Photo Courtesy of Marina Choy
The Basics of Clean SPF
If you were going to pick only one beauty category to go clean with, sun protection is it. Just as the chemicals in conventional sunscreens can kill coral in the ocean, they also cause problems in your skin by increasing inflammation—the root cause of most aging. So beyond the potential endocrine disruptors and cancer causers in conventional synthetic beauty products, mineral or physical sunblocks are without a doubt the most effective anti-aging cream on the planet.
There are other benefits, too: “I love mineral formulas—those with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide—because they don’t clog pores, don’t cause allergic reactions, they work the minute you put them on—you don’t have to wait twenty minutes the way you do with chemical formulas,” says Dr. Amy Wechsler, New York dermatologist and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Cornell. “Zinc, for instance, is what’s in Desitin or Balmex—it’s soothing, so it’s especially good for sensitive skin. Minerals sit on the surface of your skin, they don’t penetrate into the skin or get into the pores, which is great.”
Wechsler wears SPF every day and she often likes to layer different formulas, especially at the beach. “I’m super diligent—I’m a dermatologist, of course, but also I have melasma, so it’s essential for me. And at the beach, I wear a rash guard, a baseball hat, and sunglasses—and I reapply like a crazy person. I like Chanel U.V. Essential SPF 50 daily.” At the same time, Wechsler believes firmly in vitamin D supplementation. “Get tested—lots of people don’t get enough,” she says. “Wear the SPF, supplement with D3. It’s the healthiest solution.”
What about the mood-lifting benefits of being in the sun? “They did the best study ever,” she says. “They put people in tanning beds, half of which secretly filtered out the UV rays: The change in mood between the two groups turned out to be identical. The mood-improving benefits come from visible light, not UV light. So put on your SPF and enjoy the sun!” Below, 10 brilliant options from the goop Clean Beauty Shop, along with vitamin D3 if you need it:
For Your Makeup Bag
- Naturopathica Lavender Protective Moisturizer SPF 17 goop, $58
This light hydrator is so easy to apply (we wondered whether it was true physical sunscreen, given its silky feel and the way it sinks effortlessly into skin) that it turns the daily chore of trying to blend in your stubborn sun protection into a genuine pleasure. Skin-soothing lavender plus antioxidant and anti-inflammatory turmeric root combine with micronized (not nano) zinc oxide in this nourishing, mattifying, and ultra-protective SPF moisturizer. It smells and feels fantastic.
For Your Beach Bag
All Good Zinc Sun Butter SPF 50+goop, $10
Water resistant to 80 minutes, this butter is brilliant for beach, exercise, and any other sort of serious sun exposure. The six ingredients that make up the formula are certified organic (including calendula from the brand’s farm), and provide UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection in even the most extreme environments. Coral-reef safe, this is extra-strength, all-weather protection that’s beautifully gentle on any skin type.
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30goop, $39
A hydrating, lightweight zinc oxide formula that works for everyone, from babies and sensitive-skin-sufferers to outdoor-sports enthusiasts. The broad-spectrum water-resistant formula protects against UVA, UVB, and blue light, and it’s packed with antioxidants and aloe vera. It sinks beautifully into skin and smells faintly of tangerine and lemon.
In the Morning, Layer On…
Kypris Pot of Shade Heliotropic goop, $68
This broad-spectrum, beautifully translucent formula is made for everyday protection. Boosted with moisturizing botanicals (and no essential oils so it’s ideal for reactive and sensitive skin) and non-nano, non-whitening zinc oxide, it’s brilliant as primer, leaving skin radiant, plumped, and smooth. It feels incredible going on, blends like a dream, soothes any skin type, and makes serious, long-lasting protection a luxurious daily ritual.
Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense Lotion with SPF 18goop, $54
This lightweight, ultra-hydrating all-mineral SPF 18 blends in so beautifully it’s truly unbelievable. Unscented and packed with skin-perfecting vitamins, it treats your skin while leaving it smooth and protected. Sinks into skin in seconds, feels incredible—this lotion is an easy daily anti-ager.
Coola Unscented Matte Face Tint SPF 30goop, $36
Coola’s matte tint has the freakiest (and coolest) feel ever: It goes on like foam dust, leaving nary a trace behind. It has a very sheer universal tint and matte finish that hides imperfections and evens skin tone, too, meaning it’s kind of magic in a bottle.
Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Facial Sunscreen SPF 40goop, $21
This formula is lightweight and sheer and really great for those of us with extra-sensitive skin.
- Beautycounter Dew Skin SPF 20 goop, $45
This glowy, translucent, instantly perfecting SPF 20 has to be the ultimate no makeup-makeup of all time. It’s less about masking flaws, and more about looking and feeling like you—but better. The delicate, deeply hydrating formula smoothes in like a dream; zinc oxide soothes and protects all day; black currant, peony-root extract, and vitamin C address age spots and enhance brightness, and powerful moisturizers leave you with firmer, smoother-looking skin. If you’re looking for coverage, this is not your product—but we guarantee it makes anyone’s skin look instantly more beautiful. It’s so sheer that different shades work for many different skins; if you’re in doubt, try No. 2, which works for practically everyone who tries it.
For Your Lips
- All Good Lip Balm Coconut SPF 15goop, $3.50
Equal parts super-hydrator and super-sun-protector, this gorgeous, certified organic, gluten-free balm smooths and softens lips like nothing else. The utterly nontoxic SPF 20 is especially important here, given that you end up consuming much of what’s in any lip product; the coconut moisturizes like crazy, and feels amazing on skin.
- All Good Kid’s Sunscreen Lotion SPF 33 goop, $16
Organic coconut oil makes this easier to apply than most non-toxic formulas—only one of the reasons we’re obsessed with this broad-spectrum, hypo-allergenic, gluten- and GMO-free, vegan, biodegradable formula. Totally safe sun protection for kids that feels amazing going on—a total breakthrough.
In Stick Form
- Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30goop, $20
A hydrating, lightweight zinc oxide formula that works for everyone, from babies and sensitive-skin-sufferers to outdoor-sports enthusiasts. The broad-spectrum water-resistant formula protects against UVA, UVB, and blue light, and it’s packed with antioxidants and aloe vera. It sinks beautifully into skin and smells faintly of tangerine and lemon. The stick formula is perfect to throw in a beach bag.