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Best Sunscreens For Face…And Everything Else!

Best Sunscreens for Face…And Everything Else!

We are talking about the best sunscreens for face + body that are also free of harmful ingredients – and trust us, we have tried *almost* all of them.

These are the products recommended by dermatologists that also work beautifully alone or under makeup. Skincare can be expensive and when deciding where to allocate your money, a quality sunscreen should be the #1 priority for both anti-aging (sorry, that word makes us cringe too) and cancer prevention.

Skin cancer awareness is a subject near and dear to our hearts… Rachel has already had two Mohs surgeries and Tammy is having her first one this week.

Best Sunscreens For Face…And Everything Else!
Rachel’s Story

I grew up in the South, and in the 90s, we all remember, the tanner the better, right? I spent my Summers baking in the sun, slathered in baby oil, ‘Sun-In’ turning my brunette hair orange, boom box at my side… you get the picture. 

In high school, I even hopped on the tanning bed trend – I mean, seriously, why? I think I knew (deep down in my soul) that these were very bad choices for my very fair and freckled skin, but teenage brains obviously aren’t the best at decision making.

Fast forward to my 20’s and 30’s, and I have had my fair share of (non-melanoma, thank you, God) skin cancers. I would give (almost) anything to go back and tell my younger self to wear your damn sunscreen (and a hat)! So, please learn from my mistakes, and if you’re a parent, make this a non-negotiable topic with your kids. They will thank you later. And also – annual skin checks for the whole family!

Applying sunscreen in the bathroom mirror.

Now to the sunscreen…I am not a doctor, I am not medically trained in any way at all. I do, however have a very close relationship with my dermatologist (thanks to bi-annual appointments for LIFE), and I do consider myself educated on this topic.

I feel very confident in suggesting you should be wearing a physical (or non-chemical sunscreen) -think titanium dioxide and zinc and NOT oxybenzone, avobenzone etc.

  • Here is an article that my dermatologist, Dr. Joel Cohen, wrote in Dermatology Times –  the case for a physical sunscreen.
  • Here he interviewed Dr. Terri Michele of the FDA about a sunscreen update and sunscreen safety.

These physical sunscreens with zinc and titanium dioxide used to be thick and white and not very user-friendly (think the old school lifeguard with white zinc covering their nose). Thankfully for us, these physical sunscreens have come so far…there are so many to choose from that are amazing…and actually make your skin glow!

Best Sunscreens For Face…And Everything Else!


For Everyday (Elta MD 30+) – This is hands down my favorite all over sunscreen. It is light, non-greasy, and absorbs beautifully (with no lingering white tint). This is also my kids’ everyday favorite. I almost always have one of these on the kitchen counter so my husband, kids and I can quickly apply as we are walking out the door. 

For Outdoor Adventuring (Sport) – Now, I am going to be real with you, this is a serious sunscreen… the thick stuff, the kind that DOES leave a bit of a lingering white cast. These are the big guns. But, with my history of skin cancer, I will choose sun safety over vanity any day of the week. So, if I’m skiing (which I won’t be…I’ll be in the hot tub) or lounging at the beach (under an umbrella of course), this is what I’ll be wearing.

Best Sunscreens For Face…And Everything Else!

The Criteria

There are so many good options for everyday facial sunscreens now, it is actually amazing. I can’t cover them all, nor have I tried them all. But, I have tried A LOT. And I am super picky. These are the things that I look for in a facial sunscreen.

*I don’t want them thick or heavy feeling like makeup
*I don’t want to be left with a white cast
*I DO want them to be creamy and moisturizing
*I am OK with a little tint (as long as it’s sheer)

So, with all of that in mind…here are my favorite physical sunscreens for the face…

My Personal Go-To
Colorscience + Colorscience Brush
(Currently on SALE!)


This has been my go-to sunscreen for a few years now. It provides the perfect amount of sheer coverage and protects against UVA/UVB rays +  blue light and pollution. It is also very moisturizing and goes on lightly – blurring imperfections but leaving a natural finish.

In the Fall & Winter I use the Sunforgettable sunscreen alone –  however, in the Summer I like to mix the regular version with a drop of the Glow version for a little added radiance. The Glow version on it’s own is a little too high-shine for me, but when mixed with the regular version – it gives you the perfect Summer glow.

I also like to keep the Colorscience powder brush in my purse for touch-ups –  and I especially love it for my hands and chest. One note on the color – I use the color ‘medium’ in the powder and I am very fair. The color ‘fair’ is extremely light and really only suitable for the very lightest skin tone.

Elta MD – again!


Here I am again with Elta MD. Really, this brand is just THAT good. There are actually 3 that I like… 

Elta MD Moisturizing Sunscreen – This one is great if you have dry skin, as it acts as a sunscreen and moisturizer in one. It goes on really light and creamy, exactly like a moisturizer. It has no tint but does leave a healthy, moisturized glow. This is my go-to for days when I’m heading to yoga, or running errands sans-makeup.  

Elta MD Clear – Tinted Version: This is my top pick from Elta MD for an everyday, tinted sunscreen. You could obviously layer foundation or powder on top, but I think it blurs imperfections just enough to leave a natural, but filtered look on its own. I would describe this one as light coverage.

Elta MD Clear – Non-tinted Version:  The same as the tinted, with (you guessed it) no color. If you want to leave the color for your makeup, this is a great option. It also blends really well without any lingering whiteness.

Best Sunscreens For Face…And Everything Else!
Tammy’s Story

Best Sunscreen For Face - Jennifer Zeuner Necklace

I grew up in Calgary, Canada and unfortunately I got a lot of sunburns as a teen. I had zero awareness of safe sun practices…none of us did back then! I never wore sunscreen even once. I’m super fair and even had to go to the doctor because of blistering a couple times.

I wish I could say that once I hit adulthood I was perfect about this stuff, but I’d be lying. I’ve lived in North Carolina, Hawaii, and now San Diego, and sadly it wasn’t until my 40s that I recognized the importance of wearing good sunscreen daily.

I now have permanent sun damage on my face and décolletage. Unfortunately all of my bad habits made my risk of skin cancer so much higher.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I wish I’d been more aware of the dangers, earlier on.

This is a great article on what I have – Basal Cell Carcinoma Overview. People have asked how I knew to get checked. I have tried to get yearly checks for a while, but honestly, my spot may have gone unnoticed by a doctor, so it’s super important to do monthly checks on yourself.

I noticed something weird when I was applying sunscreen (with my hands) and felt a tiny bump, on the side of my nose, that I hadn’t noticed before. It was round, pearly, and almost translucent. The pearly aspect was what made me concerned.

There are many different types, so it’s important to educate yourself and know what to look for.

Best Sunscreens For Face…And Everything Else!
*Tammy’s Facial Sunscreen*

Best Sunscreen for Face - AlastinBest Sunscreen for Face – Alastin

Last year my dermatologist advised that my Supergoop sunscreen was not a good choice (not all – but a lot- of the Supergoop sunscreens include oxybenzone and other ingredients that my dermatologist (and Rachel’s) advise against).

My doctor’s pick for the best sunscreens for face – Alasin tinted sunscreen. I’ve now worn it for a year, and it’s been a replacement for tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation, and I use it with pressed powder as my daily routine. There’s only one color, and while it’s maybe a touch darker than I would have chosen, it blends in really well and leaves you with a nice matte finish. I seriously love it.

Best of all, I feel protected. And I do have a lot of old sun damage, of which I’m considering laser treatment to help diminish some of it. The last thing I need is MORE sun damage — it ages the heck out of us!

For my body (especially my neck and decolletage, which has a lot of damage thanks to years of not properly protecting those areas daily), I have started applying Rachel’s Elta recommendations above, and I’m thrilled. Rubs in easily without any hint of stickiness or white cast. It’s the holy grail of sunscreen, I think.

That concludes our roundup of the best sunscreens for face and everything else. It is so important that we wear sunscreen every day – rain or shine. And not just any old sunscreen…a quality sunscreen with the right (physical sun blocking) ingredients. Skincare can be expensive, but if you have to choose the most important product to spend your money on –  without question, it is a good sunscreen.

Healthy Skin is Beautiful Skin,
x Rachel & Tammy

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Beachwear For Over 40…The 10 Items In My Bag!
Skin Cancer Anxiety – My Experience With Basal Cell Carcinoma and Mohs Surgery

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