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Finding Your Intellishade Perfect Match

Finding a SPF that you love is so important when building a skin care (and self care) routine. Let's chat about my favorite line of sunscreens and how to pick the best one for you!

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Revision's Intellishades will forever be my #1 choice for SPF. They have five different options for different skin types and skin tones, offering a variety of finishes to have an option for everyone - including men, too! Let's first dive into the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens before we can properly find your perfect Intellishade match.

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Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone that are dissolved into an oil- or water-based liquid. They absorb the sun’s rays and convert them into heat that is then released from the skin. Because they are soaked up by the skin, chemical sunscreen products are generally easier to rub in without leaving behind a visible residue. Contrary to popular belief, these sunscreens do not chemically bind to your skin — they form a film on the surface.

For physical sunscreens, there are two minerals used: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Fine particles are blended into a cream, stick or lotion but they don’t dissolve or penetrate into the skin — which means they can leave a whitish cast. Newer formulations have reduced this tendency.

It’s long been assumed that physical sunscreen particles act simply like tiny mirrors: reflecting UV rays off the surface of the skin to prevent them from penetrating. More recent research has shown, however, that these minerals act in two ways to temper UV rays, both reflecting certain wavelengths and converting others to heat.

Which is better - physical or chemical sunscreen?

Protection level

Physical sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays, while chemical sunscreens are more of a mixed bag. This is why you’ll usually see a combination of active ingredients on a chemical sunscreen label: some work well against UVA rays, and some for UVB.

If a sunscreen is labeled broad-spectrum SPF, it’s going to protect you from both types of radiation, regardless of whether it’s chemical or physical.

Wait time

Both chemical and physical sunscreens take between 15–30 minutes to start working — but most people misunderstand why. Sunscreen products are formulated to leave a thin film that essentially sticks to the skin as it dries, evenly dispersing the active ingredients. If you rub it off or get it wet before it’s had time to set up, your sunscreen won’t be as effective.

Effective duration

The active ingredients in chemical sunscreen degrade as they absorb UV rays. While this isn’t as much of a factor with physical sunscreens, mineral formulas do tend to be more susceptible to rubbing or washing off. This is why both sunscreen types need to be reapplied regularly.

Look and feel

Traditionally, chemical sunscreens tend to disappear into the skin more thoroughly than their physical counterparts. Physical sunscreens typically leave a white cast on the skin, making it a downside to the product (spoiler, Revision created a CLEAR mineral sunscreen to combat this specific concern)!

Skin type

Everyone’s skin reacts differently to active sunscreen ingredients and other chemicals in the product’s formula. At the end of the day, it's about what formula you will wear every day. What I love about Revision's Intellishades is they offer multiple variations that are specific for different skin types.

Revision Intellishade Variations

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Intellishade Original: Best for anti-aging every day face (tinted)

I love that this is a 5-in-1 product - it is hands down my favorite anti-aging sunscreen on the market. Not only is it a sunscreen (SPF 45!), but it is also a moisturizer, foundation (matches virtually every skin tone!), antioxidant, and peptide treatment. This is my “desert island” product - you won’t find me without it! It's great for dry and normal skin types who prefer a dewy finish.

Intellishade Matte: Best for anti-aging every day face + a matte finish (tinted)

This is for my oily girls, or if you just overall like a matte finish to your skin. Same great benefits of Intellishade Original, minus the shine!

Intellishade Clear: Best for oily and acne-prone skin (non-tinted)

If you love the idea of Intellishade Original but prefer a non-tinted option, this is it! This is also great for men or teens who want minimal steps in their routine but need SPF protection!

Intellishade TruPhysical: Best for sensitive or post-treatment (tinted)

If you prefer a tinted sunscreen, mineral-based SPF (but still anti-aging) this one’s for you! With over 20 anti-aging ingredients and true 100% mineral sunscreen that is free of hidden chemical sunscreens, this 5-in-1 anti-aging moisturizer helps to correct, protect, conceal, brighten and hydrate skin to deliver clinically-proven results.

Intellishade TruPhysical Clear: Best for sensitive or post-treatment (non-tinted)

Revision never fails to amaze me with their innovative approach in creating new products. They are always science-driven and find gaps in the market where they can address a specific concern - like, how most physical sunscreens can leave a white cast, making it hard for darker skin tones to use a mineral-SPF. Revision released this product so everyone can now enjoy the benefits of a mineral-based sunscreen, without a tint or white cast. This is great for anyone who has sensitive skin, post-treatment, or anyone who prefers a physical sunscreen and a clear finish!

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