My Guide: the Best SPF Products

In the last year my skincare has taken a nose dive. I went from spending an ungodly amount on wonder creams and serums, to not even applying moisturiser! CAN YOU IMAGINE?! This is what happened when I had a baby – (skin)hero to zero. I’d like to think that thanks to some post-birth black magic my skin didn’t need any outside help from a pot of moisturiser. But I think we all know I was kidding myself – in fact I probably needed wonder creams like never before to help combat the physical toll sleep deprivation has on a person (and their skin).

This week’s blog is a selfish attempt to get myself back on the skincare wagon, and I’m taking you all with me. And I’m starting with the most important – SUN CREAM. Long gone are the days when we were blissfully unaware of the damage done by not wearing sunscreen. I think that its safe to say I wasn’t the only one who’s parents would liberally apply factor 6 or 8 sun cream before allowing us to run around Spanish beaches all day long when we were little.

We’ve long known about the risk of skin cancer, but wearing SPF only when we go on holiday or for a cheeky sun bathe in the back garden isn’t enough. Sun exposure occurs even on cloudy days, so it is time if you aren’t already, to include SPF in your skincare routine EVERY DAY. Yep thats right – even in the depths of January when its raining all damn day and getting dark at 4pm.

According to research skin cancer cases are increasing faster than any other cancer in the UK, with figures doubling every 10-20 years. Exposure is also the leading cause of skin ageing, so if there’s one thing you can do to keep your boat race looking youthful then it’s wearing SPF. How many of you can actually say hand on heart, that you use SPF without fail every day? Wearing SPF does not stop you tanning. I repeat – SPF DOES NOT STOP YOU TANNING! Personally, I never use anything under an SPF30 on my body and SPF50 on my face & décolletage.

The environmental impact of sunscreen, though incredibly effective at keeping us protected from UV exposure, is shocking. Researchers recently concluded that chemicals found in all commercially available sunscreens, even those claiming to be “reef-safe”, pose serious threats to the environment, particularly coral reefs, and marine organisms.

Hawaii have recently passed a law banning the selling of certain chemical sunscreens that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, which have been found in high concentrations at coral reefs – and they’re not the only ones. Palau and Mexico have followed suit. These chemicals destroy the algae that lives on coral thereby harming the marine environment of the reefs and the surrounding wildlife. More and more people are looking to natural and organic sunscreens to counter these damaging side effects, not just for our own skin but for our oceans as well.

It’s become much easier to include sunscreen into our daily routines; there are so many fancy pants formulas with lush textures and not all of them will break the bank. Yet there are a few annoying features that comes with wearing SPF that put people off. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve gotten sore, stinging eyes due to sun cream getting into them. I don’t even know how it happens! Some kind of evil wizardry. Or you’re left with unmovable white smears (cheeky) all over your face. It is, I’m sure, one of the reasons I put off applying as often as I should during prolonged exposure. Hopefully, some of the products mentioned here will bring you some relief as well as being kinder to the planet. Two birds – one stone. Et Voila.


A non-greasy, non-nano Zinc Oxide sunscreen for sensitive skin that protects against UVA + UVB. Packed with skin boosting benefits, the formula is not greasy, leaves a slight matte finish and is so lightweight that it can be worn under makeup with ease. It is reef-friendly – comprised of zinc oxide that provides a shield from blue light and infra-red too. Wear rain or shine to protect against premature skin ageing without drying or causing breakouts. Suitable for sensitive skin and for daily use. Buy now £39, Pai


It comes as no surprise that clean skincare label Ren has a sun protection product that is free from any harsh or unwelcome ingredients. I’m a huge fan of Ren and have used their products for years so its no wonder they’ve made the list. The broad spectrum SPF 30 protects against UVA, UVB rays and blue light with a mattifying effect. Kind to your skin and the planet, it is crafted from recycled packaging (50 per cent for the tube and 100 per cent for the cap). It’s also vegan, cruelty and silicone-free. Buy now £33, John Lewis


A mash-up of green algae extract to protect skin from environmental damage, coconut extracts and vitamin E to nourish and soothe skin, and aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to hydrate. Free from oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene, this sun lotion from British brand Tropic skincare is actually a mix of chemical and mineral filters. A consistency that’s not too runny, this SPF is hydrating and smooth with no trace of greasiness, chalky residue or a white cast. It comes in either SPF30 or SPF50. Tropic Skincare also operates a refill return scheme. Buy now £28, Tropic


I LOVE this SPF. Delivering very high sun protection plus moisturising and anti-ageing care, the water-resistant face cream can be used in place of your daily moisturiser to provide high and long-lasting protection in just one application. Goes on well and doesn’t leave any trace of oil or sheen. Swiss brand Ultrasun, a well-known and trusted name in the sun care category, was last year named the world’s first completely ocean-friendly sunscreen after receiving the BASF EcoSun Pass (a credential that measures the environmental impact of formulas beyond their “reef-friendly” claims). Ultrasun is the only SPF brand to have received this accolade. Buy now £18, LOOKFANTASTIC


This high-factor, zinc-only sunscreen helps to protect the skin from photo-ageing UVA and UVB rays without leaving behind any sticky, chalky residue and white cast generally associated with using a physical sunscreen. Lean Screen’s gentle, fragrance-free formula and subtle matte finish make it an ideal choice for sensitive, reactive or oily skin. Buy now £34, Space NK


Arguably producers of the most incredible-smelling sun creams out there, Hawaiin Tropic has launched a new range of mineral sun milks that shun oxybenzone and octinoxate in a bid to make them reef-friendly. Coming in packaging that is made using 25 per cent recyclable materials, it’s also vegan-friendly and the brand is certified by Peta, meaning no ingredients, formulas or finished products are tested on animals, while 100 per cent mineral actives provide UVA and UVB protection with no chemical filters or parabens. Buy now £8, Boots

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