Ahhh, sunscreen. That one thing that a lot (maybe even most?) of us don’t like, yet year round we have to talk about it and wear it rain or shine. Even some of the best ones are still like, “it’s okay, but I STILL have to wear it and I’m not happy about it because it’s another icky layer.” The best sunscreens I’ve tried in the past were on that level, in that they were just okay but I’d definitely rather wear nothing than to have that nice titanium dioxide + zinc layer that feels like it interferes with life.
All of this grumpy sunscreen talk leads me to today’s review and how I FINALLY, miraculously, no longer have those sunscreen woes thanks to this awesome one that Blissoma (one of my all time favorite skincare brands, yeah!) launched late last year. I’m not kidding – I freaking love this sunscreen and I am thrilled to share my review after many months of testing. Blissoma did kindly offer me the opportunity to test Photonic when it launched, but I would like to mention that Blissoma became one of my favorite brands through my own discovery of their products and I did purchase all past Blissoma products shared here on the blog with my own money.
Blissoma Photonic Light Shifting Solution – Daily Sunscreen and Facial Moisturizer
• SPF 25, UVA/UVB Broad spectrum protection
• Mineral sunscreen made with sustainable and eco-cert non-nano zinc oxide 12.5%
• Transparent; non-tinted
• Dense with antioxidants, vitamins, phytonutrients, and skin supporting ingredients
The goods on this sunscreen: Blissoma’s Photonic Light Shifting Solution* is a broad spectrum, SPF 25 daily sunscreen and moisturizer. It’s a mineral sunscreen made with non-nano zinc oxide (which happens to be sustainable and eco-cert) for complete UVA/UVB protection and a base of organic herbal infusions and vitamin-rich seed oils for daily moisture. Although it appears to be tinted, it actually goes on sheer! Photonic’s natural color is derived from its colorful nutrients (like many of their other products), including antioxidant-rich astaxanthin which has a natural pink hue that disappears into the skin after application. Photonic also contains niacinamide 3%, which is known to reduce skin texture and the appearance of pores. Other skin loving ingredients that Photonic includes: gotu kola, milk thistle, argan oil, red raspberry seed oil, squalane, olive leaf, blackberry seed oil, and tamanu oil.
Photonic comes in a 1 ounce glass pump bottle, priced at $39. Size and price are expected to increase in the future.
How I Use It + My Thoughts
I just recently started a new AM skincare routine, but before I get into that I’ll describe which products I had been using with Photonic for the majority of the time I’ve been testing it. It’s no surprise if you follow me on IG, but my prior AM routine was all Stark Skincare! After cleansing with micellar water, I would do a few sprays of their Petrichor facial mist, hydrate with their Everlasting Calm + Smoothe Infusion, moisturize with a few drops of their City Recalibrating Oil, and then after I let that absorb for a couple of minutes I applied two pumps of Photonic, each pump as a separate layer. I’ve been enjoying a minimal routine of light layers for awhile now, but for me I definitely need to go minimal if I’m wearing sunscreen because I don’t like many layers of product that feel like they’re just building up on my skin.
This past week I decided to switch things up and start using regular face moisturizer in the AM again. I thought I would give e.l.f.’s Hello Hydration Face Cream and their Illuminating Eye Cream a try, since my skin has been feeling dehydrated. I haven’t had a chance to try Photonic on top of my new face cream (as in I literally haven’t left the house so I can actually use sunscreen, ha) but I will update this portion of my review when I can test it out!
As for my prior AM skincare routine, Photonic layered really well on top of light skincare layers without feeling like it interfered or ruined a nice skincare application. It didn’t ball or pill up on top of my facial oil either. One thing I will say is that I saw it cling/get cakey on a dry patch that I didn’t take care of on my nose, but carefully moisturizing that dry patch took care of it. If you have dry skin, I would go ahead and apply moisturizer underneath this sunscreen.
So, how do I actually like it? This sunscreen really exceeded my expecations given my past experiences with sunscreens. Firstly, it really is transparent like it’s marketed to be – the zinc oxide does give the skin a “blurred” effect, but I wouldn’t call it a cast or a tint. With that said I’m a fairly light skin tone so I can’t determine what kind of finish this might have for those who are darker than me. It doesn’t contain mineral pigments, so the natural hue coming from the nutrients just diminishes and doesn’t appear on the skin. A white cast isn’t a total dealbreaker for me with sunscreen, but the fact that Photonic doesn’t leave a cast on me is just the cherry on top of everything else I love about it!
I think what bothers me more in a sunscreen than the cast is how you can literally feel a layer of sunscreen on your face – it’s thick, cloying, it’s just there. Photonic doesn’t feel this way to me at all, but instead feels like a light moisturizer that’s intended to leave the skin with a satin finish. It has a lotion consistency and scent that quite reminds me of their Lift Intelligent Energy Creme, but in comparison Photonic requires faster working with since it absorbs and settles quickly. My face actually looks better with this sunscreen on than bare, and I’m just over the moon that I can’t feel this stuff on my face. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, it doesn’t feel like it interferes with a perfectly placed skincare routine and I like that I don’t have to be shy with applying face oil lest my skin get shiny or greasy like with other sunscreens.
At $39 for 1 ounce of product, Photonic is fairly expensive especially for a product that is meant to be used generously every day. For me, because sunscreen is such a particular and frustrating thing, if I like one enough I’ll fork out the money for it. However, I can understand where others wouldn’t feel the same over a price like that. In the future, Photonic will be going up to 1.6oz with a price increase to match.
I highly recommend to give Photonic a shot if you are on the hunt for a new sunscreen! I am so happy with how great it’s been working for me and I can’t recommend it enough.
[UPDATE: Blissoma has re-branded and Photonic’s size + pricing has changed. It is now $52 and comes in a 1.6 oz glass opal bottle (previously sized at 1 oz).]