I’ve spent the last three years searching for the best physical suncreen. For the longest time, I was using the Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 and it’s amazing. The only problem I have with it is that it’s a chemical sunscreen. And to be fair it’s not a sunscreen, it’s a moisturizer with sunscreen. If you’re fine with chemical sunscreens, I’d recommend the Olay any day.
But over time, as I’ve become more conscious about what I’m putting on my skin, I’ve realized that I’m more comfortable with physical sunscreens because I’m uncomfortable with how quickly chemical sunscreens break down and are absorbed into your bloodstream and because, for me, chemical sunscreens cause acne.
So here’s my experience with various sunscreens available in Canada. My skin swings between normal to acne prone during summer, and dry in the winter, so I have to be careful about what I use.
Before I begin let’s all agree that physical sunscreens always produce a white cast. Once you make peace with that fact, you’ll start enjoying physical sunscreens.
La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra Fluid SPF 40
This was one of the first physical sunscreens I ever tried. The good news is that it works so well used alone. I spent an entire summer with no sunburn (I burn before I tan) and a light tan because of this product. The bad news is, it starts pilling when you use it under makeup. It’s a weird formula that feels like a suspension of minerals in liquid, which makes it powdery.
It also has a white cast, as expected with a physical sunscreen. I love using this on a no make up day.
Ultra Violette Queen Screen
Ultra Violette is an Australian company. If anybody knows sunscreens it should be Australians right? I got this product and the next shipped from Australia, when Canada didn’t have enough physical sunscreen options.
This was a product I bought by mistake. I didn’t read the ingredients before I bought it and I realized my mistake only after it had been shipped to Canada. I decided to give it a shot anyway and it broke me out. If your skin can handle chemical sunscreens, this is amazing under makeup. I now use it on my arms and legs.
Btw, this product is highly perfumed; it smells like roses. I kinda like the smell, but if you hate strongly perfumed products, this is an avoid.
Ultra Violette Clean Screen
This was a confusing product because it’s named Clean Screen, except it contains ingredients like Diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate and Methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol. Yeah, try saying that fast ten times. These ingredients are controversial and generally considered safe in small amounts but they also need to be studied a bit more.
The product is amazing under makeup and so far, it hasn’t broken me out yet probably because it doesn’t contain Avobenzene (I suspect Avobenzene breaks me out). But I’m sure I won’t be repurchasing this product. There are so many better options on the market.
The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants
I don’t get the hate for this product! I love this product. The reviews are right; it is thick and it does have a white cast. But it gets absorbed and blends into the skin in like 10 minutes. I’m an olive-tan and 10 minutes after I apply it, it takes on my skin color. You do need to work it into the skin though. Make up applies smoothly on this product and I’m totally in love with it for my every day use.
I usually apply a moisturizer underneath, then the sunscreen, wait for ten minutes and then apply my foundation.
EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44
Now this, this is my holy grail. I get the hype for this product. I love how it sits under my makeup, doesn’t cause Acne breakouts and has a lighter white cast. This is an almost perfect product, except it isn’t. It is very hard to find this product in Canada. Also it does contain some controversial ingredients like Alumina, which you cannot escape.
But in the larger scheme of things, I’d rather use this over Clean Screen.
So far, for the body, I’ve only used the Australian Gold SPF 50 Mineral sunscreen. What I didn’t notice was that it was for kids! So far it has protected me when I use it while wearing a dress or a skirt. They do have a newer version of this sunscreen though.
While it’s almost impossible to find a sunscreen that doesn’t have controversial ingredients, there are some products on my list that I want to try after I finish the sunscreens list above.
I’ve been looking for a natural sunscreen and I remembered reading about an Ayurvedic clinic in NYC that sells clean(er) sunscreen. I finally found the boutique and the product. I can see myself buying the sunscreen when I travel to NYC next time. Unfortunately, they don’t ship internationally.
The ingredient list in this product seems enticing. I need to read more about this product before I purchase it, but I think this will be the next product I buy.
Austalian Gold has been favorite for body sunscreens. They’ve recently launched tinted sunscreen for the face and I’m looking forward to trying it soon.
This seems to be a decent drugstore option for a sunscreen. I almost blindly trust La Roche Posay and Vichy. Their products haven’t failed to date.
Blue Lizard seems to be a new sunscreen brand on the market. It is (surprise, surprise) an Australian brand. This product has popped up on several magazines’ recommendation lists.