It took many years, and a lot of trial and error, but I have finally found My Holy Grail Face Sunscreen. The Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($34 US/$46 CAD) meets every single one of my requirements in a facial sunscreen. It is a 100% physical sunscreen (transparent Zinc Oxide (Z-Cote®) and titanium dioxide) that offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with no white cast thanks to the sheer, tinted formula. I was worried at first that the tint would be too dark on my fair skin but it blends in seamlessly. It actually does a nice job of subtly evening out my skin tone on no makeup days. The formula also includes artemis salina which is a plankton extract that helps boost skin’s natural defenses and resistance to UV and heat-induced stress.
It has a very fluid silky texture that feels weightless and amazing on the skin. My skin feels hydrated but not greasy. It doesn’t break me out, nor does it dry out my skin. It performs absolutely beautifully under makeup. It is the first sunscreen I’ve ever tried that I feel that I can apply liberally with no concerns about how my makeup will perform on top.
The formula is paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive. I do feel it is best suited to normal to dry skin types.
If you have an oily to combo skin type you might prefer the SkinceuticalsPhysical Matte UV Defence SPF 50 ($34 US/$44 CAD). It offers the same broad spectrum protection as the Physical Fusion formula but with oil absorbing qualities and a matte finish. The silicone based formula has a mousse texture that smoothes the skin and minimizes the appearance of pores and dries to a powder finish. It works great to substitute your usual pore minimizing makeup primer with added sun protection.
If you haven’t tried the Skinceuticals sunscreens yet, and are still on the search for your holy grail sunscreen, I can’t recommend them highly enough. I honestly have no desire to continue experimenting with facial sunscreens because the Physicial Fusion SPF 50 is absolutely perfect in my eyes. The only drawback is it isn’t widely available. I don’t mind the price given how amazing it is.