General exposure to UV rays can lead to several skin issues from hyperpigmentation to fine lines and worst scenario skin cancer. Wearing a good quality sunscreen is more important than ever whether you are concerned about the environment, the youthful appearance of your skin, or both! 

A few years ago wearing sunscreen meant greasy, pore-clogging, and chalky face (there’s a reason people hate that stuff) good news is that formulation and sunscreen brands have improved dramatically so there is no excuse anymore to give your skin the protection it needs. — Here’s a list of the best sunscreens that feel, smell, and look good sitting in your bag, plus best of all, they really work! 

The Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreen 

Mineral sunscreen (also known as “physical blockers”) and chemical sunscreen, they both protect your skin from the sun, however, the way they do that on a scientific level is very different.

Chemical sunscreen (most of the sunscreen) absorbs the sun’s ray into the skin very easily and must be applied to clean skin in order to be effective. Directly after you have cleansed you’ll also need to wait 20 minutes for its absorption, another heads up, it’s not really recommended to apply any skincare on top.

Physical sunscreen is perfect to apply after serums and remember that chemical sunscreen goes FIRST and onto clean skin (which makes it very hard for serums to work so it’s a good reason to make the switch). Some sunscreen just combines both chemical and physical ingredients to ensure a truly tough barrier against the sun.

If I have to pick one I like to use a daily moisturiser with physical SPF 30 as also most of the chemicals sunscreen I have tried, trigger inflammation, and make my hyperpigmentation worse so I only use them if I’m going to the beach with clean skin.

Clean Option 

A physical sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium dioxide to block UVA and UVB rays by sitting on top of the skin. If there are any other ingredients besides zinc or titanium dioxide in the active ingredient box of a sunscreen, it means it’s a chemical sunscreen.

Important Things to Consider

1. Broad-Spectrum: It means that the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

2. Water-Resistance: Did you know that sunscreens can only claim to be water-resistant if it has undergone a forty or eighty-minute test. If water-resistance is not stated on the label, most likely the sunscreen will wash or sweat off.

3. Active Ingredients: Physical sunscreens will list zinc and/or titanium dioxide only. Be aware of the term “mineral-based,” which often means zinc and/or titanium dioxide has been mixed with chemical sunscreens. Also, red flags for any sunscreen loaded with toxic ingredients like paraben, phthalates, sodium laureth sulphate, and fragrance.

4. UVA: Ageing rays.

5. UVB: Burning rays.

Best Sunscreen For Face

best sunscreen
clean sunscreen

1. Emma Lewisham – Skinshield

Skinshield Daily Face isn’t just a clean sunscreen, it has become my go-to day cream during the past four months, (honestly, I rarely stick for that long with a beauty product unless I deeply love it) This pretty hero cream is packed with botanicals, full-spectrum skin antioxidants and vitamins that just make your skin look so healthy at the same time that protects it. The best part? No breakouts, luminous and youthful complexion. Without any toxins added. Have I mentioned that the packaging is sustainable as well? 

PRICE: $82.00 AUD

best sunscreen

2. Paula’s Choice – Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense Tinted Base SPF 30

Sleek and softly, subtly matte and tinted, this daily moisturizer is also a non-toxic (to people and to the coral) SPF 30 that sinks in so easily. Amazing on its own, over makeup, on the backs of your hands…

What I like the most about this SPF 30 is its special blend of a lightly matte tinted finish that makes it perfect for those days where makeup is not part of your plan. It also contains pure mineral zinc oxide along with a diverse blend of antioxidants from green tea to vitamin E, C and bisabolol knew to boost skin’s environmental defences and prevent premature ageing of the skin, all with an exceptionally silky, light-matte feel.

PRICE: $39.00 AUD

best sunscreen
clean sunscreen

3. Aesthetics RX – Sunscreen with Zinc SPF30

This oil-free hydrating SPF 30 cream smooths right into the skin, and it’s brilliant for the face as it won’t leave your skin feeling suffocated. A zinc- formula that gives your face the protection it needs, from environmental & UV stressors. It feels incredible going on, blends like a dream, soothes any skin type and makes serious, long-lasting protection, a luxurious daily ritual.

This light, hydrating SPF 30 cream smooths right into the skin, and it’s brilliant for the face or body.

PRICE: $59 AUD

best sunscreen
sunscreen brands

4. Juice Beauty – Stem Cellular CC Cream

This glowy – instantly perfecting SPF 30 has to be the ultimate no-makeup-makeup of all time. What we love the most about this cream is its delicate, deeply hydrating formula that smooths in like a dream; zinc oxide soothes all day; Organic Apple Juice, Organic White Grape Juice, and Organic Aloe Leaf Juice enhance brightness; powerful moisturizers that leave you with protected- smoother-looking skin.

PRICE: $39 USD

best sunscreen
sunscreen brands

5. Tribe Skincare – Protect Me! Day Moisturiser with SPF30

A perfect hydrating, lightweight zinc oxide formula that works for everyone, every day, from sensitive-skin-sufferers to acne-prone skin. The physical formula protects against UVA, UVB, and it’s infused with antioxidants like green tea, cucumber, and rosehip. It sinks beautifully into the skin and smells divine. 

PRICE: $58 AUD

best sunscreen

6. Ethical Zinc – SPF50+ Natural Clear Zinc Sunscreen

Ethical Zinc offers affordable, accessible, and most importantly, natural zinc formulas to complement your summer essentials this season and beyond. An innovative range of clear zinc-based sunscreens created without harsh chemicals to allow a seamless, reef friendly, clear protection from Very High Spectrum UVA and UVB radiation. A natural formula that offers four hours worth of water resistance to give maximum protection for a day at play.

PRICE: $19.99 AUD

Best Sunscreen for the Body, Beach, and Sport

best sunscreen
sunscreen brands

1. Ella Baché – Sportsbloc Great SPF50+

One of the newest addition from Ella Baché’s sunscreen range. A 4-hour water-resistant cream perfect for the body and the face that provides all we need (broad-spectrum sun protection against UVA and UVB rays) It’s enriched with beautiful nourishing ingredients like Lanolin and Cocoa Butter which basically make your skin looking and feeling good.

PRICE: $39 AUD

best sunscreen
sunscreen brands

2. Everyday Humans – Oh my Body SPF 50 Body Sunscreen

Made with reef friendly actives ingredient——this lightweight, non-sticky SPF sinks in instantly to moisturize and protect skin from the sun. It leaves skin feeling supple, and it’s water-resistant and reef safe, too. What I love the most is that almost feels like a body cream instead of a sunscreen, doesn’t have either the typical sunscreen smell which makes me want to use it on daily basis.

PRICE: $25.50 AUD

best sunscreen
sunscreen brands

3. Bondi Sands – Hydra UV Protect SPF 50 + Body Lotion

On a budget reef-friendly option that doesn’t have any fragrances, parabens, or sulphates. The HYDRA UV PROTECT SPF 50+ BODY LOTION Broad Spectrum has UVA & UVB Protection and the best part is that the formula is infused with ethically sourced algae for deep hydration, whilst offering an invisible, non-greasy finish perfect for sensitive skin.

PRICE: $19.95 AUD

best sunscreen
clean sunscreen

4. Mother SPF – Organic Mineral Sunscreen SPF30

Certified organic botanical ingredients make this easier to apply than most nontoxic formulas-only one of the reasons we’re obsessed with this organic sunscreen: it delivers a broad-spectrum, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, hypoallergenic, gluten- and GMO-free, vegan, and reef-friendly formula. Serious-safe sun protection for everyone at home that feels amazing going on a total breakthrough.

PRICE: $42.00 AUD