Forget the gloopy, greasy sunscreens of yesteryear; it has never been easier to find a hard-working formula that you won’t bemoan applying. Just take it from Stylist’s beauty director…
The sun is finally starting to come out — hurrah! But at the risk of being a buzzkill, I’m here to remind you that, as always, sun cream is a total non-negotiable.
Whether you’re out and about for some outdoor socialising or you’ve moved your home office into your garden or onto your balcony, it’s important to protect your body (as well as your face) from the sun’s harmful rays. Well, that, and avoiding the sun when it’s at its strongest, and seeking shade as much of possible, of course.
But I get it: all sun cream feels gloopy, sticky, greasy and gross, right? Wrong. Over the years, I’ve made it my mission to hunt out non-greasy, non-sticky, hydrating formulas that protect the skin but are also — believe it or not — a joy to apply. Plus, not one of them will leave your limbs looking ashy, even if you have dark skin. So, I’m sorry, but there goes all your excuses.
These are the eight best sunscreen formulas I pack for everything from holidays to trips to my tiny inner-London balcony.
Best scented sunscreen
I love every Ultra Violette SPF product going, but this body sunscreen deserves a special shout out. Not only does it feel like a silky and hydrating body lotion, but it smells DIVINE – like coconuts and aloe vera. Plus, it contains the slightest bit of shimmer to make limbs look especially reflective in the summer sun.
Best non-greasy sunscreen
Hate heavy creams? I feel you. Vichy’s sunscreen comes in mist form, meaning you simply need to spritz limbs and pat it in to apply. There’s also hyaluronic acid in there, which hydrates as it protects. This has to be one of the most refreshing formulas out there, especially if you pop it in the fridge ten minutes before applying.
Best SPF mist
If laziness is the thing that gets in the way of you and militant SPF application, then try a sunscreen mist. This clever one by Garnier manages to deliver ample protection in a super light water-like veil. Plus, it won’t upset even the most irritable of skin types.
Best marine-safe sunscreen
Scientists estimate that up to 14,000 tons of suncream washes off our bodies and into the oceans every year. That’s why we’ve seen a recent turn towards mineral formulas that omit certain chemicals believed to bleach and damage coral. Green People’s sun care formula is 100% reef-safe, and although it is slightly heavier than other creams, it melds into skin without the need for furious rubbing. One for your next post-lockdown holiday…
Best sunscreen stick
Clarins’ twist-up SPF stick is so satisfyingly practical. Use it to top up areas from shoulders to foreheads, and it’s perfect for slipping in your bum bag ahead of a run to the park. Plus, the solid soap-textured formula is translucent, so won’t leave an ashy cast no matter what skin tone its applied to.
Best waterproof sunscreen
Usually, water rinses sun cream away, but Shiseido’s rather clever WetForce technology contains negative ionic bonds which bond with the positive ions in water to build an even stronger UV barrier. Basically, the more you sweat, the better it works. Of course, you still need to reapply every few hours, but the protection in this formula lasts much longer than most.
Best hydrating sunscreen
Not up for adding yet another step to an already laborious routine? I feel you. Simply choose an SPF that does the work of your body lotion too. Sunscreen oils are ideal for this, especially La Roche-Posay’s formula which — before you ask — isn’t even a tiny bit greasy, as it sinks in so fast. As well as protecting skin, it lends a rather delightful sheen to the fronts of shins.
Best sunscreen for workouts
If you plan on exercising in the summer sun, then you’ll need a sunscreen that is sturdy enough to stay put, even when faced with extra sweat and rubbing up against your clothes. For that, I love Lancaster’s cooling mist. The sweat- and waterproof mist is completely clear so you can spritz on and pretty much head out the door, save for a little gentle patting and buffing.
Images: Peopleimages/ Getty / courtesy of brands