Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen for Body SPF 50

It’s hot. Like super hot here already and my aversion to heat is putting a serious cramp in my daily walks while the baby naps. I go anyway of course, but I just melt in misery and return home a puddle of exhausted mess. Sigh, it’s going to be a long summer.


It’s 8:30 at night btw.

Since I’m rehabbing my skin with all sorts of high-potency potions, I’m really careful about keeping sun exposure to a minimum. When I do head outside, I’ve been piling on Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protection SPF 50. It’s the highest SPF in the lightest weight lotion I’ve come across maybe ever that doesn’t turn your skin white or make it greasy. It keeps my skin hydrated and protected at the same time without the obnoxious sunscreen scent that you’d expect from this level of SPF. I normally don’t do a SPF past 30, but for those of you who like more protection this one is worth checking out.

Miracle Skin Transformer

If you’ve asked me for a concealer recomendation in the past few months, I’ve told you to high tail it into Sephora and grab Miracle Skin Transformer’s because it’s among the best I’ve ever used. I actually bought it and would again- both for me and my kit. It’s no surprise that their Miracle Skin Transformer (MST) for the face is just as stellar.

The all-in-one ease of MST for the face makes it perfect for both the girl who loves a good pre-foundation primer and she who wants great looking skin just by rubbing something on before heading out the door. It can be used as a primer if you want to build a little more coverage with foundation on top, but its true brilliance is how it gives that blurry effect to the skin so pores look smaller, discolorations fade away, and you have a really good look to your skin whether it’s used as a first or only step. It’s touted as a 5-in-1 for hydration, mattifying, SPF 20, priming, and perfecting – basically it makes the skin look and feel great. I’ve used it under mineral foundation, regular foundation, and on its own. It enhances whatever I use and just makes the skin look better. If nothing else, it’s my lazy makeup/SPF solution for the days when a full routine proves to be too much.

What are BB Creams?

Have you heard about the BB Cream craze? BB Creams (short for blemish balm or beauty balm or beauty base) were first developed for women whose skin was left bruised, raw, and red from lasers and other surgical treatments. These creams were made by doctors to soothe, heal, and protect delicate skin with the added bonus of breakthrough invisible coverage to hide the irritations without having to use any traditional concealers or foundations.  Essentially they’re unique, lightweight coverage creams with sunscreen and other skin benefits built right in. BB Creams are a true marriage of skincare and color – and are often found in the skincare section and not with makeup. They’re traditionally offered as a one-size-fits-all in terms of color using a universal shade that blends into your skin tone perfecting and seamlessly covering redness instead of masking a it the way a foundation does – it reminds me a little of Philosophy’s The Supernatural which gave similar instant results (see my review and photos HERE). You’ll also see some with a PA+, PA++. or PA+++ sunscreen rating (+++ being the best) which tells you how effective the SPF is in guarding against UVA rays – the nasty ones that breakdown collagen and age the skin.

If you like a full coverage foundation you might find that these aren’t enough so use them as a primer to get more skin benefits than what basic silicone formulas provide.They’re really different from anything else out there so go to Sephora where the selection is the best and ask for samples of a few before you commit. I also want to try Lauder’s new BB Cream they’ve incorporated into their Daywear collection which I’ll review separately once I give it a try. For now, here are the 3 I sampled at Sephora and the pros and cons of each.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream $37:

-Pros-

Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.

SPF 30

A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.

-Cons-

It was the heaviest of the 3 and it settled into the skin making pores look more noticeable.

No PA rating.

I couldn’t figure out what the added skincare benefits were (what a BB is all about).

Their site refers to it as a ‘weekend makeup’ along the lines of a quick tinted moisturizer, but it’s called a BB. Not sure if it’s a true BB or just marketing.

Its radiance was a little unflattering (at least on my skin) where it bordered shiny instead of healthy.

Overall:

I liked the thick, creamy texture and easy blendability. It’s probably best for those with good skin who favor a tinted moisturizer or quick powder for their daily routine.

Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA ++ $38:

-Pros-

Great skincare benefits (help for fine lines, dryness, and large pores), which is what a BB should offer.

SPF 27 and a PA++ rating

It has a natural formula without parabens, phthalates and other chemicals.

It did give my skin an immediate boost.

Good coverage.

-Cons-

It has these tiny bits of shimmer that, although slight, might not be a fit for oily or mature skin.

Like most BB Creams, the one shade isn’t for very fair or very dark skin tones.

Overall:

This was my favorite and the only true BB of the bunch, it made my skin look better and covered redness well. It’s something I would buy and recommend to those looking for quick and easy coverage.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup $32:

-Pros-

Shade range; if you have darker skin you’ll have the best luck finding a color to suit you here.

It gave the most coverage of the 3 I tried, almost as much as some foundations.

You’ll get a pretty glow from its finish.

-Cons-

It does contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall it really is more of a quick makeup than a true BB Cream.

No PA rating and an SPF 20, the lowest of the 3.

Overall:

These are along the lines of what you’ll begin to see more and more of – a foundation with a built in primer and less of a BB Cream but marketed as such. It’s not a bad thing since I really liked the look and coverage, but if you want more of the skin treatment this one will leave you wanting more. Best for those who want great coverage from a tinted moisturizer and don’t care as much for the added skincare bonuses.

A few others to consider:

Sephora now carries Dr Jart’s signature BBs which are favorites in Asia where competition is big. Check out their Premium BB SPF 45 PA+++ $39 for more mature skin and the Water Fuse BB PA++ $32 for normal to oily skin. They’re both great for the skin formulated without synthetics and are exactly what BBs are supposed to be – skincare/makeup hybrids.

Garnier launched the first drugstore BB for just $13 that comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. I’m can’t find its skincare benefits (or SPF), but it’s getting some good reviews for its light, even coverage. Look for it in the skincare aisle, not next to the makeup.

What to look for in a BB Cream:

- Sunscreen, PA ratings are a bonus.

- Vitamins and minerals.

- Enough coverage so you aren’t using concealer or anything else over it (unless you want to use it as a primer).

- Adequate moisture for your skin.

- Added benefits whether it be for skin lightening, acne, moisture, or whatever- find one that’s helping to target what your skin needs most.

For a full listing of the popular Asian formulas, check out THIS article from 08′ before the US versions hit the stores.

High SPF Sunscreens for Daily Use

I’m always happy to test out a new sunscreen. I’m absolutely devoted to wearing one daily on all exposed skin, which is easier than ever thanks to improved formulas that you can barely tell are on. It’s true that the best anti-aging solution out there is a good daily sunscreen. Check out these light in weight, heavy in protection formulas and start saving your skin now.

PCA Skin Active Very Water Resistant SPF 45

PCA Skin is a professional line like Dermalogica or Skinceuticals, but slightly under the radar. Everything I’ve tried from the line I absolutely love and highly recommend especially their sunscreens. This Active SPF 45 is a runner-approved formula that doesn’t sting your eyes when you’re sweating, swimming, or living in a humid climate so it stays on the skin protecting it for hours. It’s also light and odorless so it’s a good everyday option for those (like me) who want as much SPF as possible.

Osmotics Age Prevention Protection Extreme SPF 40

Osmotics designed this elegant SPF 40 to wear under makeup so don’t expect any clumping or whitening of the skin. It blends right in and softens enough to help makeup glide over top like a primer would. It’s so light you could sneak it on over your daily moisturizer or use it as a lightweight one on its own if you’re on the oily or combination side.

La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid

You won’t find a higher SPF in a lighter formula anywhere else. Leave it to La Roche Posay, the perfecters of great sunscreens that don’t break down or leave white traces on the skin to come up with a mineral formula combined with their unique antioxidant blend to get an extra boost of vitamin protection.

Light Sunscreens, Heavy Protection

Gone are the days of slathering thick, white, heavily scented sunscreens all over your face for the sake of skin protection. Here are two lightweight sunscreens for the face that I think got both the protection and weight exactly right.

Neova: DNA Damage Control SILC Sheer SPF 45

An SPF 45 that doubles as a *gasp* makeup primer? That’s right, Neova’s sheer sunscreen disappears quickly into the skin without leaving behind a slip or scent. It so efficiently disguises itself as a light lotion that you’ll be able to protect your skin effortlessly every single day. Its aloe base will nourish your skin so you won’t even need a separate moisturizer – it’s an SPF, moisturizer, and primer all rolled into one.

Supergoop Save Face Serum SPF 30

I’ve already professed my love for Supergoop, an effective sunscreen that I’ve purchased several times since receiving a tube for review years ago. Back then it was sold online only, but now that Supergoop offers over a dozen products using their famous formula, it’s found at Sephora, Nordstrom, Space NK and others. Their new Save Face Serum is perhaps their most elegant offering to date – the pump dispenser distributes the perfect amount of super lightweight sun protection that gives even the driest skin a big drink of vitamins and moisture.

I use at least an SPF 30 every single day, no matter what the weather yields. Using a light sunscreen ensures that your SPF routine is easy and feels more like skincare and less like an extra, messy step.

Own Sun Care

Our usual stop for vitamins in Pharmaca over the weekend in Boulder, CO yielded a purchase that I’m now officially obsessed with. We were looking for a new sunscreen for Mike which is always a task because he wants something light to wear daily (easy enough), but it also has to hold up and not drip into his eyes when he’s running (the challenging part.) We’ve been through plenty of options and were on a good winning streak with Supergoop for a few years but it was time for a change. I knew a little about Own; mostly how their founder and CEO was also the founding CEO at Method (the natural cleaning products) and had now engineered a fantastic natural skincare line that’s getting some great reviews. Now saying that Own’s Invisible Face and Body Block SPF 30 is unlike any sunscreen you’ve ever tried isn’t an overstatement. Its smooth, whipped texture reminds me of cake batter and its ability to disappear right into the skin leaving only the slightest amount of moisture behind is remarkable for a sunscreen or any type of skin moisturizer. It’s a safe formulation of 20% zinc that’s invisible on the skin with antioxidants like raspberry, cranberry, and carrot seed oils. It feels, blends, and smells like a body moisturizer you’d be happy to wear every day. It’s seriously revolutionary.

Our After Sun Repair ($12) and Invisible Face and Body Block SPF 30 ($17)

A look at the sunscreen’s texture. Dreamy whipped magic.

Of course the After Sun Repair lotion is amazing too. It smells so fresh and clean and can be used to soothe the face or body after sun exposure, or just for an everyday treatment.

They’re mostly sold online (I can’t find a listing of retailers on their site) and are apparently becoming quickly known for their better-than-Proactiv acne line and powerfully effective anti-aging offerings. They’re also U.S.A made and sourced keeping a close eye on their partner’s sustainability practices. What’s not to love?

Check out Own right HERE