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I Hate Sunscreen. But I Love This Sunscreen.

Sep 08, 2023Sep 08, 2023

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Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen Body is the weightless ray-blocker I've been waiting for.

SHOP $42, nordstrom.com

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I used to be awful about putting on sunscreen. Even on days when I knew I'd be exposed for extended periods of time, I'd conveniently "forget" to apply or reapply. Not so much on my face, which goes from alabaster to full lobster—with all attendant embarrassment—in seemingly no time flat. But on my arms, legs—anywhere on my body that can, with a lot of coaxing, eventually develop something like a tan.

Then I got an arm tattoo. And a few more. And a few more after that. I realized that if I was going to protect my ink (and my investment; tattoos ain't cheap), I would need to be more diligent about sun protection. So I started wearing sunscreen every time my arms were uncovered, even though the feeling of the stuff—whether greasy or chalky or somewhere in between—was deeply unpleasant to me. One day last summer, in a moment of desperation on a long walk with my family, I grabbed the emergency bottle of Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen that we keep stashed in my son's stroller and slathered it on. It felt like nothing at all. Which is to say: It felt great. But it's formulated for faces, and that little bottle (which, like tattoos, isn't exactly cheap) wouldn't last long. I resigned myself to continued suffering.

Until, that is, Supergoop heard my silent cries for help and released a body-specific formulation of Unseen Sunscreen this year. It's a game-changer.

SHOP $42, nordstrom.com

You know that, "just let it sink in" moment after you apply most chemical sunscreens? You know how, with a lot of them, it never entirely goes away? I'm talking about that oily, greasy feeling, the sensation of a film over your skin, that seems to linger even longer than the sunscreen itself is effective. How about that gritty feeling that comes with many mineral sunscreens? Or the white cast that makes you look like some sort of summery ghost? There's none of that with Unseen. That's probably why the original, face-specific formulation became such a cult favorite. The clear gel glides on smoothly and absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling like...your skin. Except now, it's not going to get burned. (Just remember to reapply.)

I understand the nostalgic appeal of scent-heavy sunscreen. It's a reminder of way back in the day, when you were building sandcastles at the beach with your parents. Or, maybe, a little later on, holding hands on the boardwalk or (don't clutch your pearls too hard) sneaking beers under it. But smelling like a piña colada on the regular is not my idea of a good time. Lucky for me, then, that accompanying the "feels like nothing" appeal of Unseen Sunscreen is a nearly scent-free formulation. You put it on, and then you forget about it entirely until it's time to put it on again. (Seriously, don't forget to reapply.)

SHOP $42, nordstrom.com

A couple notes of caution here. First, it's worth noting that you get 40 minutes of sweat and water resistance instead of a longer timeframe like you'll find with a sport-specific sunscreen. Also, because it's a chemical formulation and does contain oil, I'd probably give it a minute or two to sink in before pulling an easily stained garment over it, and I'd definitely give it the necessary 15 minutes to really sink in and become effective before stepping into the sun. But remember, this is more of an "everyday" option than a "going for a shirtless run then diving into the ocean" thing, so those factors don't bug me when it comes to how I'm actually using it. And even though it's pricier than the drugstore brands, the feeling—weightless, easy, comfortable—means I'm actually using it. Oh, and reapplying it, too.

SHOP $42, nordstrom.com

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