My Favorite Sunscreens

Beauty blogger Jessica Sturdy of Bows & Sequins shares her favorite sunscreens for year-round wear.

While at first it might seem unseasonal to be chatting about sunscreen mid-September, today’s post is intentionally going live right at the start of fall. Sunscreen is always top of mine in the warmer months, but as the seasons change, it’s so so important to remember that sun safety is something that needs to be top of mind year round. My friend Meghan recently had a skin cancer scare (you can read more about her diagnosis here), which was definitely the reminder I needed to play it safe it in the sun. Over the years, my mom has had multiple cancerous moles removed, too, so I try to be as diligent as possible about my SPF usage, summer or winter, rain or shine.

When I was getting laser hair removal all over my body, I couldn’t get any color on my skin, which was definitely a challenge! Even with constant reapplication of sunscreen, I get tan really easily. And my skin holds on to color for a long friggen time. I first started getting laser treatments in September (of 2017) and she wouldn’t start on my arms and legs until January as my summer ‘tan’ had still not faded, four months later. I remember being at my friend Ashley’s bachelorette party in Palm Springs in the shade or in long sleeves because I was so committed to not screwing up my laser appointments, haha.

But I will admit, once I was done with laser treatments, I feel like I probably slacked on the sunscreen a little more than I should have. I try to spend as much time as possible outside just because it’s good for the soul… Going for a long walk for a workday break, walking to a meeting instead of taking an Uber, lunch alfresco, etc. All of my makeup and moisturizers have SPF in them for daily use, but I’m re-committing to making sure I’m wearing SPF on my arms, legs, feet, shoulders, hands, ears, neck, etc. whenever I’m outside!

Supergoop tends to be my go-to for sunscreen, as I always love how they’re pushing the envelope with different textures and types of products. I know a lot of dermatologists recommend Elta MD, but I did not love the formula when I took it with me to Australia. I got these tiny bumps all over my arms and I swear it was from the sunscreen. I know it’s technically facial sunscreen, but I do apply my Supergoop facial sunscreen on my arms pretty often and never have that issue. Elta MD recently launched a new formula, UV Clear, that I’m going to try eventually to see how it compares. (I’d love to know if you’ve tried it!)

My dermatologist always tells me that I need to be using zinc sunscreen, no questions asked. But truthfully, I have not yet found a zinc sunscreen that I like for my whole body. However! As I was grabbing links for my favorite sunscreens for this post, I saw that Supergoop now makes a Zinc Sunscreen! I placed my order last night, so I’m hoping I like it. 🤞🏼

So what are my favorites, then?! I have three that I absolutely swear by!

ps: this post is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form. 😘

Fashion and beauty blogger Bows & Sequins shares reviews of her favorite sunscreens: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, Superscreen Daily Moisturizer, and Fre Skincare Protect Body SPF

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen  |  I can’t even describe the texture of this formula because it’s so different than anything I’ve ever used before. It’s sort of gel-like, but not sticky at all and completely weightless, almost like a makeup primer. It’s meant for your face, but I use it on my arms, neck, and shoulders frequently! If you typically hate the feeling of wearing sunscreen, THIS IS FOR YOU. Trust. It’s honestly what got me in the habit of wearing sunscreen on my arms every day because I didn’t worry about it ruining my clothes or making me smell like sunscreen. It’s the best!

Superscreen Daily Moisturizer  |  When I ran out of my Olay in the spring, I tried Supergoop’s Superscreen Daily Moisturizer and fell in love with it. It’s incredibly hydrating, but not too greasy, and it the perfect everyday moisturizer to wear alone or under makeup.

FRÉ Protect Body  |  Absolutely OBSESSED with this for full-body wear! It’s made for skin that sweats, so it was perfect to wear all summer long during the hot and humid days. But even on the cooler days, I love the feel of this formula. It’s specifically made to not clog your pores! Again, it’s lightweight and doesn’t really feel like you’re wearing sunscreen, so, in my opinion, it makes it a whole lot easier to wear! (PS: You can get 15% off with my code, BSS, at checkout!)

A few others I love, but don’t use daily…

Beauty blogger Bows & Sequins shares reviews of Supergoop SPF Setting Mist, Tinted Poreless Suncreen, Mineral Powder Suncreen, POOF Hairline Suncreen Powder, Age Defying Oil, and Fresh Sport Chapstick

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist  |  This stuff is great for reapplying on your face throughout the day when you already have makeup on! It comes in an easy travel size to keep in your purse, so it’s great for on-the-go if you’re outside all day. And it actually acts as a setting spray for your makeup! Win, win.

Invincible Mineral Powder  |  Another great product for on-the-go touch ups! It comes in different shades, but I have the translucent powder. It’s 100% mineral and sweat-resistant!

Smooth + Poreless Matte Sunscreen  |  This is one of those products that is great for when you’re not wearing makeup! If I’m going to be outside and and not wearing makeup (say if I’m going to the pool or to the beach), this product is slightly tinted so it really gives you a nice finish, almost like you have an IG filter on. 😂 The texture is very similar to the Unseen Sunscreen I mentioned above, too! It’s great.

Poof Part Powder  |  This one is super interesting, it’s almost like dry shampoo meets powder sunscreen! I don’t know if it technically has any dry shampoo qualities or not, but I was intrigued by this product because of the crazy stories you hear about burns happening in the most obscure places that your sunscreen can’t reach. (ie Meghan’s story!)

Play Sunscreen Oil  |  This is what I always take to the pool and the beach! I love the oil formula because it’s water resistant, so you have to worry about reapplication a little bit less if you’re in and out of the water. It’s super moisturizing, too, so I always feel like it’s benefiting my skin at the same time it’s protecting it.

Fresh Sugar Sport  |  I try to always have this chapstick with me in the summertime, but I need to start using it year-round!

A few others not pictured that I’ve tried and liked…

SkinCeuticals Skin Tint SPF 50  |  My dermatologist recommended this one because it is zinc! I honestly don’t really know why I stopped using it… I think I ran out and just started using other SPF products I had in my beauty cabinet. It has a very light tint to it, I think it’s almost universal, as I don’t believe there are different shades. Great to wear alone or under your makeup!

Kiehl’s Wrinkle Reducing Cream SPF 30  |  While I’ve heard that moisturizers and makeup containing SPF are not enough for your daily sun protection, I’ve always really loved this daily moisturizer from Keihl’s. It has more anti-aging skincare ingredients than the Supergoop moisturizer I mentioned in my Top 3, which is obviously more of a priority as we get older!

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  1. 9.18.19
    Mom said:

    Jessica, will be eternally grateful to you for noticing the mole on my shoulder ten years ago that in fact proved to be melanoma! (I would have never noticed it as it was in my blind spot). My dermatologist didn’t even think much of it … but biopsied it only as a precautionary measure. I had the first of my many biopsies at the age of 23! The most painful being on the palm of my hand and the soles of my feet. You get to know your dermatologist pretty well when you go for your quarterly mole screens … no spot on the body/scalp is overlooked.

    I’m glad you heeded my dermatologists advice when she told you ten years ago in my exam room that you unfortunately have the exact skin type as your mother. You have been such an advocate for your own skincare and have an avenue to be able to share your knowledge with others.

    I use Cera Ve Invisible Zinc Sunscreen Face Lotion, SPF 50, Water Resistant (2oz); and Cera Ve Broad Spectrum Body Lotion, SPF 50 (3oz). Both products were suggested by my dermatologist knowing my history and that I spend a lot of time boating. I had never heard of the brand. She uses it herself so I figured it was worth a try. I was pleased to find out how inexpensive both products are too!

    An application side note so you don’t look like a ghost on your boat or near the pool: My Dermatologist told me that mineral based sunscreens shouldn’t be applied like traditional chemical-based sunscreens as the ingredients stay on the surface protecting your skin which can leave a white cast on you. She suggested applying a small amount in the palm of my hands and rubbing them together. Then, apply to one area of my face at a time, rubbing well. Compliance is such a huge factor … if you don’t like the product you aren’t going to use it. Only your skin, pocketbook and most importantly your health will suffer.

    Sorry for such a long, drawn-out response … but it’s obviously a subject I take seriously. As my brother, who is a physician, told my at the time of my diagnosis “Melanoma gives cancer a bad name!”