Say it with us: Sunscreen is essential, whether you’re sunbathing in your backyard or scrolling on your phone indoors. (Skin-altering light rays can be sneaky like that.) Sunday Riley, a brand known for its potent skincare products, has finally launched its own version of the complexion staple. Meet Light Hearted, the lightweight SPF that is formulated to do it all.
Meaning, it contains the active ingredients you would find in both chemical and physical SPFs. The reason why founder Sunday Riley opted for this kind of sunscreen was simple: She wanted the best of both worlds. She explains that she wanted the sunscreen to have the “strengths of each category—the stability of zinc oxide coupled with the sheer, lightweight application of octisalate and octocrylene.”
Zinc oxide is commonly used in physical sunscreens, but can be the perpetrator behind the dreaded white cast left behind on skin, according to cosmetic chemist Ginger King. (She goes on to say that the use of a nano-sized version of the ingredient would not leave behind this white residue.) Octisalate and octocrylene are UV filters found in chemical sunscreens, and two ingredients that Riley observed could make a formula unstable. With these considerations—and the pursuit of a comfortable-wearing texture—Riley considered her brand’s latest launch “a masterclass” in finessing a sunscreen formula.
When it came to ensuring that this product didn’t leave behind a veil of white or gray across your complexion, Riley says she went through different iterations of the formula. “It was truly trial and error until we got it as sheer as we possibly could, without compromising the sun protection factor,” she says.
Our tester, who has medium-tan skin with red undertones, found that the product applied with a pink cast at first, but blended onto skin after (very) rigorous massaging. She noted that the sunscreen left behind a slight pink veil and dewy finish, and transformed her skin into a canvas that didn’t break down the BB cream and other complexion products she laid on top of it (the way other SPFs have done in the past).
The brand claims that on top of protecting skin from the sun’s rays, Light Hearted can also provide blue light protection and visibly reduce the appearance of common skin concerns (like fine lines and wrinkles). Yeah, it sounds like a tall order for your average SPF.
According to King, the blue light protection is thanks to the brand’s use of antioxidant-rich ingredients like turmeric extract and melia azadirachta (a flowering plant) extract. This can prove beneficial for those who are often in front of screens (*raises both hands*), as screens emit blue light, which experts have linked to premature lines and more pronounced areas of hyperpigmentation.
King goes on to say that the more visible improvements to your complexion would be from the skin-smoothing dimethicone in the formula, and that ingredients like corallina (a red algae) and coccinia indica (a tropical plant) fruit extract can cause longer-lasting, anti-aging benefits.
Shop the sunscreen now on the brand’s website, and at Sephora.com on April 16.