beauty, review

Is TarteGuard Worth the Cash & Other Options for Facial Sunscreens

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Let me start this post by saying that I wanted to love this sunscreen…but I just couldn’t!

It all started last summer (2015) when I received a sample of this in a Sephora online order. I’m not usually a fan of foil packets- I think they’re wasteful and pointless…half the time there is not even enough product for a proper application. However, as a pale gal I like to use facial sunscreens when I think of it. I’m not here to preach that you NEED to wear one, because frankly, I do not. Not everyday. I spend my weeks working indoors away from windows and often sweat the sunscreen off before I even have a chance to get outside. So with that being said, I gave the foil packet a try and did not like it at all. Fast forward to spring of 2016 and I had it in my head that I needed a new facial sunscreen. Enter Tarte’s 40% off sale. Not only was the price intriguing, but the claims were too!

Not only is this sunscreen vegan friendly (no animal products & not tested on animals) but it also a 100% physical sunscreen.

Side note: if you’re curious about a physical screen vs. a chemical sunscreen here is some basic information: A physical sunscreen contains natural occurring chemicals- like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are BLOCKS, meaning they form a protective layer over the skin and allow no rays (UVA or UVB) rays to be absorbed (they diffuse) – think of a baby sunscreen that causes the skin to look slightly white. A chemical screen is just that- made up of synthetic chemicals, like avobenzone or oxibenzone, that sink into the skin and absorb the rays instead of diffusing them. 
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of chemicals vs. physical sunscreens but the consensus seems to be that for children, a physical is best, so there is no amount of rays becoming absorbed. However, with adults it’s more of a toss up. Some believe that the chemicals are harmful and prefer to stick to the more “natural” option, while others opt for the ease and convenience (think sprays, mists, etc..) of a chemical block.

The idea of having a mainstream, accessible physical block really excited me! TarteGuard offers an SPF of 30 and is broad-spectrum, which means that you’re safe from UVA (Ageing rays= wrinkles) and UVB (Burning rays= increased likelihood of permanent damage with immediate effects). Finally, it is also marketed as a moisturizing sunscreen, eliminating the need for a moisturizer AND sunscreen, as such is the case with most brands I’ve seen.

After purchasing a travel size of TarteGuard I was excited to try it- and let me tell you, it didn’t go well.

First of all, the positives:

  • The bottle is gorgeous. Beautifully weighted (feels expensive!) and the pump works well
  • The pump does not get a “clump” of product when not used for a period of time
  • The travel size bottle is well designed to be small enough to fit in  even the tiniest of handbags
  • I did not get a sunburn on days when I wore TarteGuard (and was outside for extended periods)

When discussing what I didn’t like about the product, it is important to note that this is a personal review; I know there are a great number of consumers who worship TarteGuard, but these are the reasons it didn’t work for me:

  • Product is slippery under foundation and does not sink into skin
  • Product remains somewhat sticky and lumpy on the skin; it does not completely smooth out
  • Product smells terrible, and the scent lingers all day 🙁
  • Because product does not sink into the skin, any hint of sweat will immediately send TarteGuard into the eyes and sting quite a bit (I learned this the hard way)
  • Cannot be used during outdoor sports (see above)

While I really wanted to love TarteGuard the second- time around, we are just not meant to get along. My biggest dislikes are the smell and the stinging that occurs when it gets into the eyes. I would love to know if you’ve used TarteGuard and whether or not you like it?\

When it comes to choosing a facial sunscreen, it’s important to note that you should always look for a dedicated sunscreen- one that is designed specifically to keep pores clear and protect. While there are many choices, I have a few to recommend:

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The Vichy/La Roche Posay facial sunscreens are essentially the same (both owned by L’Oreal and use the same technology). They are thin (ultra-light) and often dry to a powder-like finish which creates a great base for makeup. They can be found as tinted versions if you’re looking for a double-duty product! They can often be found on sale (bonus!) but will only run about $25 when regular priced.

My personal favourite, Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 50. This is super moisturizing (although it’s not marketed as a moisturizing sunscreen) and can be found early spring at Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Winners for about $19.99! Otherwise, you can find it at a Shiseido counter for about $50.


Finally, I haven’t tried many drugstore branded facial sunscreens, but I can tell you that the L’Oreal facial sunscreens Sublime and Silky Sheer also use the same technology as the Vichy and La Roche Posay brands for about half the price. They are both marketed as light weight as well, but I don’t like them AS MUCH- however, they are definitely a great budget-friendly option!

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