The Case For Sun: My Review of Glossier’s Invisible Shield + Why We Still Need Sunshine


I’ve always been terrified of the sun. Ever since I was about 15 or 16 and realised that my skin only needed 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to turn a painful shade of pink, to consequently peel and ultimately return to a frecklier version of it’s original self.

Of course there were the years before the fear. Summers of baby oil on teenage limbs, lemon juice in my hair, sneaking bedroom mattresses onto the roof of my beach house with friends, determined to get our bodies as close to the sun as humanly possible. Summers of comparing tan lines, switching bikinis to ensure not a single inch of skin missed its time in the spotlight, resorting to topless tanning when even the smallest of bikini tops would jeopardise our goals to be bronzed. But it was only a matter time before I realised that the melanin in my skin was not the same as my girlfriends. I tend to blame the Irish genes on my mother’s side for my lack of melanin and overcompensation of freckles, for being told I have the most beautiful almost translucent skin, that it looks milky and like porcelain when I would have killed to be considered olive.

But alas, olive skin was not my fate and so the quest for a decent sunscreen with which I could cover my body to within an inch of it’s life began. This has not been a straightforward process and anyone with sensitive skin already knows what I’m about to say.

Every. Single. Sunscreen. Stings. My. Face.

My face hates sunscreen. It rejects it like my body rejects gluten. It stings, itches, rashes and breakouts. Which are all very chic attributes that a young girl looking to attract a summer romance with the opposite sex hopes for in a product. And before you start suggesting expensive, dermatologist-approved, clinically-tested suncreens – I’ve tried them. All of them. Twice. Some are better than others but if they’re not stinging they’re pimple-ing and I’m just a little too vain to put up with acne each summer.

When Glossier announced they were launching Invisible Shield I was excited but mildly sceptical. Because for all the things I love and trust about Glossier: the quality of their ingredients, their dedication to putting skin first and everything else second, their reputation for delivering on exactly what they promise, I still had my unsuccessful history to consider. But being the eternal optimist that I am, I purchased it anyway.

I’ve been using Invisible Shield for almost a week now, every single day, and – I hope you can hear my excitement through the keyboard – IT DOESN’T SUCK (!!!!). Into The Gloss explain it best, “Invisible Shield is a daily sunscreen with SPF 35 that protects against UVA/UVB rays AND pollution like smog and carbon monoxide. It does this with a first-of-its-kind encapsulated gel formula—basically a fancy way of saying that little microcapsules burst once you pump it out and rub them on your face. Along with the sun protection, there’s also a powerful mix of vitamin E, vitamin P, broccoli, and aloe leaf extract to neutralize free radicals inside skin.” Did you hear that? Broccoli. I’m into it. And in true Glossier style it feels exactly how it claims to feel: it isn’t greasy, it isn’t heavy and it basically doesn’t feel like sunscreen. It is totally clear so there is no excess rubbing required and it feels even lighter than a moisturizer. It glides seamlessly over your face and then it just disappears.

Put simply: I will actually use this sunscreen. And I won’t be experimenting with another sunscreen anytime soon. I think that’s the best review a product can get really.

If you are, like me, someone who is scared of the sun I would highly recommend trying Invisible Shield. It will restore your confidence in being outside in summer and won’t have you second guessing your walk to work in winter.

Because yes, we need to wear sunscreen every single day, and for all the negative stories we tell about the sun, it is still so damn important. Especially in the middle of winter. While taking an oral vitamin D supplement will improve your vitamin D levels, you still forgo the benefits the real deal – sun! –  offers beyond vitamin D production. Not only does sunlight make it’s own vitamin D in your skin; it also makes beta-endorphins, which make you feel better, and nitric oxide, which can help lower your blood pressure. Sunlight is important for the regulation of your circadian rhythm (the thing that tells your body to sleep at night time and be awake and energized during the day), and has been shown to be effective against depression, both SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder which coincidentally makes you literally sad in winter and you’re like um what is happening why did I just cry at that YouTube video of The Ellen Show) and non-seasonal major depression. V science-y. V cool. V important.

Winter is tough enough already without taking into consideration all the sunlight we are missing out on if we skip the walk to work, sit inside for lunch or wait for someone else to offer to do the coffee run.

So whack on some sunscreen, have safe sun and lots of it.