If there’s one beauty product I’ll happily invest in, it’s sun cream. Even when backpacking in Asia, staring hard into the face of 6 months of negative income, I splashed out on a stash of Institut Esthederm that probably wiped out a whole month’s food budget in Kerala. Like I said, I think it’s an investment.
You only get one skin after all, and as we beauty editors never tire of telling you, UV damage is the single biggest factor in the ageing process causing our collagen to breakdown, pigmentation marks, and wrinkles to develop. It’s a cold, hard fact.
That said, I do think a little sun is good for the soul. That’s why I’ve made it my mission in life to find the holy grail of sun creams that allows my fair, English skin to develop a moderate golden glow, instead of blocking it out with Geisha-style chalky zincs which, in my *humble opinion, only make it even more sensitive and prone to burning. A light tan is the skin’s natural sun defence, after all.
And, while these are not cheap, what you spend on preparing your skin before you go into the light you’ll save on a multitude of aftersuns and concealers to counteract the lobster effect afterwards (we’ve all been there). You’ll find nothing under the dermatologist-recommended SPF 30 here, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have an enviable tan come the end of the summer. If you can only find some sun, that is.
One of my all-time favourite sun cream lines, these French formulas are categorised by strength of sun, rather than traditional SPF ratings. Think of this like a daily anti-ageing moisturiser and you’ll feel less giddy about the £50+ price tag.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Dry Touch Gel SPF50+, £13.50 at Boots
I first discovered La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios range in an Italian supermarket and it remains a favourite. This new dry touch gel is especially good if you worry about looking greasy, while the tint gives a healthy does of colour which means you can skip your usual base.
Sisley suncare is just bloody brilliant. True, you might need to remortgage for a summer’s supply, but the texture, scent and efficacy never fail to impress. This new tinted face formula comes in a choice of four shades.
This feels more like a luxey body lotion than a sun cream. Enriched with hydrating hyaluronic acid, nourishing natural oils and algae extracts, you’ll never resent slathering this on before a day at the beach.
Developed by trusted derm Dr Marko Lens, this silky oil spray is light as a feather and contains some serious antioxidant protection. Plus it’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Natura Bisse C+C Oil-Free Macro Antioxidant Sun Protection SPF 30, £47 at Feelunique
Barcelona brand Natura Bisse make an excellent line in oil-free suncare because, well, the sun shines A LOT in Spain. This facial formula is ultra-light but in 3 days trekking in the Atlas mountains, I didn’t burn once.
*Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist