Is there such a thing as being too internet famous? Not if you’re a viral sunscreen. Being sunscreen nerds at Vogue Singapore, one of our goals is to see SPF become as essential as toothpaste. Whether you’re fair, tanned or somewhere in between, daily use and reapplication of sunscreen is a must especially in our sunny climate.
Sunscreen protects your skin from burns and dehydration at ‘best’ and skin cancer, hyperpigmentation and premature wrinkles at worst. In fact, without a broad-spectrum SPF to shield your skin against damaging UVA and UVB rays, the effort of your nine-step beauty regime is all for naught. With skincare technology constantly improving, we’re always on the lookout for the best new and often cult sunscreens. This edit of 7 SPFs tick all the right boxes: they’re lightweight and well-formulated, without leaving a white cast. Best of all, they’re offered in a diverse price range from the cheap, cheerful and ultra-viral Beauty of Joseon to French pharma classic, La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios, meaning there’s something for truly every skin concern and every budget.
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Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun: Rice + Probiotics SPF50+ PA++++
Mention sunscreen and any TikTok-obsessed beauty fiend is all too happy to pull out their nth tube of Beauty of Joseon. Since it filtered into our mainstream consciousness, this chemical sunscreen has become a cult staple and for good reason. It’s lightweight, imparts a healthy glow minus the grease, and contains rice extract and a grain probiotics complex with grain-fermented lysate ingredients to nourish and promote the skin’s natural strength. It brightens and soothes even sensitive skin types with its hydrating feel and leaves no heavy residue or white cast. Importantly, it’s SPF 50-certified from labs in both South Korea and Spain.
Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun: Rice + Probiotics SPF50+ PA++++, US$18, available at Beauty of Joseon
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Shiseido Urban Environment Triple Beauty Suncare Emulsion SPF 50+ PA++++
Shiseido’s research into UV protection stems all the way back to 1915 and we’re reaping the benefits today with this fluid, oil-free sunscreen. Not only does it offer protection from UVA, UVB and fine urban dust, its spirulina energy essence and zinc oxide converts a portion of sunlight into beneficial light for the skin. Inspired by spirulina’s photosynthesis system, Shiseido’s Sun Dual Care targets internal ageing factors that are produced by UV exposure, all while boosting the complexion and controlling shine. Now that’s a smart sunscreen.
Shiseido Urban Environment Triple Beauty Suncare Emulsion SPF 50+ PA++++, $65, available at Shiseido
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Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50 Luminising Serum Sunscreen
If you like your sunscreens to feel more like skincare rather than sunblock, Ultra Violette’s rose-scented Queen Screen SPF 50 Luminising Serum Sunscreen is the one to beat. Vegan formulated with antioxidant-rich Kakadu plum and hydration-boosting Pentavitin, this serum-like SPF blocks UVA and UVB rays with chemical filters, leaving no white cast or weighty feeling. Use three pipettes for appropriate SPF protection.
Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50 Luminising Serum Sunscreen, $50, available at Sephora
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La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 SPF 50+
They mean it when they describe this sunscreen as fluid. This light, silken-textured broad-spectrum product with Mexoryl400 filter for ultra-long UVA protection is sweat-, sand-and water-resistant, making it a natural choice for the outdoors. Best of all, it doesn’t sting the eyes and is invisible once blended into the skin.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 SPF 50+, $46.90, available at Shopee
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Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel
Perfect for skin that’s feeling a little rough and worse for wear, Isntree’s milky yet lightweight chemical sunscreen soothes and hydrates sensitive to dry and combination complexions with eight types of hyaluronic acid and refining niacinamide. It’s so hydrating in fact, that in a pinch, it can be used alone after cleansing. It imparts a dewy finish sans the white cast and reapplies beautifully to the skin after two hours.
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel, $34.90, available at Shopee
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Nudestix Nudescreen Daily Mineral Veil SPF 30
While all sunscreens have more pros than cons, mineral sunscreens are generally known to be thicker in consistency, requiring time and patience to work in. And after all that ‘cardio’ blending, they leave a chalky white cast, meaning they’re not inclusive for melanated skin.
With this in mind, Nudestix’s zinc oxide oil-free SPF 30 Mineral Veil comes in three tones: hot, cool, and warm, respectively, to help counter grey or ashy tones. An additional benefit mineral or physical sunscreens have over their chemical counterparts is that the zinc oxide and titanium dioxides in them help to further filter out blue light, which may exacerbate hyperpigmentation and skin dullness. The formula also contains niacinamide-rich green algae extract alongside protective passionflower and moistursing purple tea extracts to offer skin support.
Nudestix Nudescreen Daily Mineral Veil SPF 30, $52, available at Sephora
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Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50 PA+++
Another fresh-feeling, skin-soothing SPF, this time from cult K-beauty brand, Cosrx. Made with calming aloe vera leaf extract and hyaluronic acid, this double-duty product works both as skin and suncare, defending the complexion against UVA and UVB rays. A second application over make-up went on effortlessly without shifting foundation too much and left a dewy, comfortable finish.
Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50 PA+++, $21.90, available at Shopee