Friday, 26 July 2013

today i love... sunscreen

We may be over the peak of our heatwave now (I know I shouldn't say it, but... phew!), but that doesn't mean that sun protection is any less important. In fact, I think that wherever you live and however old you are, you should at least be wearing a facial sunscreen every day. Up until recently I'd only been wearing SPF15 in winter and 30 in summer, but having lately become slightly obsessed with beating the first signs of ageing, I'm now graduating to SPF50 all day every day (I've heard this one is good). This may make me sound old, but I can't tell you how much it annoys me to hear/read about young girls forsaking sunscreen altogether so that they can get a deeper tan. Or, even worse, going on sunbeds. I mean, how stupid can you be? Ageing is one thing, but skin cancer's quite another matter. Anyway, enough of the lecture. I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted with you lovely readers. What I would like to do is share 5 of my favourite sunscreens. I've tried out quite a few lately and the above have all got my vote for one reason or another. To be honest, they all do what they say on the tin, so what I'm really marking them on is scent, ease of application and packaging. Have fun in the sun, and stay safe, kids.

It's worth pointing out first of all that this has a 3* UVA rating out of a maximum 5, so keep this one for touch-ups on the beach only. That said, it is great for exactly that purpose: it sprays straight onto wet skin, meaning minimal faff with the towel = minimal sand grains everywhere. It gives limbs a sensual sheen and smells exactly as you'd expect: the standard sunscreen scent, only somehow more grown-up and classier.

2. APIVITA sunscreen face & body milk SPF30 / £18.80 at Marks & Spencer
I've raved about my newfound love of this brand before, and this extends to their sunscreen, which is suitable for both face and body. (Has to be said I'm not sure on the UVA star rating, so might be worth double-checking this before you buy). The texture is quite creamy, so it does need some rubbing in, but at least this means you can see where you've put it; I often find it a little too easy to forget which bits you've already done with an invisible spray. Smells lovely, somehow like a good old-fashioned sunscreen should smell. Beware of getting it too close to white clothes, though: its yellowish colour will stain (although it comes out with good old Vanish).

This has some very bad reviews on Boots' website, which surprises me, because I used it throughout my three-week trip to Australia and had no problems. I bought it mainly because I was travelling alone and worried that I might not feel comfortable asking people I didn't know that well to rub cream into my back. The aerosol nozzle means you can spray at any angle = back done with minimal effort. The can runs out fairly quickly, but it's nice and cheap, so that's not too much of a problem. It also comes with a 5 star UVA rating and leaves a lovely oily sheen on skin.

This sunscreen is infused with shimmering pearl particles, the idea being that they'll catch the light and make you look slightly less pale. I've used this several times and I'm still undecided on how I feel about the shimmer effect. Initially, inside, your limbs look subtly pearly and I loved it. But later in the day I caught sight of my legs in the harsh sunlight and they just looked glittery: not ideal. So not for all over the body, really: maybe just shins and arms. But this sunscreen's saving grace is its scent: truly divine. Smells like a 5 star holiday in a bottle (that's the monoi oil, I believe). Worth using for the scent alone. 4 star UVA rated.

This one wins out mainly for the appearance (which is nicer in real life than in the photo). Love the retro packaging; love the two-tone ribbons of moisturising cream. Also smells utterly fantastic - of coconut and holidays and just pure escapism, and is a 4 star UVA rating. You might again risk staining clothes as it's not transparent, but I think it's worth the risk, especially at this pretty reasonable price.

And one to avoid... La Roche-Posay Anthelios for Face. So disappointed with this, as it's a lovely fluid texture, but it smells absolutely disgusting. Seriously. I had to wash it off. Steer clear at all costs.

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