I think that most of us are now pretty clued up about the fact that sunscreen needs to be a mandatory part of our beauty routines. We’ve long known about the risk of skin cancer but sun exposure is also the leading cause of skin ageing. So if there’s one singular thing we can do to keep skin looking youthful then it’s – drumroll – wearing SPF.
It’s becoming less of a hardship to incorporate sunscreen into a morning routine; there are so many sophisticated formulas with beautiful textures and not all of them cost the earth. Yet there are a few persistent problems with SPF that put people off time and time again. I thought I’d address them one by one and give a few sunscreen recommendations and usage tips. Hopefully, if you find sunscreens problematic, this will bring you some relief.
SPF Problem: Sunscreen Stinging My Eyes
Sunscreen stinging your eyes is a common problem and one experienced nearly every day in my household because my husband insists on applying his SPF by putting it in the palms of his hands, slapping them together like a wrestler going in for the kill and then enthusiastically – some might say violently – rubbing the lotion all over his face, including over his closed eyelids. He then goes outside to do an energetic domestic/light industrial task, such as chainsawing down a dead tree or drilling a hole in the side of the house, and inevitably sweats. Then come the bitter tears of sunscreen-sting.
How can you avoid sunscreen stinging your eyes? Firstly, find a formula that has been specifically formulated to avoid the sting. Mineral sunscreens are a great bet here because they don’t contain the chemical filters that tend to be the culprit for eye-stinging and also from my experience have a more matte finish that’s less likely to melt and move on the skin.
Try Ultra Violette’s Lean Screen SPF50 (at Space NK here*) is a gorgeous high protection sunscreen with a matte finish – absolutely no eye problems with this one! For a cheaper mineral SPF take a look at Hawaiian Tropic’s SPF30 Skin Milk mineral sunscreen – it’s really lightweight and costs about a tenner for a whopping 150ml. You can find it online here*, it’s a great value option.
If you prefer a sunscreen with chemical filters then I’ve tried a lot and can say that Anthelios Ultra with Sensitive Eyes Innovation (online here*) categorically does not sting mine. Maybe its the aforementioned “Sensitive Eyes Innovation”, which locks the oils in the formula into micro-crystals to stop them migrating eyewards. Great as a daily SPF, it’s very moisturising and made for sensitive skin.
You can also try a stick sunscreen (I really like the one from Sun Bum here*) so that you can apply in a more targeted manner, but I find that one of the most helpful tricks is to very lightly powder on top of your sunscreen around the eye area with your normal translucent setting powder. (Max Factor’s Creme Puff* is one of the oldest and still one of the best – it’s also really cheap!)
Just that light dusting of powder can sometimes be enough to stop an oilier sunscreen formula from creeping into the eyes and making them feel as though they’ve been mercilessly set on fire then repeatedly doused with vinegar.
Any other tips for sunscreen application to avoid stinging? Let me know in the comments below. Here’s a little video that basically says everything I’ve mentioned above. Trying to cater for all media-usage tastes, here…
I’ve been sunscreen testing again and these are my current five SPF favourites. I’m pretty picky when it comes to sunscreen for the face – I like a lightweight feel and a traceless finish – but thankfully formulations have improved massively over the past few years and there are so many excellent versions to choose from.
I’m a big fan of the high protection lightweight SPF fluids such as Anthelios from La Roche-Posay (you can find the incredible new UVMune 400 Fluid online here*), Beauty Pie Featherlight UV (£12.50 to members here* – use affiliate code RUTHSENTME for money off membership if you’re a new sign-up) and Bondi Sands Hydra SPF50+ (online here*); but my current favourites all have a really fresh, gel-like feel on application. Almost cooling. I also think that I keep coming back to them again and again because I don’t really need to use a moisturiser underneath them, which is actually something I forgot to mention in the video below. They’re all intensely hydrating and sit well directly beneath makeup and won’t leave a white cast on the skin.
A quick note on SPF: three of my favourites are SPF30, which offer less protection than SPF50. I realise that for some that might be a dealbreaker, but when it comes to sunscreen, especially for the face, I think it’s important to find a texture that you enjoy applying and that works well within your routine and lifestyle. If you absolutely detest your sun protection and dread applying it then you’re a) probably not going to apply enough to reach the stated protection and b) possibly going to skip applications when you’re feeling lazy. Find an SPF for the face that you love and it just becomes part of your morning beauty line-up. If it’s an SPF50 then all the better.
Let’s get cracking with the “best sunscreens for face if you hate using sunscreens on your face” feature.
Skin Generics Niacinamide + Osmo City SPF30, £32.95 at Superdrug*
This is the most weightless facial SPF I’ve ever tried. It really feels just like water jelly. It’s lighter even than something like Clinique’s Moisture Surge. Completely disappears on the skin. Feels satisfyingly cool on a hot day. It is quite heavily fragranced and comes in a glass jar – which isn’t ideal for travelling – but the texture is simply supreme.
Murad Essential-C Day Moisture SPF30, currently £51 instead of £60 at FeelUnique*
If you’re after the same fresh feel but more of a comforting cream than a gel texture then Murad’s Day Moisture is just beautiful. For me it’s the ideal daily-use day cream: sophisticated moisturisation and antioxidant protection with a broad spectrum SPF30. This is also perfumed but smells slightly orangey and optimistic. It’s more expensive than the rest of the facial sunscreens on this page but it’s Murad, so I always feel I’m getting the appropriate results for the extra spend. The formulation is beautiful – deeply hydrating but no grease left on the skin.
La Roche-Posay HyaluB5 Aquagel SPF30, currently on sale (£25 instead of £34.50) at FeelUnique*
The gel-lest feeling gel SPF after Skin Generics, La Roche-Posay’s HyaluB5 is also delightfully cool on application but has a twist to the tale: as you glide it over the skin it becomes a sort of gel-gloss with long-lasting hydration that feels somehow sealed in. For those with dehydrated skin it’s an absolute dream. If I was very oily then I’d probably go for the Skin Generics just because it feels so fresh and weightless but the Hyalu pips it to the post in terms of packaging. Much more convenient in a pump!
Paula’s Choice Youth Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid, £35 but in the sale at Paula’s Choice here*
This brilliant SPF50 from Paula’s Choice might just be my new favourite overall sunscreen for the face. It’s as light and fresh to apply as the Murad but has the benefit of higher protection. (It’s also half the price.) No residue after application yet it manages to feel very moisturising and sits quietly underneath any makeup you decide to plonk on top. It’s just such a good all-rounder. Expect to hear more on this one.
Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50, £34 at SpaceNK*
This SPF from Australian Brand Ultra Violette has been “trending” which means, apparently, that lots of people are talking about it. For good reason: it offers very high protection in a formula that goes on like silk and then completely disappears. Australians do sunscreen like nobody else, you’re almost guaranteed to get a well though-out formula and this is no exception. It has perhaps slightly more sheen than the others at first but quickly dries to a satin finish. I’d say it’s very slightly suited to drier skin rather than oily but Ultra Violette also do a mattifying version that’s mineral* (there’s is zinc-only) if you prefer a physical sunblock.
Do you have any favourite sunscreens for the face you’d like to suggest I try? Let me know in the comments, please. I’ve found some excellent products through the comment section here on the blog!
A while ago I wrote about three of the best SOS moisturiser creams I’d been trying (pictured above). These were soothing, repairing moisturisers that I’d tested out in an attempt to get my skin back on an even keel. (You can read the post here – that particular ailment episode seems a million years ago now, what with constant school bugs and colds and viruses!)
Two of the SOS repair creams I recommended in the previous round-up were on the pricier side and I promised to take a look at some more keenly priced versions. Here I have three of the best inexpensive face creams for rescuing skin that’s dry and sensitive – whether it’s down to changes in the weather or overly-enthusiastic application of skin peels and retinoids.
Signs that your skin might need a bit of extra TLC? It feels tighter than usual, dryer than usual and has perhaps started to itch or to flake. You might see some redness or it might just be that it feels rough and irritated. Sometimes mine feels as though there are tiny annoying hairs stuck to it; quite a lot of the time it’s because my cat has walked over and rubbed his tail all over my face, but now and then, when on close inspection I see there’s nothing there, I know that my skin is in an angsty mood.
I have a bit more info on what I do in times of facial hardship in this skin routine post here – mainly involving “keeping things simple” and “avoiding strong exfoliating ingredients” but I do find that a week or so using potent skin barrier creams in place of my usual moisturisers works a treat.
And so, my top three beauty buys: (more) affordable SOS moisture creams. The first two are ceramide heavy (ceramides are the fatty acids that essentially make up the outer layers of skin, helping to form a nice strong barrier against the outside world) and the third takes a slightly different route to skin nirvana but all apply beautifully are deeply moisturising and have a non-greasy finish.
Curel Intensive Moisture Facial Cream, £19.50 here*. This cream with lightweight texture, but a deeply nourishing action is heaven in a pot. I have nothing bad to say about it. Dreamily fresh and cool to apply but with a surprising richness as it’s massaged in, it is an excellent all-rounder for those who want a face cream with added repair benefits. Brilliant for very dry, very sensitive skin, but it’s not at all greasy so those with combination skin will also find it pretty comfortable.
Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream, £30 here*. Slightly pricier but still offering exceptional value for money, Dr Jart’s Ceramidin Cream acts like a shield over your skin to help prevent moisture loss, keeping it hydrated and happy. It feels almost medicinal, like an ointment, but that makes me warm to it even more!
I often layer these creams over my go-to serum for stressed-skin days: the Toleriane Dermallergo, £28 here*.
This is a clear fluid that’s been formulated for the most sensitive of skin and it has an instant calming effect. It contains an ingredient developed by La Roche-Posay called Neurosensine which immediately relieves signs of sensitive skin including the aforementioned itchiness and tightness and gives a powerful hydration boost.
The third cream I’ve been testing out is from the same Dermallergo range:
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallergo Cream, £18.50 here*. There’s a fluid version as well (same price here*) for those who prefer a lighter texture or who have oily or combination skin but the cream is gloriously soothing and gives a long-lasting feeling of comfort. And joy.
(Comfort-and-joy, good ti-i-dings of comfort and joy!)
Just getting into carol-singing mode, don’t mind me.
Let me know if you have any surefire rescue creams of your own, add them to the comments section below and I’ll give them a try. I like the three I’ve picked out in this post because they all work so well as regular, everyday face creams as well as SOS versions – non-greasy, well-behaved beneath makeup and not so pricey that you’re stingy with the amount you apply…
My five favourite beauty, fashion and lifestyle products this month include some boots for stomping in, a dress for vamping in and a face cream that moisturises so deeply it’s slightly unnerving. Watch the video below if you fancy listening to me chatting through my favourites or carry on reading for the quiet, work-skive-friendly version.
I kickstart my favourites this month with a really exciting one for me, because I loved this product and brand so much that I’ve actually invested in the company. (Hence the AD disclaimer.) The product is a very high-quality supplement called Heights and it has been specifically formulated to support the brain – braincare, if you will. Now I know that the issue of supplements divides people and so if you’re not a taker then please feel free to scroll on down to just below where there’s a picture of me wearing a dress and looking sultry/dead behind the eyes.
I’m pretty selective about the vitamins/supplements I take and well aware of the noise around the fact that so many of them are – quite frankly – shite, but I’ve also had some noticeable health successes (for want of a better phrase) when I’ve consistently taken certain vitamins and supplements that have been recommended to me.
You could argue that it’s coincidental and obviously it’s anecdotal, because I haven’t been part of any trials or studies, but off the top of my head: my recurring cystitis is massively alleviated when I’m consistently taking D-Mannose, I don’t get my awful mouth ulcers so much when I take Vitamin B12 and making sure I keep up my Vitamin D intake is a priority for me since 2014 when I was tested and shown to be drastically deficient. (All of these were recommended to me by doctors or consultants both privately and through the NHS.)
I think that I’m healthily cynical about the vitamins industry as a whole but feel as though I’ve had enough positive experiences with good quality ones to be open to trying something new. And I loved that the Heights Smart Supplement targeted the brain and the health of the actual organ itself, which wasn’t something I’d thought of before. The capsules (you take two a day, anytime, and they’re fine on an empty stomach) contain all of the Vitamin D I need to take, the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin B12 and then a careful selection of highest quality vitamins and minerals that help to support the brain.
If you’d like to give them a try then I have a 25% discount code for the monthly plan – use code RUTH25. It works out cheaper the longer the plan you subscribe for, but I did a few months first to see how I got on. Please do let me know what you think if you try them, I find the whole concept so interesting – you can read more about Braincare here.
Next favourites on my list this month: two fashion items. Stompy boots and vixen dress. I have some events coming up for work and wanted a dress that was noticeable (cue bold print) but not too blousy (enter stage left the long sleeves and high neck). There’s something slightly gothic about this Reiss dress* and I really like the autumnal colours in the print. I would never usually go for a high neck but I think that it works so well with the gathering over the chest and across the back – I think it’s really flattering.
Stompy combat boots aren’t perhaps the natural pairing for a printed maxi dress, but I’ve been experimenting with ways of getting more use out of evening/occasion dresses and going down the “Lily Allen circa 2006” route seems to be quite a successful one. Fancy flouncy dresses with trainers. Pretty maxi dresses with hard boots. There’s a proper blog post coming out imminently, but for now, behold the “Stomper” (aptly named) boots from Russel & Bromley:
They’re so beautifully made. Expensive, but worth every penny in terms of build quality and the fact that somehow they still manage to look quite dainty. Initially I was vexed by the laces up the front, because nobody has time for laces, but they’re actually dummy ones and the boots have zips down the sides. Marvellous.
You can find the Stomper boots online here.
Two beauty products now. The Jo Loves Fragrance Paintbrush in Pink Vetiver has been in the favourites before, more for the scent itself than the scent delivery system, but after a few little nights away here and there I’ve noted that the paintbrush is actually quite a nice way of applying perfume. It seems more luxurious than a rollerball – slightly cooling, and the brushstroke is sensuous – and there’s something a bit more enticing about softly stroking a fragrance on. It’s great for travelling with as it’s lighter and sturdier than a glass bottle and handy if you’re in a crowded train or plane and don’t want to spritz perfume on everyone within a five metre radius.
The Paintbrush is here* online and is £40 for 7ml for the initial packaging. Yikes! That’s £5.70 per ml. However the refill set is £35 for 21ml which is much more purse-friendly at £1.66 per ml. For comparison’s sake, the 100ml fragrance in a bottle is £1.15 per ml. I don’t think that the extra is too horrendous considering how convenient the brush is, especially for travel!
You can find the Jo Loves Pink Vetiver range here*. Pink Vetiver is absolutely gorgeous, by the way. I can highly recommend it as an autumnal fragrance that still has sparks of a summer evening. It’s spicy and slightly exotic with a sort of musky masculinity – pink peppercorn, ginger, vetiver and cardamom. Really quite addictive.
Last on my favourites list but absolutely not least: the new Triple Hyaluronic Acid Deep Moisture Miracle Cream from Beauty Pie (online here*). This cream promises deep hydration and boy does it deliver. It’s not quite so dramatic as the Supreme Cream (renamed Power Elixir Moisturiser, here*) but the lightweight gel cream packs an amazing punch in terms of hydration and the effects are noticeably long-lasting. If you’re after a heavyweight moisturiser with a lightweight texture and no greasy residue then this is your bag – suitable for all skin types, it’s perfect for plumping out those crepey lines of dehydration.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Beauty Pie membership system then read my post here; you subscribe to a certain plan and then have a spending allowance. The products are one price for the non-member and another, much lower, price for members. For this cream, the £60 equivalent price (they compare the product to similar luxury products on the market) is brought down to £15.57 for members. Add on membership and postage and you still have a very high-end face cream for significantly less than you’d pay elsewhere.
That’s the idea. It makes more sense once you get your head around it and Beauty Pie’s skincare is so consistently good that it is worth getting your head around it!
If you use the code RUTHSENTME* then you can get an extra £50 spending allowance on sign-up, so make sure you get your bonus if you take the plunge. Some of my most-used favourites are in this post but I would absolutely, unreservedly recommend the new Hot Oil Double Cleansing Balm, here* online.
That’s my favourites done and dusted for this month – I’m toying with the idea of moving this feature into the middle of the month so that the title still feels relevant and timely. What do you think? I sometimes think that once the month has moved on I don’t want to read anything about the previous one. It’s like going backwards. Let me know your thoughts!
Struggling to find a sunscreen that doesn’t make you want to claw your own face off with one of those plastic spaghetti spoons? My three current favourites might give you some inspiration. They’re all virtually undetectable on the skin with pleasant, lightweight formulas and broad spectrum protection.
And I’ll tell you something else about my favourite face SPFs: you can just about get away with skipping moisturiser underneath them. Unless my skin is very dry indeed, I find that a quick pat-in of hydrating serum is all I need before (liberally) applying my sunscreen.
(Actually, the Lumene serum from my April favourites would be gorgeous beneath sunscreen, if you’re all about trying to minimise your layers. I know I am, when the weather starts to turn warm; I can’t abide the feeling of eighteen different products on my skin and prefer to keep things as simple as possible.)
So here they are: my Holy Grail trilogy. It wasn’t difficult to narrow my favourites down to these, because I simply went along my bathroom shelf and swept off the three I’ve used the most. Because surely if I use them the most then there’s a reason for that? Otherwise I’d be an idiot.
Elizabeth Arden Great 8 SPF35
I’ve done a full review on this marvellous facial sunscreen here but as a recap: this is one of the lightest, freshest, coolest SPFs I’ve ever tried. It’s quick to sink in, there’s absolutely no residue whatsoever and it sits brilliantly beneath makeup.
The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF50
This is a new one to me and a total gem. Much more hydrating than the Arden, but with that comes an extra bit of heft. It’s not nearly as weightless and fresh, but those with dry or very dry skin will appreciate the relative creaminess. If your skin is very dry you’ll want a standalone moisturiser under all of these favourites, so it’s almost by-the-by.
Multi-Protection Lotion has a silky feel and doesn’t leave anything much in the way of residue, at least not after a few minutes, but you definitely feel the effects of the moisturiser even hours later.
Find it at The Body Shop here* – it’s £18 for 40ml or £22 for 60ml.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid
Or “Shaka Fluid” as I seem to be intent on calling it. Maybe because it now has “shaka” emblazoned on the packaging, but I can’t remember whether that’s a new thing or not. Whatever you want to call it, it’s excellent – absolutely light and sheer and without greasiness or chalkiness or any kind of annoying SPF side-effect.
La Roche-Posay are brilliant at formulating for sensitive skin and for spot-prone skin and for skin that is both at the same time – the Anthelios range has something for everyone, pretty much. But this particular version is fragrance free, very water resistant and won’t clog pores. You can’t really go far wrong. Just remember to shake! (Shaka shaka!)
It’s usually £17.50 but is currently £13.50 at LookFantastic here*.
Now, there are two little surprise “extra” sunscreens in this post – perfect for those who have to reapply their sunscreen throughout the day but need to do so over their makeup, without disturbing it.
I’m afraid I’m going to be incredibly irritating and tell you to watch the end of the video I’ve made to find out all about them – there will be a separate post on them quite soon, but I need to go and extract part of Spiderman’s Web Thrower from inside my dog’s mouth before he swallows it. I can’t even imagine what would come out of the other end if he digested that!
For those who absolutely, resolutely refuse to watch moving image, the SPF mists are linked below the video. The rest of you, enjoy the sounds of my springtime garden!
Kate Somerville Uncomplikated SPF50 Mist, £32 but new customers get 15% off and a free gift (see her home page)*: https://bit.ly/3b9x9BR
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible SPF50 Mist – should be £14 but is currently £10.50 here*: https://bit.ly/3caZPfg