Everyone knows I’m an SPF fanatic. I truly feel that even if you’ve been baking in the sun for a lifetime, there’s no time like the present to protect your skin from further damage. It is never too late! But I’d be the first to admit that I’m not always so wild about slathering sun protection on my face and body. You might, possibly feel the same way. There are so many price points, so many different kinds of products, so many different levels of SPF (and those rules will be changing in the not too distant future), and most of all, there are so many products that you might not necessarily know about because they are not (necessarily) sold at your corner store.
What follows, is a super SPF round-up of seven products that protect your skin in different ways, with different types of ingredients and different price points. Which will you absolutely want to have? Read on, and find out!
Bethany Frankel is a TV reality star, a mom and most of all, and entrepreneur. When she was featured on Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of NYC” she was note-able in the fact that she actually worked and already had a her own, bustling Skinny Girl products and catering business. Since then, she’s moved on to lots of other things, from cocktails to cosmetics.
When I first reviewed Skinnygirl beauty back in April 2012, I did so with an unfair bias. I wasn’t a fan of the show, and since these are budget-friendly products sold in Walmart, I also didn’t think they’d be all that great……but I was wrong.
The line has an impressive number of face, bath and body products in five collections and gift sets, packed in bright white with red accents and nothing, not even the nicely scented gift sets, are over $15.00. But the products smell nice and they deliver what they’re meant to do. For example, one that I’d recommend for all year round (minimal) sun protection is the Skinnygirl Tinted Moisturizer with Vitamin E and Broad Spectrum SPF 15 (srp. $10.99) in three tints (I tried the lightest in “Sand.” and there’s also “Beige” for medium tones, and Mocha for deeper tones). The tinted moisturizer arrives packaged in a 0.9 fl. oz. tube, with a red top. But underneath the cap is an all-in-one brush tip, that lets you leave a foundation brush at home, but still get a professional finish to your foundation. The sheer formula dulls imperfections as it protects from the sun’s damaging rays, and it has Vitamin E for antioxidant benefits, jojob esters to moisturize, and Broad Spectrum SPF 15 to help prevent the visible signs of aging from the sun. It is great for girls on the go! The Skinnygirl Face & Body Collection can be found at Walmart locations nationwide and also at http://skinnygirlfaceandbodystore.com
Another happy surprise to save your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, is Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen SPF 50 for the Body ($23.00 5 fl. oz). It is a super-high performance sun protector that really protects your skin from the sun, whether your’re sunning, swimming or sweating. The formula is paraben and silicone-free, and very water resistant, yet it doesn’t feel greasy or heavy on the skin.
This particular product features a patented sun-filter technology to give your skin uniform, broad spectrum protection to deflect 98% of harmful UVB rays. The actives are 3% avobenzone, 15% homosalate, 5% octisalate, 5% octocrylene, and 6% ocybenzone. The fragrance-free formua simply melts into your skin, almost mousse-like (it is a cream, but it feels that lightweight), and you’ll feel like you’ve adding nothing. But applied liberally least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure, you’ll get up to 2 hours of protectioin, or 80 minutes when wet from swimming or serious sweating. You can bet this is a big hit with people who love sports like beach volleyball! But it also has Kiehl’s anti-aging benefits — an antioxidant blend of Goji Berry, Vitamin E and Einkorn Wheat, to help protect skin from free radicals.
Kiehl’s has been around since 1851 and feature all sorts of good for your skin products, but for some reason, most of the men I know are huge Kiehl’s fans. Maybe it’s because the products are housed in simple containers without obviously girly touches. Of course, men also like easy to use products that satisfy their needs without fuss. Kiehl’s delivers that, too. This Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen SPF 50 is my personal must-have — one of just a few sun screen product I actually like and want to use on a daily basis. Whether you’re an active sportsperson or a fan in the stands, or just want to keep your skin looking healthier and younger, longer (and thwart skin cancer), this product is going to be your new favorite. Visit any Kiehl’s store, or order online at: http://www.kiehls.com
Beyond Clear is new and novel, too. As you age, acne doesn’t necessarily disappear but the brand, Beyond Clear helps deal with adult acne issues, without the irritation normally associated with acne products. But it also boosts hydration and repairs skin’s barrier for more hydrated, healthy and happy skin. Launched in July, the Beyond Clear Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 29 is a paraben-free product that has a slight fragrance, and an even lighter formula (so you won’t even know you’re wearing it). The 3-part “system” is $29.95 a month through beyondclearskin.com but if you just want to try out the brand, you can’t go wrong with ProtectBroad Spectrum SPF 29. The UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores. Wear it under your makeup, no problem, and really add some protection to your face. I like the chunky bottle with big pump top and this SPF 29 is not just enough to protect your skin on a daily basis, it’s a grat way to try the line. Actives are: 3% avobenzone and 7.5% oxtinoxate. You can get this product online at www.beyondclearskin.com or by calling 800-220-9910.
I love liquids in pump bottles. It is just the easiest (and cleanest) way to distribute something to your skin. Ofra Cosmetics Laboratories has a Sun Spray SPF 30 ($24.00 2 fl. oz. ) that is travel-friendly, in an attractive, amber-tinted plastic pump bottle with orange cap. You can use this product on hands and face as well as your body, so no need to carry more than one SPF product when you are traveling light. The suggested use is to spray the product on the palms of your hand and then smooth it onto your face, but you can spray it directly onto your body.
There isn’t a lot of information about this product, but I can tell you it’s good for all skin types (especially combo to oily skin). The suggested use is to spray every 20 minutes, which isn’t a lot of time to protect your skin, but that might be an overly cautious dose. I also wasn’t able to get the specific percentage of actives, but it doesn’t appear the the product uses the usual ones. The Ofra web site lists the following ingredients: Ingredients: SD ALCOHOL 40 B, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, OCTYLMETHOXYCINNAMATE, BENZOPHENONE 3, OCTYL SALICYLATE, CYCLOMETHICONE, PHENOXYETHANOL (AND) BENZYL ALCOHOL (AND) POTASSIUM SORBATE (AND) TOCOPHEROL If you want to learn more about Ofra Cosmetics and see what else they have to offer, I’d suggest you visit their web site: http://ofracosmetics.com
Also travel-friendly,packaged in a 2 oz flip tube, is Lily B SPF 30 Ultra Defense ($22.50). The focus on this line is botanical rich protections. Lily B products are touted as: “Simple by design; naturally derived products that gently cleanse, nourish, and protect your skin without the use of skin irritating ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, glycols, synthetic colors or fragrance … Natural, Skin-Nourishing, Age-Defying skincare.” I don’t think I could add much more, except to say that this SPF 30 is very thick and rich, tinted a slight peach, and it has a slight, earthy scent. It has 10% micronized titanium dioxide, which is considered a very effective sunscreen, but it might not be appropriate for deeper skin tones because it leaves an ashy or white film. But for most, this can be alleviated by wearing it under foundation. For those who prefer this type of sun protection, it does provide really excellent, natural, broad-spectrum protection, along with anti-aging, antioxidant, moisturizing, organically grown aloe vera, green tea extract and sunflower oil. Those with sensitive skin who can’t tolerate other types of sunblocks will particularly love it. For serious protection, it’s a great choice. Visit www.lilybskincare.com to learn more and check out other nice, natural skincare items.
When thinking about sun protection, one of the parts of the body most neglected is hands. While you might not think it matters if you use SPF on them or not, sooner or later the skin on your hands will give your age away, and it might be a premature number you weren’t expecting!
Last Winter, I received word of L’Occitane’s newest Immortelle Brightening products, which helps defy the signs of aging and helps create a youthful glow. The immortelle flower grows abundantly on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, has an exceptionally long life and retains its form and color when dried. L’Occitane has extracted a precious essential oil from the immortelle, which has anti-free radical and anti-wrinkle properties. As fanciful as the above sounds, the Immortelle collection, in simple words, offers a complete anti-aging solution for the face.
The three new products that were added to the Immortelle Brightening collection were enriched with a new extract, Garden Nasturtium. This supposedly boosts the good for your skin benefits, and leaves skin dewy and more radiant. Since SPF is a must-have year round, I asked to try the Brightening Hand Care SPF 15 ($30 2.6 fl. oz), a non greasy but protective hand lotion that smooths the skin, evens skin tone and reduces the appearance of age spots. The other two products in the new trio are: Brightening Essence ($56): A concentrated serum that optimizes penetration of active ingredients for dramatically brighter, more radiant skin; and Brightening Moisture Cream ($58): A daily moisturizer with an ultra-fresh gel-cream texture that helps correct wrinkles, even skin tone and brighten the complexion.
While SPF 15 is minimal, it’s ok for daily “walking and working,” but you’ll get a lot more than just sun protection from this elegant hand cream. This formula is, as mentioned above, enhanced with Immortelle, and Bellis Perennis (Daisy). Immortelle essential oil stimulates collagen production to fill wrinkles,* while Bellis Perennis extract, combined with a vegetal complex, evens skin tone and diminishes existing age spots.* Finally, UV filters have been added to protect your hands from the harmful effects of sun rays. Immortelle flowers produce an essential oil that boosts collagen synthesis, stimulates cutaneous micro circulation to enhance cell renewal. Bellis Perennis, the daisy flower, opens its petals each day with the sunrise and closes them at dusk. Its flower offers a brightening extract that contributes to reduced melanin synthesis. The actives are 7.5% octinoxate, 5% octisalate, 3% avobenzone, and 2% octocrylene. The rich, white cream leaves a slight sheen on skin that makes even dry skin look more radiant, and there’s a hauntingly lovely (but light) floral scent. After a few weeks of using this cream (for sun protection and hydration) you might actually see nicer looking skin on your hands. That will encourage you to keep using it, and with that, you may turn back the hands of time (pun, intended). L’Occitane products are available at usa.loccitane.com and in over 160 boutiques throughout the U.S.
I’m a big fan of Votre Vu, whose products are natural, rich in natural plant extracts, and full of skin-loving essential oils. We recently reviewed the new French Accents makeup collection, and we’ve been huge fans of the Duette hand cream/lip balms. But when the comes to sun protection, J’adore Self Preservation Le Block de Soleil SPF 30. ($34.00 3.39 FL. oz.) This full coverage sun block protects against the UVA/UVB rays that are responsible for sun damage with a blend of ingredients that won’t irritate your skin, especially if yours is sensitive. Skin enhancing benefits include anti-inflammation, healing, excess sebum absorption and protection, as well as fortifying and highly moisturizing qualities. Key ingredients include: moisturizing Shea Butter; Sunflower (Seed) Oil, Calendula Oil and Avocado Oil, plus calming St. John’s Wort Oil. Apply the thick, rich, white cream every two hours,from the pure, white, flip-top tube. This Votre Vu product may not be as sexy as some of the others, such as the new, French Accent Makeup Collection, or those Duettes we love so much, but it’s great sun protection you can count on. Visit: www.votrevu.com/ or your favorite Votre Vu, ambassador.