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Dreamy Sunscreens!



Let's get straight to it - here are my thoughts on the mineral and chemical sunscreens I decided to test out this year. I read through many reviews and selected products that were most highly recommended or most discussed, and picked from that list (what I could find in Canada) to compare. This means that all the options below are great sunscreens, I've just provided my personal thoughts on each one. I'd love to hear what you think of any of these, and if you have other favourites I should try!


Notes:

  1. Shine level is rated out of 5 stars: 1 star is matte (*), 5 stars = super shiny (*****)

  2. Photos with pink backgrounds are my favourites, and I would buy again

  3. The following may include affiliate links to products - I really appreciate your support if you decide to try something out!

  4. In each category (mineral vs chemical) I've put them in order of most to least liked

  5. Prices are in CAD


MINERAL SUNSCREENS


Australian Gold

Botanical 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion (Fair to Light)


  • Absorption: quick

  • Application: smooth + creamy

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 50

  • Cost: $20/88mL ($17 with discount below)

  • Extra benefits: BB cream (light coverage with skin benefits)

  • Finish: matte

  • Fragrance free

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Oil free

  • No eye stinging

  • Perfect skin matching tint

  • Shine level: *

  • Water resistant 80 minutes

Active ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide

Overall thoughts: Light, airy and with a skin-matching tint (comes in three different shades), I love the smooth matte finish and light coverage. No oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, PABA, petrolatum, sulfates (SLS) or dye. For more details check out my instagram post, and if you decide to try this one out, you can use CHELSEA15 at Australian Gold Canada for 15% off!



La Roche-Posay

Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 50 Tinted

  • Absorption: fast

  • Application: smooth + watery

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 50

  • Cost: $29/50mL

  • Extra benefits: light tinted coverage

  • Finish: invisible

  • Fragrance free

  • No eye stinging

  • Perfect tint - once rubbed in and absorbed, colour is seamless

  • Recognized sun protection from Canadian Dermatology Association

  • Shine level: **

  • Water resistant 40 minutes

  • Won't clog pores

Active ingredient: Titanium dioxide

Overall thoughts: Paraben free and safe for sensitive skin, this super fluid, quick-absorbing sunscreen leaves a healthy glow and feels invisible on the face.



MDSolarSciences

Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30



  • Absorption: quick

  • Application: smooth lotion

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 30

  • Cost: $40/50mL

  • Extra benefits: vitamin C, green tea, cranberry fruit and pomegranate extracts

  • Finish: greasy then velvety

  • Fragrance free

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Oil free

  • No eye stinging

  • Perfectly blended tint

  • Shine level: **

  • Water resistant 80 minutes

Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide

Overall thoughts: Invisible protection with a sheer finish, this sunscreen is creamy and smooth. It does eventually feel matte, however for the first 15 minutes or so it felt greasy on my skin. Safe for sensitive skin, including rosacea- and acne-prone.



Neutrogena

Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50


  • Absorption: slow

  • Application: thick cream

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 50

  • Cost: $13/59mL

  • Finish: tacky

  • Fragrance free

  • Hypoallergenic

  • No eye stinging

  • Oil free

  • Recognized sun protection by Canadian Dermatology Association

  • Shine level: ***

  • Slight white cast (will likely be more noticeable on darker skin tones)

  • Water resistant 80 minutes

  • Won't clog pores

Active Ingredient: Zinc oxide

Overall thoughts: Although this initially feels hard to spread on the skin, it does blend with some effort into a lightweight finish (but still felt a bit tacky for me). It's a good option for sensitive skin and has no parabens, phthalates, or dyes. It also claims to layer invisibly under make-up (I didn't try this).



Sun Bum

Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Absorption: quick

  • Application: smooth lotion

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 50

  • Cost: $20/88mL

  • Finish: tacky

  • Fragrance STRONG

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Mineral oil free

  • Shine level: ****

  • Slight white cast

  • Unknown eye stinging (didn't use on face)

  • Vegan

  • Water resistant 80 minutes

Active ingredient: Zinc oxide

Overall thoughts: A lightweight almost "fluffy" feeling application (if that makes sense?), it goes on smoothly and absorbs nicely for a body sunscreen. Skin still felt tacky, and I really did not like the scent (too strong for me). Does not contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, gluten, PABA, propylene glycol, retinyl palmitate, silicone or dyes.




CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS


Olay

Complete UV 365 Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 15 - Sensitive

  • Absorption: quick

  • Application: velvety lotion

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 15

  • Cost: $9/120mL

  • Extra benefits: moisturizer (8 hours of hydration), antioxidants (vitamins E, B3 and C)

  • Feel: invisible!

  • Finish: matte/slightly dewy

  • Fragrance free

  • Oil free

  • No eye stinging

  • Recommended Skin Cancer Foundation Daily Use

  • Shine level: **

  • Won't clog pores

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide (physical) + octinoxate (chemical)

Overall thoughts: This one is my favourite "chemical" sunscreen - it's actually a combination of physical (zinc oxide) and chemical (octinoxate) sunscreens. It's a great pick for that "doesn't even feel like sunscreen" option - basically a lightweight moisturizer with SPF, what a bonus! They say the best sunscreen is THE ONE YOU WILL USE - this is the perfect place to start. It helps that it is the most affordable product on the page at ~$9 a bottle!



La Roche-Posay

Anthelios Ultra Fluid SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen

  • Absorption: quick

  • Application: smooth + watery

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 50+

  • Cost: $29/50mL

  • Feel: slight tackiness

  • Finish: invisible

  • Fragrance free (faint sunscreen smell)

  • Hypoallergenic

  • No eye stinging

  • Oil free

  • Recognized sun protection from Canadian Dermatology Association

  • Shine level: *****

  • Water resistant 80 minutes

  • Won't block pores

Active ingredients: Mexoryl XL, bemotrizinol, octisalate, octocrylene, avobenzone, homosalate, ensulizole

Overall thoughts: Ultra-light and watery, this absorbs easily with no white cast. However, it is shinier/greasier than the similar mineral version (I prefer a more matte sunscreen).



La Roche-Posay

Anthelios XL Lotion SPF 60

  • Absorption: quick

  • Application: smooth lotion

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 60

  • Cost: $30/150mL

  • Does sting eyes

  • Feel: almost unnoticeable

  • Finish: glowy/shiny

  • Fragrance free (faint smell of sunscreen)

  • Oil free

  • Recognized sun protection from Canadian Dermatology Association

  • Shine level: ****

  • Water resistant 40 minutes

  • Won't clog pores

Active ingredients: Homosalate, octocrylene, octisalate, avobenzone, Mexoryl XL, Mexoryl SX

Overall thoughts: Formulated for face + body with powerful SPF coverage and almost invisible feel once absorbed. I found it did sting my eyes so I wouldn't continue to use on my face, but otherwise a good lightweight option that's safe for sensitive skin. Also paraben free.



Supergoop!

Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++

  • Absorption: ultra fast

  • Application: gel

  • Broad spectrum, SPF 40

  • Cost: $45/50mL

  • Cruelty free

  • Extra benefits: smoothing, blue light protection

  • Feel: soft + invisible

  • Finish: matte

  • No eye stinging

  • Oil free

  • Shine level: *

  • Stronger chemical scent

  • Vegan

  • Water resistant 40 minutes

Active ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene

Overall thoughts: An Allure 2019 Best of Beauty award winner, this Clean at Sephora sunscreen has a velvety-smooth finish with a super fast drying time. It truly is invisible and weightless; however, although "scentless" I found it did have a chemical smell that lingered, and at a steep $45 per 50mL I just cannot justify repurchasing.



There you go, some great picks for staying sun-safe this summer. If you want to see what each sunscreen looks like on the skin, check out my Mineral Sunscreens or Chemical Sunscreens quick reels on Instagram. Still want the perfect summer glow WITHOUT the UV damage? My favourite sunless tanner is Beauty By Earth Self Tanner (Lotion)! Happy sunny summer everyone!



DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog are for educational purposes and are not intended as medical advice. I enjoy researching but the information is general and not comprehensive. Please seek the advice of your healthcare provider (pharmacist/physician etc) with any questions you may have regarding your personal health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read online. Any mention of specific products or personal recommendations are my opinion and not to be taken as medical advice.


 
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Hi, I’m Pharmacist Chelsea! I have a clinical Doctor of Pharmacy degree and have been practicing as a Pharmacist in Canada since 2018.

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