The Holy Grail of Sunscreens

I’m proud to admit I’m a sunscreen fanatic. I roasted the daylights out of my skin during my teens and early twenties only to be rewarded with melanoma in my 40’s. I have questionable spots frozen and cut off on a regular basis. And although my dermatologist assures me they’re a result of the damage I inflicted in my youth, I still like to face the day wearing a full forcefield of sunscreen.

My sunscreen of choice is always a physical block. I prefer the rays to bounce off my skin than have them interact inside my skin with the ingredients in chemical sunscreens. Those chemicals are known to be endocrine disruptors. I have enough disruption happening with menopause and don’t want to add insult to injury.Australian Gold on A Well Styled Life

I’ve already shared my sunscreen regime with you and also my favorites. Yesterday a box arrived with what I now consider to be my holy grail of sunscreen.

What does it take to be my holy grail of sunscreen? A Lot.

It needs to be:

  • elegant and by that I mean not messy or sticky.
  • oxybenzone, paraben, phthalate, and PABA free.
  • waterproof for up to 80 minutes.
  • not leave a white pasty film.
  • cruelty-free

    Australian Gold on A Well Styled Life
    UNTINTED SPF 50  /  TINTED SPF 50

As a bonus, this sunscreen is petroleum, sulfate, dye, oil, and BPA free. It’s full of good for your skin, healthy botanicals and has a powder-like dry finish that’s not greasy.

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I couldn’t find it locally so looked online. The prices vary and the best was at Ulta. Amazon has it too for twice the price! What’s up with that?Australian Gold tinted review on A Well Styled Life

I put this tinted version on my face, neck, and chest. I never put tinted sunscreen on my neck for fear of it transferring to clothes. This stayed put, dried down to nothing and didn’t rub off. I’ll give it the white shirt test soon.

I applied this untinted one to my arms and back of hands.

My other sunscreen favorites are:

  •  This powder which I keep in my purse for touch-ups throughout the day.
  • This stick that stays in my car for slathering the back of my hands.
  • This moisturizer which has a strong sunscreen all by itself.
  • I also use this Brightening Primer which has a 20 SPF. It’s intended to smooth imperfections. Does it? I don’t know but I like how it makes my skin look.

This Elta MD is a fabulous product and I have sworn by it for years but it’s almost 3 times the price of my new one!

I’m thrilled with this sunscreen. I actually ordered for my daughter who is coming down next week so I’ll have to reorder one for her:)

Do you take sun protection seriously? Have you got a great one to share?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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36 Comments

  1. May I know the comparison between Elta MD UV Physical and Australian Gold? I am using the Elta MD one and it gives me a slightly white cast since I have warm tone and the Elta MD seems to offer a cooler tone (somehow like pink?), I would like to know is AG darker a bit or they just the same? Is AG more of orangey? Did it further oxidize and get darker? I am wondering whether to choose fair-light or med-tan shade… It’s quite hard since I seems to have a medium tone but between these two shades~ Thank you for your kind reply!

  2. Hello,
    I tried this sunscreen (it’s the same price on Amazon now) I went with the untinted version so I could share with my husband. It is a good product, it doesn’t burn my eyes like my Clear Face by Neutrogena, spf 55. However, it does leave a pasty film (I know you warned about this- but wow!) My biggest issue is removing it. How do you get it off without scrubbing? After my normal cleansing routine, which is extensive, I still have white patches. I’m now reluctant to use it because, at my age, I know better than to scrub at my skin.

    1. I remove it with a mild cleanser and facecloth. My face never feels clean unless I use a wet facecloth. Scrubbing is not a good idea. You can also use a makeup remover wipe which takes everything off.

  3. Hi Jennifer! Your advice could not have come at a better time for me. I have 2 PDT treatments scheduled in the next month and was looking for a great sunscreen and one especially for my face. I found the sunscreen at both Ulta and Walgreen’s for 25% off this week. Thanks so much! Janie

  4. I’m going to purchase the AG tinted on my next trip to the US. I can order to Canada but the $100 minimum for free shipping is outrageous. You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been paying for Elizabeth Arden face cream that doesn’t transfer to my clothes.

    Your reply to Kim about scent answered my questions. That’s a big concern for me.

    Do you replenish every two hours like recommended? I start the day fresh and then reapply in the afternoon, if going out. That usually means touching up blush and bronzer too. I use Amore Pacific in the compact form as a quick backup. It has good coverage and I found a good colour match.

    I’ve been told that you need protection from the artificial lighting indoors too.

    1. That’s a crazy price! I believe we need protection from artificial lighting indoors too, Julie. I usually refresh with the Colorscience powder so I don’t have to touch up my makeup.

  5. Thank you for the recommendation Jennifer. I have rosacea that mainly effects my nose so I’m trying to be more attentive to my skin care! My dermatologist has given me samples of Elta to try but I am going to look into this product. What are your thoughts on the expiration date of the products? Will you continue using it if it is outdated? I have another type (bought at my derm office) that I haven’t used up.

    1. I assume that expired sunscreen has lost some of its effectiveness so I would not trust it alone. Use the expired ones on the tops of your feet in open shoes because that skin is less likely to have previous damage.

  6. Thanks for this recommendation Jennifer. Can you tell me if the body sunscreen has an overpowering scent to it? I usually try to get unscented everything because I’m so sensitive to smell. Also does it leave any residue if you lean up against something? Like your couch or car armrest/door panel?

    1. The body one has a very mild scent that dissipates quickly. I hate strong fragrances myself. No transfer for me. It gives a totally dry finish that does not rub off. In fact 15 minutes after applying I can’t even tell I have it on! That’s rare in my experience.

  7. I like the chemical free sunscreens too, but Consumer Report gives them all dismal, bottom of the ratings for actual sun protection. As a result, I use one of the Ella MD sunscreens that is part chemical, part zinc and titanium oxides. I also got some of the Anthelios milk melting spf 60 that they have actually given a whopping 100% rating to for the last 2 years to try out

  8. Jennifer, how much tint is in the facial version? I am very fair. Also, you were happy with your makeup application over it?? The price is excellent. I love Coolibar products too! I had the backs of my hands lasered about 5 years ago. They looked 20 years younger without the freckles and sunspots!

    1. I am very fair too. It blends in beautifully. Makeup went on perfectly! It is funny you say that Roxanne, when I saw how well it went on my neck I thought about putting on the backs of my hands;)

  9. Thanks for sharing your finds. I am always searching for safe sunscreen products and prefer the mineral versions for that reason, too. However I note that the product you recommend contains alumina (aluminum oxide) which many consider a neurotoxin. Its all about weighing risks/benefits but not always easy to figure that out, is it?

    1. It’s my understanding that aluminum oxide doesn’t penetrate the skin. You’re so right, it’s all about the ingredients. Titanium dioxide has concerns too! Hard to win.

  10. I have just spent 6 weeks in Florida (so fabulous!!) and this was the sunscreen I used. I purchased it at Walgreens and used the aerosol spray which is so much easier to apply than cream. So glad to know it’s “Jennifer-approved.”

    1. My daughter is curious about the spray too. Thanks for the review Sandy, I’ll get some! I wish my Walgreens had it in store. I had to order it.

  11. Thanks for this post, I live in Australia and had never heard of this product. I apply an SPF50 sunscreen to my face every morning, I will certainly give this product a try.

  12. I’ll give this sunscreen a try!
    I’ve meant to ask, have you ever tried a BBL treatment to get rid of sun damage on your face? My daughter recommended it so I asked my dermatologist. He said to absolutely try it! My daughter and I just did it two days ago while I’m visiting her, so I don’t know the full results yet. But I like what it’s doing so far!

  13. In New Mexico, if you have doctor’s writtern permission, you can have front windshield tinted. Kerp prescription in car to show police if stopped. Be careful as you dont want windshield too dark. Also, when flying, choose window seat to control amount of much stronger (because of altitude) UV light you will be exposed to. UV protective clothing from Coolibar or Solumbra even better for body than sunscreen.

  14. I use La Roche Posay sunscreens as recommended by a friend’s dermatologist.I’ll look into your recommendation 🙂

    1. My dermatologist recommended the chemical version of La Roche Posey and I tried it. It was very effective but I became increasingly worried about the chemicals so switched to its mineral version.

  15. My dermatologist focuses mostly on the left side of my face and arms and on the back of my hands. She said that for many people the majority of sun exposure happens while driving and in California the front car windows are only allowed tinting that blocks 30%. Who knew? After much research I discovered there is a clear 3M window film that blocks 99.9% of UV rays. I went to an auto glass place and they applied the film for about $200.
    Thanks for the sunscreen tips. My holy grail is Thinkbaby.

  16. THANK YOU! I was just getting ready to order Elta MD since I am almost out. I ordered this instead. Much less expensive!

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