SPF 101

Hey, hi, hello! Me again- I know it has been some time since I last updated you all on my crazy hunt for the PERFECT face-friendly sunscreen. If you’ve missed some of my latest Instagram stories, I have recently had a bit of an epiphany about just HOW import SPF is. Yes, I know, we all grew up with our moms nagging us to put on sunscreen all summer long, but for some reason this year as summer approaches, the importance has really started to hit home. Not only are sunburns SO not cute, but the risk of melanoma is no joke, and not to mention the importance of protecting our skin from the sun as being the #1 way to prevent the signs of aging!

While none of this information about the importance of SPF is new, this year there has been a LOT of talk about sunscreen in the news, on social media, and within the beauty industry. And all for good reason! The more I began seeing and reading, the more and I realized that I needed to do some more research. Not only did I need to look into WHAT I am using on my skin, but I really needed to make a commitment to myself to be more deliberate with my SPF. With that, I looked into the deets of the products I should vs. shouldn’t use, and made a promise to myself to wear sunscreen EVERY DAMN DAY (on my face at the very least!) After looking into many different face sunscreens, and testing out a few, I finally found the ONE.

Keep reading to find out what I discovered, and to see which sunscreen is at the top of my list this summer!

Heather Ungraceful SPF 101.jpg

Chemical Vs. Mineral

I would hate to bore you with a science lesson, and to be completely honest, google is a way better science teacher than I am anyways… BUT in my research I found out a thing or two that you may need to know about the two different types of sunscreens on the market. Turns out, there is chemical sunscreen and mineral (physical) sunscreen. To put it simply, chemical sunscreen gets absorbed into your skin and helps convert UV rays into heat and then releases it from the body. The concern with these sunscreens is that they contain ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone, which can apparently be quite harmful when they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies about HOW exactly these ingredients they are harmful have not yet been confirmed, but if you ask me… I’d rather keep the chemicals in my bloodstream to a minimum. PLUS, these chemicals are also said to be harming our planet and the coral reefs! On the other hand, mineral/physical sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin and protect you by reflecting the UV rays away from your skin, instead of absorbing the rays and converting them to be less harmful. These sunscreens use ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are naturally sourced mineral ingredients (duh). Although products with these ingredients are typically thicker, and can leave a cakey residue on your face and skin, they are definitely trust-worthy in protecting you from the sun. PLUS, the beauty industry has truly come such a long way, and these days there are more and more amazing mineral-based, natural products popping up out there! At the end of the day, I am no expert, but for the sake of safety and protection, I am opting for mineral sunscreens from here on out!

Elta MD UV Physical Broad-spectrum SPF 41

As I mentioned, I looked into and tested out quite a few different sunscreens before I decided on the one for me. I was after something lightweight and non-oily, that would give me a super light tint (and not lather on thick and white!) It was also super important to find a mineral sunscreen product with chemical-free ingredients, that would soothe my skin instead of irritate it. After all, I decided on the Elta MD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41. A few of you actually recommended it to me right away, and after trying it out and comparing it to other products for about a month, I honestly love it! It has a super light tint, and goes on SO smooth, giving my face a nice, even, non-oily glow. It is perfect on its own, or under makeup as well! Its great for super sensitive skin, and is even recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation. Water-resistant and provides both UVA and UVB protection, it is also Fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, sensitivity-free, chemical-free and noncomedogenic. PLUS, it is formulated with antioxidants that absorb free-radicals that can cause signs of aging. The cherry on top of the cake is that a little goes a long way with this product, so for the price, you really get bang for your buck! 10/10 would recommend!

Other Contenders

  • Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50- I always love Avène products, and I knew that this would be a top contender in my search. I brought this one home to try, and really loved how light it felt! I was concerned that a compact like this would feel oily, but it actually turned out to be quite matte and has an almost powdery feel to it. At the end of the day, the only reason I chose Elta MD over this option was the price tag!

  • Suntegrity Impeccable Skin SPF 30- In all honesty, I tried SO hard to get my hands on this one, as it was my top pick… I was able to feel the product from a friend, and coverage is actually quite similar to the Elta MD option, but it has the added benefit of blue light protection, which I think is absolutely brilliant! If anyone can find it available in Canada (without paying an arm and a leg for shipping) please let me know!

  • Coola Mineral Face Matte Tint SPF 30- While I was not able to bring this one home to try, the feel of the product from the tester is amazing. Definitely a matte finish, so if you’re more on the oily side I bet this one would be a great option for you!

  • Saje Sun Guard SPF 30- I am a huge lover of all things Saje, and of COURSE this product was released about a week after I had already purchased the Elta MD Physical SPF. That being said, I think this product is more intend for full body, rather than the face specifically. In which case… I might need to give this one a go, to keep the rest of my body protected form them nasty UV rays!

As always, thank you so much for reading! Let me know if you have any SPF faves, or tips and tricks for staying protected this summer (and all year long for that matter!) Here’s to hoping we have some beautiful sunny days comin’ in hot!


Heather Ungraceful