S P F is your B F F


This post is sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions expressed are my own.

It’s a good idea to refresh and update your skincare routine periodically. Sometimes product formulations change, sometimes it’s our skin or environment that changes. But whatever else you do, please don’t skip the most important step: sunscreen. My dermatologist likes those with “barrier” or mineral sunscreens, which all of the products shown above contain. Look for “titanium dioxide” or “zinc oxide” among the active ingredients. These tend to last longer than purely chemical sunscreens, though often a higher SPF is achieved with a blend of barrier and chemical active ingredients. (Chemical sunscreens may also irritate some with more sensitive skin.)

The challenge for a facial barrier sunscreen is finding one that isn’t too heavy or greasy, doesn’t leave a whitish cast, and doesn’t “pill.” Of those above, I’ve tried the Shiseido, Chanel, Clarins and Clinique and been happy with all of them. Currently I’m alternating the Clarins and Chanel, and both work well under makeup. (No reason for “alternating” other than I’d opened both and want to use them up before they expire.)

Nordstrom has a fabulous selection of skincare brands and products, and offers free samples with online beauty orders. Shipping is free too, with any size order. Try the online live chat if you have questions about any products or services.

In addition to sunscreen (every day, no matter what!) my current skincare routine includes:

Do you wear sunscreen daily? What SPF do you generally choose?

P.S. Don’t forget your lips!


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  1. January 21, 2015 / 4:22 am

    I often get compliments on my skin and I attribute it to using sunscreen faithfully for a very long time. We lived in the Caribbean for years and I depended on it because we went everywhere by boat. I never, never go out without applying sunscreen just before my foundation and find for dry skin, it acts an extra moisturizer and helps the foundation glide on easier. I would use a CC cream, but I haven’t found one that works for extra dry skin. It certainly would be easier, but I’m happy with my routine now. Thanks for reminding us of their importance.

  2. January 21, 2015 / 4:24 am

    My dermatologist tells me to wear at least SPF30 every day. She says she wears SPF50. I really started paying attention to this after I read Tish Jett’s book (Forever Chic). I really like The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer SPF30 (sorry, Nordstrom!). It’s got a nice feel, a light citrus-y fragrance, and at $20 for 50ml, it’s affordable.

  3. LauraH
    January 21, 2015 / 5:07 am

    I’ve recently re-committed myself to wear sunscreen every day, even when I think I don’t need it because it’s cloudy. The evidence for skin damage is too convincing. Paula’s Choice has a number of great sunscreens, both stand-alone and combined with moisturizer or foundation. My favourites are mineral-based and I choose which one based on other products I’m using, time of year, etc.

  4. January 21, 2015 / 5:20 am

    I use sunscreen on my face, neck, chest and hands every day – I never leave home without it and it is indeed my BFF. I use an olay sunscreen on my face and bargain brands on my body. xo

  5. Jacqueline
    January 21, 2015 / 6:04 am

    Last April when I was in Paris, I asked the pharmacist for a recommendation for a good sun screen specifically for the face. He recommended without a pause La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL. It has 50+ protection and is a cream that I believe combines a moisturizer and the big time sunscreen. Since then, I’ve seen several recommendations for the same cream here in the US.

  6. Rose Floyd
    January 21, 2015 / 6:07 am

    I’ve used the Clarins sunscreen SPF 40 for about a year now; it is indeed a very good product and does not interfere with other serums, creams, or foundation as some sunscreens do.

    After two months of a Vitamin C regimen left my skin slightly dry during these cold temperatures, I purchased Creme de la Mer
    recently and although I cannot yet determine if it is better than other moisturizers, I am pleased so far.

    While I have always had good skin, the Vitamin C made a visible improvement that garnered positive comments.

    Oh, to have used sunscreen and moisturizers when they could have done the most good!

  7. January 21, 2015 / 6:42 am

    Great subject! I’ve had many many times at the dermatologist: nothing is ever really serious, but still…. the sun damage is there. She recommended SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical 50. It is fabulous! And, my husband can wear it and it’s the only one, ever, that doesn’t sting his eyes as the day wears on. Looks like makeup but blends right in. Every day, all year. And remember, it’s very important to wear on your hands every day, especially when driving. Not something we all think about, but it will help with those brown spots!

  8. pink azalea
    January 21, 2015 / 6:48 am

    Bare Minerals Prime Time BB primer cream (SPF 30) or Clinique City Block Sheer (SPF 25). I put these on top of a serum and moisturizer. Both are tinted, no foundation needed. If I were going to be out in the sun for an extended period, I would wear a hat and/or a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

  9. January 21, 2015 / 7:03 am

    I use 60 SPF by La Roche Posay Anthelios…I had some brown spots appear from not using sunscreen last fall and winter and was advised by the specialist to wear it even on dull and overcast days so I use it everyday under my make up.

  10. E E Faris
    January 21, 2015 / 7:11 am

    I like Neutrogena ultra sheer liquid to wear under makeup, which absorbs right in and is SPF 70. I keep an umbrella treated to be UPF 50 in my office at work, so if I want to take a walk for lunch I am protected.
    I really like Klorane makeup remover.
    I would really like to find a sunscreen or sunblock made specifically for eyelids and under eyes. Does anyone have one they like?

  11. Christine Clouston
    January 21, 2015 / 7:23 am

    I love the Clairns sunscreen, and have used it for years.

  12. January 21, 2015 / 9:08 am

    I don’t wear sunscreen every day as I’m in an office 90% of my life (which will change soon!), but I do like Elta MD sunscreen as it wears perfectly under makeup.


    • Kathe
      January 21, 2015 / 9:47 am

      Skin authority is the best. High SPF and no chalky look

  13. Linda
    January 21, 2015 / 10:22 am

    I had a question about sunscreen that never seemed to be addressed by the makeup gurus, so I asked my dermatologist (two dermatologists, actually). When you apply apply foundation over sunscreen (allowing the sunscreen to set first, of course), does the foundation not disrupt–or even dissolve–the sunscreen underneath? Both said, yes, absolutely, foundation breaks down the sunscreen underneath. Both said the only way sunscreen is truly effective is to put NO makeup on top of it, or to wear a foundation which contains a high SPF factor itself (not the 15 I most often see). Because of this, I confess that I don’t wear sunscreen when I’m wearing foundation. And I worry about that.

  14. January 21, 2015 / 10:29 am

    Goodness, I went on a sunscreen buying binge last sumer. What did I wind up with? The Channel at 30spf. I simply do not sunbath so I don’t feel I need the 50. But now I’m upset reading Linda’s comment about makeup disturbing the sunscreen. Yikes, I’ll ask my doctor also. Love your makeup and skincare blogs. Aways learn something new.

  15. Abbie
    January 21, 2015 / 11:27 am

    I use La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Ultra Light Fluid in the spring/summer and La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Milk in the winter. They are chemical sunscreens, but physical blocks always clog my pores and lead to breakouts. I also wear sunglasses whenever I am outside.

  16. Patricia
    January 21, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    I use Laura Mercier Primer Protect with 30 SPF. Since this is meant to be used under foundation, I would think it would be formulated not to lose its potentency with foundation. But who knows? I was also told (by a department store makeup clerk) that one only gets the lowest SPF protection used: i.e., if I put a 30 SPF sunscreen on but followed it by a 15 SPF foundation, I would only get 15 SPF protection. Not sure if I believe that.

  17. Ronnie
    January 21, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    I prefer products made by companies which do not test on animals. Laura Mercier fills the bill!

  18. Hiluhilu
    January 21, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    As a fair-skinned person living in Southern California, I use sunscreen daily on my face and neck and elsewhere depending on activity. I’ve been using several products by La Roche Posay, but recently started using Super Goop. They have a great mineral based one for the face (SPF 40), and their Forever Young sunscreen for hands promises to address brown spots as well. The backs of one’s hands often get forgotten and start showing early signs of photo-aging.

  19. Jill Ann
    January 21, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    Just a comment about Laura Mercier….I really like their products, but for those who are concerned about corporate ethics: they were bought several years ago by Amway, which is not only annoying but is owned by extremist right wingers. Maybe some people are fine with that but I’m not….it made me sad because they are quite good products.

    • Jacqueline
      January 22, 2015 / 7:32 am

      Thank you for letting us know! I stopped using Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer because half way through the tube, one has to really push to get either the slightest bit out or worse, it comes gushing all out. I wrote to the company a few times and then just switched to another company. But I had no idea of the buy out and also the extreme right winger connection. Thank you again!

  20. Debra
    January 21, 2015 / 6:52 pm

    Just bought the Clarins, wear it under Guerlain’s Parure de Lumière 25 SPF, and am very happy with both. Last week I started using the Tria Age Defy laser and so I’m more conscious than usual about my sunscreen, so that I might preserve the beneficial effects of the laser treatment.

  21. Suzan
    January 22, 2015 / 5:28 pm

    With 3 kids in water polo or swim I’ve spent the last 20 years on deck with a REALLY big hat and Chanel UV Essentiel. A few years ago they changed the formula slightly – but it’s still the best. My second choice would be La Roche Posay – I have extremely sensitive skin and use their products- from cleanser to moisturizer and everything in between – they are fabulous!

  22. karen
    January 23, 2015 / 7:59 am

    Pseu I slap on a layer of Obagi sunscreen SPF 50 with a matte finish. This guarantees that when I put on my foundation layer I do not get shiny. I also LOVE the fact that the It Cosmetics CC Cream has 50 SPF. I figure with those two physical layers of SPF 50 I am well covered. I really think the CC Cream has faded down my brown marks since I started with it. That and Paula’s Choice Resist Brightening Treatment, Dr. Dennis Gross peel products and their Retinol Ferulic Serum.

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