Your Ultimate 2018 Sunscreen Buying Guide
Choosing the right sun care products for you and your family can be tricky. With so many options available, it’s hard to know where to start. Don’t worry – our Sunscreen Buying Guide is here to help!
First things first, let’s talk about the types of sunscreen. When it comes to sunscreen, you can either go with natural or conventional formulas. Each has its own benefits.
What’s the difference between natural and conventional sunscreen?
Natural sunscreens are are made with natural minerals. They work by sitting on top of your skin and reflecting the sun’s rays instead of penetrating your skin. Conventional sunscreens are made with ingredients that are designed to be absorbed into skin. They work by absorbing the sun’s rays so that our skin doesn’t absorb them.
Choosing whether to use natural or conventional sunscreen is a totally personal choice. Do whatever works best for you and your family. Whether you go the natural or conventional route, can all agree that using any kind of sunscreen is way better than not having a suncare regimen at all.
What type and level of SPF should you use?
SPF (sun protection factor) measures the length of time a product protects against skin reddening from UVB, compared to how long the skin takes to burn without it. If it takes 20 minutes without protection to begin reddening, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents it for 15 times longer – about 5 hours. To maintain the SPF, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and right after swimming.
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends using an SPF of at least 15 – or at least 30 if you are going to be outside for a full day, are sun sensitive, have previously had skin cancer, or have a high risk of developing skin cancer. An SPF of 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays and one of 30 or higher blocks 97%.
Broad-spectrum protection: This means that a product shields against UVA as well as UVB rays. Most broad-spectrum sunscreens and sunblocks with an SPF of 15 or higher do a good job against UVB and short UVA rays; if they also contain avobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide, they should be effective against the entire UVA spectrum.
Even with the ideal sunscreen, some UV rays can get through to your skin and cause damage. The Canadian Cancer Society states that “…sunscreens are not meant to be used so that you can stay out in the sun longer. They are meant to increase your protection when you have to be outside. Use sunscreen along with shade, clothing and hats, not instead of them.”
So now that you’re a sunscreen expert, it’s time to decide which sunscreen is best for you and your family! Read on to see some of our top picks for every skin type and situation.
For Babies & Kids
When you’re buying sunscreen for littles, look for formulas that are kid-friendly and gentle on their skin. Bonus points if they’re super easy to apply – even on the squirmiest littles! Here are some of our top picks:
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen – A Customer Favourite and top rated EWG sunscreen! This sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so don’t worry about sweating or swimming. Not to mention that it goes on and applies nicely – and smells fantastic!
Green Beaver Natural Mineral Sunscreen Spray for Kids – This hypoallergenic sunscreen is the perfect chemical-free solution to sun protection for children. Light and fragrance-free, this spray is gentle on the skin. And it’s organic certified!
Sun Bum Baby Bum Premium Natural Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30 – Naturally sourced premium sunscreen made just for baby. It helps nourish and protect baby’s sensitive and delicate skin. And the stick form makes it super easy to apply and easily portable!
For Everyday Use
If you haven’t already, start wearing sunscreen every day to protect and nourish your skin while keeping it safe from the sun’s rays! Here are some of our top picks:
CyberDERM Every Morning Sun Whip Sunscreen – This sunscreen is great for everyday use. It has a matte finish so you can wear makeup on top! Apply to the Face, neck, chest and arms to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Goddess Garden Sunscreen Lotion – This sunscreen is sheer and non-whitening so it’s perfect for every skin tone. It’s in a family-size squeeze tube so you won’t have to repurchase often. Did we mention that it’s EWG top-rated?!
Live Clean Sport Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 – The latest from Live Clean! This sunscreen is hypoallergenic and dermatologist and pediatrician tested, so you can share with your whole family. It also comes in a very convenient spray form!
For Outdoor Enthusiasts
If you’re planning on being super active and spending a lot of time outside swimming, hiking, running, or otherwise working up a sweat this season, look for broad spectrum sunscreens with high SPF and water-resistance. Here are some of our top picks:
All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Spray – A solid choice for water-resistant spray sunscreen, and a fan favourite! It has a light and non-greasy formula that is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It’s also formulated with organic green tea, rosehips, and buriti oil to repair damaged skin!
Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sport Sunscreen SPF 40 – We love this sunscreen because it’s super water-resistant and it stays put. With broad spectrum UVA/UVB of SPF 40 protection, it’s also hypo-allergenic, quick-absorbing, and does not leave a white film.
For Your Face
COOLA Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20 Tinted Rose – Made with 98% natural ingredients, this sunscreen is hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and has a very sheer finish. You can layer makeup on top easily and the beautiful rose tint gives the most beautiful yet natural glow!
Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Oil-Free Face Lotion – Made just for your face, this mineral sunscreen goes on sheer and lightweight, leaving you with a non-greasy finish that’s perfect alone or under makeup.
Green Beaver Sunscreen Lip Balm – Don’t forget your lips! This natural sunscreen lip balm gives you SPF 15 and broad spectrum protection to prevent burned, chapped lips. Plus, since it’s made with moisturizing sunflower oil and Canadian raspberry extract, you’ll actually like using it.
For a Sunless Glow
The only “safe” tan is one that you don’t get from sun or UV exposure (yes, tanning beds included). Luckily, there are loads of great ways to fake your way to a golden glow. Here are some of our top picks:
Fake Bake Fair Self Tanning Lotion – Made for people with fair skin, this tanning lotion goes on easily to give you that beautiful sun-kissed glow. Formulated with a “guide” colour, the most inexperienced self-tanner will be able to use this with ease and confidence!
Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint – Get glowing skin with this gorgeous bronzing tint! Simply add a few drops to your body lotion or face moisturizer to get a sun kissed look without the fuss. Did we mention that it’s 100% natural?!
Sun Bum Sunless Tanning Towelettes – Take these wipes on the go to get a natural sunless tan wherever you are! Designed to give you beautifully bronzed skin, these towelettes will give you a natural golden tan within 2-4 hours.
Bare Republic Hunter Gatherer Milk & Honey After-Sun Face and Body Serum – This serum is a lifesaver for those times that you forget to reapply sunscreen while spending the day at the beach. It contains Manuka honey and oat milk to nourish and repair skin after sun exposure!
Mustela After Sun Spray – This after-sun treatment comes in a convenient spray bottle and is high tolerance, hypoallergenic, and dermatologically tested under paediatric supervision. It is especially formulated for baby skin, but you’ll also enjoy it because of how lightweight and effective it is.