DRMTLGY Broad Spectrum SPF45

When it comes to sunscreens and my overly sensitive skin, the phrase “No good deed goes unpunished” tends to jump to mind. Even my once-coveted Supergoop is starting to cause my skin to break out. So, there I went, on the hunt for the latest and greatest bottle of SPF.

DRMTLGY’s SPF 45 boasted the following on their website:

and there weren’t any drying alcohols in this product, how could I not pick this up for $22?

I will say I am a sucker for good packaging, and this certain has it. The bottle is simplistic, clean, sturdy, and has a shiny gold ring right under the cap. The bottle is seems misleadingly large for only having 2oz in it, but, I digress. It’s still a substantial amount, considering a little bit of the product will spread easily over the skin.

And it is fragrance free, lightweight, and absolutely clear. This melts right down into your skin, and there’s no trace of white-cast at any point during the day (even at the end of the day when you go to wash your face, and realize, “ah, I guess there was a little white-cast, after all!”)

But hypoallergenic? No. If a even particle of this comes into contact with your waterline somehow, your eyes will be burning for hours. Chemical sunscreens, such as this one, are not known for their sensitivity toward eyes, but this bottle pushed my level of pain tolerance for certain cosmetics. Although I will give it points for not causing “itchy” skin that often occurs with both mineral and physical sunscreens.

Non-comedogenic? Nope, again! My trial period of this sunscreen was at or around three weeks, and the minute I removed it from my regimen, my skin cleared back up. Otherwise, new break outs had been appearing at the end of each day, and the only thing that had changed in my routine at that time was the sunscreen.

I know that Dr. Dray has reviewed this before and was generally positive about it, particularly for the brand attempting to provide medical grade products, and that this was a much cheaper dupe of Elta MD’s UV Clear. Which, in retrospect, I didn’t do so well with the Elta MD sunscreen either, so everyone else’s mileage may vary.

I wish I loved this, but I’ve never had a sunscreen irritate my eyes as much as this one did. It held up incredibly well under makeup, and was compliant with all of my other moisturizers — but at the cost of ruining my skin. I suppose my hunt for the perfect sunscreen continues! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No!

ROHTO SKIN AQUA Super Moisture Milk SPF50 PA++++

I… I think I’m in love. Move aside, It’s Skin 2pm, I think I found a new holy grail of sunscreens. This little bottle is totally worth the month long wait to ship from Japan. Why do I love it so much? Let me count the ways …

1- No drying alcohols. Which leads me to my next point:

2- Has never broken me out.

3- Dries clear. There’s absolutely NO whitecast.

4- Odorless. Well, there is the faint sunscreen-y smell, but nothing noticeable or overwhelming, and goes away after a minute or two.

5- No pilling. Easily spreadable. Just give it a couple of minutes to dry, then go ahead and dump your foundation, powders, other moisturizers, literally whatever, on top of it. It won’t roll up.

6- Dries quickly. Kind of the same as #5, but I wanted to mention more of the texture. The sunscreen is a watery white gel that absorbs extremely rapidly — and clear. You’ll still feel a bit of a “film” on your skin, but it’s not heavy or bothersome.

7- A little goes a long way. Don’t be scared of the tiny 40ml bottle – you really only need two or three drops of this to spread across your face. Which reminds me…

8- No burning on application.

9- Waterproof. You can still “feel” the film of this on your face even after working up a sweat.

10- SPF 50! Can’t get much better than that.

11- Bonus ingredient: hyaluronic acid.

This is everything I could want in a sunscreen. It’s too perfect. The only thing I hate is the ridiculously long ship time. I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop because I can’t find anything wrong with it. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration – Oil Free Lotion Sunscreen 30 SPF

Hawaiian Tropic Weightless Face Sunscreen

I’ve used every Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen and tanning lotion under the sun (hah) since I was 16 years old. And, since I’m on this quest to find a new American HG sunscreen, I decided to give their Face sunscreen a try for $8.

It comes in a canister, almost, but with a push pump. It comes out plain white, and the application is pretty easy — of course you’ll need to rub it in to get rid of the whitecast, but that’s the deal with sunscreen. After that, there’s not really much residue white cast to deal with, or any crazy clinging to tiny baby hairs. It’s not tacky, and dries quickly. Sweet! It has a pretty strong smell — very sunscreen-y, and a hint of light floral, but that doesn’t bother me. From the get go, I really liked it…

…until my face started to turn bright red, and started to itch! Now, admittedly, my skincare sin is that I very rarely ever patch test, so I have no one to blame but myself. But the active ingredients in this are relatively similar to Cerave’s sunscreen, which I didn’t have an issue with, so I’m not sure if there was an interaction with something else I was wearing, or if I’m intolerant of something else in this sunscreen. In the resulting days I broke out just a bit, but I suspect this was because of my reaction, since the product does claim to be non-comedogenic.

Later on in the week, I did an, ahem, reverse patch test (yep I know, that’s not how you do it). I didn’t experience the same redness I had before, but the itchiness was definitely there.

I’m really not happy that my skin didn’t love this product because otherwise this ticks off all the boxes for me, in terms of what I’m looking for in a sunscreen. Lightweight and smells good. The SPF could be higher, but 30 would work for inside-only days. Heck, after the initial application I even tried applying makeup, and that went on smoothly over this product (although in the end I ended up just washing everything off, since my skin itched so much).

It’s really mind boggling to me since it’s not my first rodeo with these ingredients, and I wish I knew what the trigger had been. I do love this product, but I guess I can’t win ’em all… ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: n/a

How much I wanted to like this product: A new category for failed attempts! 5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No