Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inventory #26: Sun Protection Products

Every night I'm stuck in 3-hour classes. Every other day I'm stuck in a bank tower. Last summer, I was stuck inside every day and every night except for weekends. It changes this year. Tuesdays and Thursdays before 5pm are my sunning days.

Yup, I said sunning, not tanning. The point isn't to get dark. I'd like a glow but am not in a hurry. I just feel good being under the sunlight and feeling the heat on my skin. The tanning is just a side benefit. It takes me only 2-3 full days in the sun to get dark. I don't mind building gradual colour to move with the season as summer deepens.

So, what's a makeup loving gal to do about sun protection?

Like most things, I also managed to build a stash/collection of sun protection products. (For my earlier inventories, click here.) I'm determined not to get caught without sunscreen in my purse this summer.

Here are some familiar items from the drug stores:

1. Aveeno Sunscreen Lotion for Face SPF30 - A very decent product for about $10-15. It's slightly on the heavy side, but it absorbs nicely into the skin and doesn't pill or flake or look overly greasy. If applied with a light touch, it even layers under makeup (primer + foundation + setting powder) quite nicely. If applied with a heavy hand, it will look slightly greasy to begin with. Being oily and acne-prone, this product did not make me break out, so it's a winner in my book. I use it generously on my face on the days I don't wear makeup. (Because I prefer something else under my makeup as you will see below.) However, protection factor of SPF30 seems awfully low now that SPF100+ products are available. I've read claims that there isn't a whole lot of difference between 30 to 100 (I'd say 30 seems to be the bare minimum now while 15 was the minimum 5-10 years ago) but higher numbers just make me feel better. When using this, I reapply every 2-3 hours. FYI, Aveeno does make this with higher SPF. I grabbed the SPF30 because it was the only one left on the day my local Shoppers was having a sale.
2. Aveeno Sunscreen Lotion for Body SPF55 - I was all set to abandon sunscreen lotions for body now that those super handy sprays are available. But despite spraying myself vigorously on a beach in Miami a couple of years ago, I noticed a few spots were missed or didn't absorb properly. So I decided to carry this one around since it fits better into a purse than a spray can and use it for impromptu sunning moments. I also just feel better rubbing it into the skin and feeling like I'm absorbing the protection instead of spraying a light mist that may or may not be doing its job. Used it today without any issues. Another great bargain!

3. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen SPF60 - This is a leftover product from last summer. I wasn't very diligent about sun protection since I hardly ever saw the sun at that point, so I haven't used this often. But on the few times I did, there were no breakouts or any other issues. I'd say that it's on par with the Aveeno. In the future I'd probably buy one over the other based solely on which happens to be on sale. As for this particular tube, I have yet to give it a squeeze to see if it's expired or not. Some say sunscreen expires in a year. I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry in a situation where skin cancer is on the line, but I'm a cheapo hoarder and it's hard to change. However, I did just toss a Hawaiian Tropics one that clearly went bad - it was super goopy when it wasn't like that originally - so I won't have any issues throwing this out if it looks/smells/feels weird.

4. Coppertone Continuous Spray SPF60 - As you can see, it's sealed. Brand new! I've been using the Neutrogena sprays for the past few years but noticed that Coppertone is about $5-7 cheaper at Shoppers these days. Craziness. I'm not picky about body sunscreen and know from years of playing softball that Coppertone is just as good as whatever else is out there.

5. Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream SPF38 - You can read the blurb from Sephora on here. To be honest, I was overwhelmed by the variety of products from Shiseido sun care line and randomly grabbed this one. And how glad I am that I did! It feels incredibly smooth and so velvety that one day I skipped primer (which I never do) and just applied my foundation on top of it before work. It kept my oily face matte just as long as my beloved Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer does. My makeup lasted all throughout the work day and even through night class. I'm loving this one and prizing it above the Aveeno for sure.

[EDIT: It made me break out. So I'm breaking up with Shiseido.]

6. Clarins Sun Control Eye Contour Care Very High Protection SPF30 - Gosh, time for Clarins to give this product an update in the name, yeah? SPF30 can't claim to be "very high protection" anymore! But wait, it looks like they did already! I must have bought an outdated product, as both and carry a "Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF30" instead of this. Well, I didn't have any problems with this the last few times and it feels nice and smooth and light and moisturizing, so I guess I'll go on using it. Last year I used Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF32 and thought it was fine. Between the two, I think the Clarins feels more moisturizing and the Shiseido feels more like sunscreen.

7. Clinique Sun SPF45 Targeted Protection Stick - I thought this would be nice and small to carry around and use as needed. Today it came in handy after I wiped off all my makeup after lunch to read about Julius Caesar outside in the sun. I applied it all over the face and found that it felt rather heavy and greasy. It turned out that I looked pretty greasy, too. It remained kind of sticky on top of the skin all afternoon, so I wouldn't advise it for use under makeup. But I didn't burn and I didn't break out. I probably won't use it for my face like that again unless I really had to, but it's good to know that it really can be used for sensitive areas. Because I also used it all around my eyes and it did not irritate my dry, contact-lensed eyes at all. I was also advised that it can be used on lips, which is a bonus since lip products don't come with high SPF. Read the blurb about it here.

8. LAVANILA The Healthy Lip Screen SPF30 - I have been looking for this little tin for weeks. I finally found it today at the Sephora on Bloor/Avenue. It's in the LAVANILA section at the very top shelf where you can't actually see the product unless you're seven feet tall. (The cashier thanked me for finding them because she had no idea that they were carried at the location.) ((Why am I so fond of brackets?)) Anyway, I have yet to come across a review for this product so I'll do a mini review here.

As you can see, it's one of those stark white lip balms. I don't understand why it's so difficult to come out with lip products with high SPF that have colour. Someone must fix this immediately. I'm deathly afraid of stark white lip products because they make me look like a corpse. This one, fortunately, looks clear on the lips. The white substance is rather hard (but not waxy) and I had to warm it with my finger and apply multiple times to the lips to feel like there was transference. I think it'll actually be a really nice layering product under lipsticks. Perhaps that was the intent... ah, no. says that it's a "luxuriously creamy" product but I completely disagree on that point. It's definitely not creamy and it's far from luxurious. It's solid and functional.

Surprisingly, there's a subtle minty smell to this balm and a subtle tingling effect upon application. I totally expected this to smell like vanilla like all the other LAVANILA products. Since I was reading and needed a feeling of being alert, the mintiness was refreshing. In terms of moisturizing effect, it feels like your typical balm at first but doesn't have much of a lasting power. If you're looking for hydration, you'd have to reapply every hour or two. It'll not withstand meals or drinks. As for the actual sun protecting, I didn't burn today and will have to use it more frequently to be able to report accurately on that front.

And finally, there is only one product missing in my sun protection arsenal and it's a powder with SPF. BeautyEditor recently wrote an awesome article about that here, so be sure check it out if you wear a lot of makeup and would like to touch up frequently and protect your face at the same time. With the recent discovery of the Shiseido face protection cream, I'm leaning toward getting this particular sun protection powder:

Damn, I write some long-ass posts. So what's your sun protection routine? On the scale between Careless ---> Paranoid, where do you stand? If you're anything like me, you're definitely standing in the Excessive and Paranoid zone. I welcome you with open arms.


  1. Do you happen to know what kind of sunscreen is in the Aveeno body lotion (SPF 55)? I'm looking for a good body sunscreen - I need to be better about applying it to my hands and neck and shoulders. Great list!

  2. I'm in between Careless and Paranoid. I used to be very careless but this year, I'm hitting my face hard with the SPF. Well, not hard enough cause it's only SPF 35 for the face and SPF 45 for the body... I definitely need to try the Shiseido products though since everyone can't stop talking about them. I believe there's even a new line by Shiseido but in white packaging. I wonder how the two compare...

  3. nice post! you have lots of sun protection products there. I was looking at clarins too, they have a powder sunscreen out, which looks cool. I've always wanted to try out the Shiseido one. Neutrogena makes some alright ones, there is an ultra-light one that sounds cool.

    Having said that, I am a hermit and rarely see the sun, so I don't worry too much about sunscreen.

  4. @Larie - Medicinal ingredients are Homosalate (10%), Oxybenzone (6%), Octisalate (5%), Abovenzone (3%), Octocrylene (2.8%). It's your typical chemical-based sunscreen, not a physical block. I ignore the bit about being partially natural and soy-derived, cuz... *snort* It's also oil-free, non-comedogenic and waterproof. Hope that helps!

    @Ashley - I think you're in good standing if you apply diligently. 35 and 45 are high enough! And yes, the new white stuff. I completely forgot. But then I didn't see them out on the displays anywhere. Are they even available here?

    @Justine - Didn't know Clarins had a powder like that. Must check out! Thanks for the notice. I guess you like to keep cool with the A/C? :)

  5. Hmm I'd say I'm somewhere in between Careless and Paranoid. I may or may not have forgotten to put sunscreen during Ride for Heart. In my defence, it was 6:00 am!!! Thank goodness I'm brown, because I would've burned badly.

    I use physical sunscreen on my face: Pure + Simple Sunscreen for Oily/Impure (!!!) skin. It's amazing under makeup. I say under makeup because it dries close to matte, but it is white! Definitely can't wear it alone, so I wear their compact mineral powder foundation on top.

    I'm pretty bad at putting sunscreen on my arms though. Sometimes I'll do it, but most of the time it takes too long. :( I only do it when I'm spending the day outdoors.

  6. I am paranoid for my face now-I can see damage from my younger years pop up all the time. I won't leave my house without some kind of protection on my face-I usually go for the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 60 on my face, and then use a Peter Thomas Roth Powder over top as the day goes by. I'm kind of bad with my arms though-unless I'm out all day, I rarely cover up. But I try not to stay out in the sun all day-I'm not good with the heat.

  7. Wow, very comprehensive. I have been using a Kiehl's sunscreen for my face the last year and I actually like it. It's quite lightweight and has caused me no breakouts, I believe it's SPF30. I read the same article by beautyeditor, and am so curious about that powder!

  8. THAT'S a list! I feel a little ashamed that I'm nowhere near as organized as you are in the sunscreen department; I know I should use sunscreen every day, but the truth? I forget. And I'm lazy. Maybe it's partly because I have "Mediterranean" skin and don't burn easily, but I must say that lasy year I picked up the Neutrogena 60 SPF and found like it never absorbed into my skin; it just sort of sat at the surface level, leaving a greasy white film on me, which I promptly transferred to the black leather seats of my car (the husband was NOT impressed!). I have been using Australian Gold 15 & 30 for a few years now...mainly because I love the way they smell and because they give you the best tan, hands down! As well as an Ombrelle 30 SPF lip balm in a tube. I think I will take your advice, however, and start enforcing a better sun protection regimen! Thanks for all this great info!!

  9. @Arianne - I'd say the halfway point is Diligent. :) I don't do my arms either if I'm going to be outside for less than 15 minutes. You're making me curious about those Pure + Simple products. I'll have to check them out once I downsize the current stash!

    @Tracy - It's never too late to start, right? Now are you extending the sunscreen down to your neck as well? I forget every other day, which is weird. And the hands... yeah, they get the shaft sometimes!

    @Tracy D - I hear the Kiehl's one is amazing as well! I was actually debating between that and the Shiseido but I liked the blue packaging better, lol. Let us know if you get one of those powders!

    @Eugenia - I like to make lists. Is that weird? :) I was never one of those diligent types before but I've noticed a slight change in my skin and have heard enough horror stories to take the step to be better this year. I tan well with sunscreen anyway, so I just feel better about lazying under the sun if I'm protected. Plus it just gives us the excuse to indulge in more product testing, right? ;D Good luck with your new resolve!

  10. Oh yeah, neck and decolletage I sunscreen up as well-and hands. No spots on my hands yet! :)

  11. I have five points:
    1) I also love brackets (they're just so darn useful! :P)
    2) I have been super interested in checking out the Shiseido SPF38 for face, so now due to your high praise, I think I will!
    3) I am a huge fan of the Clarins Sun Control eye cream - my fave yet (for around the eye)(oops there goes those brackets again!)
    4) Even though I'm darker-skinned, I have been very diligent about wearing sunscreen since my early teens. Just seemed like the smart thing to do. I find I wear more sunscreen, more regularly, than do my fairer-skinned friends! Go figure.
    5) Your posts are indeed long, but that's why we keep coming back :D

  12. @Tracy - Woohoo! *high fiving you with our spotless hands* ;D I made sure to really rub in the suncreen between my fingers after posing you that question!

    @Latoya - (Maybe we should just address entire posts in brackets from now on to save ourselves the trouble. ((But I'm also fond of the double brackets! LOL)) You are definitely on the ball with this stuff! I was not that smart as a teenager. :D )

  13. I'm right there with you in the paranoid zone! SPF 30 is my minimum to really consider a product, and right now I'm using a Josie Maran lotion with SPF 40 that I've been liking pretty well.

  14. Hurray for paranoia! I'd love to use Josie Maran but her argan oil isn't kind to my oily face. You know what freaks me out? That there are still SPF 8 sunscreen on store shelves.

  15. I have yet to see the white line by Shiseido in Canada but I did see it in Sephora's in Seattle. Now I'm asking myself why oh why did I not buy it right there and then!?

  16. Maybe it's not that great after all! ;)

    Btw, did you ever find L'Imperatrice at Winners?


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