In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, our associate beauty news editor is testing the new Keys Soulcare Protect Your Light Daily Moisturizer SPF 30.
Everyone in unison now: ‘Thank you Alicia Keys.’ You probably think it’s for her many genre defining R&B soul hits or maybe even one of her intricate hairstyles that lives somewhere on your Pinterest board but it’s actually for the new Keys Soulcare Protect Your Light Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. If you’re unfamiliar, back in 2020 Keys launched her beauty line and graced the world with thoughtfully formulated skin care products that are meant to help you harness the beauty of self care rituals. Now the brand has dropped its latest product and first ever SPF.
If you’re someone who is on the fence about celebrity beauty lines, you may pleased to know that Keys Soulcare is co-founded by board certified dermatologist Dr. Renée Snyder, who has a hand in all the brand’s formulations and was undoubtedly vital to bringing this SPF to life. “Sunscreen formulation can be very tricky. We took our time to thoughtfully create a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection that consumers will want to use,” Dr. Snyder tells TZR. “To make it a success we ensured the formula is fragrance free, invisible on all skin tone, hydrates and moisturizes and layers well with skincare and makeup.”
I’m somewhat of a self-proclaimed SPF critic so naturally I had to find out what the Keys Soulcare formula was giving. Not too long ago, I dramatically swore off mineral sunscreens after an unfortunate case of ghostly white cast, so finding out that this formula is a chemical SPF was music to my ears.
I put this SPF moisturizer to the test as the last step in my every day skin care routine. Keep reading for my honest review.
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- Price: $32
- Size: 15mL/1 oz.
- Clean/Cruelty-Free? Yes
- Best for: Those looking for a lightweight, chemical SPF moisturizer
- Ingredient Highlights: Squalene, niacinamide
- What we like: No scent, lightweight, easy to blend, sheer with a slightly matte finish, and not greasy
- What we don’t like: Would prefer a higher SPF level and larger product quantity
- Suitable: Most skin types, those with skin conditions like melasma may benefit more from a mineral SPF
- Your rating: 4/5
As a proud member of the oily/combination skin community, my skin tends to not know the difference between glowy and greasy and is constantly walking the fine line between the two. Because of this the products in my skin care routine consist of water-based, oil-free formulas that give me a healthy glow but keep me from looking downright sweaty. My skin is also fairly acne prone so I do my due diligence to stay from products that have lots of oils and fragrance in the ingredients list. My biggest skin care goals are to keep my hyperpigmentation in check and achieve a smooth, even texture so proper sun protection is key.
So what exactly is in this sunscreen? It’s a chemical formula powered by chemical filters: avobenzone at 3%, homosalate at 9%, octisalate at 5%, and octocrylene at 7%. “Clean chemical SPF can be as safe and effective as 100% mineral SPF when potentially toxic sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate are avoided,” Dr. Snyder explains.
In addition to the active sun protection ingredients, the formula also includes squalene, a plant-based, lipid-rich emollient that helps soften skin and buzzy niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that helps brighten and balance the skin’s appearance, aids in oil control, and helps to tighten pores. This SPF is also oil-free and fragrance-free, two of my favorite things when looking for skin care to add to my rotation.
How To Use It
I applied the SPF as the last step in my morning skin care routine, which consists of a cleanser, vitamin C serum, niacinamide serum, and eye cream. I usually use a moisturizer before my SPF but because this is a 2-in-1 moisturizer with sunscreen I skipped my moisturizer step my first time using it.
When I pumped the product on to two fingers it felt a bit thick, but as I rubbed it in I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s fairly lightweight. It took me about 30 seconds to completely rub in the product with no white cast left behind (there’s no zinc in this formula, which is what gives mineral sunscreens that effect, so that wasn’t surprising). Also important to note: it’s fragrance-free but doesn’t have that strong sunscreen smell some chemical formulas tend to produce. If your skin is on the more oily side you can definitely get away with using this as both a moisturizer and SPF step in your routine; those with skin on the drier side will probably want to layer on a moisturizer underneath.
What’s truly remarkable is the glow this SPF left me with — a light-reflective, glass skin effect that truly can’t be beat, and while this product was not the sole reason for my gleaming complexion on a Thursday morning (my five-step skin care routine had a lot to do with it), it certainly was the final bit of oomph.
This definitely stacks up to my other go-to sunscreens and has quickly become a favorite. I love how lightweight the moisturizer feels and how quickly it absorbs. It leaves a light glow that doesn’t veer into greasy territory — if you hate sunscreens that leave you feeling slick you certainly won’t have that issue with this SPF. I also appreciate how moisturizing this sunscreen is — because how good is sun protection really if it leaves you with dry skin just hours after applying?
I do wish it were a higher SPF level — personally, SPF 30 is the minimum for me and I’m one to wear at least SPF 40, especially in the summer months. While I appreciate the TSA-friendly size, one fluid ounce of sunscreen is easy to finish up quickly, and considering the $32 price point, the product could stand to be larger — especially given the countless affordable sunscreens on the market that are lower in price and higher in quantity.
All that aside, I’m confident I’ll be through with my first bottle in about a month, after which I’ll be stocking up for months ahead.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.