So we all know we’re supposed to wear sunscreen all year around, but as the weather (slowly) heats up, it’s obligatory in my book. I’ve exposed my poor face to enough sun damage in my youth and while I can’t backpedal, I can certainly take 30 seconds out of my day to slap on a quick layer that will help prevent further damage. If you’re young, count yourself lucky that we’re so much more clued up these days and start now. Don’t put your skin at risk just for a bit of colour on your face, reach for James Read Tan or Clarins facial self tans instead - both are brilliant.
Choosing the best sun screen can be a bit of a minefield and with so many formulas available now, it’s difficult to know where to start - I’ve been testing different formulas on your behalf and these are my Top Five.
My SPF Musts
- provide adequate protection for day to day use in the UK Summer (higher SPF may be required in hotter climates or on holiday)
- a relatively light texture that’s quickly absorbed and easy to apply
- not leave a white cast on my face
- not leave a tacky residue
- work well under make-up
- not break me out
Incase anyone is wondering, I like to use a separate SPF for face as they tend to be non comedogenic (won’t block pores), a lighter texture to work under make-up and offer higher protection. Oh and while I remember, always extend your facial sunscreen down your neck and décolleté - both of which are very delicate and equally prone to sun damage. I add any excess to the backs of my hands or mix a drop in with hand cream.
This Works In Transit Skin Defence SPF30 here - essentially a moisturiser with built in SPF, this is one of the few formulas which in my opinion meet both criteria adequately. Most moisturiser/SPF combos either aren’t moisturising enough for my liking or contain too small a percentage of SPF. This has a beautiful texture, I love the handbag-friendly packaging and as the name suggests, it works.
Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Cream for Face, SPF30 here - I’ve always rated Clarins sunscreen highly and was thrilled to snap this up at half price in my local chemist (Medicare for any local girls reading). I also picked up the body formula and both are excellent. Although slightly richer in consistency than the others, this still sinks in quickly, smells like Summer and has added anti-ageing properties - what’s not to love?
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ here - I’ve been faithful to La Roche Posay sunscreen for a couple of years now and this new formula is easier to use than ever; a dry touch cream gel, it absorbs instantly with no white marks. If you’re very pale skinned, going on holiday or just looking for the ultimate protection from an SPF, then this is for you. Despite the high factor, it’s a very lightweight lotion that sinks straight in to the skin and was the only thing that prevented me from burning in Singapore’s soaring temperatures.
Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25 here - So many people have raved about this over the years and I’ve finally got around to trying it. The lightly tinted formula provides a lovely base for make-up and as the name suggests, blends out to a sheer finish. I’d describe it as slightly camouflaging minor imperfections, but with less coverage than a tinted moisturiser, don’t depend on it for that. I love the light texture of this and it’s a great everyday essential.
Yup, I know it’s a bit weird to include sunscreen swatches, but the consistency is important to some so I thought it may be helpful. This Works is the lightest texture, followed by La Roche Posay, Clinique and the more creamy Clarins.
SPF on the go
A quick ode to these minis which I keep in my bag for unexpected sunny spells or alfresco lunch! La Roche Posay Anthelios in SPF30 and Bioderma SPF30 also come in full size and I rate both highly.
I want to give you a closer look at my fifth recommendation as it’s difficult to imagine how brush on SPF works until you’ve tried it. Susan Posnick’s Brush on Block SPF30 here is the newest formula I’ve tried - and while I don’t tend to apply it as part of my daily routine, it’s become a handbag essential both for top-ups and the reasons mentioned above. Similar in size to a standard blusher brush, it’s lightweight and really easy to use.
The brush itself is protected and kept clean with a plastic shield below the lid (pic 1), which you slide down to release the bristles, twist the base of the tube and tap on your hand to release product up into the brush. Pic 2 shows the amount of product that ‘puffs’ into the brush before sweeping onto the skin. Although ever so slightly tinted, the powder really isn’t noticeable on my skin, certainly not to the extent that it would interfere with make-up, which I’ve tried to show in pic 3 (would have helped if I’d put the pics in order, huh?!). Described as a family product, this is suitable for use on children too, though in my case this may mean tarnishing my brush with ice-cream residue et al! ;)
So that’s my Top Five Facial Sunscreens. I really hope this has been helpful. Personally I tend to use This Works and Clinique City Block most days, saving Clarins and La Roche Posay for days when it’s extra hot, I’m outdoors a lot or doing a rare spot of sunbathing. The minis and Susan Posnick stay in my various handbags for on the go top-ups, speaking of which… none of these sunscreens last all day and do need to be topped up every 2-3 hours. This isn’t ideal with a full face of make-up, which is where brush-on SPF is your friend. If you’re looking for one that does last the distance with just one application, Ultrasun is fantastic (both face & body) - and would have been included here if I could have found my bottle!
I really hope this has been helpful in choosing the right formula for you. Which is your favourite facial sunscreen?