As you all know, sun care is the best thing you can do for your skin so when Sephora’s 2018 Sun Safety Kit was released I was stoked to get a chance to review all 16 products in the line. Unfortunately they were sold out by the time I received my order, but you can still get it on e-bay*.
TBH I’m a little disappointed by how small some of these samples were! Following the guidelines of using 1/4 teaspoon per application (1.25 mL) some of these are only good for about 6 days of use. Quick note about the reviews: skincare is very individual so if an ingredient is getting conflicting responses this is why (for example: silicones like dimehticone are an effective occlusive that is used in many high end moisturizers but it’s also an acne trigger for many).
Part 1 covers the SPF 30 and below Chemical Sunscreens in the kit. Reviews are listed from lowest SPF to highest SPF and from most watery to most creamy. Please check out the recommended reading / watching list at the bottom of the post to learn more about the differences and safety of physical vs chemical sunscreen.
0.24 oz/7 mL Clinique Pep-Start Moisturizer SPF 20 – $29.50 from clinique.com*
First impressions: Untinted, chemical sunscreen. It’s not as “silky” as some other primers I’ve used but it’s probably because it doesn’t contain as many silicones as other primers. In exchange it has a creamy texture that’s easily absorbed into the skin, and contains a bunch of moisturizing ingredients. It looks like micrococcus lysate is a more recent addition to this formulation, and it’s allegedly reverses UV damage.
Best: Fragrance free, doubles as a primer, micrococcus lysate claims to protect from UV damage, moisturizing – contains humectants (glycerin, butylene glycol, pentylene glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, trehalose, sodium hyaluronate), emollients (cetyl alcohol, tridecyl sterate, squalane, tridecyl trimellitate, tocopheryl acetate, cetyl palmitate, dimethiconol), occlusives (dimethicone), peptides (palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, palmotyle tripeptide-1), probiotics (lactobacillus ferment, micrococcus lysate)
Worst: SPF 20 isn’t enough for sun protection on its own, contains silicone (common acne trigger), ferments probably not safe for fungal acne, squalane is HG for some but acne trigger for others
1.01 oz/30 mL AMOREPACIFIC Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist – $75 for 200 mL or $32 for 80 mL
First impressions: Sprays are one of the easiest ways to refresh SPF over makeup. This is a light-as-water application and while it does smell like alcohol on first spritz but it fades to a floral scent. I would use this on makeup days but not on its own, since usually sprays and powders don’t give even enough coverage. The ingredient list is pretty short so this is a pretty straightforward product.
Best: Very light and easy to apply. Feels like water and dries a little slow but you don’t have to rub it in. Minimalistic ingredient list.
Worst: Sprays not suitable for use on their own, takes a little bit of time to absorb. Squalane is Hg for many but acne-trigger for some.
0.17 oz/5 mL Murad Invisiblur™ Perfecting Shield SPF 30 PA+++ – $65 at Murad.com*
First impressions: Untinted, clear chemical sunscreen. This feels so silky on application. It’s not advertised as a primer but it would probably be a good one. I like that it’s PA+++, a lot of western sunscreens don’t list the UVA protection. It has a minty, floral scent that’s not overpowering.
Best: It feels nice on the skin and it applies very sheer and dries completely matte. The product is clear and lives up to its claims of being invisible. High silicone content is known to have a nice texture and fill in the appearance of wrinkles.
Worst: Retinyl palmitate may be photo-sensitizing and may degrade in sunlight (conflicting evidence, but I would still avoid it in a sunscreen), lots of silicones which may be an acne trigger, contains alcohol, not fragrance-free
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (2.0%), Homosalate (4.0%), Octisalate (4.0%), Octocrylene (2.0%) Inactive Ingredients: Isododecane, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Methicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenyl Trimethicone, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soy Polyglycerides, C15-23 Alkane, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Cake, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Extract, Octyldodecanol, Octyldodecyl Oleate, PEG -8 Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Alcohol, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Lentinus Edodes (Shiitake Mushroom) Extract, Mucor Miehei Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Silica, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Solidago Virgaurea (Goldenrod) Extract, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum)
0.25 oz/7 mL philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Cream SPF 30 – $28 at philosophy.com
First impressions: Has a light, creamy texture and smells fragrance free. It absorbs quickly and matte.
Best: This product feels moisturizing and contains a lot of antiaging ingredients (bifida ferment lysate, retinol).
Worst: Formation contains both octinoxate and avobenzone stabilized with octocrylene, which may mean that the avobenzone could degrade faster than in other formulations.It also contains alpha-hydroxy acids which are moisturizing but make you more sensitive to the sun. Retinol, while it may be anti-aging, can also make you more photosensitive.
Active ingredients: avobenzone (2.7%), octinoxate (6.99%), octocrylene (2%) Inactive ingredients: water, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, butylene glycol, methyl gluceth-20, gluconolactone, polyacrylamide, hydrogenated lecithin, cyclohexasiloxane, cetyl alcohol, bifida ferment lysate, phenoxyethanol, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, c13-14 isoparaffin, polysorbate 80, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, laureth-7, glycine soja (soybean) oil, fragrance, iris pallida root extract, ruby powder, disodium edta, gluconic acid, alcohol, mica, lecithin, adenosine, cellulose gum, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, bht, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, calcium gluconate, tocopherol, behentrimonium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, ascorbyl palmitate, beta-glucan, potassium phosphate, caprylyl glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, benzoic acid, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, citric acid, magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide (ci 77891).
0.5 oz/15 mL Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion SPF 30 – $42 at peterthomasroth.com*
First impressions: Thick an creamy but absorbs into the skin surprisingly quickly. It has a very light stereotypical sunscreen scent. I think this is my favorite one in the list and I would recommend for dry, sensitive skin.
Best: Fragrance free and feels very moisturizing and has a lot of moisturizing ingredients – (allantoin, aloe, butylene glycol, capryllic/capric triglyceride, ceramide 3, cetyl alcohol, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, phospholipids, propylene glycol) and vitamins (ascorbyl palmitate vitamin C derivative, panthenol vitamin B5, retinyl palmitate vitamin A, tocopheryl acetate vitamin E). This product also has a relatively short ingredients list but there’s plenty of good ingredients.
Worst: Contains both octinoxate and avobenzone stabilized with octocrylene. Retinyl palmitate may be photo-sensitizing and may degrade in sunlight (conflicting evidence, but I would still avoid it in a sunscreen), contains silicones which may be an acne trigger
Active Ingredients: AVOBENZONE 3%, HOMOSALATE 10%, OCTINOXATE 7.5%, OCTISALATE 5%, OCTOCRYLENE 2%, OXYBENZONE 6% Inactive Ingredients: ALLANTOIN, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, BENTONITE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, CAPRYLLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, CARBOMER, CERAMIDE 3, CETYL ALCOHOL, DIMETHICONE, GINKGO BILOBA LEAF EXTRACT, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PANTHENOL, PEG-100 STEARATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, PHOSPHOLIPIDS, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, RETINYL PALMITATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, STEARIC ACID, TETRASODIUM EDTA, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, TRIETHANOLAMINE, WATER/AQUA/EAU.
-Bonus- 0.25 oz/7.5 mL First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 – $28 on FAB.com
First impressions: Thick an creamy, has light, natural coverage but absorbs less quickly than the PTR Max Sheer. It’s fragrance free and FAB is the only brand one of my sensitive family members can use.
Best: Tint looks natural on the skin, and contains a lot of moisturizing ingredients (silicones, moisturizing alcohols, vitamin e, glycerin, butylene glycol, colloidal oatmeal, sodium hyaluronate, allantoin) and Licorice Root extract which may help even skintone.
Worst: Contains both octinoxate and avobenzene stabilized with octocrylene. Contains silicones. Citrus oils may be photosensitizing.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7.5%. Inactive ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Butylene Glycol, Hexyl Laurate, Colloidal Oatmeal, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Tribehenin, Limonene, Tetrasodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Allantoin, Sodium Ascorbate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, MAY CONTAIN: CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492/CI 77499/CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Mica.
Recommended Reading / Watching:
Dr. Dray‘s (my favorite dermatologist v-logger) full explanation of why you should sunscreen daily and the difference between chemical vs mineral sunscreens.
Labmuffin on Chemical vs Physical sunscreens: https://labmuffin.com/chemical-vs-physical-sunscreens-the-science-with-video/
FutureDerm inorganic (aka physical) vs organic (aka chemical) sunscreens is probably the most thorough explanation on the topic but it’s long and technical. Still highly recommend though. https://www.futurederm.com/are-inorganic-sunscreens-better-than-organic-ones-part-v-conclusion-and-product-recommendations/
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