Rating My Favorite Sunscreens in 2021
Sunscreen is the most spoken word of the year in the skincare industry, and we cannot deny that. It’s been proven again and again that sun protection is the secret (not so secret anymore) to anti-aging and maintaining healthy skin. I went from owning one sunscreen to purchasing a new one every other week. Now I have over 10 sunscreens in my room, some being my favorites, and some not so much.
Applying sunscreen may not be the most comfortable feeling, but I highly recommend it if you don’t want to regret it 20 years later. Everyone seems to be a sunscreen expert this year, but what are the criteria’s to finding the best sunscreen for you? For me, it depends on the absorption, heaviness, and ultimately, the sun protection.
Let’s look at five of the sunscreens I’ve been using recently and rate them:
Beginning with Cosrx’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream, I bought these because it was sold out multiple times on Masksheets and loved by customers. Anything with aloe as its main ingredient gives it a head start.
As I mentioned earlier, sunscreens tend to have a reputation of being oily and heavy on the face. However, Asian sunscreens clear that myth. The texture of the sun cream was not only smooth, but extremely lightweight and did not require a lot of rubbing in.
The texture of the sun cream is in between an essence and a cream. It is lightweight and doesn’t make it difficult for makeup application afterwards.
Sun protection: 5/5 for SPF50 PA+++
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
Thousands sold this Summer, I had to try this sun gel that promises to be lightweight and non-sticky.
Upon applying the sun gel, I could instantly tell my skin would absorb it quickly because it has an extremely thin consistency, closer to liquid.
When a sunscreen feels like nothing on your skin, you’ve found the right one. Missha’s Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel is extremely moisturizing and refreshing, hydrating the skin without feeling like an extra layer of skincare.
Sun protection: 5/5 for SPF 50+ PA+++++
Overall Rating: 5/5
An all-in-one, body and face sunscreen is a must-have when under the blazing sun. Right before my trip to Las Vegas, I purchased this at Walgreens knowing it would be 110 degrees Fahrenheit everyday.
I had high expectations for this sunscreen since it has many reviews and sells at a higher price point than the usual Asian sunscreens I use. The texture is very runny like milk, but it sits on the face after rubbing for minutes. The absorption was so bad I would still see patches on my face or it would get on the collar of my clothes.
Using this over four days, I can honestly say this is my worst experience with a sunscreen and it is the most expensive one I’ve used yet! My skin type is normal, not dry or oily, but I don’t see this oily texture working for any skin type. It is not compatible with make-up and the entire day, you feel shiny (in a bad way) and sticky. I’m starting to believe the product I bought might’ve been a bad batch or the formula was off. How can a brand so reputable produce a product so underwhelming?
Sun protection: 3.5/5 for SPF 60, the sunscreen easily melts off with sweat.
Overall Rating: 2.6/5
An alternative to gel/cream sunscreen is a sun stick. I heard re-applying every few hours is easier with a sunstick. At $25, I thought it was decently priced and convenient to take on-the-go.
When purchasing a product, it’s always good to read about it online first. I skipped the research and didn’t realize this was dry oil based and suitable for dry & combination skin. The dry oil is translucent and gives the skin a dewy finish. It vouches to leave a glow without an oily residue, but I found the oil smudging on anything that came in contact with my face throughout the day.
The layer of dry oil applied on the face is thin and feels virtually weightless. On some people, the glow may look like a highlighter, but I can see it appearing oily or unkept on some other skin types.
Sun protection: 4.5/5 SPF 50, since the dry oil does not actually seep into the skin, I took off 1/2 point because it feels less effective than applying a gel, cream, or lotion.
Overall Rating: 4.3/5
Another option for sunscreen application is a sun spray! As a kid, this would be the most convenient application on beach days.
The spray feels like nothing more than air, and instantly absorbs with optional gentle tapping for further absorption.
There is NO heaviness at all. The soothing and calming effect brought upon by ingredient Centella Asiatica makes it even better!
Sun protection: 4/5 Ultimately, this spray is the least messy way to apply sun protection and feels like having nothing on. However, that makes me question how effective it is.
Overall Rating: 4.6/5
In the competitive beauty industry, new sunscreens are introduced almost everyday! I currently have my eyes on the EltaMD sunscreen, especially the tinted ones so I could skip BB cream and applying concealer. The UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 contains 9% transparent Zinc Oxide, 5% high purity Niacinamide, antioxidants, and Sodium Hyaluronate. I will definitely be buying this next and sharing my experience with you!
There are so many ways to apply sunscreen and a variety to pick from to target your skin type and skin concerns. It takes trial and error to find a sunscreen you want to stick to, that’s why I’ve gone through over 10+! I have a few go-to’s but if I had to pick, my #1 choice is Missha Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel.