I Finally Tried Trader Joe’s Supergoop Sunscreen Dupe — I Wish I Had Sooner

published Jun 29, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Trader Joe's Sunscreen in package in store.
Credit: Sofia Rivera

I might not make my bed as soon as I wake up or come up with a weekly meal plan, but if there’s one consistent thing I do for myself, it’s apply sunscreen. I cherish my skincare routine and genuinely look forward to it each morning and night, but that also means I go through products fairly quickly — and that cost can add up in no time.

So when I first caught wind of a dupe for the crowd-pleasing Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen ($38 for 1.7 fluid ounces) from Trader Joe’s, the playground of grocery stores? I was immediately intrigued. But I already had several sunscreens in circulation! So, after a year of patience and religious sunscreen application, I finally emptied some tubes and made my way to Trader Joe’s to buy the Daily Facial Sunscreen ($8.99 for 1.7 fluid ounces) to test it out.

The verdict, in short: Trader Joe’s has done it again. After tapping a dermatologist for his insight on the formula and taking it for a test run myself, I’m impressed. I won’t only purchase the Daily Facial Sunscreen going forward, but it will definitely enter my SPF rotation. If you’re looking to try it out yourself, but don’t live near a Trader Joe’s (it often sells out there, too), you can also shop it online at Amazon. Fair warning that you’ll be paying a premium for in-stock availability and the convenience of getting it shipped right to your door. 

Before even considering it as a dupe, I wanted to see how the Daily Facial Sunscreen stood on its own. I texted my sister, who has been obsessed with the product for months, to ask her why she likes it. She answered immediately with a string of texts, which is typically a sign that she either has good gossip to share or is otherwise very excited about the subject matter.

“No cast at ALL,” she began, followed by, “Feels greasy but isn’t at all. Dries within like 2 minutes. I can reapply through the day during the summer and it doesn’t feel dirty and gross to do on top of a sweaty face.” This last point is huge, as I can’t stand the feeling of skincare sitting on my face — especially when I’m already sticky with summer heat. Most convincing of all, when I asked if she’s repurchased, she promptly replied: “I currently have 3 bottles: 1 for home, 1 for work, 1 for my bag.” 

Any sunscreen that’s good enough for my sister to buy thrice is good enough for me! But we have different skin types (she has a face shape that a Sephora employee once called “perfect” and I have an oily T-zone! Genetics are so fun!), so I knew I had to try it for myself. When I popped open the cap and squeezed it out of the bottle, I was struck by how clear the product is. As a mixed race person with a tan complexion, I’m always fighting against weird white casts when using sunscreen, and this one is instantly invisible upon application. 

Credit: Sofia Rivera

The texture is more akin to a makeup primer than a lotion, similar to the Supergoop Unseen formula, which can take some getting used to. When I first apply the Daily Facial Sunscreen, it feels a little oily, but within a couple of minutes I get what my sister means — it soaks in and doesn’t mattify my face, but doesn’t leave it shiny, either. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, but I stray away from scented products, and this one has almost no discernable aroma. After it soaks in, it leaves your face feeling silky smooth, which would make for seamless makeup application.

But is it a dupe for the Supergoop? I asked Dr. Muneeb Shah, a dermatologist and founder and CEO of DermCollective what he thinks. “They are definitely similar but certainly not the same. I think the Trader Joe’s one is more dewy personally and the Supergoop more mattifying.” He has a full review comparing the two on YouTube, where fellow dermatologist Dr. Luke Maxfield dubs the TJ’s sunscreen “one of the best if not the best dupe I’ve ever seen.” 

In trying the Trader Joe’s sunscreen, Shah notes, “I don’t find it particularly greasy but it’s also not mattifying. People with oily skin tend to like products with more of a mattifying effect that can absorb oil throughout the day. I personally like a more ‘dewy’ look but there are better sunscreens in that category as well.” He calls out Isdin Eryfotona Actinica, EltaMD UV Restore Tinted Face Sunscreen, and La Roche-Posay Melt-In Milk as other sunscreens he’d recommend.

In any sunscreen, he says to be on the lookout for a minimum of SPF 30, broad-spectrum UVA + UVB coverage, and, if you need it, water resistance. “Tinted sunscreens have the additional benefit of protecting against visible light, which is good for people with melasma,” he adds. The Trader Joe’s Daily Facial Sunscreen ticks those boxes: “It’s broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays,” according to Shah, has SPF 40, and is water- and sweat-resistant. He also points out that in addition to the active chemical sunscreen ingredients, it has nice additions like “vitamin E (antioxidant), silica (oil absorbing), jojoba esters (moisturizing), and shea butter (moisturizing).”

As a Supergoop alternative, there’s no denying that the Trader Joe’s option is significantly cheaper. In fact, you could buy three bottles of Trader Joe’s sunscreen at once à la my sister and still spend less than on one bottle of Supergoop. That said, dupes can put too much emphasis on brand names and skincare is so individual. I try to listen to what works best for me and what my skin needs throughout the year, often opting for Missha Waterproof Sun Milk on humid summer days, Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion on an everyday basis (the name is fitting), and Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint (with SPF 40) on the occasions I want to even out my complexion. And now, I’ll be keeping a tube of Trader Joe’s sunscreen in my bag for midday reapplications. 

Buy: Trader Joe’s Daily Facial Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40, $16.99 for 1.70 fl oz.