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As you may have guessed from the excessive sunscreen hauling, I’ve dedicated myself to finding a sunscreen that’s well formulated enough for me to want to use it daily. Wearing a good sunscreen is probably the #1 thing you can do for your skin – it slows down ageing, evens out skin tone, fades scars and of course, prevents skin cancer.
There are two types of sunscreen ingredient: chemical and physical. Both are chemicals (of course), so it’s a little confusing. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV light and turn it into heat, kind of like how black clothes absorb visible light and heat up faster than white clothes. Physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect UV light. There are lots of different chemical sunscreen ingredients, but only two commonly used physical sunscreen ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (though the particles of these come in different sizes). A sunscreen can include either type or both. Very few sunscreens only contain a single sun protection ingredient.
I’m going to be reviewing a whole heap of sunscreens – if you have any suggestions for products to try please let me know!
For reference, my skin is combination normal/oily.
Kosmea Moisturising Lotion SPF30+
Sunscreen ingredients: Zinc Oxide (20%)
Other ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Isoamyl Laurate, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Phenethyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499.
RRP: $47.95 for 50 mL
I really liked this sunscreen. It’s surprisingly light in texture, applies like a moisturiser and sinks in beautifully – no awkward pilling, no weird white cast (it comes as a beige cream which helps). It’s reasonably mattifying too, and it only contains a single physical sunscreen ingredient (zinc oxide) which means it’s a good bet for sensitive skin. It may be a bit drying for people with dry skin, but it worked very well for me, although it did end up feeling a bit mask-like and unbreathable after it sank in. There are also some antioxidant ingredients in there which might help limit any sun damage you end up getting, but it’s got me sold already.
What I liked: Texture, application – pretty much everything!
What I didn’t like: Lack of a UVA rating (though it should be OK due to the high amount of zinc oxide), heaviness after a while
Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF30
Sunscreen ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (7.0%), Zinc Oxide (9.0%)
Other ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dicaprylyl Ether, Butylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Dimethicone, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat), Kernel Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Oxothiazolidine, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Lens Esculenta, (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Lavandula Spica (Lavender) Flower Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil Sodium DNA, Tocopherol , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carbomer, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Bisabolol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Fruit Extract, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium, Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.
RRP: $62 for 50 mL
The sunscreen itself is pretty nice. It’s a little on the greasy/sticky side and has a slight white cast, but it’s easily fixed with a little powder and blotting paper. It’s pleasantly lavender scented and only has physical sunscreen ingredients, meaning it’s a good option for anyone sensitive to chemical sunscreens.
The packaging is where this sunscreen really let me down. You’re supposed to use 1/4 of a teaspoon on your face to get the full SPF value. Unfortunately, this sunscreen comes in a dropper bottle with a teeny tiny hole at the end, so I ended up squeezing too hard, which meant the cap flew off and a third of the bottle spilled all over my dress. I know a lot of people like the dropper bottles for dispensing small amounts of things, but this is sunscreen – 99% of people aren’t applying enough. I do seem to be one of the few people whinging about this, so chances are you won’t get as riled up about this as me!
What I liked: Quite spreadable for a sunscreen formula, pleasant scent, physical only (good for sensitive skin)
What I didn’t like: Packaging, oiliness, slight pilling, pricey, lack of a UVA rating (though it should be OK since it’s all physical).
Verdict so far: Kosmea Moisturising Lotion SPF30+ is the front-runner.
I have a whole lot of sunscreens coming up in this series, including ones from Biore, La Roche-Posay, Alpha-H and Bioderma. I’m always on the lookout for recommendations, so feel free to send suggestions my way!
These products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.