Skincare Must Have: My Favorite Facial Sunscreens

Summersalt bikini top sz 2 + bottoms sz 2 c/o (also in a one piece; code JEANWANG10 for 10% off), headband + circle bag

With all the focus we put on face creams and anti aging treatments, it’s sometimes easy to forget one of the easiest steps in preventative skin care – daily sun protection! The sheer number of sunscreen choices can be overwhelming, so I wanted to share some that I’ve used and loved over the years, all of which offer both UVA and UVB protection, are fragrance free, and work with my daily makeup. 

While writing this post, I also tapped into Tara Foley, fellow Bostonian and founder of Follain, for her insight. She’s an expert on all things clean beauty and helped educate me on some things to look for (see a brief overview at the end on physical vs. chemical sunscreen)! She also gave me code JEANWANG for 10% off their online boutique. Working on this post served as a gentle reminder to apply sunscreen daily, not just on my face but also on the back of the hands especially if you drive often!

Let’s Get Into It: sunscreens that I love

1. EltaMD UV Clear SPF46 Untinted

SOLD AT: Dermstore (tinted version) and Amazon (tinted version)

KEY FEATURES: Physical + chemical sunscreen, moisturizing, acne calming, works well under makeup 

The untinted version of this is my go-to daily sunscreen, and one I’ve been using for years and still love!


  • A formula designed to calm sensitive or acne prone skin (the UV “Clear” collection stands for clear skin). 
  • A physical sunscreen that glides on silkily and leaves almost no white cast. Update: Thank you to those of you who messaged me about UV Clear being a combo with both physical and chemical active ingredients. Elta MD also makes a tinted UV Physical and a non-tinted UV Replenish, both of which are listed for extra sensitive facial skin and are purely physical options.
  • A non tinted formula that still works well under makeup for medium skin tones. I’ve tried both the untinted and tinted versions, and personally haven’t noticed much difference under makeup, so have happily stuck with the untinted (less risk of color transfer onto clothes, etc on non makeup days)!
2. Babo Botanicals Tinted Sunscreen 

SOLD AT: Amazon (non-tinted version) on sale! and Follain (non-tinted version)

Physical sunscreen, SPF 30-40, moisturizing, more stringently clean ingredients



  • This is a thicker formula and the non tinted does leave a slightly white cast as seen in the photo below (typical of most physical sunscreens), so I would opt for the lightly tinted version here if you have medium-dark skin, or if you plan on wearing this with makeup.

Best Clean Safe Sunscreen Options Elta MD no white cast

Product comparisons after a few quick strokes of blending. A little more working the product in helps the Babo non tinted blend in more.

3. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen 

SOLD AT: Dermstore, Sephora and Nordstrom

KEY FEATURES: Chemical Sunscreen, SPF 40, oil free, makeup-gripping


  • A velvety matte finish that doubles as an awesome primer under makeup
  • A completely clear formula that’s 100% invisible once applied, again making this a great base for under makeup

Note: This may not be the best for breakout prone skin based on some of the reviews I read.

A note about Physical vs Chemical SunscreenS

Physical sunscreen sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients. Some say these formulas are less likely to clog pores and may help to reduce redness caused by the sun as it deflects heat from the skin. If you plan to be wearing under makeup or in photos, physical formulas are typically white and can cast an underlying white tone. 

Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body. These formulas are good for under makeup as they are typically clear, lighter in texture and easy to spread. Usually chemical sunscreens are a little more water resistant but it’s important to keep in mind that they take about 20 minutes on average to activate after application. I also want to caveat that chemical sunscreens are more controversial regarding impact to the environment (when products wash off swimmers into the ocean) and there are not a lot of studies done to date on the safety of the ingredients.

I would love to hear your sun protection recommendations!
is there a favorite product that you love and live by?


Best Safe Clean Sunscreen Options

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When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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