Sheer protection: The best sun creams for summer

Ellie Goodman

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27 July 2022

Stay shielded from harmful UV rays with these super-charged sun creams

27 July 2022 | Ellie Goodman | If you purchase something via our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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hether you’re off to Turkey or Torquay this summer, we all know how important it is to protect our skin from sun damage. Though many of us now incorporate a moisturising SPF into our daily skincare routine year-round, once temperatures begin to soar and we jet off to even sunnier climes, it’s even more vital to shield our skin from the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays.

Where once our grandparents would be satisfied with a quick coat of tanning oil (SPF8 anyone?) and a future spent looking like an old leather handbag, we’ve since been enlightened on the harmful effects of too much sun exposure (from premature ageing to skin cancer), and have dutifully taken to re-applying that factor 50 every two hours, like clockwork. And while there’s a comforting nostalgia to the chemically sweet smell of your mum’s best bottle of one-size-fits-all sunscreen, greasy formulas, sticky finishes and that streaky white skin leave a lot to be desired.

Thankfully, over the last few years, an increasing number of skincare brands have been working away to formulate the perfect SPF – getting rid of nasty chemicals and perfumes, and blending in nourishing skincare saviours like aloe vera, to help repair and rejuvenate skin while protecting it. Because no summer holiday would be complete without sun, sea and the scent of sun cream, here are a few of our favourites…

Chantecaille SeaScreen

Formulated with organic botanicals, Chantecaille’s reef-safe SeaScreen mist is as kind to skin as it is to Mother Earth. Infused with antioxidant-rich white tea and rosemary for added defence, and aloe vera, jojoba seed and coconut oil for supreme skin nourishment, this vegan sunscreen spray is free from any synthetic scents and colours, as well as zinc, sulphates, mineral oils and palm oil and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Chantecaille SeaScreen mineral broad spectrum sunscreen mist SPF30, £63, net-a-porter.com

 
 

Coola Suncare Organic Classic

Offering broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, this lightweight sunscreen spray also protects against free radicals with its plant protection formula, high in antioxidants. Blended with vitamins A and E, rejuvenating meadowfoam seed oil, nourishing safflower extract and buriti, this fast-absorbing, water-resistant spray is naturally fragranced with the refreshing scent of guava mango.

Coola Suncare Organic Classic SPF50 sunscreen spray, £25, selfridges.com

Davines SU protective sun cream

Davines’ sustainably produced SU Protective Cream is enriched with powerful antioxidants that fight against signs of photo-ageing while protecting your skin from harmful rays and dehydration with its creamy, easily-absorbed formula. Suitable for face and body, the waterproof SPF30 sunscreen contains Italian chinotto citrus extract sourced from Mr. Parodi's Slow Food Presidia in Savona – rich in anti-inflammatories and vitamin C, it’s also beneficial to environmental biodiversity.

Davines SU protective sun cream SPF30, £19, libertylondon.com

 
 

La Roche Posay Anthelios body milk

This non-greasy body milk from cult skincare brand La Roche Posay is formulated specifically for sun-sensitive skin and offers broad-spectrum, water-resistant protection. Its velvety, hypoallergenic formula is easy to apply and infused with thermal spring water for freshness and hydration.

La Roche Posay Anthelios body milk SPF30, £22, laroche-posay.co.uk

Shiseido Expert Sun Protector

If you’re looking for a lightweight yet strong SPF you can wear all day, look no further than Shiseido’s super-charged Expert Sun Protector. This invisible, fast-absorbing formula is blended with the brand’s proprietary HeatForce, WetForce and SuperVeil-UV 360 formulas, becoming stronger when exposed to heat, water and perspiration, rather than losing potency, meaning you can spend less time re-applying, and more time basking in the sun.

Shiseido Expert Sun Protector face and body lotion SPF50+, £34, harrods.com

 
 

Sisley Paris Super Soin Solaire Youth Protector

We all know overexposure to UV rays can cause premature signs of ageing, but Sisley’s SPF30 Youth Protector sunscreen is here to help. Suitable for all skin types and infused with hydrating shea oil and plant-based glycerin, this silky sun lotion helps to prevent the development of wrinkles, dark spots and loss of firmness for an even-looking, radiant tan.

Sisley Paris Super Soin Solaire Youth Protector body cream SPF30, £130, libertylondon.com

Susanne Kaufmann Body broad spectrum protection

Formulated with regenerative broccoli seed oil, tomato extracts and jojoba seed oil, this broad spectrum sunscreen works to repair damaged skin cells while protecting you from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Chock-full of antioxidants, the waterproof formula helps to defend your skin against harmful pollutants as it moisturises and fights premature signs of ageing.

Susanne Kaufmann Body broad spectrum protection sunscreen SPF25, £57, spacenk.com

 
 

Ultrasun Family sun cream

If your holiday plans involve chasing down children to make sure they’re sufficiently protected, plump for Ultrasun Family’s all-day formula. Free from perfumes and irritants, this soothing formula protects against UVA and UVB rays, while also helping to prevent prickly heat. With packaging designed to avoid any leaks, the non-greasy, water-resistant formula makes it ideal for those busy beach days when you just can’t get the rugrats to sit still.

Ultrasun Family SPF30, £20, spacenk.com

Ultra Violette Bod Brigade

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Not your run-of-the-mill sunscreen, Ultra Violette Bod Brigade is packed with powerful skincare ingredients, including Pentavitin for up to 72 hours of moisturisation, reparative aloe vera and vitamin E for free radical defense. Providing four hours of water-resistant protection, this lightweight formula leaves no trace of a white cast behind, leaving the skin with a shimmery, radiant finish and a subtle coconut scent.

Ultra Violette Bod Brigade SPF50+ sun cream, £50, spacenk.com

Read more: The best travel-size beauty, grooming and haircare sets for summer