My guide to SPF in 2022. PLUS an exciting SPF launch 🌞
Updated: May 10
Below you'll find a list of all the sunscreens I've tried this spring. I hope that this post helps you to decide on a great sunscreen. Some of the new releases this year are truly impressive!
Every single sunscreen that I recommend will protect against UVA and UVB rays. This is tremendously important! Always use a sunscreen that protects NOT ONLY from the burning rays but also from the aging rays. In the US this means avobenzone in chemical sunscreens and zinc in mineral sunscreens. Those are non-negotiable in a good sunscreen. Last, the best sunscreen is one you WILL WEAR. I promise that it DOES EXIST!
**All product pics and headings are clickable links for your convenience. These links are affiliate, so if you choose to use them to purchase I will earn a commission. Thank you for your support!
From the brand: "This tinted, broad-spectrum sunscreen/primer is a lightweight product formulated with an advanced silicone elastomer. These compounds provide silkiness while diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and texture. The silicone base system is excellent for post-procedure treatments and helps retain moisture for healthy, glowing skin. It contains excellent antioxidant protection and a lipopeptide complex that offers excellent anti-aging benefits."
This formulation contains three DNA repair enzymes to help address sun damage. This sunscreen has a texture unlike any other that I own - It reminds me very much of a pore-refining primer. It comes in a 2oz air-tight pump and retails for $65. You can save 20% with the code SPF4PENN. In my opinion, this is the most exciting sun-care launch this season!
Who is this good for? Everyone. My normal/dry skin loves it-which is exciting because I rarely gravitate toward a velvet finish (I want to but I find that finish to correspond with a drying formula....not so with Photozyme!).
Good for: everyone
Type: All mineral
Notes: The addition of DNA repair enzymes and the pore refining nature of the formulation make it an obvious choice for those wanting skincare that really multitasks! Price is normally $65 but use my code PENN20 for a 20% discount.
I recently picked up this Cay Skin SPF and really enjoy it. However, I should mention that It is yellow. I mean yellow. I happen to love the yellow because it offsets some of the red/purple in my skin. At the time of the posting of this blog, I cannot find this sunscreen anywhere. I bought it at Sephora but its no longer on their site and it's no longer on the Cay site. I'll update if it comes back!
Good for: everyone
Type: All mineral (12% zinc)
Notes: Doesn't sting the eyes. The yellow tint makes it work on tan and darker skin tones. More soon on this one, I hope!
Alright my Oily skin beauties, this is a GEM! I have 2 Paula's Choice sunscreens on this list and they are different. This one is all chemical filters- SPF 50 and it has oat and green tea extracts to calm redness and provide antioxidant protection. It is a very lightweight lotion that disappears into the skin. If I had one complaint it would be that the avobenzone would be 3% rather than 2% but otherwise, it is an excellent option for oily skin people. Dry skin people MIGHT be able to use this if they do a ton of layers/hydration in the AM and are looking for the thinnest veil on top as their SPF. Otherwise, its all about normal, combo, and oily skin.
It comes in a nice squeeze tube, 1.5 oz for $32, and a good SPF 50.
Good for: normal, combo, oily
Type: Chemical, 2% avobenzone
Notes: Love the calming properties of oat and green tea.
This one surprised me! It is SO LIGHTWEIGHT. It really disappears into the skin. It does have alcohol in its top ingredients, which is likely responsible for the insanely fast disappearing act. It feels refreshing and cool (again likely the alcohol.) Interestingly I didn't find it drying during the 4 days that I tested it. It has many great ingredients that I love. BUT, it also has fragrance and that alcohol...so you will have to decide on this one. Who's it good for? I'd say normal to oily. I didn't notice any stinging of my eyes (probably because it dries down so fast there's no migration whatsoever!). Green tea, tremella, and glycerin are stars here-but they are way down the deck.
Good for: normal to oily
Notes: Contains alcohol
Another offering from PC-this time it is a mineral filter and an SPF 30. This formula leaves behind a soft matte finish and is GREAT for oily skin. Willow bark is an oily/congested skin person's DREAM. Willow bark will help with oil regulation and also should help keep pores clear-which - an acne situation all the way around. I highly recommend this one for oily and acne-prone skin and especially if blackheads are the bane of your existence...this is your sunscreen! Yes, it is only an SPF 30...So you'll have to reapply. If you are an athlete I have another suggestion next on this list :)
Fragrance-free, SPF 30, 2 oz for $35 and doesn't SEEM to burn the eyes.
On Amazon https://amzn.to/38HiJ0x
Good for: oily and acne-prone skin - perfect for those with blackheads
Notes: Fantastic matte finish, perfect for those with oily skin who struggle to find SPF that doesn't add too much 'glow'
Another SUPER lightweight liquid formula for oily skin. This one is a hybrid- using both chemical and physical filters. This would be a great choice for people who like to work out outside- it dries down very fast (hello, alcohol) and doesn't seem to migrate (and burn the eyes). 1.6 oz for $48, thin liquid good for normal to oily skin (dry skin people may not love this one at all).
Good for: normal to oily skin
Type: Chemical and mineral
Notes: Avoid if you have dry skin but fantastic otherwise for people who are working up a sweat outdoors
OH BOY! This was a big surprise! I LOVE this sunscreen. I have been applying this to my whole face and then topping it with my Photozyme SPF (yeah yeah, I am not suggesting YOU do that but LOOK! I have a LOT of sunscreens here! LOL). This is a neutral-peachy tinted thin liquid that creates a very soft glowy canvas under makeup. I wish it wasn't $60. It has some nice ingredients that are good for the skin (niacinamide, green tea, squalane and HA) but they're skincare ingredients that I do already have in other products in my routine (meaning nothing special necessarily). It's just THAT FINISH!! I am not normally a huge Tatcha fan- but this one is really nice for my normal to dry skin. Who's it for? Everyone in my opinion although oily skin people have better options and may not love this one. SPF 50, 1.7oz $60. Hasn't bothered my eyes at all and did I mention the finish?!
Tatcha The Silk Sunscreen
On Amazon https://amzn.to/3DUarh0
Good for: everyone, although maybe not ideal for oily
Notes: Gorgeous finish!
If you are on the hunt for an SPF that truly doubles as your moisturizer then this is a great option. This offering from Peter Thomas Roth has all the components of a great moisturizer (ceramides, cholesterol, glycerin, sodium PCA, yeast, and fermented ingredients) along with SPF protection. The filters are all chemical and it is an SPF 45. This one starts out with a typical moisturizer texture and then melts into the skin like a serum. It didn't burn my eyes but I wouldn't choose this one if I was an outdoor runner because there definitely is a chance it could move around the face (especially with sweat) given all the hydrating/moisturizing ingredients). Good for everyone else-oily skin could go either way on this one. If you have oily, dehydrated skin you may find this one nice. Perfect for normal to dry skin. I bought the small size with the pump and loved it but I have heard that the larger size packaging is not so great (food for thought). 1.7 oz/$34
On Amazon https://amzn.to/3JnQO2a
Good for: everyone, especially dehydrated skin
Notes: An SPF with gorgeous skincare ingredients but avoid if you're working up a sweat.
I wanted to love this! I DO love the glow. It feels so nice on the skin and it is PRETTY! I do NOT love the addition of citrus peel oils. Those oils can actually make the skin MORE sensitive to the sun, burning, and hyperpigmentation. I will update if I find out that the oils are distilled in a way that makes them non-sensitizing.
Otherwise, it is beautiful-golden glowy beautiful-ness...
SPF 45, chemical filters 1.5 oz $32
Good for: normal, combo and dry
Notes: I'm avoiding this one due to citrus peel oils
Ahhhh I wanted to love this one! Unfortunately for me, it burned my eyes straight away the first day, and that's a deal-breaker for me.
Here are the pertinent details:
This should be good for all skin types. I found it nice on my dry skin which always makes me think that super oily skin people may not like it. I like the presence of niacinamide for barrier function and pigment inhibition and aloe is a nice ingredient. This one also has a PHA-and I LOVE that. It's not fragrance-free and it does have dye in it.
Good for: all skin types
Notes: I won't be using this as it burned my eyes. 1.7 oz for $38
Another one I wanted to love! This one is good for people who ONLY use sunscreen (no other AM skincare). I wonder how many people are actually like that? LOL
I found that this pilled so badly either with my other skincare OR with my makeup. No matter what I did I couldn't avoid the pilling. On top of that, this is an eye-stinger! PHEW!
The finish is beautiful and oddly I enjoy the fragrance but it's an unfortunate NO for me. 1.7 oz for $34, SPF 50 in a hybrid formula (both chemical and physical filters).
On Amazon https://amzn.to/3DUa3z4
Good for: people who don't wear makeup
Type: Chemical and mineral
Notes: I won't be using this as it burned my eyes AND pilled under makeup
Lancome Aquagel Defense 50
This is a nice primer-like sunscreen. It reminds me of the Tatcha silk (above) except it has no skin tint. It is a lightweight serum-like texture. My initial impressions are that it is a VERY small tube for $40. For that, there should be more skincare ingredients in the deck (in my humble opinion). I DO love the finish and find that it plays well with my other skincare and also under makeup. It's just not as good as the Tatcha, especially for the money. If I am splurging its because I LOVE (Tatcha) the formula or because it has innovative ingredients (Photozyme).
This one is good for everyone, is a chemical sunscreen, SPF 50 and is $40 for 1 oz.
Ingredient callout: alcohol.
On Amazon https://amzn.to/3xlSCWS
Good for: everyone
Notes: Contains alcohol, expensive
This one has me on the fence! I find this to be very silky and beautiful under makeup-however more than once it pilled with my skincare. I was able to get it to not pill by waiting between layers of skincare and applying this in small amounts at a time....But that seems like a lot of work LOL.
That said, when I got it right I loved it! Pore blurring and flattering to my normal/dry skin. I think that oily skin people may also like this one with its soft velvet blurring finish. This did not bother my eyes at all.
This is a physical filter (zinc 15%) SPF 45, 2oz for $68. It does have a detectable (pleasant) fragrance.
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting
On Amazon https://amzn.to/3LShUju
Good for: everyone
Notes: Pore blurring
Below I am sharing my tried and true sunscreen ingredient decks for your reference. My goal is to have a one-stop page for at-a-glance ingredient deck info. Share this post with someone who might need it! xxPenn
Find Drmtlgy on https://www.drmtlgy.com/?ref=3831425.7cc41f Code M9HH1 gets 20% off.
Find Thank You Farmer Sun Project on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uly7YB
Find Ilia on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3jkWfnR
All the links above are affiliate. This means that if you use them to shop I will earn a commission. Penn Smith is an Amazon associate, all Amazon links are affiliates and again, I earn a commission if you choose to use them. Thank you for being here!