Dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts always recommend a daily dose of sunscreen but you'd be forgiven for ditching it from your morning beauty routine. It wouldn't be wrong to say that up until recently, SPF formulas have been less than ideal. Whether you opt for high end or high street, it has been difficult to find products which aren't gloopy or greasy and don't make your eyes sting or leave behind an ashy, white cast on darker skin. Sure, sunscreen is there to protect you, but that doesn't mean you should have to compromise.
Why should you wear SPF during the day?
While the UK is slowly coming round to the idea of wearing SPF throughout the year to shield skin from cancer-causing UVA rays and to prevent common skin gripes like dark spots and fine lines, it's fair to say that Australian skincare obsessives know more than a thing or two about the must-have skincare product. After all, they get a considerable amount more sunshine than we do. So when Aussie sunscreen brand Ultra Violette landed at Space NK last month, the hype was justified. From the lightweight sunscreen serum to the hydrating facial cream, the products haven't been on site for very long but they've already racked up five-star reviews - and for good reason: they're like nothing skincare enthusiasts have tried before.
What is the best SPF for oily, combination and dry skin?
Gallery: 10 of the best sun creams for your the face, from just £8 (Prima (UK))
I'll start with the Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+, £36. A quick whip round friends, family and colleagues shows that plenty are unsure about SPF 50 (which is one of the highest factors and provides great protection) for fear of it appearing chalky or feeling heavy on the skin. That's what makes this serum completely different. It does require a quick shake but it's milky and fast-absorbing - rather than thick and difficult to rub in - and lends skin a lovely, dewy finish. It completely disappeared on my olive skin and the brand promises it is light enough not to leave behind a white cast yet still effective (and the reviews concur). It takes a two-pronged approach to tackling dark spots and hyperpigmentation with the addition of brightening vitamin C, so you don't have to layer any other serums underneath.
The serum has a slight rosy scent to it which does fade but if you prefer something fragrance-free, try the Clean Screen Sensitive Skinscreen SPF 30, £32, which has become my go-to (and I'm very fussy). This is a mineral sunscreen so it reflects UV rays away from the skin and the brand ensures it doesn't make skin white. Two or three pumps sinks in fast and the best thing about this is that it doesn't feel as though you're wearing anything at all. I apply it over moisturiser for an extra hydration boost but it's so quenching, you could use it alone. If you're prone to breakouts or excessively oily skin, you'll absolutely love this.
For those with drier skin, Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50+, £34, is the one. A star ingredient is glycerin, which attracts water to skin, making it soft, plump and moisturised for longer. Like the rest, it doesn't feel like your typical sunscreen - more like an everyday moisturiser - making it easy and enjoyable to use. The collection also features a hydrating lip balm in four shades (because your lips also need protecting from the sun), a mattifying mineral SPF for quelling shine and a hand and body sunscreen, too.
Do you need to reapply SPF?
According to Holly Thaggard, skincare expert and founder and CEO of Supergoop!, it's important to reapply sunscreen every two hours to maximise the benefits, especially on sunny days spent outside. However, I acknowledge that Ultra Violette might not be the most affordable sunscreen brand out there. TikTokers are raving about the budget-friendly Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Face Fluid, £11.98, and Eucerin Sun Oil Control Face Protection Sun Cream for Oily & Blemish Prone Skin SPF 50+, £16, available at Amazon and Boots. Dermatologists also recommend Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen SPF 50, £4.99, which is a total steal.
If you're wearing makeup or don't like the idea of applying sunscreen on the go with your hands, I'd recommend Garnier's Ambre Solaire Sensitive Face Sun Cream Mist SPF 50, £5.99. It's reasonably priced, available on the high street and makes topping up easy. Also try La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Invisible Mist SPF 50+, £13.99, another purse-friendly option that works a treat on all skin tones and types.
Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen - we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.