~products mentioned in this post~

Paula’s Choice Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF30
Paula’s Choice youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF50
Black Girl Sunscreen spf30
Pipette mineral sunscreen spf50

Hey, it’s Cho, and I’m here to once again ask that you all wear sunscreen! As you all know, the sun is literally trying to kill us. The sun is so determined that it will penetrate through the clouds with up to 80% of its damaging effects even during cloudier season. And yes, I know that we have experienced a rough few years with sunscreen protection. However, there are still reputable companies out there with trusted sunscreens, and today we’re going to discuss how to pick one out!

Just as a reminder, UVB rays are those that cause sunburns & cellular damage which can make you more susceptible to skin cancer. UVA rays, on the other hand, can damage collagen production and suppress your immune system. Both of those things can cause rapid aging. This is why it’s so important to wear spf. If you need a more detailed refresher, be sure to read my previous post about that subject matter. But wait! You can’t be bothered to add one more step to your morning routine by applying a sunscreen over your moisturizer. I’ve got the solution for you that is so legendary and iconic, you’re gonna gag.

*spf moisturizers have entered the chat*

DUH, right?! I use spf moisturizers which are just as effective at protecting your skin from the sun as regular sunscreen. I’m a strong believer in simplifying your routine as much as you can and using an spf moisturizer does just that. Remember that there are some critical skincare steps that you should do every morning. You should always cleanse and moisturize your skin. And some days, you should also be exfoliating. Adding yet another step in applying sunscreen can make your routine seem cumbersome. With spf moisturizers, you’re getting the benefit of a moisturizer while also getting the sun protection. Now, it does get a little confusing when it comes to picking the right sunscreen for you.

Mineral Vs Chemical Sunscreens

I know that chemical sunscreens get a bad wrap in the media. There’s nothing inherently wrong with chemicals. The “natural is better” narrative has done a lot of consumers a massive disservice. What it has done is caused consumers to pass over effective products that are safe and cheaper than the trendy natural brands. And some of those “natural” brands aren’t even natural! I digress! This is a pretty big decision when it comes to sunscreen, but rest assured. Both options can offer you value albeit in a few different ways.

Let’s Get Physical! Physical!

  • Pro: causes less irritation; great for eczema, rosacea and other sensitive skin types
  • Pro: Blocks more UVA rays (great for anti-aging)
  • Con: more expensive
  • Con: tends to leave heavier white casts; not ideal for darker skin tones
  • Con: can have a sticky or tacky texture on the surface of your skin

Chemical Sunscreens

  • Pro: very cheap
  • Pro: less likely to leave white casts; better for photographs
  • Con: can sometimes irritate the skin and cause breakouts
  • Con: chemical runoff isn’t great for coral reef environments

As you can see, there’s quite a few nuanced differences between the two. I highly recommend that you give both a try. Like with any skincare product, the right match for you will greatly depend on your skin type and concerns. I actually use both chemical and mineral sunscreens on a regular basis. For mineral screens, my favorites are Paula’s Choice Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF30 ($29) and Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 ($16.49). For the chemical team, I go with either the Paula’s Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF50 ($33) or Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 ($18.99). The Essential Glow is my daily work horse while I use the Daily Hydrating Fluid on the weekends when I’m more likely to be in photos/video. While I would love for you to use the above affiliate links to purchase your products, please do check the prices on PC’s website to ensure you’re getting the best deal! Using my affiliate links above is a FREE way for you to support me monetarily, and I appreciate you for doing so!

The Numbers Game

We’re at the end of the blog post, and you’re probably wondering: “Cho, you haven’t explained which number SPF to use!” First, what does spf even mean? It stands for “sun protection factor”. The number indicates how much longer it would take for the sun to burn your skin if you didn’t have any sunscreen on. At minimum, you should be using an spf of 30. What this means is that it would take the sun 30 more minutes to damage your skin if you didn’t have any sunscreen on. I wouldn’t recommend spending extra money on spfs higher than 60 as the effectiveness doesn’t actually increase. Don’t fall for the gimmicks.

Lastly, I want you to remember the two most important parts of sunscreen-use: application and frequency. You should be using at least a teaspoon of sunscreen every time you apply. If you’re ever doubtful about whether you have enough on or not, add more. And don’t forget the ear, neck and the eye areas. Depending on how often you are outside, you need to reapply it 2-4 times. Now let me know what your experiences have been when shopping for sunscreens. Are you using spf moisturizers? Mineral or chemical? Let me know over on Instagram!

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