Best Sunscreens for Summer 2018

Time for the annual sunscreen reminder post (originally here!) We Finns tend to loose our shiz when the Sun finally comes after long, dark winter months: everyone's sipping drinks at terraces, sunbathing in parks and swimming in icy cold lakes. We often tend to overlook the importance of sunscreen as most of the year is cold, dark and miserable. But the fact is, if you want to protect your skin - a sunscreen is a must! Today I'm listing some of the sunscreens I've been testing lately and sharing my thoughts.

 Best Sunscreens of 2018 | flatlay | Laura Loukola

How I rate sunscreenS

Not all sunscreens are created equally, that's why I've created a system to measure both protective qualities as well as the enjoyability aka cosmetic elegance of a sunscreen. The truth is, if you don't like applying your SPF you probably won't reach for it and get the needed sun protection. Today I'll talk how easily sunscreen applies, SPF and PA factors, white cast and UV filters (chemical or a physical). Unfortunately I didn't have the change to test them in flash photography, but if that's your concern then I'd go for chemical sunscreens (or sunscreen at all, if it's a very special photoshoot). Personally I'm a big advocate of physical sunscreens as I consider them safer for me and the environment, but I've listed some excellent alternatives in the case physical sunscreens make you to break out or so. I'll be listing the INCI but not analyse it very deeply - if you wish to have a separate and more in-depth product review let me know!

Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream SPF50 PA+++

UV Filters: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
White cast: 3/5
Price: $16 / ~€13.7 for 50ml

I've raved about my favorite Innisfree Eco Safety SPF50 PA+++ in multiple empties posts, online forums and so forth. It's definitely my most reached sunscreen for the past +5 years or so. I've literally gone through +20 tubes of this stuff. Somewhat recently Innisfree revamped and renamed this sunscreen line and now there are alternatives for both oily and dry skin. Personally I use the "Tripple Care", which is also water resistant, but doesn't feel tacky, heavy or difficult to cleanse off. Previously the cream was all white, now it has a slight nude tint and blends into the skin easily. The texture is somewhat thick, but I the finish is non-greasy in my opinion. Excellent for dry to normal skin types, if you're oilier (or hate sunscreen) you might enjoy a thinner texture.

Ingredients:

WATER, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, ZINC OXIDE (CI 77947), DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, DICAPRYLYL CARBONATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), ISODECYL NEOPENTANOATE, NIACINAMIDE, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, MICA (CI 77019), DIMETHICONE, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, METHYL METHACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, METHICONE, PHENOXYETHANOL, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, GLYCERYL CAPRYLATE, FRAGRANCE, DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, STEARIC ACID, POLYGLYCERYL-6 POLYRICINOLEATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, ADENOSINE, IRON OXIDES (CI 77492), TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, BIOSACCHARIDE GUM-1, IRON OXIDES (CI 77491), IRON OXIDES (CI 77499), HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, SACCHAROMYCES FERMENT LYSATE FILTRATE

ACO Sun Dace Fluid Mattifying SPF50+ *

UV Filters: Ethylhexyl salicylate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol, 
White cast: 2/5
Price: ~$23.35 / €20 for 40ml

ACO Sun Dace Fluid Mattifying SPF50+ has both UVA and UVB protection, but the PA is not always listed in European products separately. ACO's facial sunscreens are very cosmetically elegant, perhaps slightly thicker than Japanese sunscreens, but still spread and blend very beautifully. The white cast is minimal as the lotion absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving it smooth and moisturized feel despite its thin texture. As much as I like ACO's SPF50 I wouldn't recommend it to oilier skins as the name is misleading in my opinion - this sunscreen is dewy, borderline shiny and not mattifying at all. The sheen isn't too greasy but if you're prone to sweat or producing oil during the day I'd try the ACO SPF30.

Ingredients:

Aqua, dibutyl adipate, ethylhexyl salicylate, dicaprylyl carbonate, bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, PEG-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, ethylhexyl triazone, nylon-12, nylon 6/12, ethylhexyl benzoate, glycerin, propanediol, methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol (nano), diglycerin, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, glyceryl behenate, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, zinc PCA, phenoxyethanol, cetyl dimethicone, magnesium sulfate, dimethicone, tocopheryl acetate, paraffinum liquidum, decyl glucoside, polyglycerin-3, disodium EDTA, silica, propylene glycol, xanthan gum, sodium hydroxide, tocopherol
 Best Sunscreens of 2018 | flatlay | Laura Loukola
 Best Sunscreens of 2018 | flatlay | Laura Loukola

ACO Sun Face Cream SPF30 *

UV Filters: Ethylhexyl salicylate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate
White cast: 2/5
Price: ~$19.58 / €17 for 40ml

Oddly, this SPF by ACO is slightly thicker in texture than its SPF50 version, but absorbs much nicer into the skin. The lotion spreads easily, leaving the skin smooth to touch, slightly moisturized and not shiny at all. I like it how ACO sunscreens don't feel sticky, tacky or heavy, but as I tend to sweat during the Summer months I prefer more natural/matte sunscreens. This sunscreen isn't advertised as matte, but I'd say it is more matte compared to the SPF50 version. I almost always use SPF50 on my face, but texture-wise I do prefer the ACO Sun Face Cream SPF30. I think I'll run through this tube pretty quickly, but I like having a handbag size SPF to carry with me for re-applying!

Ingredients:

Aqua, octocrylene, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, ethylhexyl salicylate, niacinamide, bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxypheryl triazine, dimethicone, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, propanediol, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, diglycerin, tapioca starch, biosaccharide gum-4, potassium cetyl phosphate, isopropyl myristate, tocopheryl acetate, ethylhexyl triazone, Helianthus annuus hybrid oil, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/ VP copolymer, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, polyglycerin-3, xanthan gum, ascorbyl glucoside, sodium hyaluronate, polymethylsilsesquioxane, algin, citric acid, ubiquirone, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate

Madara SUN 30 Plant Stem Cell Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 30 *

UV Filters: Zinc Oxide
White cast: 2,5-3/5
Price: ~$22.2 / 19€ for 100ml/ 3.38 fl.oz.

I've had mixed feelings about Mádara as some of their products work for me while others don't. They have specific sunscreens for the face (slightly tinted or CC cream -like if I'm not wrong), but I spread this lotion generously on my face without major white cast. It has a lighter texture than the Innisfree and sinks into the skin quickly without being tacky, but leaves a slight slip. There is a veeery faint citrus scent, which doesn't bother me - I prefer this over the regular "sunscreen smell". I'm only concerned why this sunscreen doesn't include Titanium Dioxide - perhaps that's why it's only SPF30? I need to investigate further, but so far I'm very happy and impressed I've found a light eco friendly sunscreen in a large tube that I can spread all over my face, neck, décolleté and arms too. So far the slippy texture hasn't bothered me, but you might notice it when applying foundation.

Ingredients:

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Zinc Oxide, Isoamyl Laurate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Sorbitan Olivate, Beeswax, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Silica, Dracocephalum Ruyschiana (Dragonhead) Cell Culture Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Cellulose, Sodium Chloride,
Sorbitan Caprylate, Aroma, Palmitic acid, Stearic Acid, Propanediol, Benzoic Acid, Aqua, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Sodium phytate, Tocopherol, Potassium Hydroxide, Citral, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene
 Best Sunscreens of 2018 | flatlay | Laura Loukola

Alga Maris Laboratoires de Biarritz 50 UVA UVB CrÈme solaire *

UV Filters: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide
White cast: 4/5
Price: ~$26.7 / €22.9 for 50ml

Alga Maris was a brand I hadn't heard off, but I got a chance to try their SPF50. This is also more "eco" brand, with a physical sunscreen, which I like. If you're very sensitive to coconut derived ingredients this might not be for you, but personally I've loved to use it on my face. The white cast is prominent, but disappears when gently massaged into the skin. The texture is very light lotion, doesn't leave a sticky layer, but feels a bit shiny and slippery. Less so than ACO SPF50, so I think oilier skin types might still enjoy this one. Alga Maris feels very water-resistant and lasts long on the skin. I like to apply this when I know I'll be out and about a lot. The only minus point is the high price tag, but otherwise I'm loving it.

Ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Zinc Oxide, Cocos Nucifera Oil*, Coconut Alkanes, Titanium Dioxide, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter*, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Hydrogenated Vegetable
Oil, Lauroyl Lysine, Alumina, Stearic Acid, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Gelidium Sesquipedale Extract, Maris Aqua, Potassium Olivoyl PCA, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream Broad Spectrum SPF30

UV Filters: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide
White cast: 3/5
Price: $50 / €55 for 30ml

Ingredients:

*Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Shea Butter, 12% Zinc Oxide (Non Nano, Uncoated, Micronized), *Evening Primrose Oil, *Hemp Seed Oil, *Borage Seed Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Olive Oil, *Avocado Oil,*Almond Oil,*Sesame Oil, *Jojoba Oil,*Grape Seed Oil, *Broccoli Oil, ‡Candelilla Wax, *Gum Arabic, *Guar Gum, §Xanthan Gum, *Calendula, *Bilberry, *Chamomile, *Burdock, *Rosemary, *Dandelion, *Rose Hips, *Catnip, *Chickweed, *Neem, *Skullcap, *Ginkgo Leaf, *Linden Flower, *Hawthorn Berry, *Green Tea, *Flax, *Nettle, *Sage, *Marshmallow Root, *Cayenne, *Ginseng, *Peppermint, *Alfalfa, *Vitamin E, Potassium Sorbate, *Benzoin Resin, †Carrot Seed Oil. *CERTIFIED ORGANIC †ORGANIC ‡WILDCRAFTED

I admire Josh Rosebrook and love his skincare line to bits: his cream cleanser, facial oil, balms and hydration mask are some of my HG products. I had heard good things about this SPF and I imagined it would double as an excellent day cream. The white cast is minimal, but if it bothers you there is also a slightly tinted version. The problem is: this is way over my budget for a daily sunscreen. I could pay this much for an excellent serum, but water, shelter and sunscreen are my 3 essentials in life. Secondly, no matter which makeup I use the sunscreen starts to pill on my face. I just can't wear it on my makeup days aka most days.

I bought my bottle from So Natural Beauty and got delivered me 2 small bottles instead of the large one (out of stock at the time). And the pump doesn't work. The shop staff suggested cutting the tube of the pump shorter, but it didn't solve the problem. For this price I want someone to spread the stuff on my face, not battle with a dysfunctional pump. The shop kindly offered to replace the product, but I didn't want to go through the trouble of sending the product back. I'll report back if the other bottle out of the two works better.

Sunscreen Swatches

 Sunscreen swatches

Final Thoughts

I think I've found good contestants for my Innisfree sunscreen. It's still a firm favorite, but I also have fallen in love with the Alga Maris and Madara sunscreens. One of my old favorite sunscreens is a Korean SPF by Goodal, but to my knowledge the same formula is no longer made, so I didn't include it in this post. Although I prefer physical sunscreens I wanted to introduce alternatives as our skins are so different - some break out from physical, some from chemical sunscreens. The spectrum and ingredients play an important factor, but I think finding a sunscreen with enjoyable texture is as extra important. My advice is to sample and test sunscreens to find what suits the best for you and make it a part of your daily routine! 

I've been thinking of doing an updated SPF information post. Would you be interested? Also, let me know what's your favorite facial or body sunscreen at the moment!!

Items marked with an asterisk (*) are kindly gifted for consideration. My thoughts are honest & my own.