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.
- Protect your eyes with the best sunglasses
- Check out the best sunscreen especially for your face
- Get summer ready with the best t-shirts for men
- Best SPF for dark skin
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.