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Ask any beauty editor and they'll tell you that SkinCeuticals' sunscreens are the real deal. The popular skin-care brand already has a stellar lineup of mineral (i.e. the three-time Allure Best of Beauty-winning Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50) and chemical sunscreens, but we're here to give you the scoop on the brand's latest sun protection offering. Meet the Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30, a lightweight and invisible sunscreen formulated with chemical UV filters. Specifically, those filters break down to 3 percent avobenzone, 5 percent homosalate, 5 percent octisalate, and 7 percent octocrylene — all of which work together to shield your skin from sun damage. (More on these later.)
I've been wearing this SPF nonstop for a few weeks, and I only have wonderful things to say about it. The texture, application, and ingredients all score high points for me, and I'll get into the nitty-gritty of "why" in just a few moments.
SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
If you're new to the chemical vs. mineral sunscreen debate, allow us to explain. Chemical sunscreens protect against UV rays by absorbing them with chemical ingredients such as those listed earlier (i.e. avobenzone) and converting them into heat. There's also a 15-minute grace period for chemical sunscreen ingredients to fully absorb, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat Ron Robinson confirms. Mineral sunscreens, by comparison, don't have any downtime and employ physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, that sit on top of skin to deflect UV rays.
Most dermatologists typically recommend mineral sunscreens with a minimum of SPF 30, but at the end of the day, your sunscreen selection boils down to personal preference and skin sensitivity levels.
I personally think that, if your skin can handle chemical formulas without experiencing any adverse side effects, sunscreens like the Daily Brightening UV Defense are much more enticing to use on a daily basis. After all, these cosmetically elegant formulas are pretty much guaranteed to disappear without a trace. I do acknowledge there are a lot of mineral sunscreens nowadays that won't leave you looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost, but my opinion remains the same.
Now that we've got the basics handled, you might be wondering: What makes this particular SkinCeuticals SPF stand out? I'm glad you asked. This featherweight, serum-like formula is spiked with one percent tranexamic acid and 2 percent niacinamide to reduce the appearance of stubborn pigmentation and even your overall skin tone. For those unfamiliar, UV exposure without proper sun protection triggers melanin production, which over time transforms from an evenly distributed tan (not great) to patchy hyperpigmentation (even less great) — be it freckles, age spots, or even harder-to-treat melasma.
As a refresher brought to you by board-certified dermatologist Y. Claire Chang, tranexamic acid is capable of halting UV-activated melanin synthesis by "blocking the interaction between keratinocytes [aka skin cells] and melanocytes [aka, melanin-producing cells]," she explained. Cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure also confirmed that this anti-inflammatory ingredient is most effective "around 0.5 to 2.5 percent," so this formula's 1 percent concentration fits the bill.
This near-magical combination of broad-spectrum UV filters and brightening ingredients, as well as soothing glycerin, is proof that this sunscreen goes above and beyond. Just look how seamlessly the formula blends into my skin:
Me post-SPF application, wearing nothing else on my skin (besides some lip tint and mascara).
I fell in love with this product upon first swipe. Despite looking like a pasty peach color at first glance, the Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen sinks into my skin within seconds without leaving any traces of greasiness, residue, or white cast. I'm very impatient when it comes to rubbing in sunscreens — so the faster one absorbs, the better.
A caveat: I'm pretty biased toward chemical sunscreens and will, about 93 percent of the time, prefer them over mineral-based formulas. I haven't encountered a negative reaction to a chemical sunscreen as of yet, which is to say I'm lucky that my skin isn't super sensitive. As with any skin-care product, patch-test if you're the slightest bit worried.
Since the formula is so deeply hydrating (thanks, 7 percent glycerin), I find that it doubles wonderfully as a primer and my base makeup goes on smoothly without an ounce of piling. Also, whereas a lot of sunscreens come in tube form (nothing wrong with that, for the record), I do appreciate a mess-free pump situation, which makes it easy to dispense the perfect, never-overdone dose.
I also enlisted two of my coworkers to try out the sunscreen and share their honest reviews. (Spoiler alert: We're all fans.)
Nykia in action applying her SPF. See how fast it blends in?
Commerce editor Nykia Spradley says that "this sunscreen is everything I can ask for from an SPF," noting that the breathable formula melts into her skin in just a few swipes (as you can witness in real-time, above). "After a few hours of wear, my semi-oily skin doesn't feel greasy or like I need to wash it either," she adds, making it an ideal option for hot summer days.
Ang rocking her sun protection. You can’t even tell she’s wearing SPF.
Commerce writer Angela Trakoshis is quick to admit that she's not the golden standard when it comes to SPF application, but she does know just how important it is to achieve clear, healthy-looking skin. She had a hard time finding an SPF that plays nicely with her makeup (highly relatable) until she stumbled upon SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense. "It's lightweight and melts into my skin," she says. "And a white cast? Nowhere in sight on my olive-toned skin."
If we've successfully sold you on this wonder of a sunscreen, head over to skinceuticals.com or skinstore.com and buy a bottle for yourself for $54. If you'll excuse us, we'll be safely lounging on the beach, park lawn, backyard, or wherever we please, all summer long. (Join us in doing the same.)
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