It’s the middle of December and the sun rarely shows itself where I live. So why am I writing about sunscreen today? Well, it’s simple. Many think that if you aren’t spending time outside on a sunny day, that your skin is safe from the sun. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. UV rays can penetrate clouds and windows, so you need sunscreen daily, rain or shine, to protect your skin from sun damage. The safest option is a daily mineral sunscreen formulated with zinc oxide.
Mineral sunscreens, and those formulated with zinc oxide in particular, often leave an unattractive white cast on the skin. That doesn’t always matter, especially if you plan to wear foundation every day. However, I like to give my skin a break from makeup at least one or two days a week, so I prefer sunscreens that are invisible or tinted to blend in with my skin tone. A tinted zinc oxide sunscreen that has become very popular recently, is the Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen. A couple of months ago, I decided to give the Versed Guards Up sunscreen a shot because it looked like a product that would work for any skin tone, while also hydrating the skin (good option for dry skin or almost anyone in the winter). I wanted to see if it would live up to the hype. Read on to learn more, but first I’ll share some information about Versed.
I’m not sure exactly when Versed (as in “well versed”) launched, but it is a fairly new cruelty-free skincare company. Versed makes a bold claim, that it’s “the cleanest drugstore skincare brand,” meeting EU standards which ban 1,300+ ingredients. Versed formulates products with a “best of science and nature” approach so that the most effective ingredients are used, whether naturally derived or synthetic. Versed also has high standards to do what is best for consumer health, our planet, and innocent animals.
Product claims directly from VersedSkin.com
This mineral SPF 35 with lightweight moisture provides invisible, three-way protection against the elements—environmental pollution, electronic pollution (from screen time), and of course, the sun. Its oil-free formula with a creamy texture has a natural finish—not too dewy, not too matte—and doesn’t leave a white or gray cast on your skin. The non-nano zinc oxide (the safest SPF active available for our bodies and our oceans) works at the skin’s surface to physically prevent UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin. It helps block HEV (high energy visible) light too. All the while, antioxidants fight off environmental and blue light (aka HEV) damage for 360 protection and all the anti-aging benefits that come along with it. It’s broad-spectrum sun protection for your everyday life. Yes, every day—rain or shine, outdoors and in.
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Other product details
- Price: $21.99
- Net weight: 1.7 oz.
- Made in the USA
- Cruelty-free (Leaping Bunny certified)
- Free of chemical sunscreen ingredients, fragrance, parabens, sulfates (SLS/SLES), phthalates, silicones, formaldehyde, triclosan, triclocarban, petroleum, mineral oil, talc, NPE, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT, hydroquinone, and micro-beads
- Recyclable packaging
- Packaging made with 79% PCR plastic
- Shelf life: 24 months
- Where to buy: VersedSkin.com
- VersedSkin.com does not yet ship internationally, but they plan to do so in the future.
- Overall rating: 8.0/10
- Sun protection: 8/10
- Ingredients: 10/10
- Team player: 6/10
- Ease of removal: 10/10
- Price: 6/10
Please note that I am not a skincare professional. I am simply an individual that enjoys learning about and using skincare products. Speak to your dermatologist or esthetician if you have any concerns.
One of the most important things to look for in a sunscreen is broad spectrum protection. When you see the term “broad spectrum,” that means that the product will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens that do not offer broad spectrum protection will not protect you from UVA rays. UVA rays were not always fully understood like they are today, but we need to be protected from them since UVA rays, like UVB, damage the skin’s DNA and can lead to skin cancer. UVA rays also penetrate the skin deeply to cause premature signs of aging. Fortunately, this sunscreen does provide broad spectrum protection!
The second thing to note is SPF factor. Sunscreens with an SPF factor of 15 provide 93% protection from UV rays (7% of UV rays are able to reach your skin), while SPF 30 provides 97% protection and SPF 50 provides 98% protection. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, SPF 100 is very close with 99% protection. The Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen has an SPF factor of 35 so it provides just over 97% protection, which is not bad. Since I am fair-skinned and burn easily, I wish it was SPF 50 or higher (to be fair, most if not all mineral sunscreens are SPF 50 or lower).
Lastly, if you plan on sweating a lot or spending time in water, it’s important to look for a sunscreen that is water-resistant. Otherwise, it will quickly wash away leaving your skin unprotected. This Versed sunscreen is not water-resistant. That is fine for me most days, since I spend most of my time indoors and I don’t sweat very much on my face unless I’m very active or spending time outdoors in the summer.
While overall I am pleased with the sun protection provided by the Versed Guards Up sunscreen, I think it’s a good idea to also have an alternate sunscreen with a higher SPF factor and water-resistance for days spent in direct sunlight or in the water. My go-to sunscreen is the Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion which provides slightly more sun protection and is also water-resistant. This isn’t the last time I’ll be mentioning the Australian Gold sunscreen because it is my favorite and I tend to compare all others to its performance and protection.
Since Versed is known for creating clean skincare products, I didn’t think this sunscreen would have as many ingredients as others. I must admit that I was very wrong! There are 38 ingredients in this formula. That isn’t a bad thing though; sunscreens are complicated and there are a lot of necessary “helper” ingredients to make it the best it can be.
Active ingredient (mineral sunscreen): non-nano zinc oxide 15.2%
Inactive ingredients: water/aqua/eau, butyloctyl salicylate, isodecyl neopentanoate, calcium sodium borosilicate, diheptyl succinate, c18-21 alkane, erythritol, cetearyl alcohol, sodium stearoyl glutamate, capryloyl glycerin/sebacic acid copolymer, propanediol, arachidyl alcohol, glycerin, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, caprylic/capric triglyceride, tocopherol, caprylyl glycol, coco-glucoside, ethyl ferulate, behenyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, arachidyl glucoside, bisabolol, polyhydroxystearic acid, citric acid, sodium gluconate, xanthan gum, octyldodecyl oleate, caprylhydroxamic acid, hydrolyzed jojoba esters, sodium hyaluronate, crithmum maritimum extract, maltodextrin, moringa oleifera seed extract, aloe barbadensis leaf, iron oxides ci 77491, iron oxides ci 77492
This is a scary looking list, I know. BUT, there are a lot of really good ingredients within this list and no bad ingredients that should be avoided. I’ll list the standout ingredients below (I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!):
- Natural moisturizer
- Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract
- Contains acids (like malic and gallic acids) that are mild chemical exfoliants
- Brightens skin
- Tocopherol (vitamin E)
- Strengthens skin barrier
- Ethyl ferulate
- May also be used as a preservative
- Soothes skin
- Hydrolyzed jojoba esters
- Contains essential fatty acids
- Retains moisture
- Forms film to make skin feel smooth
- Sodium hyaluronate
- Sodium form of hyaluronic acid (humectant)
- Crithmum maritimum (sea fennel) extract
- Conditions, softens, and soothes the skin
- May be a natural retinol alternative
- Moringa oleifera seed extract
- Aloe barbadensis leaf extract
While the majority of the ingredients in this sunscreen are “neutral” or “helper” ingredients like thickeners, solvents, and colorants, I am very happy to see so many skin-loving ingredients also included in the formula! Many of these ingredients are moisturizing and soothing, which means this sunscreen may be a good option for use during winter months to combat dry skin.
This Versed sunscreen has a lot going for it, but it does not always interact very well with other products. I think at least part of it is the texture; it looks like it should be smooth, but it’s slightly gritty and I can’t figure out why. I have a couple of different morning moisturizers I’m currently using and I’ve found that this sunscreen sometimes pills and looks flaky over one of them even though it feels moisturizing. It looks just fine when applied with the other moisturizer, which is very odd. Some products just don’t interact well with each other, so it’s entirely possible that others wouldn’t have any issues applying this sunscreen over their skincare.
The bigger problem with this product, in this category, is that foundation does not apply very well on top. You would think that since this product is so moisturizing, that foundations would apply smoothly over it. Unfortunately, I’ve found that when I apply foundations over this sunscreen, it gets flaky. It’s manageable if I’m careful to apply foundation by stamping or stippling it on, but if you rub over the skin, it’s flake city and does not look good!
Since I discovered the problem with my foundations applying poorly over this sunscreen, I’ve started wearing it almost exclusively on no-makeup days and it works just fine for me that way. I should also mention here that part of the reason this sunscreen works well without any makeup, is that the tint is very effective. The tint is a light peachy color, but it’s not highly pigmented, so it’s just enough to take away the white cast without providing any coverage.
Ease of removal
One thing I like about this product is that it’s very easy to remove. On my no-makeup days that I’m using this sunscreen, I don’t need to do a double cleanse to remove it from my skin; it removes easily with face wash without any extra scrubbing. I think this is mainly due to the fact that this sunscreen is not water-resistant and therefore breaks down easily in water. Water-resistance is a double-edged sword; it’s nice when you need it, but if you don’t it can make sunscreen behave like foundation in that it can be quite difficult to remove.
Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 is $21.99 for 1.7 ounces of product. That comes out to $12.94 per ounce, which is a lot for a drugstore sunscreen. To compare, the Australian Gold tinted face sunscreen is $13.99 for 3 ounces or only $4.66 per ounce! BIG difference. I rated the ingredients and ease of removal higher for this product than I did for the Australian Gold sunscreen, but in my humble opinion, Australian Gold is superior in every other way…and for that reason, I don’t believe the Versed Guards Up sunscreen is worth the price.
I didn’t hold back any of my thoughts on this product. It has flaws, and honestly, once I run out I don’t plan on repurchasing it since I vastly prefer my Australian Gold sunscreen. With that said, I don’t think it’s an entirely bad product, and many people enjoy it very much.
I have combination skin, so it’s very possible that Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 would work much better for someone with dry skin. It is definitely a very moisturizing formula. In fact, it never dries down to a matte finish; it remains slightly tacky, which confirms that it’s providing hydration to the skin.
Sunscreens are very tricky to get right. It’s possible that I’m pickier than most people with my sunscreen, but the only one I’ve found that I genuinely enjoy using, is Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion. Please comment below with your favorite face sunscreen!