As a fair-skinned burner with a family history of skin cancer, I am a committed sunscreen user. (I’m also vain and unlikely to submit my face or wallet to expensive lasers, so protecting my skin from UV rays is my best bet at preserving what’s left of my once-youthful glow.) I have tried many, many a sunblock in my day: Moisturizers with built-in SPF, European formulas with chemicals not yet approved by the FDA, and physical blockers so thick, you might worry I’d accidentally applied diaper cream to my cheeks.
And then I discovered Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 and became a devoted convert. It goes on exceptionally smoothly, like a gel-based moisturizer. It is not sticky or tacky, and doesn’t pill or dry tight on my skin. It absorbs quickly without feeling greasy and leaves my skin soft, as if I applied a light summer lotion. Its consistency is most like a primer and it does act like one under foundation (though I’ve also applied it over makeup and it works just fine that way too).
And it is really, truly “unseen” — no whitish cast on my skin. And because it is so effortless to apply and wear, I swipe it on daily without hesitating (I said I was committed). I even reapply from the mini I keep in my bag.
- Price: $48 for 2.5 ounces (the largest available) to $22 for .68 ounces (the mini)
- Color: It comes out of the tube like a whitish gel lotion, but is truly invisible on the skin.
- Who’s it for: Anyone with skin they want to protect from daily UV exposure. It’s excellent on all skin tones, from the fairest to the darkest.
- Pro-tip: Keep a mini wherever you might be tempted to put on — or reapply — sunscreen, from your bag to your glove compartment. Get in the habit of just dotting a bit more on your nose and cheeks throughout the day.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen, meaning its ingredients are absorbed into the skin to prevent damage by inactivating the UV rays through a chemical reaction. (You can’t put chemical sunscreens on hours before exposure and hope for the same level of protection — and you have to reapply.) The active ingredients in this formula are avobenzone (3%), homosalate (8%), octisalate (5%), and octocrylene (4%).
Chemical sunscreens aren’t recommended for use on small children (because they are absorbed into the bloodstream) but they are an excellent, safe, and well-studied form of sun protection for adults.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen also boasts skincare ingredients like red algae, which purportedly locks in moisture; Frankincense, which soothes skin; and Meadowfoam oil, another hydrator. I guess these are nice to have (and I appreciate the effort Supergoop), but I am mainly devoted to this product for its sunblocking properties and lovely texture.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen comes in a variety of sizes, all of them in small tubes. It’s easy to squeeze out in any amount you need. As with any tube, it can be hard to get the last few dollops out, but I snip off the bottom of the tube, and scoop out the remainders with a finger. I always use every single smudge of this stuff.
How I use the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is my go-to daily moisturizer. The SPF level of 40 is strong enough for daily use and this stuff wears beautifully under concealer. (I do not regularly wear foundation but it’s worked nicely for me when I have.) In summer, I wear it as a moisturizing layer over serum and it’s all my skin needs. In winter, I layer it over my moisturizer and my skin does not feel coated in too much goop (no pun intended).
If you’re going to be out in the sun a lot over the course of a day, you should probably reapply as no sunscreen — and definitely not a chemical sunscreen — is meant to last for eight hours. I don’t always follow this advice, but you should.
The real magic of this formula is the texture. It’s smooth, bouncy, fast-absorbing, and not greasy or sticky at all. It’s really lovely to put on. I have reactive skin that often meets a new product with a red, angry flare, but I’ve never experienced so much as a tingle with this formula. (That said, any chemical formula might cause a reaction, so you should test it on a patch of your skin before you slather it on.)
I do not use Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen for a day at the beach — at least I wouldn’t use it alone. This stuff is a protective barrier, not a bulletproof shield. For full-exposure days, I slather on a physical sunscreen, one that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which both sit on top of the skin and physically block penetrating UV rays. I wear that “whitish cast” that most of these leave like a badge of honor. It tells me if I’ve missed any spots and that I’m fully covered. They do now make physical sunscreens that are clear and tinted, but I want to look like Casper. (I also wear lots of UPF clothing — long sleeve rash guards, a big hat etc.) Mineral sunscreens are also better for lake and ocean wildlife, so if there’s any chance I’m swimming in a natural body of water, that’s also what I’ll choose.
Finally, mineral sunscreens are what’s recommended for children old enough to wear sunblock (anyone older than 6 months), so I can bring a big tube of something mineral and share it with my kids at the beach. I’m not particularly choosy when it comes to mineral sunscreen; I buy whatever is cheap and plentiful.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is technically scentless but it does have a mild, pleasant odor that reminds me very faintly of baby powder. It’s nice.
Pros & cons
- Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is SPF 40, strong enough to block out UV rays from everyday sun exposure.
- The formula is perfection. It’s not just good for a sunscreen; it’s a lovely, light moisturizer that I enjoy applying and wearing.
- It is truly invisible. It absorbs quickly into your skin and leaves you feeling like you’re wearing lotion. It can be worn under foundation and concealer with ease.
- It really works on all skin tones. I have testimonials from friends with very fair and very dark skin who all say this stuff truly leaves no cast on their skin.
- It’s not cheap cheap (though it’s also not as expensive as some “fancy” sunscreens, particularly those that advertise themselves as also being skin care).
- You will use it up, and quickly, if you’re wearing it daily. Which you should. Which means you’ll have to buy more.
- I don’t personally recommend it for all occasions. If you’re going to be at the beach or somewhere with intense sun, I think you need something stronger. Or at least I do.
The final verdict
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is the formula that finally made me truly stick to my resolutions to wear sunscreen every day. It’s effortless to apply and invisible on your skin, and it’s protecting you from cancer and aging. Really, what more can a product do?
Stock up on this incredibly wearable everyday sunscreen and you’ll never find yourself worrying about sneaky UV damage ever again.
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