best sun creams

Sheer protection: The best sun creams for summer

08 May 2024 | |By Luxury London

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

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Whether 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 invest in one of the best sun creams 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.

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Coola Suncare Organic Classic Sunscreen Spray

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.

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Institut Esthederm Sun Intolerance Protective Body Spray

Institut Esthederm’s Sun Intolerance Protective body spray is enriched with powerful active ignredients 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, this clever formula can actually be applied up to two weeks before a holiday or the start of summer to help skin build up tolerance to the sun’s rays ahead of exposure.

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF30 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.

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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.

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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.

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Omorovicza Mineral UV Shield SPF30

Formulated with mineral including sinc and titanium dioxide, this broad spectrum sunscreen avoids the use of harmful chemicals while protecting you from UVA and UVB rays. The light-reflecting mineral formula also has a blurring effect on the skin leaving an even, matte tone.

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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.

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Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hydrating Skinscreen

Not your run-of-the-mill sunscreen, Ultra Violette’s Extreme Screen is packed with powerful skincare ingredients, including pentavitin, for up to 72 hours of moisturisation, and vitamin E for free radical defence. 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.

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