|The view from Notre Dame in Marseille, France|
Understanding Sun Protection Factor:"If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer) " - Badger Balm Site.
A safe bet in my opinion is an SPF of 30, labeled broad spectrum UVA/UVB. UVA rays cause long-term damage, like age spots, and UVB rays cause the immediate sun damage, which usually results in a burn. There is also a difference in the actual protective UVA ingredients in sunscreens, which can be categorized into "mineral" or "synthetic" protection. You can see more on "what the sun is doing to our skin" in a fun graphic here, on Paula's Choice.
Hawaiin Tropic Silk Hydration SPF 30
This stuff smells magical, quite similar to a piña colada. It's my go-to beach pick, which glides on smooth like a light and silky moisturizer. Ladies, you'll love it.
Neutrogena Beach Defense Body SPF 60
I've been a huge fan of Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with SPF 55, but was blown away by the texture and ease of application of their Beach Defense option. This product has been amazing for days when I'm out and about in the sun for hours, and don't want any tan lines from my clothing. I also don't feel sticky or uncomfortable when wearing this waterproof lotion on my body, which is a total win.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine SPF 50
I've heard only amazing things about the legendary Anthelios XL fluid Ultra-Light, but I had to include my Anti-Shine Anthelios lotion which I managed to pick up in France for under $10 CAD. Score! Although this is a much thicker option than the fluid, I get great results when I apply a nickle-sized amount to my hands, then gently smooth it onto my skin. This stuff dries quite quickly, but has a wonderful finish for applying makeup overtop. I've tried a few of the Anthelios options in the past, and would definitely recommend all of them.
High-End options, under $40
Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil-Free Lotion Spray SPF 15For my lowest protection, I reach for an ultra-lightweight spray that literally feels like nothing on the skin. This is my favourite product for re-application on the body after being out in the sun for a few hours, especially because the light mist is nice and refreshing. Also, this is the only product I'd recommend for use on the scalp. I can't be the only one who has gotten one of those painful scalp burns in the past! I'd sooner tell you to throw on a floppy sunhat, but this will do if you aren't a chapeau person.
Shiseido Extra Sun Protection Lotion SPF 38
Yes, random number. Also, an amazing lotion for daily use. This stuff is practically water and is perfectly suited for use under makeup. Although this is a pricier option, one bottle does last quite some time even with daily use. Don't let it's thin consistency fool you though- Make sure to apply a generous amount before sun exposure to ensure full protection.
I have quite sensitive skin which can quickly react and break out when I use thick lotions. I fortunately have not encountered any issues with the products listed above. For some more drugstore picks for all types of skin, feel free to check out this article from The Glitter Guide.
Stay sun-safe, beauties!