous iterations, but they’re pricier and still not as nice. Japanese and Korean sunscreens are more elegant on the skin, and more importantly, have more options that don’t leave a white cast on my skin tone. The newer sunscreen filters they utilise are also generally more photostable than the older ones used in American sunscreens— which basically means they’re less likely to break down and become ineffective in the presence of the sun.
Now onto the individual reviews!
OMI Brotherhood Verdio UV Moisture Essence SPF50+ PA++++
Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bisethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus), Octocrylene, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Acrylates / Alkyl Acrylate C10-30 Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Tocopherol Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Carbomer, BHT, Disodium EDTA , Phenoxyethanol
Sunscreen filters: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Bisethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S), Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus), & Octocrylene
Texture: Lotiony consistency. Easily absorbed.
Fragrance: Doesn’t contain fragrance or EOs.
I’m not ranking the sunscreens in this post EXCEPT this one. THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE. It was featured in my summer 2018 favorites as well as my 2018 beauty game changers posts and since then I’ve moved onto tube number 4.
This sunscreen ticks all the boxes! It has no silicone so it doesn’t pill and plays well with every single moisturizer and oil I’ve tried it with. It also has no alcohol so there’s no dry down. On the other hand, it’s quite thin so it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy on my skin. And as it relies on chemical filters, there’s no white cast. It also contains 4 different sunscreen filters and has a PA++++ rating. It absorbs quickly and adds a bit of moisture to my skin (but isn’t super shiny like some other Asian sunscreens.) Besides for the fact that it’s a little hard to get my hands on, it’s a 5/5 product for me!
Isehan Mommy! UV Aqua Milk SPF50+ PA++++
Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hexyl Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Benzoate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Jojoba Seed Oil, Glucosylceramide, Acerola Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Raspberry Extract, Bisethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diphenyl Phenyl Trimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ppg-7 / Peg-30 Phytosterol, Peg-30 Phytosterol, Peg-10 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, (Dimethicone / Phenyl Vinyl Dimethicone) Crosspolymer, Alpha - Glucan Oligosaccharides, Betaine, (Acrylates / Alkyl Acrylate (C10-30)) Crosspolymer, Carbomer , Hydroxide K, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, (Acrylates / Itaconic Acid Steareth-20) Copolymers, Peg-5 Phytosterols, Disodium Edta, Butylene Glycol, BHT, Dextrin
Sunscreen filters: Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (Oxtinoxate), Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinal A Plus), & BisEthylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S)
Texture: Like an airy cream. Feels moisturizing when patted in.
Fragrance: Doesn’t contain fragrance or EOs.
Isehan’s Mommy! UV SPF 33 sunscreen was my favorite sunscreen circa 2017— it had the cutest packaging too! Unfortunately, it didn’t provide the highest level of sun protection so I gave it the boot. Thankfully, this sunscreen with higher protection is another winner!
For a “milk” sunscreen, it’s not particularly runny. It’s rather like a lightweight cream with some moisturizing power. It’s been rather humid and damp lately so my skin doesn’t need as much moisturizing power. As a result, I can skip using an oil and will wear moisturizer + this sunscreen cause the combo is enough to keep my skin happy throughout the day. If you have oily skin, this sunscreen might be a little bit too much for you. But if you have normal/ dry skin, it’s a great option to lock in your skincare!
Make P:rem Capsule Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA+++
$19.99+ for 75 mL/ 2.53 fl oz via eBay
Ingredients: Water, Homosalate, Butylene Glycol, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Behenyl Alcohol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Niacinamide, Betula Alba Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Water, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Asparagus Officinalis Stem Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Leaf/Stem Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyacetophenone, Caprylyl Glycol, Tromethamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Propanediol, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Lecithin, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lysolecithin, Phytosterols, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Polyacrylate, PEG-8, PPG-1-PEG9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, Phytic Acid, Calcium Gluconate, Gluconolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance (Parfum)
Sunscreen filters: Homosalate, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, & Avobenzone
Texture: Thin and kind of goopy? Turns instantly invisible as you rub it in.
Fragrance: Does contain fragrance but is not too noticeable.
This sunscreen has been discontinued and brought back so many times, I have no idea of its current status. As Glow Recipe has stopped curating brands, I’m not sure if it will ever be back readily in the US. But I’m reviewing it anyways in case someone is able to get their hands on it!
This is everything I wanted Glossier’s Invisible Shield to be. They both have an almost chunky consistency when dispensed and then turn completely invisible as you start to rub it in. It’s a really good option for POC who are worried about spending too much time patting in their sunscreen. Not only does this provide superior protection to Glossier’s Invisible Shield, but it also is NOT prone to pilling! Similar to invisible shield, it feels very light on the skin (but not drying) and could work with all skin types, in my opinion. It wears beautifully under makeup and I don’t get any product bunching up around my forehead and jawline.
Country & Steam Honey UV Water Gel SPF50 PA++++
$17.90 for 45 g via Beautius
Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Propanediol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Zinc Oxide, Methyl Laurate Heptyl, Titanium Oxide, Dimethicone, Honey, Royal Jelly, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Soluble Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid Na, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Acetyl Hyaluronate Na, Althea Root Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract, Glycyrrhizic Acid 2k, Jojoba Leaf Extract, Lavender Flower Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Hagoromoguza Leaf Extract, BisEthylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Diisostearyl Malate, Al Hydroxide, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Stearic Acid, Phenol Ethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polyhydroxy Stearic Acid, Jojoba Esters, Perfume, Xanthan Gum, Bg, Arginine, Phytic Acid, Silver Oxide
Sunscreen filters: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus), Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, & BisEthylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S)
Texture: Light lotion— turns invisible quickly.
Fragrance: Contains fragrance and is definitely the most heavily fragranced sunscreen mentioned in this post. It has a heavy, honey smell.
This is another sunscreen that becomes essentially invisible once you rub it into your skin. It’s a bit more substantial than the Make P:rem sunscreen but still very light. If I’m applying a heavy oil prior to this sunscreen, I’ll make sure I give the oil a few minutes to absorb otherwise there may be some pilling. But paired with lighter oils, this sunscreen wears easily! I also love that it contains honey and royal jelly because both are so soothing. I’ve used this when my skin has been a little bit sunburnt and all the soothing ingredients helped in calming down the redness from the burn.
If you don’t like fragranced skincare, stay away from this because it has a strong scent that lingers for a few minutes. On the converse side, if fragrance uplifts your skincare experience and you HATE the smell of sunscreen— this is a good option that will help remove your negative sunscreen scent memories!
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50 PA ++++
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Butylene Glycol, Dibutyl Adipate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Silica, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Panthenol, Beta-Glucan, Disodium EDTA, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Sodium Hyaluornate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil
Sunscreen filters: Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus) & Ethylhexyl Triazone (Uvinul T 150)
Texture: Moussey but still lightweight.
Fragrance: No synthetic fragrance but does contain orange essential oil. Not too noticeable of a scent.
Value wise, this is the best sunscreen in this post. You get almost 3 (!!) oz of product with this sunscreen— in comparison most American sunscreens come with 1.5 - 2 oz of product (and with heavier formulas and less stable filters, might I add.)
My brother is not big on sunscreen and I was able to convince him to wear this daily in place of moisturizer because it felt comfortable on his skin. It basically just feels like a standard, every day moisturizer. The no frills packaging, light scent, and comfortable formula make it universally appealing. SO if you have a friend or family member who wants a minimal routine, you can recommend them this for daytime use!
Krave Beauty The Beet Shield
$20.00 for 50 mL via Krave Beauty
Ingredients: Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Dibutyl Adipate, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Alcohol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate, Polysilicone-15, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Methylpropanediol, Isohexadecane, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Polysorbate 80, Lithospermum Erythrorhizon Root Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Sorbitan Oleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Resveratrol
Sunscreen Filters: Uvinul A Plus, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T 150
Texture: Thin, liquidy, runny.
Fragrance: Doesn’t contain any fragrance or EOs.
I already have a whole post dedicated to this sunscreen sooo I won’t re-hash things here.
Missha All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF45/PA+++ (2018 version)
Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl salicylate, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Olivate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Acrylates/ Dimethicone Copolymer, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Rosa Davurica Bud Extract, Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Extract, Chrysanthemum Indicum Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract ‧Moisturizer, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Morus Alba Fruit Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana Water, Limonia Acidissima Extract Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water, Thymus Vulgaris Leaf Water Helichrysum Italicum Flower Water, Sorbitan Olivate, Sodium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 60, Dimethicone, Polyacrylate-13, PEG-100 Stearate, Polyisobutene, Sorbitan sesquioleate, BHT, Sorbitan isostearate, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol , Fragrance
Sunscreen Filters: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid (Ensulizole), Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus), & BisEthylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S)
Texture: Light cream
Fragrance: Does contain fragrance and has a noticeable smell. But it’s not too strong nor does it linger.
Missha keeps repackaging/ slightly altering the formula of this sunscreen. As someone who has tried 3 different iterations… I would say they’re all basically the same. The difference in the ingredients lists is minimal and I don’t see any difference in their performance.
This was the first Asian sunscreen I tried and I’ve kept repurchasing it over the past 4 years. It’s easily accessible to me through Amazon Prime (or oo35m if you live near NYC.) It’s moisturizing, but still relatively light. I can comfortably wear it in the summer without my face feeling sticky. The packaging and product itself also holds up well in the heat. I keep a tube in the glove compartment of my car in case I forget to apply sunscreen in the morning. Even in the heat, the sunscreen maintains its texture.
Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA+++
Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dipropylene Glycol, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Butylene Glycol, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, INCI(X) Carbonated Water, Dimethicone, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan Oleate, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Fragrance
Sunscreen Filters: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Octocrylene, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone), & BisEthylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S)
Texture: Light, lotiony, a lil’ bit runny
Fragrance: Contains fragrance— smells a little fruity? But again, the scent is not too strong.
This sunscreen is a big hit on Instagram and for good reason! It has a thin, lotiony consistency and absorbs super quickly making it perfect for all skin types— from oily to dry as the Sahara. It feels like next to nothing on my skin. Plus, it’s easy to purchase in the US through Amazon Prime.
This is another sunscreen that wears beautifully under makeup. Because it’s thin and absorbs easily, it doesn’t make me feel like I have extra layers of product under my foundation. It also gives a lil’ bit of a dewy/ glowy finish!
I hope this post has helped you find a sunscreen that works for you! Sunscreen is the most basic skincare that everyone should apply. Skin cancer is no joke and if you can protect yourself from it, why not! I’ll be doing a follow up blog post at some point featuring some American sunscreens so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!