Hey, put that sunscreen on!
The last, and virtually most important step in your skincare routine is sunscreen. Most important because if there’s ever a product that is truly “anti-ageing”, that will be SPF, as it protects skin from sun damage that causes premature skin ageing, which is why I won’t include a specific ageing care section here. But most importantly, it helps to protect skin from damaging UV rays that can cause skin cancer and even if you wear SPF religiously everyday as an adult, sun damage from childhood or sun beds can lead to skin cancer, so please be diligent with checking alterations to your skin (moles, skin growths, etc), wear hats and protective clothing.
The minimum you should use is SPF30 year round and SPF50 in the Summer, reapplying every 2 hours (if wearing makeup, add a spray/mist SPF that you can use over makeup to your shopping list so you can top-up throughout the day). Opt for Broad Spectrum SPFs to protect you from both UVA and UVB. Also, take into consideration that for an SPF to be labelled SPF50+ under current EU legislation, it has to perform in tests as higher than factor 50, which means anything labelled SPF50+ will probably be the equivalent to a factor 60 or higher. And if talking about Australian SPF brands, the testing standards are even higher, whilst in the US the FDA is light-years behind, so many of the newer formulas are not available in the US. And the PA rating is related to the level of UVA protection, PA is short for “Protection Grade of UVA.” This is an important distinction because SPF (sun protection factor) measures only UVB protection, which is how long you can stay in the sun without burning, while the PA rating only measures UVA protection, but not all countries agree with how the PA measurement values are achieved. But technically, when the label says PA++++, it indicates it has a very high level of UVA protection.
If possible choose something also with antioxidants like Vitamin C or pair your SPF with a Vitamin C serum underneath. Wearing them both together will give you the best possible protection. You can also opt between chemical (organic) or physical (mineral) sunscreens or a combination of both. Both chemical and physical sunscreens will absorb UV rays, turn them into heat, and release them from the skin, keeping them from causing damage (also chemical sunscreens are better for under makeup as they will have no flashback and usually little to no white cast), but physical sunscreens will also deflect a small percentage of UV rays away from the skin, like a mirror reflecting light away, meaning there could be some flashback from them. Chemical SPFs will be better if you go swimming or play sports as they will be more resistant to water and sweat while physical SPFs might be more gentle and moisturising and best for sensitive skins, but they also tend to be harder to blend into the skin, although there are newer formulations which have virtually no white cast and thus making them suitable for darker skin tones. The ideal amount of sunscreen for face and neck is about ½ a teaspoon or 2 finger lengths (index and middle finger, and if you have short hair or are wearing it up, don’t forget to add more to cover the back of your neck and ears!), and around 2 to 3 tablespoons for the body, or one teaspoon per limb, front and back of torso (adjust quantity depending on how much skin is exposed, of course). And remember, the best sunscreen for you is the one you actually wear!
VICHY Capital Soleil UV-Age Daily Anti Photo-Ageing Water Fluid SPF50+ PA++++, RRP £21.00 for 40ML
Renowned for expert sun care by combining high UV factor protection with innovative and wearable textures, Vichy has taken their expertise to the next level with the new Capital Soleil UV-AGE Daily Anti Photo-Ageing Corrective Water Fluid SPF50+ (wow, that’s a mouthful!), an advanced UV Protection that delays and corrects photo-ageing. Powered by an infallible UV protective film with their multi-patented Netlock technology. This daily UVA and UVB high-protection city block combines factor 50+ protection with 2% Niacinamide, 4% Peptides, 10% Volcanic Water and Probiotic Fractions, for ultimate daily wearability and skin protection. Incredibly lightweight and highly breathable, it sits invisibly on the skin with its gorgeous water-based, fresh texture. And what a texture it is! Absolute love for this, as it’s so light, non-greasy, and just perfect for everyday wear under makeup! Top marks!
SOS Serum SPF50 Sun Cream, RRP £15.00 for 50ml
This reef-safe, broad spectrum mineral based sun cream is formulated with an ultra-sheer form of Zinc Oxide for protection from both UVA and UVB rays and blue light, and it contains antioxidant Vitamin E to help diminish skin damage from free-radicals and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that soothes and calms the skin. With added Soy Bean Stem Cell to help reduce lines and wrinkles and increase skin’s firmness. The formula is also designed so it minimises any white-cast on the skin, however, it does have Titanium Dioxide in the formula, so it might have some flashback or white cast, especially on darker skins.
Available at sosserum.co.uk
Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Facial Sun Milk SPF 30, RRP £8.00 for 50ml
This is the first 100% mineral SPF from suncare experts Hawaiian Tropic. Using naturally derived Zinc Oxide, it’s perfect for daily UVA/UVB sun protection, and is easily worn under makeup, with a fast-absorbing, non-greasy texture. The lightweight, moisturising formula is enriched with Hawaiian inspired botanicals including Kukui Nut and Coconut, bringing with it the iconic Hawaiian Tropic scent. Vegan, cruelty free and reef friendly, it also comes in their new packaging made from 25% recycled plastic. One of the more affordable options too!
Available at Boots
Katherine Daniels Daily DNA Defence SPF30, RRP £50.00 for 50ml
This lightweight fluid delivers an invisible veil of advanced photoaging technology to defend, repair and protect your skin from the damaging effects of UVA/UVB, blue light and pollution. With active DNA Defence and Repair Enzymes, it defends, protects and repairs skin with broad spectrum SPF 30 during UV, pollution and blue light exposure. With Camomile Extract and Tocopherol Acetate to soothe redness caused by UV radiation and pollution and add more antioxidant properties to keep the damaging free radicals under control. Gorgeous for daily use under makeup, with little to no discernable white cast (on lighter skin tones, but due to its use of Nano Titanium Dioxide, it might be slightly visible on darker skins) and no greasy residue.
Available at Katherinedanielscosmetics.com
BYBI Day Defense SPF30, RRP £20.00 for 60ml
Day Defence is a natural daily moisturising SPF 30 with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection from non-nano Zinc Oxide, making this an ideal daily step to hydrate and protect the skin for those oily/combination skins that don’t cope so well with adding an SPF on top of moisturiser. It’s also reef-friendly, and comes in a tube made from sugarcane, a carbon-neutral material that is 100% recyclable.
Available at BYBI
Omorovicza Mineral UV Shield SPF30, RRP £78.00 for 100ml
This Mineral UV Shield SPF30 uses a highly effective combination of mineral sunscreens, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, to provide SPF30 UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. Virtually weightless on the skin, non-comedogenic and incredibly gentle, it’s enriched with Vitamin C, which reverses the effects of sun damage, protecting collagen and elastin levels, while the light-reflective minerals blur imperfections and unify tone, delivering a smooth, soft-focus, luminous matte finish.
Oily/Blemish Prone Skin
SVR Sun Secure Blur SPF50, RRP £15.50 for 50ml
Totally in love with this SPF50! This mousse-cream hybrid blurs imperfections, unifies complexion and provides broad spectrum sun protection. Targeting all types of rays and protecting against oxidative damage from UVB + UVA + VISIBLE LIGHT + INFRARED*, thanks to their Integral Secure Technology. The triple-action formula includes physical protection on the surface from high-performance, photostable and organic SPF50+ solar filters, cellular shield from a Liposomal antioxidant complex of B-carotene + Detoxophane®, and cellular damage repair due to exposure from Niacinamide. Suitable for all skin types and tones, this velvety unique texture, melts instantly into the skin, becoming invisible for a bare skin effect. They also have an amazing SPF50 Mineral Stick which is great for the kids!
Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF50 with Sunflower Extract, RRP £20.00 for 71ml
This became a favourite real fast! Smells great, super lightweight and fresh to apply, no greasy residue, great under makeup, it’s also suitable for darker skins as there’s no discernible white cast. This broad spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA, UVB and Infra-Red rays, is suitable for both face and body and it’s reef-safe. And now they also have the Glowscreen SPF30 which works as a primer to deliver a dewy skin glow under makeup.
Available at Cult Beauty
Wild Science Lab Bright Start SPF 30 Broad Spectrum UV Shield, RRP £39.00 for 50ml
This is a brightening, skin-quenching daily essential moisturising SPF packed with UVA/UVB protection, stabilised Vitamin C, antioxidant Vitamin E, nourishing Sweet Almond oil and organic Aloe Vera. Scented with a stimulating blend of six essential oils, this powerful mix of skin-boosting ingredients helps restore equilibrium, maintain daily defence and help maximise your natural healthy glow while providing broad spectrum sun protection.
Available at Wild Science Lab
Lancaster Sun Beauty Sublime Tan Comfort Cream SPF50, RRP £22.00 for 50ml
HUGE fan of Lancaster, when in doubt they are always the brand I turn to when I want to ensure maximum protection and yet a (very) long-lasting golden tan when I go on holidays. With a great range to choose from for both face and body, whether you’re worshiping the sun or simply going about your daily business. Lightweight, nourishing sunscreen with a unique Full Light Technology formula that not only protects against all sun rays – UVA, UVB, visible light and infrared radiation – but also encourages an even, delectably golden tan courtesy of the brand’s Tan Activator Complex, which encourages the natural production of melanin. It provides broad spectrum protection even as it helps you develop a radiant, even tan. Other fab options to wear under makeup are the Sun Perfect Perfecting Fluid SPF50 or the Sun Perfect Illuminating Cream SPF50.
The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen SPF 50, RRP £39.95 for 100ml
This is an intensely hydrating broad spectrum mineral sun protection suitable for both face and body. With Zinc Oxide, Shea Butter and Aloe Vera, it provides UVA and UVB protection whilst keeping skin nourished. It’s also coral reef safe, suitable for sensitive skin and provides immediate protection. An absolute holiday staple. Also available as SPF30.
Available at www.theorganicpharmacy.com
Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF50, RRP £70.00 for 50ml
A nourishing and enriching moisturising SPF featuring a blend of natural ingredients and sun protection agents. This unique and innovative formula contains six scientifically proven sunscreens that protect skin against UVA and UVB rays. Containing Vitamin B3, Extract of Paracress Flower, Lactic Acid and Antioxidants, it will work to encourage new collagen growth, increase the skin’s suppleness and ensure that the complexion is brightened, boosted and healthy. Suitable for all skin types and tones, this fast-absorbing cream has a gorgeous texture which is free from oil, and it brightens the complexion and nourishes the skin.
Available at Space NK
Balanced/All Skin Types
Tropic Sun Day Facial UV Defence SPF50, RRP £24.00 for 40ml
I love this Broad spectrum SPF50 for everyday use. It’s a gorgeous texture that’s perfect over your everyday moisturiser and under makeup, and it protects skin from both UVA and UVB rays, while also working hard to keep skin hydrated with Hyaluronic Acid, an added tropical and unique Banana Flower Extract to calm and Prebiotics to keep skin’s microbiome healthy. It also has a delicious Summer-y coconut scent. With no white chalkiness in sight, it glides on smoothly and is quickly absorbed. Plus, it carries the Protect Land + Sea logo, which means it’s certified reef-safe.
Available at Tropicskincare.com
Soleil Toujours Mineral Ally Daily Face Defense SPF50, RRP £58.00 for 40ml
Erasing the divide between luxury skincare and serious suncare, this sunscreen makes protection from the sun’s harmful rays an easy daily routine and not just a beach-day consideration. With a gorgeous formula which melts into the skin, creating a shield of antioxidant rich protection, its weightless 100% mineral technology makes this face cream ideal for daily protection against UV rays, pollution, Infra-Red, and blue light. Using a patented form of Zinc Oxide together with their Active Environmental Defense Technology which transforms the zinc oxide into a stable and effective powerhouse skin armour, it provides superior deflection of UV rays, anti-pollution and blue light protection. It’s also packaged in the latest available Bio Plastic packaging.
Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF50 PA++++, RRP £60.00 for 50ml
A broad spectrum, 100% mineral SPF that shields skin from the top causes of visible ageing, UVA and UVB rays, blue light, pollution and infrared radiation. Quickly absorbed, it boosts radiance, with no ashy residue, it has a colour corrective technology and luminous finish to give skin a healthy glow and is water resistant up to 40 minutes.
Available at Cult Beauty
Best for Darker Skins
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF30, from RRP £15.00 for 15ml
The perfect last step in any morning routine, the aptly named Unseen Sunscreen has been painstakingly formulated to protect from the harmful effects of the sun while improving the health of our skin. The formula that revolutionised the world of sunscreens, with no greasy feel and absolutely no white cast, this universally flattering broad spectrum sunscreen is perfect for every complexion, providing excellent UV deflection without clogging pores or congesting skin. With a gorgeous velvety texture, it works great under makeup, is sweat and water-resistant up to 40 minutes, scent-free, cruelty-free and coral reef-friendly. This an absolute must have for anyone with a darker complexion as it is absolutely invisible on the skin.
Available at Cult Beauty
COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++, RRP £22.00 for 50ml
This sunscreen works to protect the skin from UVA/UVB and environmental aggressors while deeply hydrating, making it ideal for daily use. So lightweight it feels like a moisturiser, and is easily and quickly absorbed without any greasy residue and no white cast. Formulated with Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, it leaves skin protected, hydrated and moisturised all year round, without stripping the complexion.
Hello Sunday The Everyday One – Face Moisturiser SPF50, RRP £15.00 for 50ml
An everyday essential that works hard to protect skin, the Hello Sunday facial moisturising SPF contains broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection to prevent sun damage and ageing to the skin. Not only does this provide a hit of hydration with Hyaluronic Acid but also contains Dipeptide Carnosine to defend the skin from blue light, pollution and infrared rays. Vitamin C protects against free radicals and keeps skin bright and radiant. This gorgeous new line also has SPFs for the body, lips, hands and even a primer and serum SPFs! Fragrance free and suitable for all skin types, this lightweight protection absorbs easily leaving skin feeling super soft. Also highly recommend The One That’s Got it All – Facial Primer SPF50. Designed to be suitable for darker skins, vegan and reef-safe, and really affordable too, this will easily become a favourite!
Available at Cult Beauty
Best for Outdoor Sports Activities
Be3 SPF Natura Sport SPF, RRP £19.90 for 100ml
Demonstrating progressive application, (as in, one spray provides you factor 20 protection, 2 sprays provide you factor 40 and 3 sprays provide you factor 60, which I’ve still not had a chance to fully test, but you’ll for sure get a factor 20 out of it at least!), like the rest of this new generation range, this acts as an insect repellent as well as a broad spectrum SPF, which is great if you like to exercise in the great outdoors. Prevents free radical damage to the skin and packs a punch of hydration. Or you can opt for the Terra Sport which provides equal UVA/UVB protection making it ideal for outdoor activities in busy cities, protecting against oxidative stress caused from smog and pollution.
Available at be3-evolution.co.uk
SeventyOne Eco Sun Shield Invisible SPF50+, RRP £20.00 for 50ml
The brainchild of two French surfers who wanted high sun protection to use whilst in the water for long periods of time and which was also environmentally friendly, SeventyOne brings us high sun protection (only one of their products is below factor 50+ and it’s an SPF30) that’s suitable for all outdoors sports lovers, from the very vintage looking coloured sun sticks (I’m having 90’s flashbacks here!) to the more modern invisible Sun Shield, that’s more suitable for everyday wear.
SunBum Original SPF50 Sunscreen Spray, RRP £18.00 for 170ml
Another very cool SPF50 spray created by surfers to keep your skin protected from harmful UVA/UVB rays while giving it a boost of antioxidant vitamin E to neutralise free radical damage. The ultra-sheer, dry touch continuous spray formula is nourishing, moisturising and smells like a summer day. Vegan, reef-friendly gluten and cruelty-free, it’s perfect to keep in your go bag.
Best Over Makeup
Coola Organic Makeup Setting Spray SPF30, RRP £39.00 for 44ml
One of my absolute faves for topping up throughout the day, as it was designed to go over makeup, it’s super refreshing and just delivers a lovely fine mist that keeps you cool, hydrated and protected against UVA/UVB and environmental aggressors. Just remember to close your eyes and mouth and DON’T inhale while spraying it! Trust me on this, it’s not a good experience to get it up your nostrils! But other than that, it’s an absolutely gorgeous mist!
Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray, RRP £34.00 for 96ml
Really uncomplicated, just like the name says, no-fuss, fine mist for high broad spectrum protection against UV rays whilst setting makeup in place and lending skin a soft focus finish. Ideal for daily top-ups, especially in warmer weather, as it will help keep skin refreshed, matte and protected. Again, it’s a spray, so be cautious with your eyes, mouth and nose.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist SPF50, RRP £10.00 for 75ml
Honestly, you can’t really make a wrong choice with Garnier Ambre Solaire. They’ve been making sunscreens for quite some time, and they’re good at it. The new Over Makeup Super UV mist is designed specifically to be sprayed over makeup, so as to top up throughout the day and help set makeup while providing high broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and hydration. You can also go for the Sensitive Advanced Mist SPF50+, UV Water Clear Sun Cream Mist SPF50 (absolutely lovely this, as it deliver an instantly cooling, refreshing boost to your skin) or any of the many other choices available for UNDER your makeup, I personally love the kids choices for assured protection as they are all SPF50+ and designed for very sensitive skins, but can sometimes be too rich for under makeup use.
For the Body
Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+, RRP £9.00 for 200ml
This is an australian brand, which should tell you just how good it is, since they are beyond strict with their suncare requirements! With UVA and UVB broad spectrum protection, this formula is non-greasy, water resistant for 2 hours and leaves skin feeling moisturised and protected. With a summery coconut scent, it will totally keep you feeling sun confident throughout the day.
Green People Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30, RRP £25.00 for 200ml
Effective, broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection with an easy to apply formula, which is suitable for sensitive skin and prickly heat, it’s non pore-clogging, allowing skin to breathe and it helps to retain moisture in the skin to allow for a longer lasting tan. Also rich in natural antioxidants to protect skin from environmental aggressors. IT comes in Sugarcane packaging, which fully recyclable, it’s cruelty free and reef-safe.
Available at Green People
VICHY Capital Soleil Enhanced Tan Protective Solar Water SPF50, RRP £19.00 for 200ml
Designed to allow you to achieve a beautiful bronzed glow without the risk of sun damage. The SPF50 sun water is enhanced with Beta Carotene to create a natural-looking golden colour while defending skin against harmful UV rays with broad spectrum protection. The spray formula melts quickly into skin without staining clothes or feeling sticky, and is suitable for use on the face and body. Utilising 40% Vichy Mineral Thermal Water for intense hydration, it’s like a soft fake tan with SPF protection! The feel of it on application is a bit more that of an oil-in-water hybrid, great to keep skin hydrated and soft, quickly dries and doesn’t actually leave a greasy residue, much like a dry oil. Really fabulous and lightweight! Or if you’re not at all fussed about enhancing your tan, you can opt for the Hydrating Protective Water SPF50 with added Hyaluronic Acid to keep you protected, fresh and hydrated.