(Trial Run)

I Finally Found An Affordable SPF That Works For My Acne-Prone Skin

Zero white cast, zero breakouts.

Khera Alexander
woman wearing starface SPF

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 beauty writer is testing the new Starface Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46.

If you’ve ever struggled with finding an SPF that you like, I can totally relate. From cream or liquid formulations to chemical and physical sunscreen types, the sun care world can be intimidating. Personally, I find sunscreen to be one of the trickiest beauty products to get right, because there are a ton of things to consider. Will it leave a white cast? Will I break out? Will it work under makeup? Will this formula work on deeper skin tones? For years, I’ve had so many questions and concerns, many of which went unaddressed by a number of beauty brands — until recently.

We’ve seen a shift in the sunscreen category over the past few years with companies continuing to innovate, and in many ways, make wearing SPF fun and enjoyable. With its newest launch, Starface is bringing the joy and excitement to sun protection with the Clear As Day Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46. Oil-free, non-comedogenic, and vegan, Clear As Day is made with all skin types in mind, especially acne-prone and sensitive skin types. With its completely transparent gel texture and silky feel, I was incredibly curious about trying this sunscreen. To learn more about how Clear As Day worked on my sensitive, acne-prone skin, keep scrolling.

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Fast Facts

  • Price: $24
  • Best for: Protecting sensitive, acne-prone skin types from the sun.
  • Your rating: 4.7/5
  • Clean/Cruelty-Free? Yes
  • What we like: Feels weightless, is completely transparent, is non-irritating, and is affordable.
  • What we don’t like: Can sting if it gets into the eyes when sweating.

My Skin

Normally, my skin is acne-prone, combination, and super sensitive. Right now though, my skin is going through some changes. I’m currently taking Accutane, and while my t-zone is still oily, my skin is noticeably drier on my cheeks and around my mouth and nose. Since Accutane makes my skin much more sensitive to sun exposure, I’ve been extremely mindful of how much SPF I’m using daily and never skip it as my final step in my skin care routine.

Khera’s skin before using the Starface SPF.Khera Alexander

The Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46

Starface’s SPF is an oil-free, non-comedogenic, gel sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection from the sun and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Made with sunscreen properties avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, and octocrylene, this blend of ingredients will give the skin broad-spectrum protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Fragrance free, paraben free, vegan, and water resistant for up to 80 minutes, this chemical sunscreen can be reapplied easily throughout the day.

What sets this sunscreen apart from many others is its texture: Clear As Day has a smooth, slick, and weightless feel. The ingredients that help give the SPF this consistency are Isododecane and Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer. While the former makes the sunscreen super spreadable and gives the formula a matte finish, the latter helps give the sunscreen a silky, slippery texture.

The Starface Clear As Day Packaging.Khera Alexander

The Science Behind Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46

Clear As Day is formulated with four sun protecting ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. These ingredients are usually found in chemical sunscreens, and mineral sunscreens are typically formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Dr. Geeta Yadav, board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Skin Science Dermatology Clinic, helps explain the difference between mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. “Mineral sunscreens physically block the sun's rays, while chemical sunscreens create a chemical reaction within the skin that results in sun absorption without damage,” she says. While one method creates a physical barrier and the other is broken down by being absorbed into the skin, both are effective at protecting skin from the sun — it’s just a matter of finding the right one.

Both chemical and physical sunscreens can provide the skin with broad spectrum protection, meaning that it can shield skin from both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re stuck with deciding on which type of SPF to use, Dr. Jennifer Salsberg, board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto recommends focusing on finding the right product for you above anything else. “Sunscreen is not one size fits all, so it is really important to find the one that you like,” she says. “As long as the sunscreen is ideally SPF 30 or higher and broad spectrum, it will effectively block both UVA and UVB [rays].”

The Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46 Packaging

The Clear As Day SPF, not unlike any of the other products from Starface, has the cutest packaging. The bright yellow bottle is fun and eye-catching, while the pump makes the sunscreen especially functional, leak-proof, and easy to use.

My First Impression Of The Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46

When I first pumped the Clear As Day sunscreen onto my hands, I remember thinking, oh, this is nice. The product is completely clear and feels almost like a primer. I was looking forward to working the sunscreen into my skin, but I was curious to know how it would hold up against my oily t-zone.

A closer look at the texture of the Starface SPF.Khera Alexander

How I Used the Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46

After I washed my face and put my vitamin C serum on in the morning, I’d pump the Starface SPF across my index and middle fingers and apply it to my face and neck. Dr. Katie Beleznay, board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Instructor at the University of British Columbia, suggests using this method to make sure you’re applying the right amount of sunscreen. “The recommended amount to cover the face and neck is between a quarter to half a teaspoon, or two finger lengths. If you dispense the sunscreen along your fingers first, this is a good way to gauge,” she says. Reassured by Dr. Beleznay’s advice, I used this method with the Starface SPF for the next three weeks.

A look at Khera’s skin after using Clear As Day.Khera Alexander

My Results

After using Clear As Day for almost a month, I’m really happy I decided to try it — this sunscreen is legit. Using an SPF that doesn’t meet all of my ideal requirements (a comfortable feel, no white cast, no breakouts, and no extra oiliness) is a common experience for me, but not with this product. I could tell that Starface considered a number of variables when formulating this sunscreen and it shows.

While the SPF being completely transparent is impressive enough in itself, I was most excited by the product’s gel texture. Even though it’s super slippery and glides onto the skin easily, it didn’t intensify the midday shine I usually get on my t-zone. The pump made using the sunscreen simple and hygienic, I didn’t experience any irritation or breakouts, and the SPF didn’t aggravate the drier areas of my skin either. Starface has a new fan, and I’ll definitely be adding Clear As Day to my collection of top tier, fool-proof sunscreens.

Is the Clear As Day Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 46 Worth It?

For $24 and 50 mL, I think Starface’s Clear As Day sunscreen is probably one of the most affordable and inclusive sunscreens I’ve used — a similar product from the sun care brand Supergoop! is priced at around $34 for the same amount of product. Starface’s pump takes the guesswork out of how much sunscreen to use entirely, it goes on really smoothly, and reapplying when I don’t have makeup on is a non-issue.

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.