Skincare Lesson: Sunscreen


In my years as a beauty editor, the one question that I am faced the most often is, “What do you do for your skin?”

To which I reply, “Cleanse, hydrate, protect.” like a well-rehearsed parrot.

Most people do the first two, but not many actually commit to the last – protect. Despite overwhelming evidence that UV exposure fucks your skin up in many ways, like burning, speeding up the ageing process, making your skin look like a tortilla or a piece of beat-up leather and in general not dainty, I hear excuses like, “Sunscreen feels oily!” and “It’s too time-consuming!” and “I hate the feeling of having too much stuff on my face!”

Well darlings, here’s a little story.

I hated sunscreen and never wore sunscreen until I was 23 and working the counter for a Japanese beauty brand. They carried an SPF30 sunscreen that, while it was one of the lightest and least offensive-feeling, still felt heavy and greasy on my skin. But heck, I get a discount and I have to believe in what I’m selling, so I started using it every day.

And then, I got used to using sunscreen. The “heaviness” no longer felt heavy, it felt normal. I’ve never gone a day without sunscreen since, and I’m almost 29, and I still get asked if I’m 16.

So darlings, the tl;dr version is: you’ll get used to wearing sunscreen and it’ll literally feel like nothing on your skin.

I’ve used many, many brands of sunscreen over the years and I have my faves, including the ones pictured above, which I’m currently using. Sunscreen textures have progressively gotten lighter and less offensively-greasy, with the majority of them now feeling like moisturizer or gels.

Current Sunscreen Rotation

For face: The Skin Pharmacy Silky Smooth Sunscreen SPF50. It’s a Singapore-based brand that makes no-frills skincare, and its products only contains what you actually need on your skin. It feels like a light moisturizer and doesn’t require much blending since it doesn’t leave white streaks. However, it’s a chemical sunscreen, not a physical one. They make a physical sunscreen that I’ll probably check out once I’m done with this.

For body: HABA UV Kids Gel SPF 15. I love the Japanese brand (I went to Tokyo and Hokkaido for a press trip a couple years ago and visited their amazing factory) but it’s sadly not vegan as its signature ingredient is squalane from sharks. Note: although I’m a dietary vegan, the products I use aren’t exclusively vegan because as a beauty editor, I received tons of products and it feels wasteful (and now that I’m a freelancer and not rolling in the dough) to give them away. So I’m working on using up my stash from my working days before putting my money where my heart is and switching over entirely. Anyway, this is a delightfully light gel that disappears when you put it on, and washes off in the shower. I couldn’t find a link to the exact one, but it’s similar.

For lazy: Bioderma Hydrabio Perfecteur SPF30. It triples as a moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup primer, and this was what I used exclusively on my Seoul trip because I can’t be arsed to bring that many products when I travel. It works a dream, left my face looking matteĀ and bright and it has pigments that blur and hide pores.