Sun Protection: 6 Essential Sunscreens

June 5, 2017
Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - Featured Image

We just crossed the threshold into June.. which means summer is officially just around the corner! And on that note, it’s imperative we talk about sunscreen, which is crucial. Sun care aids in everything from shielding against sunspots and hyperpigmentation, delaying the onset of wrinkles, protecting against painful sunburns, and most important of all, preventing skin cancer. Unfortunately this is the most common form of cancer in the United States, yet it is also the most preventable. Proper education is key, and as we head outdoors to spend more time in the sun (in fairness, sunscreen should be worn no matter what the weather), make sure to try these 6 essential sunscreens for the summer.

Before we list them, let’s quickly cover the Basics of Sun Protection:

  • Always look for broad spectrum protection, meaning both Ultraviolent A & B (a.k.a. UVA and UVB) ray protection. The former penetrates deeper into the skin and is linked to a higher causation of melanoma otherwise known as skin cancer. The latter (UVB rays) is what causes sunburns and non-cancerous moles.
  • Beyond the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays, sun exposure can also damage elastin in skin cells and speed the onset of age spots. This presents as sagging of the skin, premature wrinkles, spotty discoloration of the skin, etc.
  • The SPF number indicates the strength of UVB protection, but beyond SPF 50, the incremental benefit ofย a higher SPF is minimal. Higher is not necessarily better! Further, the SPF number indicates very little on the strength of UVA protection, so a higher number does not mean better UVA protection either.
  • The effects of sunscreen do wear off over the day. It is important to reapply and physically cover up as well.

Despite the warnings above, it’s important to note that sun exposure is also necessary for vitamin D, which promotes overall good health, and even nitric oxide, which helps lower blood pressure. With such conflicting research, it can be confusing as to what’s the best advice. In my opinion, make sure to always protect your face first and foremost. For all other areas, try to protect as needed but no need to go overboard unless you’re more predisposed to melanoma. At the end of the day, do what works forย you.

I’m genetically predisposed to sun spots, so sunscreen goes without saying. A little secret for my readers only: I don’t even open the blinds at home if I’m not SPF protected! That’s not even bad- famed Chinese actress Fan Bingbing goes so far as to wear sunscreen when sitting in front of a computer screen. While research has proven that most tech devices do not emit UV light thus rendering the need for sunscreen void, one has to give her props for the diligent sun protection regimen.

On that note, if you’re heading out to soak up that sunlight and spend time outdoors in the coming months, these 6 essential sunscreens for the face should keep you looking fresh and protected all summer long ๐Ÿ™‚

Cane + Austin Protect SPF 50+ Sunscreen

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - Cane and Austin Sunscreen

Cane + Austin has become one of my favorite brands because not only are the products amazing, but Dr. Austin and his team at the New York Medi-Spa are simply the best as well (make sure to visit them sooner than later as their schedule is filling up)! The Cane + Austin Protect Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen provides both SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum protection and perfect hydration for dry skin. It has a dewier finish, so I would recommend this more during cooler seasons for combination skin types. Nonetheless it’s perfect for all others even in sweltering heat.

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica
Ultralight Emulstion SPF 50+

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica

A recent discovery as the brand launched in the USA just last year (it’s actually the number one dermatology company in Spain where it’s based), ISDIN’s Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+ย w/ broad spectrum protection is another great option that leaves a nearly matte finish without drying the skin or leaving a white cast. Gone are the days of greasy sunscreen! Not only does it provide great sun protection, my skin also feelsย healthier thanks to the Vitamin E in the formula, which protects against free radical damage. A final tip: for 100ml at only $50, this is an amazing value.

Shiseido Urban Environment SPF42 Sunscreen

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - Shiseido Urban Environment

I’ve spoken about this Shiseido Urban Environment SPF42 Sunscreen in the past (see here), and it’s still a favorite! Lightweight with a very matte finish, it’s especially perfect for those with combination skin. It also leaves a very faint white cast, which I personally like for aย brightening effect, and a little goes a long way. If you’re looking for a sunscreen for oily skin that also sits well under makeup, this is your holy grail.

SkinCeuticals Physical Matte
Ultimate UV Defense SPF30

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense

I’m pretty much a fan of all thingsย SkinCeuticals, so this review may be biased, but I promise – this Physical Matte Ultimate UV Defense sunscreen stands apart on its own merits alone. Better yet, this is actually a sunscreen primer especially meant for those with oily skin. With a shade adjusting tint (looks dark out of the tube, but quickly blends in) and incredibly strong mattifying power, this oil-absorbing sunscreen is the perfect base for any makeup look. The texture feels a little powdery and takes some effort to spread, so make sure your skin is well-moisturized before applying. This is the product to use if you’ll be running around in the sun from morning until night.

Cane + Austin Prime & Protect SPF50

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - Cane and Austin Primer Sunscreen

Cane + Austin made the list early on with their liquid sunscreen, but their Prime & Protect Mattifying Primer also deserves a special mention. Actually, it’s more accurate to say I’m obsessed with it (seriously, why didn’t I discover it sooner?!).ย Not only do you get the full power of SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum Protection, but the shade adjusting, tinted mattifying primer also keeps you completely shine free and looking flawless all day long. What’s unique about this product is that while it is oil-absorbing, it still leaves a healthy sheen so there’s no ashy-ness or caked makeup look. This sunscreen primer is especially perfect for days when you want hassle-free but healthy and natural looking skin.

Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin
Instant Mineral Powder SPF30

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - PTR Instant Mineral

Remember the earlier point about reapplying SPF throughout the day? It’s easier said than done given most sunscreens are in liquid form and not flattering to apply over makeup. Enter:ย Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral Powder SPF30.ย This product delivers oil-absorbing lightweight sunscreen in mineral powder form through a built-in brush applicator. The one pictured above is for Oily Problem Skin, but there’s also a version for normal skin as well. Both versions are perfect for on-the-go and a god-send on warm weather oil-prone days.

Brown Eyed Toast - 6 Essential Sunscreens - Instagram

Have you used any of the products above? Do you have aย favorite facial sunscreen? Let me know in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!

Signature xo Soo

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  • Reply Aimara June 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    These are some really cool shots girl! Seriously loving your product shots!
    I’m always so bad at wearing sunscreen, SO BAD, I know! I’m trying this Summer though. You seem so good at it and maybe that’s why your skin is so fab.
    Shiseido has been one of my favorite brands since I can remember and their sunscreen is amazing! This post reminds me that I need to restock.
    Thanks for sharing babe!

  • Reply Andreea Birsan June 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Really happy you chose to write about sun protection! I didn’t even know I’d have to look for broad spectrum protection, but now after reading your post I am more aware of what I should buy :). I’ll be headed to Bulgaria in about two weeks and I was wondering after how many hours of staying under the sun do I have to reapply sunscreen :)? Also, the ISDINโ€™s Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+ peaked my interest because of the matte finish. Really hate it when the sunscreen stays greasy, hehe. Will have to try it out and hope they also ship to Romania :). Have a lovely week ahead! xx Andreea,
  • Reply Britta June 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    People often tend to forget the importance of applying sunscreen! I love the fact that you are talking about this issue so that more will start using it!
    I am looking to try a new sunscreen since I often find the ones I have tried so far to leave my skin very white and sticky.
    I need something like the one you mention from Isdin that easily blends into my skin!
    Hopefully this brand is available in Denmark!??
  • Reply Jennifer Quattrucci June 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Dear Soo,
    I was really glad to see this blog post in my in box today about such a crucial topic. I have always been concerned about using the proper sunscreen and it’s not easy to find the right balance and to not go overboard like you said and lose the benefits of Vitamin D.
    Cane + Austin seems like a perfect solution due to its perfect hydration for dry skin which I definitely need.
    I do remember and know that you highly recommend the Shiseido Urban Environment SPF 42 Sunscreen and I do love the fact that it has a brightening effect.
    I am also intrigued by the Peter Thomas Roth Mineral Powder and would like to try it when
    I’m on the go.
    I haven’t tried any so I’m anxious to begin and it’s so true what you said, skin cancer is such a common and devastating problem but also preventable with knowledge and action.
    Thank you so much!
    Yours truly,

  • Reply Candace June 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I only recently learned that higher SPF is not necessarily better. You would think it would be! One thing I find most troublesome in most of my sunscreens is that they tend to dry my already “really dry” skin out more. That being said, I would love to give Cane + Austin Protect SPF 50+ Sunscreen a try! This is my first time hearing of this brand, so I will be sure to look them up. It’s also super cool that they cater to all skin types, including oily with their mattifying primer. I know quite a few of my clients who could use this in their lives. The Shiseido sunscreen I’ve used is in the blue bottle; it’s amazing! I see the one you shared is for oily skin and if it works anything like the one I’ve tried, I understand why it’s on your essentials list!
  • Reply Thomas Falkenstedt June 5, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve actually used both the Shiseido as well as the Peter Thomas Roth sunscreen products, but must say I wasn’t overly impressed by Shiseido. I don’t know if it was the consistence that didn’t do it for me, but I just didn’t like it. When it comes to Peter Thomas Roth on the other hand I absolutely love their products and that’s my to go sunscreen. Speaking of tanning. It is hard to maintain the balance of getting vitamin D as well as protecting oneself from skin cancer or melanoma or sun spots and what not and although I love tanned skin, I’ve become almost as bad as you (and that famed Chinese actress) when it comes to using SPF nowadays, haha. Thanks for the tips, I need to check out the other four products too! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Reply Open Kloset June 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Hey Sweetie,
    Hows you?
    Sun protection sooo Important I love to read Products Review:)
    Well All what you showed very Interesting the Shiseido I already used, Worked Good for me, but Since I tried the ISDIN new Collection for Anti Aging, I got in Love with the Brand. Actually yesterday I went to an event where they showed the new sun protection collection and I can’t wait toTry out everything:)
    This Brand works very well with my Super Sensitive and Dry Skin:)
    Love Kisses
    Happy Tuesday
    Open Kloset By Karina
  • Reply Jessica June 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Finding sun protection that has the right amount of SPF while retaining the perfect amount of moisture in your skin is difficult. Thank you for sharing and pointing me in the right direction. Xo, Jessica

  • Reply marcy June 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I actually don’t know much about sunscreen so this post really help me a lot!!! Taking care of our skin is very crucial specially because I love to go to the beach a lot and even though I love it the sun can be very damaging for our skin specially when we get older. All this products sounds amazing and would love to try all of them for my skin. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Christine Kong June 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Being Asian we are definitely aware of how crucial sun protection is especially on our faces. I apply sunblock every single day even in the winter. My downfall is reapplying. I’ve used the Shiseido brand for years now and recently changed to another one that I really like from Elta MD. I actually haven’t heard of the other brands you listed above but am going to look into them. Picking the right sunscreen for your face is so hard especially because everyone has different skin types. I will try some of these brands you recommend above and definitely that Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder. This is so useful for reapplication. Thanks Soo! xoxo, Christine
  • Reply Vanessa June 6, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Wow I love this! These are some amazing options to use for the summer. I feel like nowadays some people forget how essential sunscreen really is. I’m always sure to reapply when it’s really sunny. Since summer is coming up I’ve actually been looking for a new sunscreen, because I’m just curious to try a few other brands. This is actually super useful! Out of the list you are mentioning I would most likely us the Cane + Austin because it seems really wonderful. I also think it’d be perfect for me because I tend to have dry skin sometimes when it gets really hot, and according to your information it can help with that. And the fact that it has SPF 50 is a total plus! Love the beautiful shots that you took. Thank you for sharing babe, this will come really handy as summer arrives!

    Vanessa, xo!
  • Reply Sheree June 7, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Which Asian girl doesn’t avoid the sun like a plague?! Haha, I’ve always been a fan of the Shiseido brand, but after reading this post, I’m very open to try other products like Cane + Austin and ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica. The high SPF count and protection from UVA is def an appeal. I’ve been using my kid’s Thinkbaby sunscreen because I think the ingredients are better AND smell like orange sorbet!

    xo Sheree
  • Reply Michelle June 7, 2017 at 6:34 am

    These look great! I can’t believe you don’t open your shades without protection! You take it to a whole other level. I have a hard time with sunscreen on my face because most of them make me break out because my skin is so sensitive. I really want to try that Prime and Protect by Cane and Austin. You’ve totally inspired me to take a trip to Sephora to sample a few brands…

    When people ask me the secret to my youthful skin at 42 I always say don’t drink, take care of your skin and most importantly cover up in the sun. Girls always give me a face when I tell them not to tan – but there’s a reason I don’t have wrinkles. I mean a lot of it is genetics but I have younger siblings with wrinkles (who weren’t as careful) so clearly there is something to it.

  • Reply Eliza June 7, 2017 at 6:46 am

    You’re absolutely right, proper education in this case is a key for sure. A lot of people often have no clue about some basic protection rules. Thanks for sharing it here and raising this topic.
    I personally prefer SkinCeuticals to all the brands. They have a great skin protection line with UV defense and SPF 50+. I couldn’t imagine my life without this brand.
    I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Shiseido, but never tried their Sunscreen products. I should give it a try. Also thanks for sharing all of these products, I found some new ones, that I’ve never tried as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers, Eliza |
  • Reply Lana June 7, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for the information, it is very helpful and I’ve never heard of some of the brands that you mentioned! I would like to try Shiseido so much as I’ve listen about it a lot and I like that it is suitable for combination skin. The last one I bought is Garnier Ambre Solaire BB cream but I’m not fully satisfied with it, because it makes my skin shiny (actually I just took it at supermarket without thinking a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    So I’m gonna try Shiseido one for sure! Thank you for this review and your product pictures are amazing!
  • Reply Diana June 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Shiseido is one of my favorite skin care products and their light texture lies just wonderful on your skin! I have been using their products for a long time and can tell you for 100% that it is the best! I never heard of other branded products but I will definitely check them out.
  • Reply Eva June 7, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Sunscreen is essential. But doesn’t exists total screen. I’m using from Isdin the 100+ colored one for avoid my dark spots . In the past I’m used the sisheido, that is very good . The others I doesn’t try but thanks to sharing us .
  • Reply manda June 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I did not know that skin cancer was the most common type of cancer! I so regret my days in the tanning bed as a teenager now that I’m older! Luckily, I wasn’t as consumed as a lot of the people I knew and often opted for sunless tanning! SPF is incredibly important and I really do find it difficult to find good protection, especially for your face, that is silky and isn’t too heavy under makeup! Cane + Austin Protect Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen sounds great because it’s light weight. I usually use more dewy sunscreens when I know I’m not going to be wearing makeup. Like a beach day! From your description, ISDINโ€™s Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+, sounds like it’s perfect under makeup! Shiseido Urban Environment SPF42 Sunscreen seems like another good option for that if your not taking any photos that require a flash! I LOVE a tinted sunscreen because it solves so many dilemmas for me so Physical Matte Ultimate UV Defense seems like a good addition to my other love Avene. But over all I’d say the product I’m most excited about is Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral Powder SPF30! Headed to check that one out now! .

    Manda |
  • Reply Jacqueline June 7, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Oh thanks for sharing all his great info. And you’re so right the higher the SPF doesn’t mean it’s better. I mean all you really need is about 30. Im digging the first option by Cane + Austin. Based on your description and my skin type it seems like it would be the right fit. I’ll have to check them out
  • Reply Warren Pasi June 7, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Such a great post Soo! I think it’s ao important to have sunscreen at all times no matter the weather! I have a bb cream that is has sunscreen mixed in with it that I wear everyday abut also another sunscreen that I never leave the house whether it’s rain, hail or shine which funnily enough the Shiseido Urban Environment SPF42 Sunscreen. Great post Soo hope you’re well and having a fab week XOWP
  • Reply Jessie June 8, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Such a great read for getting ourselves prepared for this summer! I always have issue to find the right sun scream that can provide me enough UV protections and also allowing me to get tanned fast! Among your top picks, I think I probably will go for SkinCeuticals Physical Matte Ultimate sun scream, cause it has the lowest SPF. Correct me if I’m wrong, i always think the lowest SPF ones will allow me to get tanned faster =P

    xx, Jessie
  • Reply Maryam June 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    You are absolutely right about the importance of sun protection. I live in Southern CA, so it’s so important to wear sunscreen everyday here and not just during summer. I’m always on the hunt for a good sunscreen though. I have an oily skin and most sunscreens make my face really shined. I’m going to look into Peter Thomas Roth instant mineral powder. I’ll let you know how that works out.

    xx, Maryam
  • Reply Tandya June 11, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Such an insightful post. I didn’t know that there were different kinds of Ultraviolet. My boyfriend has so many moles from the sun! Next time we buy sunscreen, we will definitely have to make sure that it protects against both. I have darker skin, so I generally only use sunscreen when I am doing outdoor activities or going to the beach. However, I know skin cancer can happen to anyone. Luckily my daily foundation has SPF in it. I never reapply though. I think the best option for me would be the mineral powder.
  • Reply Jessica June 12, 2017 at 12:03 am

    This post is amazing! I recently went to a skin clinic which shared much about what I wasn’t doing right with my sunscreen, and you bring up some important points about why it’s necessary and what to look for in the right sunscreen! I’ve never heard of Cane + Austin but sounds like a great brand to try. I like Peter Tomas Roth products, so maybe I will try those, especially because I’m on the go so often.

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