Everything You Need To Know About SPF


Today we’re talking sunscreens !

As kids we’re taught that we need sunscreen whenever we’re going to be spending lots of time out in the sun. Whether it’s the beach or Disneyland, you always see people applying sunscreen there!  We’re taught to lather up on SPF when we go to the beach but what about the rest of the time? You’ll always want to wear sunscreen when you go to the beach but in reality, you want to be wearing sunscreen every day. That’s right, every day.  Even if you work in an office, you’re still exposed to UV rays from computers and phones screens, lights and even through the windows of your car.  You want to wear sunscreen every day.

SPF in foundation or your tinted moisturizer isn’t enough. You need around 7x the normal amount of foundation to get the SPF on the label. 7 pumps of foundation for SPF 25?  Highly unlikely. You also won’t reapply foundation throughout the day because that’s a cakey hot mess! Sunscreen under your makeup is the way to go.

Chemical VS. Physical Sunscreen


There is two types of sunscreen; physical and chemical. Physical sunscreen contains minerals like zinc and titanium oxides to block UVA and UVB rays from your skin which means it offers broad-spectrum protection.  Physical sunscreens will work to create a barrier to block those rays from your skin.  Physical sunscreens will usually leave a white cast to the skin and be hard to rub in. They’re known as physical blockers because they physically block or deflect the sun’s rays. They can also be called mineral sunscreens.

Chemical-based sunscreens contain elements like oxybenzone, avobenzone and homosalate and work by converting UV rays into heat and releasing that heat from the skin. There was concern sparked recently with the use of oxybenzene in sunscreens. It was recently banned in Hawaii because them chemicals in it kill the coral reefs.  You jump into the ocean with sunscreen and those chemicals get into the water and are extremely bad for the ocean’s ecosystem.

Generally, something like that would imply that chemical sunscreens are bad for your skin but that’s not true.  Chemical-based sunscreens are also known as chemical blockers, a name for the chemical reaction that takes place to protect your skin from the sun. There are studies that will say oxybenzene causes X, Y and Z to the body but that’s true of parabens and preservatives which are in a lot of foods and beauty products. There are also many dermatologists that don’t see a concern with chemical sunscreens. Not all chemical sunscreens will even use oxybenzene and if you find one that does, it’s not a huge red flag and it can still be effective at protecting you from the sun.

Overall, the take away is when you’re in the sun you want to wear sunscreen. Period.

For me, I’m not too concerned at whether I’m wearing a physical or chemical sunscreen because both offer protection from the sun which is what’s most important.  Instead, I want one that feels nice on my skin, protects my skin and wears well cosmetically. You can find a physical or chemical sunscreen that can do all of that. It’s just about finding the right one.


Physical sunscreen

  • better for sensitive skin or skin problems like rosacea because they block the sun.
  • UVA, UVB and broad spectrum protection.
  • Less likely to clog pores.
  • Works right away.


  • Thicker and harder to spread out, will usually leave a white cast to the skin.
  • It can rub or rinse off so you need to reapply.
  • It’s thicker in consistency.
  • You need to apply a lot to ensure full protection

Chemical Sunscreen

  • Thinner in consistency, easy to spread.
  • Less is needed to protect your face


  • Takes about 20 minutes to work.
  • Can cause irritation or stinging due to the chemicals. Not the best option for sensitive skin.
  • Reapplication is needed more frequently as it doesn’t block the sun, it creates a chemical reaction.
  • Can clog pores.

This chart from Supergoop is a great breakdown of chemical and physical sunscreens.


SPF stands for sun protection factor and it’s a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from UV rays. SPF 50 is the usually the most effective and the FDA is considering banning sunscreens labeling themselves over SPF 5o because there are no added benefits. Take away, SPF 50 = good. If it’s higher that’s good too but generally SPF 50 is as good as it’s going to get and adequately effective. Let’s take a look at this chart.


American Safety Council

This little chart is a good guide for SPF.  See that SPF 100 only blocks 1% more than SPF 50.

UVB Rays vs UVA Rays

UVB Rays is what causes a sunburn and your skin to be red.

UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper and cause wrinkles, sun damage and skin cancer.

Broad Spectrum means a sunscreen protects you from both!

Ok let’s get into reviewing sunscreens!  I’ve tried 6 different sunscreens for you, both a mix of chemical and physical sunscreens. Generally, you will need 1/4 of a teaspoon of sunscreen. A nickel amount, to get the SPF.

I also want to note that we talked about Oxybenozene in chemical sunscreens being not so great for the environment. Supergoop is mostly chemical sunscreens but they don’t use any oxybenzone in their sunscreens! They use avobenzone and homosalate.



Supergoop Unseen. SPF 40. $32. Broad Spectrum ☑️

This is one of my favorites! It’s unseen because it has a clear, matte finish so it looks like you aren’t wearing sunscreen. If you hate the typical white cast from traditional sunscreens you’ll love this! I’ve never liked traditional sunscreens (I think of Banana Boat) and this is far from it.  It has the slightest sunscreen smell to it.  It has a blurring effect and a silicon texture like many traditional makeup primers so it’s a solid choice to wear under makeup.

Supergoop Glow Stick SPF 50. $25. Broad Spectrum ☑️

This sunscreen is a clear stick, dry oil formula. It has a minimal sunscreen, Banana Boat-esque smell.  It gives a very glowy finish to the skin but it can look borderline greasy. This can even work as a highlighter on the skin and I like this best for on the go application. If you wear dewy makeup, this is a great product for reapplying your SPF throughout the day. It’s stick applicator is also great for travel but beware it has a push-up top instead of a twist which is sort of weird.

I don’t like using this as sunscreen all over my face!  I just don’t like the greasy sort of look it gives and how it feels as a base. I prefer to use this after I’ve done my makeup and as a reapplication!  You can totally use this as your all over face sunscreen I just prefer to not.  I like using the Unseen sunscreen then placing this on top.

Supergoop Setting Mist. SPF 50. $28 Broad Spectrum ☑️

This spray is amazing for SPF application throughout the day!!  It’s a setting mist to use after you apply your makeup to set it.  The idea is truly brilliant.  It has a matte finish which isn’t my favorite. It also contains peppermint and rosemary oil which I’m not a huge fan of. I think this spray has a chemical smell to it that’s very overwhelming.  The peppermint and rosemary just add to that and it can kind of sting when you spray it.  It’s not a refreshing spray at first, it’s somewhat shocking then it get’s refreshing. Am I crazy?! LOL.

I’m just not a fan of the smell on my face. It’s overwhelming to me. With that being said I still love this product because I think it’s such an awesome idea and I’ve tried the Coola setting spray and the smell on that is worse. I’m being picky but that’s my take.

Pro Tip: You need 7-10 sprays to get the full effect of the SPF 50.


Sunscreen faves


Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte. SPF 30. $36 Broad Spectrum ☑️

This DE sunscreen contains 20% zinc oxide. A physical sunscreen is more likely to leave a white cast but the tint on this really takes care of that problem.  It’s a light to medium tint color so I’m not sure if it could work on all skin tones.

This was my first sunscreen and I love it!  It leaves a dewier finish to my skin which is what I love.  I can wear it under makeup and it doesn’t pill which is very important to me!!

This sunscreen smells odd and I’m not sure what it smells like. I have a VERY strong sense of smell which is why scent is so important to me! I’m sure many people could use this and not notice a smell but I notice it.

Supergoop Setting Powder SPF 45 $30 Broad Spectrum ☑️

Another great option for reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.  We learned that you need to reapply every two hours and this product is great for that. This is a mineral sunscreen, setting powder that you can dust all over your face so it won’t ruin or change the way your makeup looks.  If you like a matte look or want to set your makeup throughout the day this is a good option.

This comes in 4 shades. I use translucent. I like a dewy base and don’t like to use powder. When I use this I feel like it makes my face look more made up.  It will usually go away once it absorbs into my skin but I notice it because I don’t like that look. It’s fine if I’m sweating and dust it on my face! This is me being picky and it’s my personal preference for sure because it’s different than what I usually do with my makeup. That being said, I still enjoy it, it fits in your purse and is awesome for on the go.

Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk. SPF 50 $18 Broad Spectrum ☑️

This sunscreen is so lightweight!! It has a soft, moisturizer smell to it (I think of light floral) and doesn’t smell like sunscreen.  The only issue is it gives the slightest white cast.  It has a milky, white color so I wasn’t too surprised. It’s very thin and comfy to wear so you can work with it.  This is a great sunscreen to wear under makeup and it’s a great price. This is the mattifying version. They also sell hydrating ones.



My favorites are the DE Umbra tinte if I’m mixing their new D-Bronzi serum in it.  Or Unseen if I’m wearing makeup with concealer, bronzer and all that over it. I also like both of them alone when I’m not wearing makeup.  I’ll always finish my makeup off with the SPF setting mist for added protection. I carry the powder with me when I’m out in the sun all day or the oil depending on my mood.

I recommend the DE Umbra Tint or Unseen depending on what you like better. Both are good options but the Unseen has SPF 50.  As for on the go application go for what fits your makeup preferences! If you like matte then go for the powder or spray. Dewy, then the glow stick. Either way, they’re all good options.  The setting spray also comes in a mini size for your purse.

The Takeaways

You need sunscreen every day!!!!!!!!

The SPF in your daily foundation isn’t going to cut it.

UVB = burn rays. UVA = aging rays.

Applying SPF once isn’t enough either, you need to reapply it every 2 hours! Whether you’re at the beach and it melts off in the water or you’re just out for a normal day. See all my on the go SPF recs!

You need 1/4 teaspoon, a nickel-sized dollop to cover your face.  Don’t forget ears, neck and shoulders.

SPF 50 is generally the best it’s going to get!  SPF 50 = totally effective when reapplied.



  1. June 29, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    This is SO good to know!

    • blackberriesandsparkles
      June 29, 2018 / 12:03 pm


  2. July 3, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    This is such important information! Thanks for breaking it down and explaining it so well! :]

    • blackberriesandsparkles
      July 3, 2018 / 6:29 pm

      Oh I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🤗🙌🏻

  3. ammaraza
    July 25, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    The supergroop Unseen seems so expensive! How long does one tube last? I used to wear a regular sunscreen all the time under makeup. Now I have been using a moisturizer/SPF combo.

    • blackberriesandsparkles
      July 26, 2018 / 9:35 am

      I’ve used it everyday for the past two months and it’s still full!

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