Each month, model, art director and clean beauty buff Braina Laviena will be sharing her musings on skincare, ingredients, and everything in between. Last month, she shared her non-toxic makeup favorites. This month, it’s all about clean, effective SPF and the other products she swears by for that quintessential L.A. glow.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, an island very close to the equator, taught me that everyday sun protection was not optional; even just walking outside for ten minutes left me with a tan. In my rebellious teenage years I tried to forgo it, seeing skincare as a hassle—only to immediately see sun damage in the form of dark spots on my face and lighter spots on my arms. After that, I learned to go to the beach wearing a hat and long sleeves (a little extreme, I know) and to never, ever skip sunscreen. More recently, after developing an allergy to parabens and diving into ingredients research, I realized that a lot of sunscreens that I used for protecting my skin might have actually been harming it or sensitizing it. Navigating the world of clean beauty can be a bit overwhelming at first, so whether you’re new to clean beauty or just interested in seeing the alternatives, below are some of my favorite clean, everyday SPF options out there—plus some fun products for summer that will help keep you fresh and glowing without the sun damage.
Akt Therapy D-Luxe Daily Bronzer SPF 30, $28
Akt Therapy’s founder created this line specifically to shelter and protect skin from the natural elements like the sun, so sun protection is their specialty. This is a tinted broad spectrum sunscreen with olive oil to help hydrate while it protects, and its fortified with vitamin D. It has just enough of a tint to give you a subtle and healthy glow, perfect your skin tone and offset any white cast. I love it because it leaves a non-sticky, dewy finish. Bonus point: it’s technically a bronzer, but if you have a darker complexion, mixing a couple of drops of your foundation into this will make getting ready a piece of cake and keep you safe from UV damage.
Bejbi Hydrating Mist Toner, $25
Bejbi’s skin approach to skincare is simple: treat your skin like you would a baby. It’s why all of their products are great even for the most sensitive skin—they’re free of common irritants such as alcohol, fragrance or essential oils. This toner is rich in antioxidants while soothing and hydrating, so apart from using as toner after cleansing, I love to use it as a mist on the go. It’s perfect to keep you cool all summer without irritating your skin.
Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28, $75
This is an SPF dream. It’s sun protection in a serum form, feels like a milky serum that goes on clear, leaves no white cast and dries to a silky smooth and glowing finish. Think of it as SPF that doubles as skincare, with a plethora of good oils like red raspberry seed oil, French plum seed, and more. It doesn’t leave you with an oily finish, making it good even for oily skin types.
Supergoop Sunscreen Setting Powder, $30
If being dewy is not your thing, this is your SPF answer. A powder, brush and SPF all in one, it’s simple and straight to the point—and the easiest way to ensure you’re re-applying every two hours. It also comes in four different shades!
Kypris Heliotrope SPF 30 Treatment Primer, $75
Kypris is one of few brands with a cult following the clean beauty world and it's easy to understand why after using their products. They pride themselves in being the perfect union between beauty horticulture and science, while delivering natural, clinically proven, effective skincare. This moisturizing primer feels like a rich moisturizer, but it goes on light and non-sticky. It has sweet iris stem cells to help skin appear more plump, and organic heliotrope oil, which deliver fatty acids and beta carotene. On application, a small amount goes a long way, and it leaves no white cast behind—just the softest skin you ever wished for.
Petiue SPF Highlighter, $36
This is the world's first SPF highlighter. The idea is, if you're going to get any sun at all, you can sculpt your face by using this SPF where you normally apply highlighter; with repeated use, when you wash your makeup off, those points will be lighter than the rest of your face, giving you a naturally “contoured” face. It's such an easy product to use with both short-term and long-term payoff; I think it’s genius. Plus, it has peppermint oil to give you a fresh feel everywhere you go.
True Botanicals Resurfacing Body Mask, $48 and SansCeuticals Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil, $39
These two products, although from different brands, compliment each other so nicely I decided to put them together. All True Botanicals products are amazing and effective, and this one is no different. For flawless skin all over, this resurfacing mask is a must; it’s made with lactic acid to exfoliate dead, dull skin and help you to get that glow from within. If you have any ingrown issues, using this regularly will help keep them at bay.
The body oil from SansCeuticals is my favorite for a number of reasons. It’s an oil that makes you feel silky (not oily) and is made with a beautiful blend of seed oils and vitamin A to help you have beautiful skin now, and healthier skin with long term use. The natural scent is a little sweet, but not overwhelming. For beautiful skin that glows all year, I use this all over my body every night before bed and every morning right after showering.
Habit Cosmetics Bright Lights Nourishing Creme Highlighter in Gatsby, $34
A multi-use bronze copper creme that doubles as skincare, this product is a highlighter, eye shadow and lip shimmer all in one. Infused with sea buckthorn oil, it helps to soothe and brighten your skin anywhere you apply, and the creamy texture makes application very enjoyable. The colors were especially formulated to show up on darker skin tones, so although they can be subtle, they're also buildable and highly pigmented.
It's All Fluff Bronzing Powder, $43
Let me be honest—since I started using Fluff, I’ve stopped using pretty much all other makeup. This product helps me forgo the tanning (erm, sun damage) and still sport a healthy, bronzed look. It’s a bronzer made without any sparkles or talc and its subtle and buildable. It makes looking awake a breeze. Simple.
Photography by Braina Laviena & Andrew Echeverría
Swimsuit by Ookioh