The New Age of Multi-tasking, High-Performance Sun Protection

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Photo courtesy Bask

From hyaluronic- and vitamin-pumped oils to brightening primers, these SPFs warrant space in the hold

In the last decade, SPF has become a ubiquitous piece of skincare kit. It’s up there with cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser – the lot. But while it’s common knowledge that SPF is essential in helping protect us from skin cancer, premature ageing and hyperpigmentation, this item still posits countless questions. What’s the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen? Should you wear SPF indoors? (The answer is yes, because UV rays can pass through glass windows.) How often should you reapply? (Around every two hours.) At what point in my routine? (The very last – but before make-up.) Happily, there’s a new wave of high-performance SPFs that, with their luxurious textures and expertly designed application methods – not to mention potent active ingredients – take the stress out of sun protection for both face and body. From Nuxe’s heavenly scented high-protection Bronzing Oil for the body to the effortless spritz of Dior’s Beautifying Protective Milky Mist Sublime, or pleasing plume of EVY Technology’s Daily Defense Face Mousse,  they’re easy, reliable and delicious – you’ll want to apply them each morning. 

Sometimes referred to as ‘mineral’ or ‘natural’ sunscreens, physical sunscreens sit atop skin and use mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to deflect UV rays. They have a bad reputation for leaving a chalky finish, but the industry has come a long way since such pasty creams cluttered our bathroom shelves. Now, we’re opting for physical formulas like Drunk Elephant’s delicious smelling Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defence or Ultra Violette’s Supreme Screen Hydrating SKINSCREEN, which protects against the sun’s rays and blue light, all while brightening skin with antioxidant-rich Kakadu plum and never leaving a ghostly film – even on deeper skin tones. 

There’s a high-functioning SPF for everyone – it’s all down to personal preference. Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat before releasing that heat from your skin. Bask’s chemical Non-Aerosol Spray is an incredibly easy-to-use continuous spray for top-ups throughout the day – even over make-up. Totally clear, housed in fun, aesthetically pleasing packaging and smelling of piña coladas, it dries quickly, doesn’t irritate skin and despite its ‘chemical’ label, is totally vegan and reef-friendly. 

Though the wary might choose physical over chemical sunscreens with a view to keep oceans and bloodstreams clean, others might opt for chemical over physical for fear of blocking pores or exacerbating acne. This round-up of the latest SPFs eases all concerns with the best, skin-friendly formulas on the market – helping even the baffled make an informed decision.

Bask, Sunscreen Non-Aerosol Spray SPF 30

Making sun protection fun protection, this superfine, cooling, continuous mist comes encased in delightfully bright, pleasing and recyclable packaging. Plus, it doesn’t feel oily on the skin or rely on reef-damaging ingredients like oxybenzone or octinoxate.

EVY Technology, Daily Defense Face Mousse SPF 50

This formula primes make-up and won’t clog pores, working with the skin rather than on the skin by forming a protective osmotic membrane that doesn’t rub off – enhancing your skin’s natural defences and protecting it for up to six hours (even after sweating or towel-drying). 

Drunk Elephant, Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defence SPF 30

Free of the ‘Suspicious Six’ (essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, harmful chemical screens, fragrances/dyes and SLS), this physical SPF is perfect for sensitive holiday skin.

Ultra Violette, Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating SKINSCREEN

A moisturiser, SPF and primer all in one, this hydrating formula brightens with vitamin C and stimulates collagen production while shielding skin from infrared, visible and blue light – ideal for those with an unspeakable screen time total. 

Sisley, Super Soin Solaire Milky Body Mist Sun Care Spf 30 Pa+++

Like bathing in lavender-scented milk, this luxurious but light hydration-boosting formula uses vitamin E and edelweiss extract to guard skin from the likes of pollution – protecting cells from harmful UV rays and strengthening your skin barrier while moisturising with a cocktail of plant oils. 

Dior Bronze Beautifying Protective Milky Mist Sublime Glow SPF 50

A water resistant protection against free radicals, this continuous mist effortlessly covers all hard-to-reach areas with a ‘Tan Beautifier Complex’ to encourage an even, long-lasting, intense and natural-looking glow.

Dr. Barbara Sturm, Sun Drops 

Like a liquid sun umbrella with SPF 50, Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops slot easily into your existing routine. The lightweight and serum-like liquid can be mixed with a favourite moisturiser or used alone to kickstart cell regeneration and deflect the sun’s damaging rays.

Bamford, SPF 50 Sunscreen

Effortlessly melting into all skin types with a silky-matte finish and no chalky white cast, this lightweight milk boasts a healing, herbal scent and uses a complex of antioxidant golden seaweed and calming swiss pine extracts to protect skin against UVA and UVB rays. 

Nuxe, Bronzing Oil High Protection SPF 30

With an evocative and summery scent of sweet orange, gardenia and vanilla, this dry oil instantly softens and soothes skin while nourishing and enhancing one’s tan with a delicious, satin-like finish.