I love sunscreen the way some people love cheese or Vanderpump Rules. Since I was 18, I’ve religiously worn SPF in the name of avoiding sun damage. To this day, on the cusp of my 30th birthday, I’m still routinely asked if I’m a student. A student! In addition to being a smart skin-care choice in the name of vanity, you also don’t need us to school you on the health benefits of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis.
All of that brings me to Bubble’s latest and greatest: The startup behind your under-$20 skincare faves just dropped two mineral sunscreens, and they’re good. Like, really good. (And I'm very picky when it comes to sunscreen.) The first is Solar Mate, a sheer SPF 40 mineral lotion that mimics the lightweight, milky textures you’ve been seeing everywhere lately. Then, there’s Plus One — a tinted mineral sunscreen that gives light coverage with a side of SPF 40.
Bubble is known for its effective, accessibly-priced formulas (and bright, #shelfie-ready packaging), and I've waxed poetic about past faves like their spot treatments and AHA exfoliating mask. As a fan of both the brand and sunscreens in general, I had lofty expectations for both SPF drops. Ahead of the launch, I tested out both Solar Mate and Plus One on my acne-prone skin — and in the Miami heat, which is definitely no joke. Let's get into it.
Even though I'm oily, I'm always looking for sunscreens that hydrate and feel nourishing on my skin. (I won't name names, but I've tried mineral lotions that feel like liquid chalk — which really, is a scientific marvel if I've ever seen one.) Solar Mate felt as gentle as a moisturizer, and blended into my olive skin without a trace of a white cast, despite being powered by 12% zinc oxide. My skin absorbed it immediately and I loved how healthy my complexion looked after — it even was great as a primer for makeup and my concealer sat beautifully on top of it without any patchiness or melting. It definitely doesn't feel or smell like sunscreen, which will be great news to anyone who's ever felt personally victimized by SPF.
Next up, there's Plus One. I personally love a tinted sunscreen since I don't wear foundation every day — and almost never when it's hot out. When done right, a tinted SPF is among my most-used products since it's makeup and skincare in one. Bubble's version impressed me immediately; the warm beige hue disappeared into my skin, leaving only a subtly evened-out complexion and luminous (but not glazed-donut) glow. On FaceTime, my mother even took note and said my skin looked "amazing." If this stuff can fool the notoriously savage iPhone front-facing camera, then there's no telling what it can't do. In terms of texture, Plus One felt pretty similar to Solar Mate: Hydrating yet lightweight, and with really nice blendability.
At $19 a pop, Bubble's sunscreens are pricier than what you can find at the drugstore, yes — but not by an outrageous margin. Compared to the $30, $40, and $50+ sunscreens I also test out for my job, I'd say these hold their own against the best of 'em. Not only are the formulas comfortable and hydrating (and didn't break me out), but I also love the packaging. A tube with a pump allows you to get every last drop, and you can also follow my lead by cutting off the top to make sure no trace of product goes unused. (One thing to note: These tubes sadly aren't always accepted by your local recycling, so I'd recommend sending them in for free via Bubble's partnership with Terracycle.) All in all, I have no notes — just a humble request that they get to work ASAP on a body sunscreen.
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