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Updated Skincare Routine and Testing: Cleansers and Toners

November 6, 2017

Favorite Face Cleansers and Toners | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I’ve compiled a series of posts on my updated skincare routine and testing. Skincare routines are challenging for me to write about as I am frequently testing new things and I like to switch things up on a regular basis. Since moving from California to Florida my skin has had quite a time trying to adjust to new climates and water conditions. My skin has become truly combination as the weather can make me a bit oily outdoors but the water dries out my skin. I’ve always had sensitive skin and that has pretty much remained the same – I usually react immediately if I have any kind of allergic reaction and then it takes at least a full week for my skin to recover. Luckily with cleansers I’ve had no reactions with what I’ve tested and I’m kicking off my skincare series with cleansers and toners.

I have a rather complex cleansing routine and you definitely don’t need to have one this complex. In the mornings I use one cleanser and then follow with one toner. In the afternoons after workouts or in the evening I definitely double cleanse on a regular basis, sometimes I triple cleanse with an exfoliator added to the routine (scrubs and exfoliators will be covered in a separate post). To try and help simplify things I’ve split all my testing this year by category. At the end of the post I’ll list my top picks and recommendations.

Cream and Gel Cleansers

Favorite Cleansers Sisley, Kate Somerville, L'Occitane, Glamglow, Saturday Skin | The Beauty Look Book

I prefer traditional liquid cleansers because I find they lather best to really clean the skin (vs gels, balms or oils). Ones I’ve been testing this year along with some tried and true favorites:

  • Sisley Phyto-Blanc Lightening Foaming Cleanser * ($130 for 3.8 oz/108 g) is a creamy gel cleanser that has a foaming quality when you add water. It’s gentle but effective and does help give the skin a more glowing look to it. It removes excess oil without stripping the skin and doesn’t make the face feel tight after rinsing. Key ingredients according to their website includes white mulberry and scutellaria extracts to lighten the complexion, lemon extract to tone and restore radiance, vegetable glycerine to moisturize, lavender essential oil to sooth and balance and marjoram essential oil to soothe.
  • Kate Somerville cleansers in general are my favorite because they work the best for my skin type and are affordable for the quality and performance. I often have to rotate skincare because my skin gets used to a product and then I find it becomes less effective. This is not the case with Kate Somerville. My husband also uses these and my brother who is in his early 20’s with sensitive skin also loves these as well.
    • EradiKate Daily Cleanser Acne Treatment ($19 for 1.7 oz/50 ml to $38 for 4 oz/120 ml) is the best for clearing up the skin. It is part of the EradiKate line with sulfur which is their line that helps with acne and blemishes. It’s meant for oily combination skin, but if you’re dry I think it’s still suitable for weekly use or during times you have break outs. Often times anti-acne skincare is too strong for me and ends up stripping my skin so much. This does not dry me out. Ingredients here.
    • Gentle Daily Wash ($36 for 4 oz/120 ml, also available in a larger 16 oz size with pump at Nordstrom) is the best everyday kind of gentle wash. I use it in the morning frequently and in the evenings as well. This is my brother’s favorite. Ingredients listed here.
    • Exfolikate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash ($38 for 4 oz/120 ml) is a exfoliating cleanser but doesn’t feel like a scrub. It has AHAs and natural fruit enzymes to purify the skin. If you’re looking for an exfoliating wash that doesn’t have scrubby particles this is a great one. Regular use for me helped improve texture and glow. Ingredients listed here.
  • Glamglow SUPERCLEANSE™ Clearing Cream-to-Foam Cleanser * ($32 for 5 oz/150 g) is the new formula and packaging of their Supercleanse Cleanser. I really loved the original version and was really upset to find there was a new one. I still prefer the original version because I found it stronger and better for clarifying and reducing redness. The new one is still good but it’s creamier, a little more gentle and almost feels like it’s hydrating. It has a pore refining triple charcoal complex with three charcoals: coconut, ubame white oak, and gray bamboo, all designed to detox skin. Mediterranean clays absorb oils to mattify skin and restore balance. I just think the original was better. Ingredients listed here.
  • Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser * ($80 for 5.1 oz/150 ml) is one of the most hydrating cleansers I’ve tried. It has a cream feel with a cream finish to the skin. It’s a detoxifying cleanser and almost has a cooling hydrating feel once you rinse it off. Skin is left feeling refreshed and hydrated. If you want to try this in a smaller size you can find it in the Holiday Cracker duo the or on Omorovicza’s site you can create your own custom mini travel trio. I would not recommend this for oily skin. My husband and I like to use this on our triple cleanse days to add moisture. Ingredients listed here.
  • Saturday Skin Rise + Shine Purifying Cleanser ($26 for 4.05 oz) is something I tried and liked, but didn’t love. I think it’s a good basic purifying cleanser, but there’s not really anything special that it did for my skin. It has apple and peach extracts which are supposed to remove impurities without stripping. It is paraben-free, sulfate-free, synthetic fragrance-free, synthetic color-free if these factors are important to you. It does a good job at cleaning the skin without drying.
  • L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Foaming Cleansing Cream * ($39 for 4.2 oz) was something I previously reviewed here. Quick recap is that it’s a great cleanser that gentle and soothing  on the skin. I’m nearly done with a tube. It does have a soft scent that you find in the Immortelle line but it’s not strong and does not irritate my skin.
  • Huxley Secret of Sahara Be Clean Be Moist Cleansing Gel ($30 for 6.76 oz) was something I purchased from Nordstrom when they had the Korean Beauty Pop Up. They no longer carry it but you can find it now at Saks Fifth Avenue. This is one of the most gentle gel cleansers I’ve used. It is a hydrating cleanser but doesn’t leave a film on the skin and it leaves the skin feeling very clean. In general I find I don’t really like gel-like cleansers as they don’t lather as well as others. This one is one I used up entirely and liked, but I prefer Kate Somerville and Sisley.

Toners + Cleansing Waters

Face Toner and Cleansing Water Favorites La Mer, Sisley, Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Erborian

Finding good toners that don’t cause my entire face to flare up has been a challenge. My three go-to’s below:

  • Sisley Botanical Floral Toning Lotion * ($103 for 8.4 fl oz/250 ml) is one of the best toners I’ve tried. It’s an alchohol free toner that is designed for dry/sensitive skin, but suitable for my normal combination skin. Since the water here in Florida tends to dry out my skin having a slightly moisturizing toner works well for me as the water strips my face and the toner helps rebalance everything. It has rose extracts, cornflower and witch hazel. The rose scent is super soft and soothing. I’m super picky about rose scents. The By Terry line is excellent but their skincare is often too strong in scent for me (I’m ok with the lip products though). The Sisley toner is soothing and softening. I’ve accumulated minis from GWPs and have been hoarding them.
  • Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion ($9.90 to $16.90) is the best toner I’ve used under $25. It’s soothing and softly hydrating. I’ve bought several travel-sized options which is still a bit pricey but cheaper than high-end brands. Ingredients online at Beautylish.
  • La Mer The Tonic ($90 for 6.7 oz) has been one of my favorite toners for years. I can’t recall how many bottles I’ve purchased. It helps to rebalance the skin and make it feel completely refreshed and clean. I hate repurchasing it though because it’s so expensive. It does last a long time but the price is always a huge ouch to the wallet. Ingredients listed here.
  • Another not shown:
    • Darphin Intral Toner is another favorite to soothe skin and help with redness. It doesn’t sting even on sensitive days. I’ve actually been a fan of multiple products from the Intral Line including the Sunscreen and Mousse Cleanser.

Cleansing Waters have been in my skincare rotation for years. I find using these in the evenings to remove makeup really help improve clarity of my skin if I use in conjunction with a regular cleanser.

  • Bioderma makeup removers have been great for gentle makeup removing. I’ve tried multiple formulas that I’ve ordered from Beautylish. I really like that they have small travel sizes which are convenient to pack for short trips. The Sensibio H20 is the most gentle, Hydrabio H20 is for dry skin, Sebium H20 is for oily skin. None of these remove waterproof mascara or eye makeup for me, but they do work nicely to remove face makeup. I still need to do a regular cleanse with a regular cleanser but doing a double cleanse with a cleansing water or oil first really helps to make sure all traces of makeup are washed off and gone. Ingredients are all listed on Beautylish.
  • La Roche-Posay Micellar Water ($19.99 for 400 ml, available at Dermstore, Ulta, La Roche-Posay) is a great all purpose cleansing water. It does a really good job at removing face makeup – it’s more effective at removing makeup than the Bioderma for me. It’s gentle but effective. It doesn’t leave a film on the skin. It comes in multiple size options. Ingredients at Dermstore.
  • La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water ($50 to $90 for 3.4 oz to 6.7 oz) is something I had high hopes for. I ordered mine from Nordstrom and it’s lasted a long time. I think it’s a great cleansing water, but you can get something similar or just as good for a lot less. Still I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try it. Ingredients listed here.
  • Erborian Cleansing Micellar Water ($26 for 6.4 oz/190 ml) is another great cleansing water that I tried. It’s a three-in-one like many other micellar waters to remove makeup, refresh and clean the skin. It feels more fresh than others although performance is very similar to others I’ve tried. Ingredients here.
  • Other favorites not shown:

Cleansing Oils

Cleansing Oils Shu Uemura, Tatcha, Sunday Riley | The Beauty Look Book

Cleansing Oils are also fun to use. I like these for the double or triple cleanse to dissolve and remove face makeup before I wash the face. Sometimes I’ll use a cleansing oil, follow with cleansing water + cotton pad and then use a regular cleanser.

  • Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils * were previously reviewed in this post here. You can find all the details plus a special Shu Uemura promo code for beauty look book readers. Ingredients for all the oils in my original review post.
  • Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 for 150 ml) has been a long-time go to for years. It has a mix of Camellia and Rice Bran oils and is super gentle with a hydrating finish. It removes all face makeup well. You can find smaller trial/travel sizes in a number of Holiday Gift Sets. Also in a few duos at Sephora. Ingredients at Tatcha.
  • Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil * ($38 for 3.4 oz/100 ml) is one that I didn’t like for my skin. I found it a bit too drying for my skin type. If you have normal or oily skin you will probably like this. It is very effective and rinses off well without leaving a film. Skin is left smooth and completely clean, just a little too tight for me. Ingredients here.

Cleansing Balms and Solid Cleansers

Cleansing Balms and Solid Cleansers | The Beauty Look Book

Balm Cleansers have a melting effect on the skin. They are often solid or thick and once you work it into the face it melts and transforms into a balm or oil. I have mixed feelings about these. I feel like they are better suited for normal to dry skin. They often have a creamy moisturizing finish on the skin, almost like a film of moisture. I often follow with a regular cleanser after to make my skin feel more clean.

  • L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cleansing Balm * ($44 for 2.3 oz) was reviewed here. I like this for a super relaxing feel on the face.
  • Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser ($60 for 3.2 fl oz/100 ml) is a new cleanser from Eve Lom similar to their classic  Cleanser but in a pump with a hybrid gel-to-balm like finish. This has a similar oil/balm like formula. It has clove oil, Egyptian chamomile oil, grapeseed oil and eucalytus oil. This one has antiseptic properties for healing and protection. It has a rich moisturizing feel with a strong scent, but it’s not irritating. If you have normal to dry skin but found the regular solid Cleanser too rich, give this one a try. Ingredients at Space NK.
  • Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy * ($34 for 3.2 oz/90 ml) is probably my favorite melt away balm cleanser that I’ve tried. It has a similar gentle feel to the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm which I liked but found it didn’t take off all my face makeup. The Farmacy is more effective at removing my foundation, powder and blush and leaves the skin feeling very soft. Ingredients here.
  • Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm * is something I got in a mini. It comes highly rated by online reviews but did not work for me. I found it too rich and oily feeling. I couldn’t get it to rinse off properly with just my hands and after reading the instructions I found you have to use a wash cloth to remove. I tried it with that method and it did come off, I still found it left a film on my skin. For me it was too rich. Ingredients here.

So after this year’s testing so far my favorites have remained my favorite cleansers are from Kate Somerville. I find all the ones I’ve tried to be the most effective yet gentle for my super sensitive skin. They work well to remove dirt, makeup and impurities and keep my skin clear and smooth. I really can’t pick one – every one I’ve tried works well. Still with the heat, humidity, sun, and long-wear makeup a single cleanser can’t remove everything 100%. My favorite cleansing water is still the Lancome Micellar Cleansign Water (I’ve used up two bottles this year) although I’ve really been enjoying La Roche Posay as well. Bioderma is still very good and remains a classic but sometimes it’s nice to try new things. In terms of cleansing oils, I rediscovered the Shu Ueumura ones this year and have been pleasantly surprised. I have reviewed and used up the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil which I feel is one of the best ones I’ve tried alongside Tatcha’s. I haven’t repurchased the SK-II as I’m trying to work my way through other formulas. When it comes to balms or solid cleansers I think they are definitely interesting and there are a number of great options – I’m still one that prefers liquid ones instead.

That wraps up Part 1 of my updated skincare routine and testing. I tried to link ingredients where I could find them for each product. I’ll hope to have the rest of my skincare posts up before the end of the month to cover exfoliating scrubs, moisturizers, masks and face mists. If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.

As always I’d love to hear what your favorite face cleansers are!

Press samples and GWPs indicated with a *.

 

Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Sunscreen Testing Part 2: Face Formulas

June 5, 2017

Summer Sunscreens for the Face Sensitive Skin | The Beauty Look Book

Shown above: Beach tray by Gray Malin, sunglasses from Jcrew, pouch by Goyard

I have Part 2 of my sunscreen testing to share today. Historically I’ve neglected using a separate sunscreen for the face thinking often times either my moisturizer or foundation with SPF was sufficient. I also react to a lot of skincare with red bumps. Not knowing exactly what ingredients caused an allergic reaction also prevented me from using face sunscreen diligently. This changed once I discovered some really good formulas from Kiehl’s, Eve Lom and Tatcha which were lightweight, unscented and suitable for my sensitive skin.

The Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen has been my most used sunscreen for the face because I found it really smoothed everything out, didn’t break me out, doubled as a pore smoother, worked well under foundation and helped protect my skin. Chanel UV Essential in the SPF 50 was a go-to for years because of the lightweight fluid texture. It did not do the best with running or sports if any sweating occurred and stung the eyes pretty bad. I’ve tested other formulas and brands by popular request and specific recommendations from readers. I wanted to find alternatives with higher SPF that would also suit my husband’s taste but in the end we each have our favorites which is ok because we have completely different skin types. As I age I’m being more proactive about protecting my skin. Still when it comes to sunscreen it’s overwhelming for me to discern what’s good vs. bad. The effective ingredients vs. necessary combination of ingredients for a stable product. Everyone has a different opinion and with all the information to sort through I’ve gone through a mix of reading other reviews, getting individual recommendations and also just testing items myself.

If you have any expert opinions please chime in the comments. Any information or details would help! Note that these are simply what I tested on my own to see what was suitable for my skintype. I wanted to see what worked well with foundation and also which ones held up the best under different weather conditions. I’ve split the 11 I tested into two categories. One is chemical and the second is physical. This is based on the ingredients although there was 1 formula I was unsure of which you’ll see below.

Part 1: Sunscreens with either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide or both, most of these are considered physical or mineral sunscreens which you can find more information about here. I’ll list the active ingredients as they are labeled on each bottle. Note that formulas are subject to change so this is what is on each product as of the date of this post. With body sunscreens most formulas come in multiple sizes which is why I didn’t list the prices/weight in the body sunscreen post. However it seems more of the face formulas come in a single size. I’ll list the current prices and sizes below for reference.

Mineral Physical Face Sunscreens with Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Both | The beauty look book

Shown above include sunscreens that don’t have a white cast, aren’t thick, are suitable for my sensitive skin and hold up relatively well to humid weather conditions. There is some humidity where pretty much nothing will hold up. We got rained on in Orlando twice with some warm summer showers and I don’t think anything stayed on. However with two full days in Disneyworld we used the Supergoop! Mineral (my mother in law used this one), Glossier Invisible Shield (I used this one), La Roche-Posay (husband used on the face) and the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF50 on the body (me and the hubby used this) and I’m happy to report we didn’t get burned a single bit.

  • Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream with Omega-3 and Omega-6 – Light/Medium
    • Broad Spectrum SPF35, PA+++
    • $32 for 1.6 fl oz/47 ml (also available in two other shades)
    • Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 2%, Zinc Oxide 20% (full ingredients listed on Supergoop!)
    • I know BB creams and CC creams are huge in the beauty world. I’ve never found one I liked until this one. Most are just too thick in formula, too sheer or just simply the wrong shade with SO MUCH pink or orange. I don’t understand why they can’t make yellow based ones! This one went on a bit on the pink side but I was relieved that it adjusted within a few minutes. It offers sheer to medium super natural coverage. It did have enough to even out the skin tone. It has ingredients to protect skin with light-diffusing mica to soften look of lines and wrinkles. I like that it has a hydrating feel with a slightly dewy glow but doesn’t get oily. I do think the color selection is limited, but if you have normal to dry skin and can find a good match this is a great option.
  • Supergoop! Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen with Olive Polyphenols
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 40, PA+++
    • $28 for 2.4 fl oz/71 ml (also available in a smaller size)
    • Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 10.1% (full ingredients listed on Supergoop!)
    • This was a new to me product and I gave a bottle to my mother-in-law to try. She visited recently and we were chatting about sunscreen and she said she just hates the sticky feel of product on her face. I had an extra bottle for her to try and she used it every day the week she was here (I forgot to ask her what she thought!). I personally like this one a lot and I don’t consider myself a fan of mineral sunscreens. This one has olive oil polyphenols which are supposed to calm redness and reduce inflammation. It is one of the longer lasting face products. It dries to a semi-matte finish and you can feel that it adheres well to the skin. Since it stays put you need to take extra care at the end of the day to cleanse the skin thoroughly. Your regular cleanser simply won’t take it off. Both my husband and I found with long-wearing face sunscreens if you don’t cleanse the skin properly after working out or in the evenings then your face becomes more break-out prone.
  • Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion – 20 and 30
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $82 for 15 g/0.5 oz (also comes with a refill)
    • Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7%, Titanium Dioxide 4.15%, Zinc Oxide 9.8%
    • So this one falls into the sunscreen skincare category because several Dior reps corrected me while I chatted with them that this is NOT foundation, but a skincare with a tint. I went to several counters when this launched and the shades I would use 20 or 30 were sold out nearly everywhere. Each rep made it a point to tell me that “this is skincare in the form of a cushion” and not intended as foundation. I bought two shades when I finally found them and right now I use 30. My friend RaeView confirmed and assured me that even though it’s technically skincare it’s still a suitable base and she is 100% correct. I’ve been using this for several months now and since I like more coverage I use this as a skincare/sunscreen base then layer my foundation on top. It doesn’t look thick, doesn’t oxidize, doesn’t get goopy. It’s pure love. Finding a color match can be tricky as I do think it’s limited. For a while I was mixing both 20 and 30. It has the Capture Totale skincare ingredients inside (I used to use the line) to give the skin a youthful looking glow. Product description says “matte” but it’s really not matte, but just natural. I took this with me on my Dallas and NY trips over the spring and love it.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 35
    • $65 for 60 ml/2 fl oz
    • Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 15%, Octisalate 5%
    • This is the best sunscreen I’ve tried with a matte finish without looking powdery. It has a silky feel that glides on the skin. I use this on top of my regular serum or moisturizer like I do with all sunscreens. It works well with foundation and tinted moisturizer formulas. Lasts all day without sliding off. It does take some work to wash off in the evenings. My husband tried this and found it so long lasting there was about a week he used it and told me “it broke me out” and I told him he had to double cleanse his face with this one. He did for another week and his skin cleared up. It’s so long lasting if you don’t rinse it off completely I do suspect some dirt or sweat could still be trapped underneath.
  • Darphin Intral Enviornmental Lightweight Shield
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $45 for 30 ml/1 fl oz
    • Active Ingredients Titanium Dioxide 6.3%, Zinc Oxide 4.0%
    • This is a new sunscreen that is part of the Darphin Intral line designed for sensitive skin. As a huge fan of Darphin I was so excited to try this. Over the past few months (since early spring) this became my new favorite, especially because it has SPF50 and a peachy nude tint. It does disappear on the skin but I love that it’s not white. It’s fluid with some consistency so it’s not super liquidy. Darphin calls this a triple action gentle makeup base because it gives the skin a luminous look, protects skin from pollution and prevents damage. I apply over moisturizer and under foundation and it sets nicely onto the skin without any greasy feel or separation. You do need to shake the bottle before use.

Up next are the chemical face sunscreens I tested out. The only one I wasn’t entirely sure on was the Eve Lom. In looking for sunscreens to test out the two things I looked for when testing a few in store was: no smell and no white cast. Even though I wear foundation with coverage on top which can usually cancel out any white cast, for me it’s always been a no-go. If there’s any hint of a white cast I just won’t try it.

Face Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin | The Beauty look Book

Shown above:

  • Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Stick Sunscreen
    • SPF 30
    • $25 for .2 oz
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Octinoxate 7.49%, Octisalate 3%
    • This one is shown because my husband loves it. It’s one of the few he feels really stays put under his eyes on his cheekbone area for when he goes running. He thinks it’s great for touch ups as well. He’ll apply his Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector or Facial Fuel UV Guard on his face on top of his moisturizer, then he’ll add the Fresh Sugar Sport on areas he wants more coverage where the sun hits. It’s multi-use so you can use it on the face, lips and eye area. He uses this on his face and eye area. For me I felt it was too thick for my personal taste. It did work really well for touch ups and to last long. It has that delicious Fresh Sugar smell, I just didn’t like the texture as I’m all about weightless.
  • La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Anthelios 60
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $30 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml
    • Active Ingredients: Avonezone 3%, Homosalate 10.72%, Octisalate 3.21%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 3.86%
    • This brand has been one of the most recommended lines to me so I gave this formula a try after seeing it at Blue Mercury. Performance-wise this is in the top favorites for both my husband and I for the light fluid texture and matte dry down. It worked well to prevent tanning and burns on our face and for me it worked well with my makeup. It does contain oxybenzone which is a controversial chemical ingredient – there are conflicting views on how safe (or unsafe) it is. Also according to a few reviews on Makeupalley some have indicated the US formula is different from the European formula. I’ve only tried the one in the US so can’t report on the differences. If you’re not one who wants chemical sunscreens they do have a mineral version.
  • Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen + (20% off referral code by clicking on this link)
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 35
    • $30 for 1 fl oz/30 ml
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 6%, Octisalate 5%
    • Being a beauty junkie I had to try this one. I ordered a couple from Glossier and it has the most unique sunscreen formula I’ve ever tried. It’s a clear water gel which has no white cast and no residue. It has a semi-matte but natural finish. The formula has tiny microcapsules that are freshly delivered to your skin when you apply it. The reviews online seem mixed but mainly due to two things: price point for product size and the fact that it’s not mineral. I do wish it had higher SPF but I liked the way it performed – it did well to prevent tanning and burn while I was in Orlando. I reapplied pretty diligently every two hours especially since we went through a few rain showers.
  • Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant and UV Defense
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $42 for 1 fl oz/30 ml
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 5%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.7%, Oxybenzone 3%
    • This is another favorite formula of mine. I think it’s particularly good especially if you have normal to dry skin. The water in Florida has dried out our skin a bit and our first months here was during the dry season. The humid weather has normalized my skin a bit more so I don’t know how this will hold up with the humidity in the upcoming weeks. It’s on the more emollient side with a thicker texture but isn’t goopy. It is scented but doesn’t appear to be added fragrance (although I can’t really tell for sure). It has the signature DayWear scent almost like pear. It does contain Oxybenzone so might not be for everyone. I found it suitable for my sensitive skin and like the way it wears.
  • Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • $8 for 1 fl oz/30 ml (also available in travel and full size)
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octinoxate 6.0%, Octisalate 3.0%
    • I bought this mini to try it out because I wasn’t sure how I’d like the full size. For those who always wonder how makeup wearers are supposed to reapply sunscreen to a full face of makeup you’re not alone. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t reapply on the face because you literally have to take everything off and redo it all which just isn’t practical. This is one of Supergoop!’s answers to reapplying without having to redo your makeup. It’s called a setting mist which it does, but I really prefer this as a mid-day reapplication on the face if I’m going outside. It’s described as a “Matte finish three-in-one mist, sets make-up, controls oil, and delivers UV photoaging protection.” The full size says to 7 to 10 times in a circle on your face with your eyes closed. It dispenses a super fine even mist so after you are done spritzing keep the eyes closed for about 3 seconds or there will still be mist particles that can get in your eyes. The ones they have now have a new better mist dispenser as they took feedback from customers to improve it. I never tried the older version so I can’t compare the two though.
  • Eve Lom Daily Protection + SPF 50
    • $90 for 50 ml
    • Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • Active Ingredients: This is one that is Eve Lom describes as containing “six scientific sunscreens and is free from zinc and titanium dioxide.” It’s not mineral but I am not sure this falls into the chemical category. Ingredients listed on Space NK and Sephora.
    • This is my second tube of this sunscreen even though it’s really expensive. It’s one of the best unscented options I’ve tried and I like that it has a high SPF. It does plump the skin and smooth it for a soft texture. It does appear to improve elasticity in the skin for a more youthful look. Still $95 is very pricey and since I use skincare underneath sunscreen I don’t know that I will repurchase given some other finds that I’ve found that I really like.

That wraps up my face sunscreen testing for this summer. I do suspect there will be more formulas I will try as summer progresses but I have a lot to keep me busy. Normally sunscreen takes me a while to use up but both my husband and I have been using it daily and reapplying when we go outside so we’re using everything up pretty quickly. Quick take on our favorites:

  • My top favorite formulas: Tatcha, Darphin and the Dior Dreamskin Cushion
  • Andrew’s favorite formulas: He still likes all things Kiehl’s, but also likes the La Roche-Posay and Fresh Sugar Sport Stick
  • Longest lasting formula for me: Tatcha and Supergoop! Mineral
  • Misses: No formula misses for me, I do wish some of the lower SPF ones came in higher, but I can live with 35

I consider myself very fortunate that none of these caused an allergic reaction or bumps. If you have favorites or input please share in the comments below. I’m still learning and if you have info you want to share I’m all ears!

Press samples include the Darphin Intral and Supergoop! CC Cream. Gray Malin tray gifted. All others purchased by me.

Beauty Favorites Skincare Suncare

Summer Sunscreen Testing Part 1: For the Body

June 2, 2017

Best Summer Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

As promised I have a sunscreen roundup series of everything I’ve tested over the past several months – 95 days to be exact. The sunshine here in Florida is stronger than anything I’ve experienced in California. Our first week here both Andrew and I got burned from being outside just a mere 5 minutes simply walking around our backyard. I immediately unpacked sunscreen bottles and sprays that I had brought with me from our move and we used everything up in a matter of a couple days because we sprayed it everywhere. After using everything up we began our search for the best formulas that weren’t greasy, didn’t have that sunscreen spray, felt long lasting and were the most effective at preventing burn and tanning. Unfortunately so far the only way to avoid getting darker is to stay out of the sun or be covered up entirely. Over the past three months we’ve put quite a few sunscreens to the test.

This sunscreen edit is going to be split up into two parts: body and face. In gathering all the tubes we’ve tested, I found that there were around 25 different formulas we tried and we gave each one a thorough test run (with the exception of the tinted face ones which I tested but my husband did not). Both of us wished there was a formula that could be truly suitable for both face and body and while there are many formulas designed for multi-use, we’ve found for the most part we have to use separate formulas. Many bottles we used up entirely, mostly for the body. We each have our favorites which I’ll mention at the bottom.

Favorite Body Sunscreens | The Beauty Look Book

When it comes to sunscreen I have to admit it’s all a bit confusing. So many articles, doctors, specialists each have their own opinion on what the minimum SPF you should use. Some say sunscreens with high SPF numbers aren’t more effective over SPF 50. Others say the minimum amount you should wear is SPF 30 and if that’s the case then what’s the point of something with SPF 10 or 15? Also a look at some of the bottles I have and others online also show some have a PA rating which I wasn’t aware of. I did some research and discovered that the SPF (sun protection factor) measures how a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, but that there is another rating to measure protection from UVA rays. This apparently isn’t measured in all countries and I looked up every sunscreen I tested and most of them don’t have a rating (a PA followed by + or ++ or +++). So while most sunscreens will say they are “broad spectrum” to cover both UVA and UVB protection, it’s difficult to measure how much UVA protection there is which appears to be due to the fact that there’s no adopted standard in the US. According to Skincancer.org, “To make sure you’re getting effective UVA as well as UVB coverage, look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, plus some combination of the following UVA-screening ingredients: stabilized a avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.”

Then there are different types of sunscreen such as physical vs chemical. This site and this article help break it down, but still as one with super sensitive skin, I always proceed with caution. Many of my friends prefer mineral sunscreens (which are physical and chemical free) but I know some people have sensitivity to zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide which are their only active ingredients.

All that being said I’m still learning about sunscreens. We tested different formulas to see what lasted the longest and also how each formula felt on the skin. Traditionally I’ve found that I liked spray formulas because they are easy for me to apply on my own especially on my back. I’ve read mixed reviews about sprays and the biggest concern is that you don’t always know that you’re getting the proper coverage since product is prone to evaporation when you mist it before it hits the skin. With sprays we’ve both made a point to try and mist each other and give each area several layers to try and get as full coverage as possible.

Up first are a mix of what we consider to be the longest-lasting formulas and then thoughts on some sprays. For body sunscreens it’s a must for me that there’s no white cast. I know many of them look white once you apply but the color disappears after a few minutes. In general the ones with a white cast tend to feel thicker and heavier on the skin. I wanted to see if I could find something that would be effective without being thick.

Sunscreen Testing for Body | The Beauty Look Book

Shown from above from left to right. Note that a number of these are water resistant with a time limit. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been in the water for 80 minutes so I can’t report on the time claims. But I will note which ones did the best in water.

  • Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (c/o), water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%
    • This is the latest from Supergoop! and I love this one. It’s a lightweight hydrating mousse that is long-lasting with a very light clean scent. It has a whipped texture when you dispense it and it’s easy to apply and blend into the skin. It contains Blue Sea Kale to provide antioxidant protection from heat rays, and shea butter, olive and avocado oils to keep skin hydrated. My husband felt this was too hydrating for his skin and for him since he sweats more in the heat this one felt a bit heavy on him but he does agree it lasts a long time. On me it was perfect.
  • Moroccanoil Sun Lotion SPF 30 and SPF 50 (c/o)
    • Active Ingredients: Homosalate (12%), Oxybenzone (6%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone(3%), Octocrylene (2.5%)
    • Both are hydrating lotions with the signature Moroccanoil scent but to me I detect a hint of licorice (which nobody else I know can smell in it so it must just be my nose). This is the most hydrating formula I’ve tried – these formulas have Argan Oil, Coconut Oil and Glycerine. Both the SPF 30 and 50 last a long time on the skin. For me I find them too heavy for every day normal use, I prefer them for the beach or outdoors. My husband on the other hand finds them hydrating but doesn’t mind the emollient feel. These have a super moisturizing feel and they do make the skin noticeably softer and helps with any dry patches or texture. The SPF 50 version noticeably helped prevent me from tanning a lot more than the SPF 30.
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 85+, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%
    • This one is a spray that works on wet or dry skin, on dry skin I felt it was just ok. It adheres well but the drydown isn’t my favorite and it wasn’t quite as effective on me at preventing darkening. Re-application on wet skin however is another story and I wholeheartedly like this one on wet skin. For some reason I found it adhered easily on wet skin and worked when we went swimming in our pool and at the beach. Your mileage may vary on this one.
  • Supergoop! Anti-Oxidant Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octinoxate 6.0%, Octisalate 3.0%
    • This is one I’ve used up a number of times, it does have a slight alcohol scent but it’s a non-aerosol and the bottle says it has 35% less alcohol than other sprays although it does not specify which brands they are referring to. I find the misting dispenser to be really effective at applying product. I feel like it gives a more continuous mist which dispenses more product. I like this one because it’s non irritating, easy to apply and I can get my back without getting my hands greasy and spray those harder to reach places on my own. The only downside is that excess from sprays can get on the floor so if you spray inside the floor can get a bit slippery.
  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.24%, Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 2.4%, Octocrylene 4.48%, Oxybenzone 2.88%
    • This is both one of our top picks, we have tried a few other face sunscreens from Kiehl’s in the past and really liked them, for this formula they have both SPF 30 and 50. It’s a semi thick cream but is easy to blend, feels weightless, doesn’t have that greasy feel and has a good dry down. This lasted well in the pool and is completely fragrance/scent free. We found it really good at protecting the skin and since it has a lightweight texture it’s easy to reapply without feeling like you have layers of product on the skin throughout the day.
  • Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 30, (c/o) water resistant 40 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.7%, Oxybenzone 5%
    • I think I would 100% love this if it had a higher SPF. This is a light weight oil spray that has skincare properties to hydrate and nourish the skin and hair. It contains organic Indonesian Nyamplung Oil to protect skin and hair from the drying effects of sun, salt water and chlorine, senna extract defends from UV damage, Plane Tree extract fights free radicals. I really like the feel and hydration this offers. I rub this on my body and any excess on my hands I apply on the hair. It has a lightweight aloe almost honey-like scent that’s completely natural. The sun and heat can dry out the skin so I love that this is an oil that nourishes the skin. I need to invest in some of their After Sun Care like this After Sun Gel Ultra-Soothing product. If you have any good burn relief products you like that aren’t sticky let me know!
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.5%, Oxybenzone 5%
    • This is another great sunscreen spray with SPF 50+ and it has no white cast. So many of you have raved and recommended Shiseido for sunscreens and I really think they have great formulas. However most of them have that white cast which I just detest. Many of you have said they fade after a few minutes and I think if you’re fair or light skin it does seem like it will disappear after setting. However on those of us with medium-tan to deep skin there’s still a contrast even with the dry down. Anyways this spray is completely clear. You can use it on both face and body but I prefer it on the body. It’s lightweight and has no greasy feel although it does have a slight hydrating effect with a glow. I found this to be very effective and long lasting in the water.

Up next are what we consider to be among the best non-greasy body sunscreens. At this point in our lives we’ve both agreed that we can live with a slightly greasy feel as long as there’s no hideous sunscreen scent. We are more conscientious about taking care of our skin. We have however found some great ones with no greasy residue.

Non Greasy Sunscreens for Body

Shown above from left to right:

  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, water resistant 80 minutes
    • Active Ingredients: (See above listing)
    • Shown same as the above photo because this is in the top pick for my husband in favorites for effectiveness at protection, preventing burn and minimizing tanning while still being lightweight, quick absorbing and suitable for both face and body. For me it’s in my top three for body. It truly is non-greasy, unscented and has a nice dry down. We really love Kiehl’s – this tube is completely used up, my husband loves it for both the face and body. We need to restock soon.
  • Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, PA+++
    • Active Ingredients: Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Avobenzone 3%
    • This is in my top 3 for lightweight sunscreens. It’s oil-free for face and body, it is enriched with their Cellular Response Technology to preserve and protect the skin’s glow – and my husband even commented that my legs looked like they had a really nice glow with this on. Because it has a no-grease residue this is another good one for me to reapply every 2 hours and as the day progresses I don’t feel like I’m layering on tons of product.
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 55
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%
    • With this one I have mixed feelings primarily because it seems to have a lack of consistency. I bought a tube from CVS in store and then bought a multi-pack at Costco and while the product names are identical, the ingredient listing and order was not. I purchased them within a couple weeks of each other, both in Florida. I don’t know if one has a cheaper formula than the other or if they simply just changed it depending on distribution timing. This one has a creamy texture that’s semi thick but glides on the skin nicely. It does indeed have super sheer feeling finish but it’s not liquid so it doesn’t feel like it just dissolves on the skin. We both really like the formula, matte finish, long lasting effect. It did work to protect our skin – but as I’m already one who finds ingredients confusing, the difference in listings between the tubes makes me suspicious about quality.
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, Broad Spectrum 60
    • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10.72%, Octisalate 3.21%, Octocrylene 6%, Oxybenzone 3.86%
    • This brand has been recommended to me by friends and readers for years. It’s one I’ve wanted to try for a while but every time I see it in person I can’t help but be completely overwhelmed by the options! This one is actually for the face but my husband likes this on the body because of the lightweight feel and matte drydown. He feels this is one of the most effective ones for his skin and likes that if he sweats it doesn’t sting his eyes. We picked ours up from Blue Mercury but I’ve looked at the La Roche-Posay site and have been trying to figure out what to try next. If you have any specific recommendations please let me know what formulas worked for you.

That rounds up our body sunscreen testing! We only had 1 miss which wasn’t included here because we used a face sunscreen stick on our body and both broke out in a horrible reaction. It’s not included here because I suspect it was user error rather than product error. We were lucky to have a lot of hits and I was super lucky nothing caused an allergic reaction as I’ve almost always broke out in red bumps with drugstore sunscreens. In summary here are our thoughts on the best, longest lasting and what we recommend:

  • Longest lasting ones on the skin for best water-resistant formulas for both of us include the Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse and the Moroccanoil SPF 50, these are also the heaviest with the most emollient feel
  • Longest lasting formulas for skin but lightweight if you’re not in water include the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with SPF 50 and Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen with SPF 50
  • Best lightweight winners for my husband are the La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Anthelios 60 and Kiehl’s
  • Best lightweight winners for me are the Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with SPF 50 and Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, I also like the Kiehl’s as well but prefer the other two if I had to only pick 2

Because of the improved lasting power of so many of these we’ve found that we need to triple wash ourselves in the evenings with shower gel. Some of these really stick to your skin! If you have any sunscreen favorites for the body let me know in the comments. Any brand recs appreciated but if you can leave the formula name as well those are super helpful as so many lines have multiple formulas it’s so confusing when I’m at the store to pick one!

Face sunscreen roundup to follow soon! For those curious about the accessories shown:

Press samples include Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray and the Supergoop! Sunscreen Mousse.