Summer is here, which equals sunshine (hopefully) and therefore SPF. I know I often sound like the SPF police, but it really is my one must-have summer item. Not only does it stop you burning, but it helps to prevent sun damage and early wrinkles, so really there’s no excuse to not wear it (even if you’re not pale as a ghost like me).
I tend to last about 10 minutes in the sun before I start resembling a lobster, so usually stick to a high factor in summer, which used to mean white, sticky lotions that took forever to sink in. I’ve been testing out a range of SPFs for your body (post on facial SPFs coming soon) that cover all budgets, and was quite surprised at the results.
Lacura Oil Spray SPF15 £2.99* – considering this retails around the £3 mark, I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a lot. Boy, was I wrong. The texture is extremely light and almost disappears into skin, leaving behind no sticky residue, just a very slight ‘sun lotion’ scent. If they made this in a higher factor, I would be buying up all the bottles at my local Aldi store, but sadly they don’t, so this will be staying with me for mildly sunny days and also by my sun loving boyfriend (who only has to look at the sun to go brown) for his cycling trips.
Lacura Moisturising Sun Spray SPF30 £2.79* – another Aldi special, this offers a higher factor, but with a different formula. While this is a more traditional white liquid with a spritz nozzle, this also sinks in very well to skin and doesn’t feel at all sticky. If you’re planning a beach holiday, then this would be a great budget option, as when it’s this cheap, you don’t need to worry about needing to reapplying every hour or two. All of Aldi’s SPFs offer 5* UVA and UVB protection, which means you’re well protected from both types of rays. I tested this on one arm and a pricier brand on the other and honestly couldn’t tell the difference once they had both sunk in.
Soltan Dry Touch SPF15 £12* – Dry feeling SPFs seem to be the big thing at the moment – no-one wants to walk around feeling sticky all day, do they! Boot’s Soltan works very well and definitely lives up to its name. I applied liberally and rubbed in and was ready to get dressed in no time at all. This would be great for sandy beach lovers as it should mean you don’t end up with loads of sand stuck to your lotion at the end of the day! They also do a factor 30 and a 50 which would be my choice, as 15 is too low for my skin.
Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF30 £16* – Aerosol mist SPFs are also having a bit of a heyday at the moment and I have to say, are probably my favourite way to apply sun lotion. You need to shake the can very well before applying, and make sure you’re actually hitting your skin, not just spraying into the air around you – that won’t do you many favours! This is quite a pricey way to use sun lotion as you get through it quite quickly, but it makes getting tricky areas like your back so much easier, especially if you don’t have someone on hand to rub it in for you. Because it does work out more expensive, this would be my top choice for use at home on sunny days, or for city breaks where you won’t be washing it off in a pool all the time.
Dermalogica Sport SPF50 £29.99* – designed to be really long-lasting and water-resistant, this SPF50 gets a thumbs up from me. Despite the high factor, it’s not heavy and won’t leave your skin feeling really sticky. It’s also been created so you can use it on both your face and your body, so if you’re trying to travel light, this is a great choice for you. The price is quite high – but it’s another good choice for sunny UK days, sports or if you want something water resistant.
Top tips for applying SPF:
- Be generous – most of us greatly under estimate the amount of SPF we really need to give adequate protection. In order to achieve the factor stated on the bottle, aim to use about two tablespoons worth for your face and body
- Throw it out – old sun lotion degrades meaning the protection level drops. Throw out last year’s sunscreen and get new stuff – it doesn’t have to be pricey.
- Re-apply regularly – and do it more often if you’re in the water, towelling off or sweating a lot.
- Don’t forget sensitive areas – ears, your parting/scalp and feet often get forgotten and a burnt head is not fun; trust me. If you can’t reach everywhere, get someone else to help.
- Apply before you go outside! The best bet is about 15-30 minutes before you step foot in the sun. Many lotions need time to be absorbed into skin in order to give full protection. Don’t wait until you’re outside ready to sunbathe before you apply – do it in the morning before you get dressed.
What's your favourite way to stay safe in the sun?