This piece is undoubtedly the most requested by many of you, as you want to know my favourite sunscreens. And I get it. It’s been four years since I published My Top 3 Sunscreens, and a lot can change in four years. Honestly, I like all of the sunscreens or, for that matter, products that I review positively. Naturally, I can’t use all of them simultaneously, as I enjoy trying out new skincare products, and it’s challenging to keep incorporating new ones and sticking to old favourites. However, I’ve managed to single out my new top 3 sunscreens that I’ve used the most in the past year or so. I’ve unconsciously been using these repeatedly for three reasons: they are foolproof, easily accessible, and, most importantly, cosmetically elegant. So here’s the updated list:
1. Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Face Fluid SPF50+
The main reason why I like this fluid is that it resembles the pre-Shaka, stellar formula of the La Roche Posay Anthelios Fluid, which used to be my go-to sunscreen. This one is almost the same; it disappears on my skin and isn’t shiny or problematic to work with. I use it a lot because it’s widely available here, so when I trial a sunscreen, and things go south, I reach for the Garnier fluid. My only complaint is that the price has increased since my original write-up. I guess prices are going up on everything. Regardless, it’s still a decent sunscreen.
2. Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50+
I wrote about the UV Super Moisture Milk three years ago, and thankfully, it has remained the same. I am not surprised because it’s fantastic as it is. It has one of the best finishes among sunscreens with zinc oxide that I’ve tried, and it’s also one of the cheapest. Its RRP is ¥990 in Japan, and, unlike L’Oréal, Rohto have decreased this Skin Aqua’s price since 2019. The sunscreen leaves a matt layer that might be slightly lighter than my natural skin tone but not perceptible while wearing the fluid. It’s not something that I would describe as ‘white cast’, not even the Japanese tone-up effect; it escapes the eyes’ attention. Inescapably, zinc oxide determines how the sunscreen presents itself on the skin; it can’t be translucent because of the filters. Though, the fluid creates a perfect base for BB creams or other types of makeup, which is helpful if you need to even out colour differences. Unfortunately, the sunscreen has a pretty long drying time, and I don’t always have the time or patience to wait for it to settle, so I use a fan or a hair dryer on the coolest setting to speed up the process. This product will be my favourite until it’s reformulated, and I hope that Rohto won’t do that in the near future.
3. Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick SPF 50+
This product is a no-brainer. It’s easy to apply & reapply and carry around. It’s an effortless sunscreen and has a pretty good finish for a stick-type sunscreen. I use it more for reapplications on the go rather than as a base. But, if you can’t be bothered with layering suncream, a few swipes of this stick will provide you with the UV protection that you may need.
A bonus product:
Kokuryudo Privacy UV Face Powder SPF 50
I don’t consider this product a sunscreen per se; it’s for the extra protection. It works with most if not all sunscreens and adds a hint of glow to the skin. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but in Europe, all UV powders are in 50 shades of orange, and I don’t look good in orange. So, this is the only UV powder that I can wear without looking like a tangerine.
What has changed since the original blog post?
I no longer use La Roche-Posay’s fluid because the new reformulations aren’t for me. I think I’ve mentioned that before, though the latest release is OK. The same goes for the Biore sunscreen. The last formula I tested was waxy, not something I enjoy, and I am not planning to check if they’ve fixed it. I haven’t used Vichy’s Idèal Soleil Mattifying Face Dry Touch SPF 30 in a long time. I don’t use mattifying sunscreens all year round, and I always test new products, so it has organically fallen out of favour.