Best sun cream 2021: SPF to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays

Suncare doesn't have to be a chore with this selection of best sunscreens

Best sun cream

We're now in the depths of summer and we need to up our sun protection game, because, if Love Island has taught us anything, it’s that the sunburnt look doesn’t get the girl. 

Second to your passport and suitcase, the best sun cream is the most important item to pack for your holiday and whilst it feels like an expenditure you begrudge making, it’s the only way to make sure you come back with a healthy glow as opposed to a flaky crisp. 

It's also important to remember sun cream is a necessity all year round (yes, even during the colder seasons) the hotter months require greater diligence and protection. 

Neglect will eventually reveal itself in the form of dark spots, deep wrinkles and permanent sun damage, which isn’t a big sell for anyone. 

So, sun cream isn't something you want to skimp on, particularly if you've got sensitive skin. You want to ensure it offers protection from both UVA (ageing) and UVB (burning) rays. 

Lucky for you (and for us) the weather has been glorious in Britain so we’ve had the perfect opportunity to put a host of sun care products through their paces. 

We’ve pinned down Eucerin’s sunscreen as the best for the summer along with a host of other sunscreens that get our approval!

Suncream 101

Unfortunately, not all sun creams are created equal, not all contain both UVA and UVB protection, which are two separate forms of damaging ultraviolet rays. 

The best way to remember it is that A is for ageing (the UV rays that permanently damage your skin cells) and B is for burning (the radiation that causes sunburn and sun damage). So SPF (sun protection factor)  works to protect against both.

Eucerin Medical Manager, Dylan Griffiths, explains;

"To help you understand a bit better, if you start getting sunburned after five minutes in the sun without any sunscreen, applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 would protect you for 30 times five minutes (or 150 minutes) before you begin to burn. A high SPF extends the amount of time you can spend in the sun while protecting your skin."

The benchmark number when shopping for suncream is to remember that a 200ml bottle should be enough for a week in the sun, but if you're planning to be in the water constantly, you'll want more. If we're going to be really sensible, we'd even suggest you top up with a stronger factor at the hottest part of the day. 

Don’t think you can get away with digging out an old suncream you used on holiday over a year ago; sun cream goes off after 12 months.

How to choose the best sun cream for you

Keep your eyes peeled for the legitimacy of your sun protection. We commonly see a star rating of one to five, reflecting the level of UVA protection offered by that product. 

You may also be familiar with an encircled ‘UVA’ sign, which confirms the product has a minimum of one third of the  UVA SPF value in keeping with the EU law. 

Shop for broad spectrum protection in a product that offers both UVA and UVB protection - you’ll still be able to get that glorious tan without the risky side effects. 

We’ve spritzed and sunned our way through a number of sun creams to give you this definitive list of the best on the market. No need to thank us.

Best sun cream: Eucerin Dry Touch Suncream Spray for Sensitive Skin SPF 50

1. Eucerin Dry Touch Suncream Spray for Sensitive Skin SPF 50

The best sun cream you can get, with an excellent mist applicator

Reasons to buy
+Fast drying+Not sticky+Mist nozzle+Excellent protection
Reasons to avoid

As an already well-established skincare brand, Eucerin's factor 50 offers flawless protection with no pitfalls. Fast-drying, non-sticky and so easy to apply thanks to the fine mist nozzle, this spray is great for blemish-prone skin and suitable for all skin types. 

Applying suncream need no longer be laborious thanks to this easy applicator, which works at all angles and means you can get to hard to reach areas. What's better, you can apply on someone else's back without having to touch them!

Best sun cream: Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Water Clear Sun Cream Mist SPF30

2. Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Water Clear Sun Cream Mist SPF30

This sun cream comes with a innovate spray applicator

Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+Great applicator+Light
Reasons to avoid

Whilst we're raving about sun cream with excellent applicators, this one from Garnier has upped the ante. A great spray offering high coverage with easy application and a slight cooling effect. 

The fine mist makes application easier and the sun cream itself is weightless and not sticky, plus I found it didn't become blocked from the sun cream, unlike other classic spray bottles. Formulated with Aloe Vera this fine mist hydrates without being heavy and offers both UVA and UVB protection.

Best sun cream: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Body Mist SPF50+

3. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Body Mist SPF50+

An excellent sun cream for sensitive skin

Reasons to buy
+Smells good+Dry mist application+Good for sensitive skin+Water resistant

Again, you're in safe hands with La Roche-Posay, a skincare brand with excellent products for sensitive skin. There's barely a trace of this SPF after application, as it's a dry mist. A great everyday sun cream. It smells good and feels good and it's particularly good for those who suffer from prickly heat. Again, we're fond of the easy mist application but this one's also water-resistant. 

Best sun cream: Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid SPF 30

4. Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid SPF 30

This sun cream is a brilliant affordable option

Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Lightweight+Not sticky
Reasons to avoid
-Nozzle can get messy

This household suncream brand continues to release quality sun-care products at affordable prices. This creamy sun cream is incredibly lightweight with no sticky residue. It soaks in quickly and has little to no scent. However, the twist nozzle can get a little messy and it takes a fair amount of cream for sufficient coverage.

Best sun cream: Eucerin Sensitive Protect SPF50

5. Eucerin Sensitive Protect SPF50

This sun screen is great for sensitive skin and is water resistant

Reasons to buy
+High-level protection+Water resistant+Good for sensitive skin 

We find it hard to fault Eucerin’s Sensitive Protect as it is an all-round winner. A transparent spray with presence of alcohol makes it extremely quick-drying, non-greasy and non-sticky. We were impressed with how it felt and smelled, and coming from a dermatological skincare brand we trust when they say it’s ideal for sensitive skin. 

Best sun cream: Bioderma Photoderm Bronz SPF30

6. Bioderma Photoderm Bronz SPF30

This sun cream offers maximum protect and smells great

Reasons to buy
+Smells great+Easy spray application +Non-greasy 
Reasons to avoid
-Contains fragrance

Bioderma’s Photoderm Bronze sun protection is nothing short of fantastic. It leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, and you have the assurance of knowing you have both UVA/UVB protection. Formulated with a multitude of filters it also helps enhance your natural tan and is ideal for sensitive skin- double whammy! 

Best sun cream: Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh SPF20

7. Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh SPF20

This spray mist makes for easy and non-greasy application

Reasons to buy
+Convenient spray/ mist application+Water resistant 
Reasons to avoid
-Only 3 star UVA protection-Be wary of even application

We’re all about convenience and this spray mist makes for easy, non-greasy application and it’s miles better for reaching those hard-to-reach areas. A classic brand and a fail-safe option, Protect & Refresh is cooling on application, transparent and super fast absorbing. This spray bottle makes for easy application, it offers broad spectrum protection and is water resistant. 

Best sun cream: Hawaiian tropic Silk Hydration

8. Hawaiian tropic Silk Hydration

The creamy texture leaves skin feeling soft and supple

Reasons to buy
+Very subtle scent+Fast absorbing 
Reasons to avoid
-Low level water resistance 

Bringing a touch of the tropical islands to you in bottle form, Hawaiian is brand developed with the hottest temperatures in mind. Just the right consistency, it’s creamy texture leaves skin feeling soft and supple for up to 12 hours (just what you need in ho, drying temperatures) whilst providing broad spectrum protection. However, we do recommend you stay vigilant and reapply after swimming/ excessive sweating.

Best sun cream: Piz Buin Allergy SPF50+

9. Piz Buin Allergy SPF50+

This sun cream is ideal for sensitive skin

Reasons to buy
+Ideal for sun sensitive skin+Sweat and water resistance 
Reasons to avoid
-Tacky texture-Slightly watery texture 

Piz Buin is a classic and one to certainly spark nostalgia. Years of perfecting their sun care means you’ve got a credible product that offers everything from comprehensive protection, hydration and a unique anti-irritant shield called Calmanelle for sun sensitive skin. What’s more, it offers both UVA/UVB protection. Bonus!

Best sun cream: Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced SPF50+

10. Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced SPF50+

We love this non-greasy, fast adsorbing sun cream

Reasons to buy
+Good for sensitive skin+Easy application +High level protection 
Reasons to avoid
-You need to be wary of even application

This sensitive mist sunscreen is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free with the comprehensive protection of SPF50; a dream combination for those with sensitive skin. We found it to be non-greasy and fast absorbing, though you have to be diligent with a fine mist to ensure you haven’t missed any corners. 

Best sun cream: This Works In transit skin defence

11. This Works In transit skin defence

This sun cream is ideal for travelling with

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight +Multiple skincare benefits +High level protection for face
Reasons to avoid
-A face product only -Slightly tacky 

A This Works creation to preserve and protect your good looks - who could say no? The SPF45 face protection will keep damaging UV rays from penetrating your skin whilst throwing in some nourishing and anti-ageing benefits for good measure.

Best sun cream: Bondi Sands Sunscreen lotion SPF30

12. Bondi Sands Sunscreen lotion SPF30

This sun cream smells great

Reasons to buy
+Broad spectrum protection+Smells great! 

It smells amazing enough to transport you to a tropical island and offers SPF30 protection with 2 hours of water resistant protection. Medium consistency, hydrating with broad spectrum protection. 

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