The one piece of advice that every dermatologist and facialist agrees on is that we should all be wearing SPF protection every day, all year round. Yep, even when it’s cloudy, or when we’re indoors (the UV can get you through the windows, don’t you know?). This is also the single, most boring piece of skincare advice ever doled out. Preventative, perfunctory skincare doesn’t exactly have the same appeal as a whizzy exfoliant or a peel-off mask, does it? And, perversely, the sunscreen message is repeated so often – like background noise – we have learnt to largely ignore it.
But, honestly, honestly, honestly – wearing sunscreen is absolutely vital if not looking like a leather handbag is your wish. Cumulative sun damage shows up as dark spots, an uneven complexion, loss of tone (UVA rays degrade collagen and elastin fibres that hold our faces up) and fine lines. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Think of it like this: that all-singing wonder serum you have your eye on can never come close to the benefits of shielding your skin from UVA. And yet, somehow, adding this extra step outside of a holiday, or very sunny day at home, does feel a stretch – in part because it’s one more thing to think about, and also because, traditionally, SPF leaves a chalky residue, or feels greasy and cloying on your skin. And who wants to navigate daily life with a layer of sheen on their face for all and sundry to cling to? Not me.
The good news is that the formulas for everyday use – we’re not talking thicker, made-for-holiday versions – have improved vastly in recent years. They are designed for city use, so they mattify, illuminate and prime with silky textures that melt into the skin. Many even feel like delicious, indulgent skincare, so really there is no excuse not to wear one. Here is my pick of the best around.
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. This non-chemical sunscreen formula won’t aggravate acne and is kind to sensitive skin. It glides on gorgeously and then sinks in, so you don’t even know you have it on.
This is a tinted colour-adapting formula that mixes a high broad-spectrum sunscreen with skin-brightening ingredients, including vitamin C. It has a radiant finish, which works well alone or as a primer for foundation.
On first pump, this product feels like it will swill around on your skin and be completely disgusting. However, it serves to not judge on first impressions, because it actually melts into your skin after just a few moments, offering full protection from rays and taking with it visible pores and fine lines.
Seriously fun to use – just shake and mist. Ideal for portable mid-day reapplication on top of carefully applied make-up when you don’t want to smudge your good work. The finish is lightly sheeny, in an I-look-terribly-healthy-and-