If you are a woman in her prime (like me), you probably spent your youth blissfully unaware of the sun’s potential damage. We slathered on tanning oil and mixed baby oil with iodine. We even used aluminum tanning blankets, all in the name of achieving a golden glow. Peeling noses and shoulders were just part of the deal and nothing to be concerned about, right? Wrong! It turns out we damaged our skin and accelerated the aging process, resulting in sunspots, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles. Fortunately, we now know that sunscreen should be the final step in our morning skincare routines 365 days a year, rain or shine.
So if we know better, why are many of us not doing better? Maybe it’s because we equate sunscreen with a thick, goopy, pore-clogging texture or a sweet, tropical smell. The truth is that sunscreen has come a long way from the white, zinc-covered noses and lips that were the trademark of all the cute lifeguards circa the 1980s. Today’s sunscreens are more likely to be found in a makeup bag than a beach bag, thanks to a serious “glow-up.” Like a skincare, sunscreen, and makeup hybrid, these “glow screens” are made with skin-loving ingredients like vitamins and antioxidants. The result is smooth, hydrated, even-toned, radiant, and, most importantly, protected skin from head to toe. You glow, girl!
Supergoop Glow Screen
One of the OGs in this category, many people (this writer included) consider Glow Screen by Supergoop the holy grail of sunscreen. With formulas for the face and the body, this broad-spectrum sunscreen hydrates with a potent combination of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 while nourishing with ingredients like Sea Lavender for antioxidant protection, Niacinamide for smoothing pores and Cocoa Peptides for filtering out blue light. Both formulas contain SPF 40 and come in four flattering shades that leave a dewy finish on the face and a sexy shimmer on the body.
Kopari Sun Shield Body Glow and Soft Glow for Face
These sheer, shimmery formulas feel almost too luxurious for sunscreen. Both glide on silky smooth, perfecting and protecting skin with vitamins, minerals, and oils for a radiant glow. The gel texture of the broad spectrum Body Glow absorbs quickly and is sweat and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. Plus, it leaves behind a heavenly scent. The lightweight, fragrance-free Soft Glow also offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays but with a sheer, subtle sheen. Clean, vegan, cruelty-free, and 100% recyclable, they protect the planet and your skin.
Tula Protect and Glow
The name says it all with this award-winning lightweight gel that protects your face with a broad-spectrum SPF 30 while infusing skin with probiotic extracts, pineapple, and papaya for a gorgeous glow all year long. The non-greasy formula won’t clog pores and can be worn with or without makeup for a brighter complexion.
Cay Skin Isle Glow Face Lotion
Refreshed, relaxed, and with a just-back-from-vacay glow. That’s what you get when you use this face lotion that packs a whopping SPF 45 in its pearly shimmer. Made with all the skin-soothing and smoothing things you want, like Sea Moss, Niacinamide, and exclusive plant-based nectar, it hydrates, smooths, and tones without parabens, formaldehyde, and other harmful ingredients. Just apply, glow, and go!
Elta MD UV Glow
A brand beloved by dermatologists, Elta MD sets a high skin and sun care standard. With its UV Glow, you get all of the UVA and UVB protection you’d expect, along with a healthy dose of antioxidants to protect you from pollutants. Mineral Mica in the formula leaves skin luminous and light, not shiny or sparkly.
Pacifica Sea and C Glow Bronzing Body Oil
If you love a bronzed beach bod, this nourishing body oil has got you covered with SPF 20, hydrating ingredients, and a golden glow. The non-greasy, 100% vegan formula absorbs quickly, leaving skin soft, touchable, and lightly scented. Go ahead and dare to bare.
Coppertone Glow Shimmer
Who remembers the Coppertone baby with her cheeky tan lines? Now she’s older, wiser, and good to glow, thanks to this broad-spectrum body sunscreen with an illuminating shimmer and SPF 30 (or higher). Lightweight and water resistant for up to 80 hours, it’s everything you love about your childhood brand, all grown up.
Whichever brand you choose to use, remember that sunscreen is not a “one and done.” Yes, it’s great that you put it on before heading outside. Still, you need to make sure that you reapply it often throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or swimming. Also, wearing sunscreen doesn’t take the place of common sense. Wear sunglasses to protect the delicate skin around your eyes, or throw shade (on your face) with a wide-brimmed hat. Finally, don’t forget your lips. Plenty of lip balms, some tinted, contain SPF to protect your pucker. A little preparation goes a long way towards preventing and even reversing sun damage, so slather up and glow with the flow.
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