The search for good SPF products gets easier every year. Traditional take-to-the-beach sun creams get less greasy, even at higher factors, and consumer demand – along with industry-leading companies such as Black Girl Sunscreen – is forcing brands to rethink those ghostly formulas that leave an ashy veil on the skin.

Screen time

Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF30, £18.99
Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF30, £18.99
Vichy Capital Soleil UV Age Daily SPF50, £21
Vichy Capital Soleil UV Age Daily SPF50, £21
Hermès Plein Air SPF30 tinted complexion balm, £65
Hermès Plein Air SPF30 tinted complexion balm, £65
Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising sun serum SPF50+, £36
Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising sun serum SPF50+, £36
Sisley All Day All Year Cream, £304
Sisley All Day All Year Cream, £304
Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Poreless Primer SPF50, £40
Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Poreless Primer SPF50, £40
La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+, £18
La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+, £18
Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Mineral Milk SPF30
Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Mineral Milk SPF30

As a recap: dermatologists recommend applying SPF30 as a minimum. Whether you use sun blocks that are chemical (usually more water-resistant and sweat-proof) or physical (made from minerals, so more natural, but can be heavier) or a combination of the two, is down to choice. And most of us need to apply more than we think: TikTok is filled with demonstrations of the “two-finger” technique – squeezing sunscreen along the edge of, yes, two fingers in order to dispense an adequate amount for the face and neck. (Most people use far too little, so don’t necessarily achieve the level of protection stated on the bottle.) 

This year, the line between skincare and sun cream grows ever blurrier. Sisley has reworked its excellent All Day All Year facial skin protector that includes SPF15, which it believes is the right amount because the formula is bolstered by active ingredients that stimulate the skin’s natural defences. “SPF is only one part of a complex formula,” it says.

There are a host of new make-up products with sun protection too, including Hermès’ Plein Air tinted Complexion Balm, which has broad-spectrum SPF and feels like silk, “clean” beauty brand Saie’s lovely Slip Tint SPF35 and Charlotte Tilbury’s hybrid make-up primer with SPF50. Don’t miss the forgotten bits, with Supergoop!’s Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF35 for exposed areas on the scalp and Ultra Violette’s Sheen Screen SPF50 lip balm; a great lip gloss that has high sun factors too.

If you’d rather opt for one of the French pharmacy brands, Vichy’s Capital Soleil UV Age Daily SPF50 is one of the best new sunscreens: it has the texture of a light facial moisturiser and is full of skincare actives like peptides, vitamin E and niacinamide, but it sits in the brand’s suncare line so SPF is a priority, rather than an afterthought. 

Other excellent launches include Biotherm’s Waterlover Face Sunscreen SPF50, which gets extra marks for its paper tube, and La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid, which is making a splash with a 25-patents-pending formula that claims to be the most efficient sun protection against UV rays that penetrate deepest into the skin. 

And winning marks for elevating what can otherwise be a pretty boring experience: Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ Luminising serum, which is loaded with skincare extras and has a lovely floral scent; Summer Fridays’ ShadeDrops Mineral Milk SPF30, which is off-white so as not to leave a cast; and French brand Typology’s chic sun creams in SPF30 and SPF50 options for face and body. 

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