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Two Drugstore Sunscreens: La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+ & Invisible Zin

I love reviewing sunscreens because they are SO important in our daily skincare routines! Rain, sunshine, Summer or Winter, we need to use sunscreen daily! I decided to review and compare two drugstore sunscreens today, as the last sunscreen I reviewed was on the more expensive side of the spectrum (Shiseido Perfect UV Protector WetForce HydroFresh SPF 50+). Both of these drugstore sunscreens are easily available in Australia and both contain an SPF of 50 plus. Perfect for if you live under an ozone layer hole lol 😅 The sunscreens are very different to each other in texture and consistency as well as formula and the type of sun protectant ingredients they use. If interested, keep on reading!

Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Facial Moisturiser SPF 50+Lightweight moisturiser and mineral sunscreen for daily use. With only one active ingredient, Zinc Oxide acts as a barrier against the sunreflecting UV radiation away. Use daily to nourish, protect and help prevent the appearance of premature ageing of the skin caused by UV exposure.WHAT MAKES ZINC OXIDE SO SPECIAL?Zinc Oxide is a NATURAL DERIVED, PHYSICAL sunscreening agent that sits on your skin reflecting both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays (also known as the silent wrinkler) can do deeper level damage at the cell level and can be responsible for skin ageing and wrinkling. UVB rays penetrate into the epidermis (top layer of the skin) causing damage to the cells. UVB is responsible for sunburn – a significant risk factor for skin cancer, especially melanoma.


A physical barrier between you and the sun. Invisible Zinc® protects against surface UVB and deeper penetrating UVA.
Invisible Zinc® uses one key active ingredient – Zinc Oxide – a mineral reflector found in nature to create a physical, reflective veil on the surface of your skin.
Invisible Zinc® uses micronised Zinc Oxide which although invisible to the naked eye still provides outstanding broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Invisible Zinc® means the sun protection of Zinc Oxide without the thick zinc cream look. Zinc Oxide has a long history of use in skin care products and is currently a key ingredient in many baby creams, calamine lotions and skin salves.
Wear Invisible Zinc® protection every day, not just at the beach.

I first tried Invisible Zinc sunscreen years ago, maybe 5 or 6 years back, when they were quite a new brand on the Australian market. Back then they had Megan Gale (an Australian model) as the face of the brand and it came in a pump pack. OH and I even reviewed the sunscreen back in 2014! The packaging of all their sunscreens has had a bit of a ‘lift’ and makeover – probably because they have been bought by someone new (or so I’ve heard). I was curious to see if the formula had changed. You see, Invisible Zinc prides itself on using just one sun protectant ingredient in the whole range ☝️ Zinc Oxide – a physical sun blocker. Zinc oxide can make sunscreens quite thick (they physically block suns rays and thicker sunscreens suggest that the zinc hasn’t been micronised – Shiseido sunscreens also rely on zinc oxide for their UV protection but they are SO lightweight the zinc oxide must be micronised). The old Invisible Zinc (Environmental Skin Protector) was super thick, containing 20% zinc oxide in the formula. However, it was ‘only’ an SPF of 30+. The new version contains 27% zinc oxide, which gives you an SPF of 50+.

Despite being in a squeeze tube now (I don’t mind the packaging – it’s less bulky) it’s still a thick sunscreen. It reminds me of the old version to a ‘T’. It leaves a protective layer on top of the skin (it needs to in order to work and prevent UV rays from getting in!) so it’s definitely not invisible feeling on the skin. I can see how it would work as a moisturiser, especially for those with oily skin but I wouldn’t rely on this sunscreen to provide my skin with humectants and hydration. I feel like it just ‘seals’ everything in, so if you have dehydrated skin it would not be an ideal moisturiser for you. It doesn’t add hydration. It also doesn’t include any additional antioxidants to help prevent cell damage, which is a shame and negative on my end. To me it’s just a sunscreen. And hey – sometimes that’s all you want!  It does leave skin looking a little shiny – but I’d say it’s just a natural satin finish. Even when applying a small amount you do get a bit of a white cast happening but it fades with little time. Also do note, that blending the sunscreen into your hairline can be a little tricky because of its thicker texture.

So why do some people reach for zinc oxide based sunscreens over others? I first started reaching for it because zinc oxide protects very well against UVA (ageing rays!) and hence is better at protecting your skin against pigmentation. However, a lot of sunscreens utilise both zinc and titanium dioxide, because titanium dioxide stops longer UVB rays in their tracks. So the two ingredients compliment each other brilliantly. Knowing this now, I’m not fussed about using just a zinc oxide based sunscreen.

Some people also love zinc oxide because it is wonderful for sensitive skin types (and is often used in nappy rash creams!). Being a physical sunscreen it also starts protecting your skin immediately after application. However, you have to be careful to not rub it off during the day. Something I don’t like is the fact that Invisible Zinc doesn’t have to provide consumers with an ingredient list… That’s a weird Australian loophole because sunscreens are seen as being ‘medicines’ I think. It’s a non-comedogenic sunscreen though and doesn’t break me out 😊

I have to admit that I don’t immediately reach for the Sheer Defence Sunscreen if I’ve got other sunscreens laying about. It sits nicely under makeup, I just don’t often feel like wearing a ‘heavy’ sunscreen. It might be a lighter zinc oxide sunscreen compared to many others out there, but it’s still heavier in texture than other sunscreens out there. Would I personally call it ‘sheer’? No lol 😅 I can see myself using it on beach days more so than an ‘everyday’ sunscreen.

I bought my Sheer Defence sunscreen from Priceline for $34 Aus dollars (50g). You can certainly wait until it goes on sale at Priceline before you pick it up 😉☀️✌️⛱ It is also available in two tinted shades/versions!

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+PROPERTIES Very high UVA/UVB protection* for the face, with broad spectrum SPF 50+ featuring a lightweight, invisible texture. Ideal for normal to combination skin types. Specifically designed for sensitive skin prone to sun intolerance. This lightweight, invisible fluid is non-greasy and non comedogenic, offering SPF 50+ protection. Contains Thermal Spring Water – a natural, soothing antioxidant for sensitive skin. Dermatologically tested for sensitive skin, Anthelios Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50+ is fragrance free.Packaged in a sleek and easy-to-use format, product wastage is reduced.*Tested to AS/NZS 2604:2012; Very High Protection

La Roche Posay is known for creating great sunscreens! The UV protectors in the sunscreen are all chemical/organic UV protectors. The main source of sun protection comes from Avobenzone (also called Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane). Apparently it’s an ok form of sunscreen, but isn’t highly stable. There’s a whole mix of UV protectors in this sunscreen, and because I’m not a chemist of Dermatologist, I’m not going to comment on the formula because I simply don’t know. What I would love is if companies gave you more information on the the types of UV filters that they use. I suppose they won’t because they want everyone to think that their formulas are great for everyone but it’s a shame because we all know that can’t be true lol… At least La Roche Posay provide you with an ingredient list for this sunscreen! Hooray! 🙌

What immediately draws me to this sunscreen is the small yet sturdy packaging. It’s not bulky at all. You need to give it a good shake (there’s a little metal ball inside to mix the ingredients in the sunscreen evenly) and then you squeeze the sunscreen out of the packaging. The texture and consistency is totally different to the Invisible Zinc sunscreen. This one is quite a thin consistency and runny. On that note, it is much lighter! I wouldn’t say it’s invisible on the skin like La Roche Posay claims (it’s strange that they claim this…) because it does seem to sit on top of the skin – it doesn’t absorb completely. It also does leave skin a little shiny. It leaves skin feeling comfortable though and not too oily. I’d describe it as being a teeny tiny bit greasy in feeling… I don’t totally mind this because I know it’s non-comedogenic and doesn’t break me out. I also like hydration or that feeling and look of ‘bouncy’ hydrated skin. But this could be too much for some people. On days I have a break out and am feeling more oily than not, it’s not a positive sheen lol! I like it underneath makeup because it is less noticeable than the Invisible Zinc sunscreens. It also doesn’t change the consistency of makeup, as in, it doesn’t mattify  or make it more shiny/greasy.

Just like the Invisible Zinc sunscreen, this is just a facial sunscreen. It does contain dimethicone and glycerin, which gives it a nice slip and feeling – it certainly doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry – but it doesn’t contain complex hydrators or antioxidants. This is the sunscreen that La Roche Posay market for ‘normal’ skin types. It is suggested that oily skin types use their mattifying gel sunscreen (Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch SPF 50+) or a more hydrating creamy formula for dry skin (Anthelios ULTRA Cream SPF 50+). You can pick up the Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+ for $29.95 Aus dollars from Priceline (on sale, it’s about the $24 dollar mark).

Above, top to bottom: Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Facial Moisturiser SPF 50+ and La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+. If I turned the plate to the side, the La Roche Posay sunscreens would run off the plate, while the Invisible Zinc sunscreen would probably stay in place for a while. You can see for yourself the difference in consistencies!

So which sunscreen would I pick between the two for everyday? The La Roche Posay offering. But for a beach day or when I don’t plan to wear makeup? Invisible Zinc! It’s such a personal choice though and both are good sunscreens – if I was stuck with either, I’d be fine with that 😊😅☀️

I hope this post has been helpful for you Beauties – there’s sooo many sunscreens out on the market it’s kinda overwhelming now. Having some good affordable fall back options is a must 😊 What is your favourite drugstore sunscreen? Let me know!!! And to end things off, here’s a poem written by Jewel (because I love her lol 💕).

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

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