It’s Summer Forever: Five body sunscreens for different budgets and activities

When I was a kid, I hated applying sunscreen when going to the beach. Baby G just wanted to swim! But no, Mommy would give me the stink eye while she put sunscreen all over my arms and back. I guess mothers really do know best!

While I had learned to use body sunscreen whenever I’d go swimming, it wasn’t until I became part of the PV team that I realized I needed to wear it daily as well. It’s especially important for me since I commute to work and get direct sun exposure in the process. So as much as we ensure that are our faces get all the love it needs, the rest of our body needs protection from harmful UV rays as well, even on regular days!

Under P500

While I personally prefer to add a separate sunscreen, the Nivea Body Intensive Moisture Serum SPF25 PA++ (P262 for 200ml at Watsons) is a great two-in-one product. This is a light watery lotion that doesn’t feel sticky or uncomfortable on the skin. It has the trademark Nivea “old perfume smell”, which I don’t mind but don’t particularly care for either. This is also the cheapest of the bunch at just P1.31/ml.

Ingredients: Aqua, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Octocrylene, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Cyclomethicone, Distarch Phosphate, Sodium Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Alcohol Denat., Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Carbomer, Methylparaben, Parfum, Trisodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Persea Gratissima Oil, Sodium Polyacrylate, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil, Glyceryl Glucoside, Benzoic Acid

Another non-sticky option is the Biore Anti-Pollution Body Care Serum SPF 50+ PA+++ (P435 for 150ml at Watsons), which also promises anti-pollution properties. The serum-type consistency makes it quite refreshing to apply on the skin. It dries down into a matte finish, and it doesn’t feel sticky even if you get sweaty. Do note that this contains alcohol, which may irritate those with sensitive skin.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Dextrin Palmitate, Sorbitan Stearate, Fragrance (Parfum), Aluminum Hydroxide, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polysilicone-9, Stearic Acid, Aminomethyl Propanol, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, PEG-400, Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Agar, Isoceteth-20, BHT, Arginine, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Soluble Collagen, Phenoxyethanol

For some serious sun protection, try the Human Heart Nature Safe Protect Sunscreen SPF30 PA++++ (P299.75 for 50g at Human Heart Nature). This feels very thick and heavy, and reminds me of the Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen my mom would lug around during beach activities. But because it’s so thick, it sticks really well to your skin! While it doesn’t claim to be water or sweat-resistant, the heavy formula wears well for water-heavy activities like scuba diving or swimming, or even playing outdoor sports. This is also paraben-free and fragrance-free.

Ingredients: Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, hydrogenated castor oil, zinc oxide, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dicaprylyl ether, Cera alba (beeswax), Glycine soja (soybean) oil, fragrance (all-natural), glyceryl caprylate, tocopherol (vitamin E), p-anisic acid

Above P500

If I had to pick a sunscreen to use at the beach and had the budget to splurge, I would go for the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF50+ with Helioplex PA+++ (P568 for 88ml at Watsons). While it still has a slight thickness upon application, it does dry down easily into a non-sticky, almost matte finish. I find this to be significantly more comfortable to wear than Human Nature’s formula. You can also get away with wearing this daily, but for someone who sweats buckets like me, I found the slight heaviness to be uncomfortable. I also noticed it left a slight white cast on my skin.

Ingredients: Water, Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Benzophenone-3, Octocrylene, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Silica, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Potassium Cetyl, Phosphate, Beeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyglycerin, Behenyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexyl Stearate, BHT, Trideceth-6, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylisothiazolinone, Diethylhexyl 2, 6-Naphthalate.

Finally, rounding up our picks is the long-time cult favorite VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover 30 (P875 for 30g at VMV Hypoallergenics). I’ve seen this so many times in magazines, and I now know why it’s such a favorite: it has an almost gel-like, non-greasy texture that’s easy to blend out on the skin! I also appreciate how it doesn’t leave a white cast. VMV Hypoallergenics is one of the first in Asia to create a hypoallergenic line, and the Armada Face Cover claims to be paraben-free, preservative-free, and fragrance-free. It’s quite comfortable to wear on both the face and body, though I’m not a fan of the old perfume-y scent. Also, this comes up to be the most expensive sunscreen at P29.17/gram.

Active Ingredients: Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Titanium Dioxide.

Other Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Laurate, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Tromethamine, Tetrasodium EDTA, *Tocopheryl Acetate,Trimethoxycaprylylsilane, *Polymethyl Methacrylate.

Whichever formula you choose, make sure to reapply every few hours, especially when you’re outdoors, in the water, or sweating a lot. Apply liberally on your neck, arms, legs, and even your feet not just to prevent unsightly tans but to protect your skin from serious concerns like skin cancer.

Have you been applying sunscreen to your entire body, even when not at the beach? What are your fave formulas that don’t make you feel sticky or heavy?

Photography by Nicole Quindara