Which SPF is Best? Choosing the Right Formula for Your Skin Type

Which SPF is Best?

Which SPF is Best?

Choosing the Right Formula for Your Skin Type

I feel like sunscreen is having a bit of a moment right now. It’s like we’re all starting to realize how important it is to wear it… even though wearing sunscreen every day is hardly new advice.

I think it’s the new emphasis society is placing on skin care that is causing this renaissance. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER happy about it. I am thrilled that we’re designing our own daily skin care routines and I’m ecstatic that sunscreen is playing such a leading role in those routines!

But, that also means you might have some questions about choosing the right sun protection, as well as how and when to apply it. So let’s get into all things SPF, shall we?

Is Sunscreen Toxic?

I am not a scientist or an expert in chemistry but this commercial, whether you love the Ordinary or not, sums it up better than I can. Everything is chemicals.

What’s the Deal with SPF?


UVA Aging Rays

UVB– Burning Rays




SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and the number that comes after the SPF tells you how long you’re protected from ultraviolet (UV) B rays. You can also opt for a broad spectrum sunscreen, which will protect you from both UVB and UVA rays.

When choosing a sunscreen, look for something with at least an SPF 30, which will block 97 percent of the UVB rays. As the number increases, you add a little bit of protection but the difference isn’t really all that much. For example, an SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. So, you’re really not getting that much more protection than an SPF 30.

I’ve noticed as I get older, I become more and more concerned about whether my sunscreen is effective. I recently saw a YouTube video that opened my eyes to the different kinds of sunscreen products out there and how effective (or surprisingly ineffective) they are. 

The Best Sun Protection Is The One You Will Use!

Choosing a Sunscreen for Your Face

Image of a truck driver with sun damage on one side of their face.

Photo: New England Journal of Medicine

Unless you live in a cave, you need to protect your skin from the sun every day, even on cloudy or overcast days. Taking care of your skin, especially during the summer, is always in style. Since it’s finally warm and sunny (at least in my part of the world), I have been getting asked about my favorite face moisturizers with SPF and while sharing specific products with you are helpful, we all have different skin types and preferences and I feel like it is better and more honest to share with you my three favorite SPF brands.

If you know your skin type, it’ll be super easy to find a sunscreen that works for your skin type as well as your preferences. If you don’t know your skin type, grab my free skin type guide and learn how to shop for products suited for your skin. Ingredients matter.


As far as my personal favorites (I have dry and sensitive skin), these are the ones I use the most:

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk Body & Face Sunscreen 

This is my heavy hitter. I use this on beach days, long outside days, and really sunny days. I also slather this on my kiddos — face and body. Needless to say, I feel safe with this sunscreen on and have never broken out or reacted.

Andalou Naturals DIY Booster SPF 30 Facial Serum Unscented

This is one of my favorite sunscreens to use during the winter or when I’m working inside most of the day. It’s extremely lightweight and feels silky on the skin. 

CeraVe Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 | 1.7 Ounce | Light-Weight Face Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid

This is the current SPF in my daily rotation and I’m extremely happy with it. Like the Andalou Naturals, it’s extremely lightweight — maybe even lighter. I love that there is some added skincare benefits (hyaluronic acid = added hydration, which for my dry skin is so appreciated).

What About Makeup With SPF? 

Ok — let me say this again. I am NOT an esthetician. I’m not a skincare expert. I’m not a cosmetic chemist. However, being in the makeup and beauty industry, I have heard time and time and again (especially from estheticians, skincare experts, and cosmetic chemists), that you shouldn’t rely on the SPF found in cosmetic products as your primary SPF.


While yes, makeup and SPF technology continues to improve (faster than we can keep up) please consider this…foundations (includes CC creams, BB creams, balms, or anything that seeks to even out the skintone with any sort of pigment) can’t really be good at two things. They are either going to be a great foundation or a great SPF, but not both. If you disagree, let me know in the comments — I’d love to put some to the test.

What about Flashback & SPF?

Flashback is a term that is commonly used to describe the “grey” or “shine” on the face that you don’t see in real life but see in flash photography. This happens because one of the main ingredients found in most sunscreens is titanium dioxide  (you know, the white stuff some of us may remember slathering on our face via a stick). And titanium dioxide has this chemical has properties that generally create reflection flashback. This used to be an an issue when we’d be having our photos taken (or doing makeup for clients) under flash photography. 


funny gif about applying sunscreen heavily


Fortunately, flashback is more or less a concern of the past and of course, if you’re prepping your skin correctly, you can enjoy a beautiful makeup application without worry.

Skin Care is Self Care

Don’t know your skin type? I’ve got you! Find out what your skin really needs in order to feel and look its absolute best! Then, set aside a few minutes in the morning and in the evening to invest in your skincare game. It will pay off, trust me!

Skin Type Quiz by Natalie Setareh

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P.S. If you asked me a beauty question, if I don't immediately know the answer, I must thoroughly research every question I receive, and sometimes do not have an immediate answer or I need clarity on unlisted ingredients in certain beauty products, sometimes getting a clear answer takes up to 3 weeks... have patience, it'll be worth it!

Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

kevyn aucoin