These 2 SPF Products Kept My Sensitive, 40+ Skin Protected (and Sunburn-Free) for a Week in the Caribbean

Photo: Getty Images / Jordan Lutes
With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

If you're like me, you love the sun but hate its effects on your over-40 skin—whether that's dryness, wrinkles, or age spots. So when it came time for a trip to Grand Cayman, I knew I needed a product that could handle the intensity of the Caribbean sun and frequent dips in the water. If it nourished and replenished my skin, all the better.

That's why I was so happy to find Eucerin Sun Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide Protection for my face, and Coppertone Every Tone with SPF 50 for my body. Eucerin has a solid reputation in the skin-care field and is regularly recommended by dermatologists. And I've used various iterations of Coppertone forever—its Water Babies SPF 50 ($9) was a consistently reliable staple in the family beach bag.

But what drew me to these new products is that they claim to be blendable on all skin tones. Accompanying me on my trip were friends of various ethnicities, and they agreed to help me sample these products to determine if the claims are true.

The Eucerin Sun Sensitive sunscreen is a surprise from the first squeeze. It is lightly tinted, similar to a BB cream, and not ghostly white like the typical zinc oxide products. When I first saw the color, I was equal parts delighted and worried—would this sunscreen feel and look like foundation? Will it be too much if I want to wear it under makeup? My fears were immediately laid to rest. When I applied the sunscreen, it did, indeed, immediately blend into my skin–no white, sickly pallor; no residue left behind.

The lotion was rich to the touch without being thick and heavy. It immediately dissolved into my skin and left it silky soft, not just in the moment, but for hours after application. There was no greasy layer, and it didn't make my face shiny or oily. You'd never know I was wearing it.

The first day I tried it, I put it to a pretty intense test: four hours in the sun and on the water. Through sweat and frequent jumps into the Caribbean Sea, I worried I would return to my hotel red as a lobster.

I needn't have worried. There wasn't the slightest hint of pink on my happy face, and my skin didn't feel dry like it usually does after sun exposure. That's because Eucerin's sunscreen contains a 5 AOX Shield, an advanced antioxidant complex that soaks deep into the skin's layers to guard against free radicals, support skin health, and help combat aging.

The next day, I introduced this product to my travel friends. They studied the skin tone dots on the front of the bottle and identified their own skin tones on a scale of one dot (very fair) to six dots (very dark). One fell between 3 and 4 dots, one between a 4 and 5, and one a 2. For all those skin tones, the product blended right in–you would never know any of them were wearing sunscreen. One friend hesitantly applied the product on top of her makeup, and again, it blended right in.

Another was pleasantly surprised by the light scent of this lotion. Yet another worried the lotion would make her oily skin feel greasy. After 5 minutes, she commented, "It doesn't feel like I have anything on at all!" All spent the next few hours in and out of the sun, and all commented that Eucerin gave them great protection.

The Coppertone Every Tone was equally effective in combating sunburn. It, too, features skin tone dots on the front of the bottle, and again, the product blended beautifully onto a variety of skin types and tones. There was never a residue, and it left all of our skin feeling soft and supple. I tried this product for the first time on a boating day when the sun would be at its harshest. I applied it once and spent the next four hours in the sun, in and out of the water. It worked like a charm.

One of my favorite attributes of Coppertone Every Tone is that the slight scent is actually very pleasant. It smells like a high-end lotion, and feels just the same. I constantly complain about high SPF sunscreens being so thick that you have to use half a bottle to cover your body. That is NOT the case with Coppertone Every Tone. It smooths on evenly, and a medium dollop covers a large surface area (note that dermatologists recommend using at least a shot-glass-sized amount of any SPF product to cover your whole body). It leaves a nice sheen on your skin that isn't oily, just creamy smooth, and it dries quickly, so you don't have to wait to throw on your swimsuit or T-shirt.

Of special note was how it felt in and just after I emerged from the water. This sunscreen holds on tight, providing a protective layer that feels like silk, even under water. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and contains Vitamin E to nourish your skin while you're wearing it.

Between these two products, I managed to enjoy an entire week of outdoor activity in the Caribbean without so much as an errant pink stripe. I went home with a healthy glow, dewy skin, and a smile.

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don't
Sign up today to have the latest (and greatest) well-being news and expert-approved tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...