I’m white. Not just Caucasian, but, as many photos will attest, literally white. I’ve got the kind of skin tone that burns, freckles, and never tans. I don’t get sun-kissed, I get sun-bitchslapped.
While I used to try and fight nature, earning myself either a sunburn (if I didn’t wear sunblock) or vivid orange streaks all over my body (if I went the fake tanning route), I’ve come to accept that I will always have a pallor so ghostly Casper would be jealous. It’s ok! I’m still great!
Of course, I also have a relatively high risk of skin cancer, so it’s important to me to make sure that I take care of myself when I’m out in the sun. I’m not always great about it – most years I still get at least one sunburn, usually in late spring or early summer on a cool but sunny day. For the most part, though, I’m very diligent about my sun care. I’ve tried a lot of different products with varying levels of success, so here are my thoughts on some of the different products on the market.
I’m not terribly picky about what kind of sunscreen I use for my body. I’m vain, so I’ll splurge a little bit for the stuff that I put on my face, but I don’t really care if my arms and legs are little shiny and greasy looking, or pick up a whitish cast. I prefer cream sunscreens to the spray stuff, just because it’s easier to tell if you miss a spot – Coppertone Waterbabies sunscreen in SPF 75 is my favorite, since it’s nice and thick but still rubs in easily. Admittedly, though, the spray stuff is much faster if you’re out and about, so I’ll usually go with Coppertone Sport for that. It’s great if you’re at the beach and need to reapply, but I go through it much faster than I do the lotion; it’s important to me to be thorough, so I probably overestimate how much I need to use.
For face, I have much stronger preferences about my sunscreens. Below are my go-to, which I've used for a couple of years, as well as a new favorite that just might end up replacing it.
My old favorite is La Roche Posay Anthelios, which is fabulous stuff. It goes on easily and really sinks into the skin, leaving you feeling moisturized but not too greasy. You can use it in place of your moisturizer, especially if you’re already on the oilier side, and your foundation can go right on top of it without sliding off or clumping up. It’s about $30, so not cheap, but a bottle can last you all summer, and it’s worth it if you want a sunscreen that plays well with makeup.
Korean skincare is making massive inroads in the US, and in general I’ve really liked the things that I’ve tried so far. Because I know how seriously many Korean women take sun protection, I thought I would try out a new sunscreen – Missha Waterproof Sunmilk. Although I looked at a number of different K-beauty sunscreens, I got a sample of this one a while back when I bought some sheet masks, and I remember really liking the lightweight texture and how absorbent it was. I've been testing it out for the past couple of weeks, and thankfully, it lives up to my memories! It's fairly thin and liquid, but it absorbs almost immediately and is perfectly matte. It has eucalyptus extract in it, which is supposed to inhibit sebum production (i.e., keep your face from turning into an oil slick as the day goes on), and surprisingly, it actually seems to work. At $18, it’s cheaper than the La Roche Posay, and only slightly more expensive than what you might find in a drug store.
Reapplying sunscreen for your face can be a tough proposition, especially if you wear foundation. Unfortunately I haven't really found an option that works perfectly for me yet, but I'm still searching. I've tried mineral sunscreens in powder form, which seem really ideal - mattify and protect at the same time! Unfortunately, I have yet to come across a version that doesn't oxidize almost on contact, turning my face an unfortunate shade of orange. They're also kind of hit or miss in terms of the level of protection they can provide, since you have to use quite a bit to really hit the level of SPF that they promise, and that can be difficult to do.
One product that I've been looking into recently is a mattifying setting spray with SPF. There are a few out there on the market - Supergoop seems to be a popular brand - but one of the best reviewed is from a brand called Coola. I think I might have to order a bottle of this soon and give it a go.
Do you use sunscreen? (No matter your skin tone, I hope that answer to that question is yes!) What are your favorites?