If beauty writers and editors could have it their way, teaching kids how to apply sunscreen in school should be as important as teaching them how to brush their teeth.
Unlike makeup and some skincare products which offer immediate visible results, sunscreens are like insurance you wear on your skin to protect from ultraviolet damage, which might only yield results five, 10 or 15 years down the road, but you will be glad that you put on sunscreen when your skin appears much younger than peers who do not put on sunscreen. Skin cancer is also a very real problem, and wearing sunscreen can help prevent that – making this as much of a health issue as it is a cosmetic one.
However, given Singapore’s hot and humid weather, some sunscreens aren’t the most comfortable to wear. Reputed for being thick, goopy and sticky, it’s not hard to wonder why some people skip it altogether. Thus our quest for the perfect sunscreen is never ending, and here are some sunscreens that are among the best – offering protection, feels great on skin and works well under makeup.
Formulated to protect skin against UVA and UVB rays, the Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection also contains antioxidants like Cherry Blossom, Lemon Balm and White Tea Extract to help skin defend against free radical damage.
The Eau Thermale Avène – Very High Protection Fluid goes on as a light-weight fluid and dries to an invisible, dry finish which helps skin look fresh and matte. The new generation of sunscreens from Eau Thermale Avène are also formulated to be safe for the environment, which means they have improved biodegradability, and are not as easily absorbed by marine organisms. Perfect for use if you dive or do water sports.
Besides UVA and UVB rays, this sunscreen also protects skin against blue light, which is emitted from mobile devices and computer screens. The lightweight formula doesn’t leave a white cast and is also waterproof.
From skincare giant Kanebo, Allie’s sunscreens have a colour-correcting function that gives your skin a refreshed and vibrant look. Choose Ennui Purple to blur out dull skin and pores, or Sunny Apricot to correct dark circles. The formula is also lightweight and waterproof and can be used as a primer or on its own on days you with to forego the foundation. Both come with a strong SPF 50 protection against both UVA and UVB and feature sebum control technology that is particularly helpful in Singapore’s humid climate.
Formulated with shiso leaf and white tea extracts which are both powerful antioxidants, the THANN Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen is also oil-free and doesn’t leave a greasy film after application.
This new addition to the Supergoop family of sunscreens introduces a new whipped texture and innovative SheerMix Technology that offers the ultimate sheer finish while providing skin with SPF 30 protection and shielding from blue light. Its lightness makes it perfect as a primer while ingredients like Bush Clover extract helps protect the skin from free radicals and oxidative stress, while Aloe leaf juice and squalane give the skin an extra bit of moisture.
It sounds too good to be true but the Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk gives skin stronger protection when it’s wet. Water bonds help sunscreen molecules align to form a uniform layer which protects skin against UV rays. The best part is that it spreads easily with its fluid texture which dries to a semi-matte finish, allowing for makeup to go on smoothly.
If you love cushions, this sunscreen is for you. Tap on sunscreen easily over makeup for a quick boost of sun protection before lunch or if you’re heading out for a quick brunch. It’s easy to slip this into your purse, which makes it a must-have for your next beach vacay.
The HERA Sun Mate Protector SPF50 + PA+++ is an amazing sunscreen that also works well as a makeup base. Besides defending skin against sun’s rays, it also forms a protective shield against environmental pollutants.
Containing thermal water, this mineral-rich and hydrating sunscreen goes on easily and leaves no stickiness. Skin is also protected from UV rays and also blue light which is emitted from smartphones and computer monitors.
This sunscreen comes in a stick form which covers and protects skin completely against UV damage. Plus points for it’s handy side and the fact that it leaves a non-sticky finish.
The Estetica ést.lab SunShield Aqua has a lightweight watery texture that’s suitable for all skin types, including oil and sensitive skin. It also contains a variety of hydrating ingredients to keep skin moisturised while it protects.
This sunscreen does more than just protect against UV damage. It forms a protective shield which blocks out PM 2.5 particles and prevents them from passing into the skin.
The Bevy.C Perfect UV Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ defends skin against UV rays and is sweat-proof so skin still received adequate protection even if you are out in the hot sun.
Though not strictly a sunscreen, this moisturiser hydrates skin and contains SPF30 to shield skin against sun damage. It’s lightweight texture absorbs quickly into skin and leaves no sticky feeling behind.
Lightweight, spreads easily and leaves no sticky feeling — basically none of the yucky things we hate about sunscreen.
Formulated with the unique WetForce technology, the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector S SPF 50+ / PA++++ (S$63) forms an even stronger barrier against the sun when its wet, making it perfect for outdoor sports.
The Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 (S$36) goes wherever you go. Packaged in a handy stick, you can easily swipe it on your lips and face (even on the under-eye area) to protect yourself against UV damage. It’s also water-resistant, making it the ideal companion for those who lead an active lifestyle.
Unlike chemical sunscreen which protects UV rays by absorbing it, mineral sunscreens like the Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++ (S$72) reflects them, making it more comfortable for those with sensitive skin.
The Daylong Light Gel for Face and Body (S$32.90) offers a cooling sensation when applied and dries to a comfortable matte finish. Formulated without parabens and fragrance also means it’s suitable for sensitive and oily skin.
It’s advisable to reapply sunscreen every two hours, but that can be hard when you have makeup on. The DrGL Sun Protection Mist SPF29 PA++ (S$88) allows you to reapply sunscreen without ruining your makeup. Just hold it about 20 centimetres away from your face, and spritz away.
Children have more sensitive skin compared to adults so ensure that the sunscreen they use is suitable for their skin. The Biore UV Mild Milk SPF 50 / PA++++ (S$13.90) protects children from getting sunburnt, and has a light milky texture that doesn’t leave behind any stickiness.
Although this product is not strictly a sunscreen, the Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Lightweight Emulsion SPF 25 (S$100) stimulates skin regeneration and protects the skin against the full light spectrum including UV, visible light and infrared. This means that skin is not just shielded from the sun, but also your computer and mobile phone screens.
The Kenzoki White Blossom Delicate UV Shield SPF50 / PA+++ (S$65) hydrates dry skin and leaves behind a dewy finish. Its plum blossom essence inhibits melanin production, which prevents the formation of dark spots and pigmentation.
When you apply the Sunplay Skin Squa Sarafit UV Essence SPF 50 + / PA ++++ (S$16.90), you’ll banish all misconceptions about sunscreens feeling heavy and greasy when you apply them. This one goes on smoothly like a gel-based moisturiser and dries to a light-weight matte finish, forming the perfect base for your makeup to go on.
The new Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution SPF50 PA+++ (S$76) protects the skin from oxidative stress through powerful ingredients like organic mango leaf extract which acts as a natural shield. With a new, easy-to-use tube with a protective bubble cap, the new 30ml and 50ml sizes also make for easy handling and slip easily into a bag for all-day protection.
Glossier may have launched a new “see-through” sunscreen, but we know that Emily Weiss took inspiration from Asian sunscreens. Biore has consistently produced good sunscreens at affordable prices and the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ is no exception.
With a lightweight gel texture that absorbs easily, and a waterproof formula to boot, this is definitely one of our go-to sunscreens to wear under makeup.
There’s a lot to hate about sunscreens – thick texture, doesn’t go well under makeup and leaves a white cast. But you won’t find any of that in the Shiseido Senka Perfect White UV Milk. Its watery texture goes on easily, and leaves a powdery finish, allowing for foundation to apply easily over.
The Astalift White Perfect UV Clear solution doesn’t just offer great sun protection (at SPF 50+ and PA++++), the cap comes with a unique function – it changes colour from white to purple when exposed to the sun, especially in the presence of deep UVA rays which is responsible for causing premature skin ageing. Plus, this also doubles up as a beauty essence and makeup base. Perfect for time-strapped ladies.
The new gel-cream texture of this sunscreen makes it comfortable to wear in our hot and humid weather. Besides its ultra-lightweight formula (which is already a huge plus in our books), it also hydrates skin while protecting it against pollution. A must-have for city dwellers.
We don’t know why we haven’t discovered this earlier. The design of this sunscreen isn’t conventional either – you basically push down the lid to dispense sunscreen onto a puff which you then dab on the skin. Plus points for its cooling sensation (you need to try it to believe it) and offers lightweight coverage so you can just put this on while you head out to grab some grub or walk the dog.
Enriched with soothing and hydrating ingredients, the su:m37 ̊ Sun-away Cooling Watery Sun Block EX SPF50+ PA++, has a lightweight formula that works perfectly under makeup and doesn’t pill when you apply foundation.
This unique mousse sunscreen made us wonder why no one thought of this idea earlier. This lightweight, bubbly sunscreen spreads easily and dries to a powdery touch – plus it stays water resistant for up to 80 minutes!
Containing Idebedone, a powerful antioxidant, the Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++Hydrating Shield not only protects against UV rays, but also free radical damage.
This spray-on sunscreen packs quite a punch. With SPF 50 and PA++++ in a handy spray can, it also has the added benefit of cooling your skin down. Perfect for use after being out in the hot sun!
With Atmosphere Therapy Complex O, this lightweight emulsion doesn’t just shield against UV light, but infrared as well. It also contains the proprietary Pitera and Niacinamide to keep skin radiant and healthy.
Containing physical UV filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this deflects hazardous ultraviolet rays without feeling thick or sticky. Moreover, it also contains pearl powder which brightens the complexion and regulates sebum production while deep sea water infuses skin with minerals and amino acids to lock in moisture so smoother, plumper skin throughout the day.
Perfect for use on the body, this water-resistant formula ensures that you are amply protected from head to toe throughout the day. Furthermore, it is infused with Licochalcone A, a powerful antioxidant which offers UV protection at a cellular level to prevent DNA damage. While it packs powerful UV protection, it remains mild enough to be suitable for even those with compromised skin barrer, like those with atopic eczema.
For those with acne-prone skin, finding a sunscreen that combines powerful UV protection, sebum-regulating properties and keeps skin moisturised is an uphill task. Enter Heliocare Silk Gel SPF 30, an innovative sunscreen that boasts a cooling gel texture that absorbs rapidly without any stickiness or greasiness. It also gets bonus points for containing anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory ingredients to keep blemishes at bay while ensuring that skin is amply protected, down to the cellular level.
Battling a shiny T-zone is a daily challenge for most of us, even for those with dry skin. Which explains why this quick-dry, mattifying sunscreen is a hit, even amongst the most demanding of beauty editors. This sunscreen does a valiant job of fighting the signs of hyperpigmentation and offers optimal UVA and UVB rays protection, even in extreme sunshine intensity. Tested under dermatological control, it is formulated sans fragrances and parabens, and is non-comedogenic, making it the go-to choice for all skin types, especially those with extremely sensitive skin or oily skin.
Made with 100 per cent physical sunscreen filters, this certified hypoallergenic formula is suitable for all skin types—even the super sensitive ones. Conforming to the highest certification standards in Korea, this ultra-mild sunscreen is also formulated with Centella Asiatica extract (known for accelerating cellular repair) and Madecassoside, and boasts a powerful SPF 50+ PA++++ protection. Plus, factor in a non-sticky formula and a comfortable matte finish and you’ve got an indispensible product on hand.
A sunscreen that was five years in the making, Crystal Tomato’s Beyond Sun Protection was extensively researched to provide the best well-rounded protection against UVA, UVB and blue light. In fact, it was tested to be able to block out 54 per cent of blue light, which is emitted from mobile devices, computer screens, florescent lights and the sun. The best thing is its texture, which applies easily, leaving no white cast and a comfortable powdery finish.
This article was first published in Women’s Weekly.