Sun safety first!

We all know by now that sunscreen is non-negotiable if we care about protecting our skin. My skin is fair so I use a moisturizer with SPF 30 on my face and neck every day—even if all I’m going to be doing is sitting in my home office (my desk is next to a sunny window). When I know I’m going to be outdoors for awhile I make sure to protect my exposed skin with sunscreen—preferably at least SPF 50—and I sit in the shade whenever possible (I’m probably part vampire).

But in recent years I’ve begun to absolutely loathe slathering sunscreen all over my body. Most of the drugstore brands I’ve tried (e.g., Coppertone, Neutrogena) don’t absorb well into my skin and leave a ghostly white film all over. Water resistant sunscreens, which are the only ones I’ve been able to find, seem to be water-AND-soap resistant on me—it takes a couple showers to feel like I’ve fully washed even one day’s worth of the stuff off. I don’t know why, but I feel like I have a harder time getting the remnants of sunscreen off my body than other people do, though exfoliation helps some. The real kicker is that I usually get a rash after using sunscreen for more than one day in a row because the buildup upsets my skin. It all makes for an unpleasant experience, especially if I’m in a tropical, humid environment where for some reason my skin reacts even more poorly to the film of sunscreen that I just can’t seem to remove.

I look happy, but my skin was very sad after this 2013 Jamaica vacation.

“What about spray-on sunscreen?” you’re probably asking. I’m not a fan of those for a few reasons: 1) the spray format makes even application difficult, especially if you’re outdoors and it’s windy; 2) I feel like I just end up inhaling half of the product (at least I know my lungs are protected from the sun); and 3) it leaves a slippery mess all over the floor around you. I know you can spray the stuff into your hand and rub it on, but then what’s the point of the spray?

I have found that CeraVe (a pricier drugstore brand) upsets my skin less than others, but it’s still sticky and not super absorbent.

Enter Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50. I actually chose to receive this sample in my June 2015 Birchbox, but completely forgot I had it until I was packing for my recent vacation. Whoopsie! Because it had been sitting around for nine months I made sure to check the expiration date before packing it—never forget to look at your sunscreen’s expiration date before using it!


Supergoop! is not to be confused with Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop. Supergoop! is unaffiliated with Gwyneth Paltrow, but there is some star power involved, as tennis pro Maria Sharapova is an investor. The product is paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free as well as cruelty-free (yay for the animals!). I have tried another Supergoop! sample courtesy of Birchbox: the CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen. I liked that product well enough, but the Fair to Light shade Birchbox sent was a little too light for me—Light to Medium might actually have been better.

While in Palm Desert I decided to try the Supergoop! sample on my arms, which are usually the first part of my body to get angry about the crap slathered all over them. I was amazed: this sunscreen absorbs well and has a lightweight, nonsticky feel. It also has a light, pleasant herbal scent that dissipates quickly. The sunscreen didn’t give me the appearance of a glowing ghost, either…I mean, not any more than my baseline sunscreen-free pasty hue. I still found the sunscreen hard to wash off, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as other sunscreens I’ve tried. The most important part? I didn’t get a rash!

Soaking up shade in the desert
Soaking up shade in the desert

Because I only had a sample tube I didn’t have enough product to try it out on my entire body for multiple days in a row, but I’m looking forward to getting a full sized tube for summer and seeing how it goes. In case you prefer shopping at Sephora (gotta keep that VIB status, right?), they also carry Supergoop!

EWG’s Skin Deep database rates this Supergoop! sunscreen as a moderate hazard with limited data, so that’s admittedly not great, but the CeraVe sunscreen is also moderate hazard as are the Coppertone Water Babies and Neutrogena Pure & Free products I’ve tried. Ideally I’ll eventually find a sunscreen recommended by EWG that also doesn’t upset my skin!

In case you’re wondering what I used to protect the rest of my body while on vacation, I went with Mineral Fusion Mineral SPF 30 Brush-On Sun Defense, which I talked about in a Friday Five last summer. It’s kind of annoying to apply powder sunscreen all over your body and I’m not fully convinced of its water resistant properties, but I knew it would leave my skin happier than if I globbed on the CeraVe. I just made sure to re-powder well after spending time in the pool.

What’s your sunscreen of choice? Have you found an EWG-recommended sunscreen that you absolutely love?