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My Top 9 Subscription Box Discoveries: Sunscreen Edition

Jessica Hapak
ByJessica HapakJul 16, 2021 | 6 comments

Writing for MSA really allowed me to find my passion and love of skincare, and with that came the transformation of being an occasional sunscreen user, to slathering on the stuff every single day. In my skincare journey, I have tried quite a few sunscreens, and since summer is more associated with sunscreen than other seasons (although every day is a day you should wear sunscreen), I thought a handy dandy roundup of my SPF favs was in order.

Sunscreen is the best way to protect your investments; why pay top dollar for the best serums, masks, and moisturizers you can find, if you don't apply sunscreen to protect your skin from further damage? UV rays and sun damage can cause premature signs of aging, dark spots, skin cancer, and uneven skin tone. If you're using treatments to address any of these issues, then you want to make sure you're using sunscreen to prevent further damage. How much is enough? The experts say 1/4 teaspoon for your face and neck, and one ounce for your entire body (you can actually see me measuring my sunscreen in the Clinique video I link below). The experts also recommend reapplying every two hours, but even I am not that diligent (yet, at least). Getting into any kind of routine where you use sunscreen on a regular basis is better than nothing at all, so let's dive in to some of my favorites that I've tried through subscription boxes.

1. Clinique Pep-Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50

The Product: Clinique Pep-Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50

The Cost: $23.00 for 1 oz

The Box: Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2021

This is the best tinted sunscreen that I have ever tried- Clinique nailed it. This is a mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, where the formula is lightweight and even a little runny. It’s really easy for me to apply to my skin, and the tint gives a soft blurring effect to my skin. I usually reach for this on no-makeup days when I want to look put together, but this also layers well under makeup too. I think those with oily skin would really like how lightweight this sunscreen is, but me and my dry skin love it too. Want to see what it looks like when I'm applying it? Check out my video here.

2. Innisfree Oat Mild Moisture Sun Cream SPF 50+

The Product: Innisfree Oat Mild Moisture Sun Cream SPF 50+

The Cost: $13.00

The Box: AKOCO Starter Kit

Here's a mineral sunscreen that's packed with soothing and antioxidant-rich ingredients; we've got oat kernal extract, Centella Asiatica, vitamin E, and cannabis seed oil. This is a really soothing and gentle sunscreen that absorbed easily into my skin without leaving a white cast behind. My sensitive skin really enjoyed this, and I love how affordable it is. This would be one of my top picks for those with more sensitive skin looking for a daily sunscreen- it's is a little hard to find in the U.S., but the price is right, and it’s definitely worth the wait if you have to order it from overseas.

3. Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer

The Sunscreen: Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer

The Cost: $75.00 for 1.7 oz

The Box: Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2021

If I had an unlimited skincare budget, this would be the sunscreen I reached for all of the time. Along with the chemical UV filters, the formula also has algae, peptides, and squalane. It’s really hydrating without being too heavy, and absorbs easily without leaving a white cast on my skin. I usually skip my moisturizer when I’m reaching for this, but I haven’t had issues layering this on top of moisturizers either. I have actually gone through a full-size bottle of this, with a backup bottle ready to go.

4. A'PIEU Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream SPF 45

The Product: A'PIEU Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream SPF 45

The Cost: $7.00

The Box: Bomibox August 2020

I am a really big fan of A'PIEU- it's pretty rare that I don't enjoy a product of theirs. This sunscreen is the most affordable one on my list, but you will have to do a little bit of waiting for it to be mailed from across the ocean. This sunscreen is hydrating without being heavy, and it gave my skin a tiny bit of a glow. Along with chemical UV filters, the formula has aloe, fruit extracts, and flower extracts, and I didn't have any issues with white cast. This does have a slight sunscreen-y smell to it, but it faded by the time I was done applying it.

5. Shiseido Ultimate Wetforce Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+ for Face and Body

The Product: Shiseido Ultimate Wetforce Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ for Face and Body

The Cost: $49.00 for 5 oz

The Box: Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2019

I would be doing y'all a disservice if I didn't include at least one water-resistant sunscreen on this list, and this one by Shiseido is by far the best in water-resistant coverage I have tried. It goes on as a clear liquid, and it didn't feel too hard to rub in or too heavy. For best results, you should apply this about thirty minutes before you plan on getting wet (or sweating heavily), and then make sure to reapply after 80 minutes of active time to keep your skin protected.

6. Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40+

The Product: Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40+

The Cost: $36.00 for 1.7 oz

The Box: Sephora Favorites: Clean Me Up Set

I read multiple reviews where Megan talked about how much she loved this sunscreen, but I didn’t actually believe the hype until I tried it myself (I’m sorry for doubting you, Megan!). Supergoop is great with their sunscreen formulas, but this one leaves me looking seriously radiant (you can see photos here). With a formula that uses chemical filters, it also utilizes hyaluronic acid and cocoa peptides. I’ve completely emptied the travel-size tube that came in my Sephora Favorites kit, so I pulled the trigger and purchased the full-size. I will say that while the tint and luminosity work amazingly well for my fair skin, I have seen some reviews on Instagram that this isn’t darker-skin friendly. 

7. EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46

The Product: EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46

The Cost: $37.00 for 1.7 oz

The Box: Dermstore Problem Skin Clarifying Regime

This sunscreen is very similar to the Dermalogica Dynamic Skin SPF that I love, at least in terms of texture and how hydrating and easy to apply it is, but it’s half the cost! Featuring a blend of mineral and chemical filters, it also has niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E. This is another sunscreen option that’s great for sensitive skin, and I’ve never had issues with it pilling or not layering well. Plus, I’ve seen multiple reviews on Instagram where it is approved to be darker-skin friendly. Want to see what it looks like when I'm applying it? Check out my video here

8. Tizo Photoceutical A Replenish Untinted SPF 40

The Product: Tizo Photoceutical AM Replenish Untinted SPF 40

The Cost: $48.00 for 1.7 oz

The Box: The Beauty Report Jet Set Box

I remember getting this sunscreen in a subscription box during law school, and it really helped me cement the habit of wearing sunscreen every single day because of how easy it was to apply. The formula uses mineral filters, ceramides, and vitamin c. This does have that silicone-y feel that some people hate and others don’t mind at all, but I like it because it doubles as a makeup primer for me. 

9. Missha All Around Sun Block Essence SPF 45

The Product: Missha All Around Sun Block Essence SPF 45

The Cost: $14.00 for 1.7 oz

The Box: Pink Seoul Mask July 2020

This is another hydrating sunscreen that absorbs with ease and doesn't leave a white cast on me (are you sensing a theme here?). I remember hating applying sunscreen as a teenager because of how thick and heavy it was, and now there are so many options out there that are actually easy to use and don't leave you looking like a ghost. It's a little basic other than being easy to apply with no white cast, but for $14.00 what more can I ask for from a sunscreen? Want to see what it looks like when I'm applying it? Check out my video here.


Now that I've rounded up my list of go-tos for sun protection, I would love to know what sunscreen you reach for on a regular basis. What are you loving? Have you tried any on my list?

Ready to discover more sunscreens or prefer to get with a sunless tan? Check out some of our readers' favorites that hit all the marks.

Jessica Hapak
Jessica Hapak
I am a staunch believer that pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza and when I’m not working as a family law attorney I enjoy hiking the Louisiana trails (alligator sightings are a favorite!) or relaxing with Duchess, my cat. I’m a sucker for anything labeled a mystery box and I’ve never met a bath bomb I didn’t like.

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I’d love to see La Roche Posay in sub boxes. Everything I try from them is great. Now using their Anthelios 30 cooling water sunscreen and it’s so light.

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Love the reviews with the videos! I can’t stand sunscreen that is shiny or greasy, so it helps to see what it looks like when applied.
I currently use Missha All Around Sun Block Essence, which is really light and only a little shiny and the original Unseen Sunscreen. I really want to try the Mattescreen version (I missed the little sampler they had on IG).
It’s so hard to find something that works. It seems like the sunscreens that are not too shiny end up pilling on top of my skincare 🙁

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Love this, Jessica! I got the Sephora sunscreen bag this year and your recommendations seem to align with my observations about the best in the bag. I’ll have to check out your other sunscreen recommendations now, especially the k-beauty ones!

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Charlotte G.

I wanted to love the Glow Screen so badly, but it just left me looking seriously oily. I do really like the Clinique Pep-Start and Elta MD, though. Right now I’m working through the full-size Dr. Dennis Gross sunscreen that came in this years Sephora Sun Safety kit, and it’s a god-send for no-makeup days. I prefer mineral sunscreen because chemical sunscreens irritate my eyes, but they can be hard to get right.

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I’m glad to hear that you like the Clinique one. I prefer one that has a tint and also has a higher SPF than 30 so I might give that one a try. I’ve been using the Skinceuticals tinted one and love it but hate the price. Now that Dermstore has turned into an absolute nightmare I also would have to find somewhere else to purchase it from. Right now I’m using the Ilia tined serum with SPF that everyone raves about but it’s just okay for me. Not worth the price for me personally. I will try the Clinique. I have always had a soft spot for Clinique.

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Great list! Sunscreen is another product I am not too picky about. As long as it doesn’t pill I am happy. The sand and stone sunscreen from the Beachly Beauty box pills like no other. Talk about looking ghastly lol. I usually just stick with my Neutrogena dry touch but apparently those are now recalled due to the presence of benzene.

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