Award-winning Facial Suncare
Forget J.K. Rowling's The Cuckoo's Calling: facial sun protection is definitely the most important thing you'll pack in your beach bag this summer. Nothing - not smoking, not pollution - ages the skin faster than the effects of UV rays. Personally, we recommend never putting your face in the sun, always wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and shielding behind over-sized sunglasses with wide arms. But which products to choose...? We put dozens of facial sunscreens through their paces for the YOU Magazine Summer sun Special - and these were the highest-scoring products, each trailled by a panel of 10 testers. We say: don't leave home without at least one of them... (And NB: your regular facial moisturiser, even if it features an SPF, isn't up to beach duty.) GOOD VALUE La Roche-Posay Anthélios Smooth Lotion SPF30 Score: 8.4/10 This French pharmacy range is recommended by 25,000 dermatologists worldwide, who no doubt approve of the effective way this light, hydrating, unscented cream protects against the full spectrum of UVA/UVB damage. Many women we know used to bring this range back from European holidays - but now this range is available here. It's incredibly good for sensitive skins: non-comedogenic (i.e. non-pore-blocking, paraben- and fragrance-free). If you'd like to go higher than an SPF30, there's a wide range of products featuring an SPF50. They feature L'Oréal's signature sunscreens - Mexoryl XL and Mexoryl SL - which (unlike most sunscreens) don't instantly degrade when exposed to UV rays, together with thermal spring water.
Comments: ‘Sunk in well, no stickiness and hydrated my dry skin’ • ‘smoothed in easily and didn't leave a white tinge – could apply make-up easily afterwards’ • ‘will swap to this from my much more expensive product as it compares so favourably’ • ‘a nice light moisturiser that feels comfortable on the skin, leaves a dewy, radiant finish’ • 'disappeared very quickly into skin leaving my skin looking smooth and hydrated' • 'a nice, light moisturiser which is easy to apply and - unlike a lot of sun products - doesn't leave you with a ghostly white face' • 'a lovely texture that made my skin very smooth and soft'.
LUXURY Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25 Score: 8.31/10 Lunching in the park? Walking between appointments? Clinique’s sheer non-chemical cream is specially formulated to guard against the UV damage we notch up in everyday life. Subtly tinted and radiant, too - almost akin to a tinted moisturiser. It's also suitable for beach use, despite being targeted at city living - but we personally rate Clinique's (yellow-packaged) beach-specific products highly, too: as with the whole range, they're specifically tested to monitor sensitivities, which can result so often from an interaction between sun and sunscreen, on the skin. If any product causes any sensitivity among any of their testers, it's back to the drawing board. Impressive, eh?
Comments: ‘I used this alone on my touchy skin instead of a moisturiser and primer - my make-up lasted just as long, and no flare-ups. I am really happy with it’ • ‘brings skin alive, the beautiful dewiness and sheen are truly amazing’ • ‘not just a sun protection product; more like a miracle for the face’ • 'I keep forgetting this is a sun protection product: it's more like a miracle for the face; I've applied it at 6.30 when my skin looks lifeless, dry and dehydrated - just plain awful - yet the instant I applied this, it looked like I'd had eight hours of sleep and drunk eight glasses of water! Now a summer must, as all I need is this and a touch of mascara' • 'like the fact it's oil-free: I didn't get my usual shiny face at the end of the day' • 'doesn't clog up my pores like many sunscreens' • 'loved this product: I'm very fair-skinned with freckles so I burn easily, and this will now be part of my skincare routine on and off the beach'.
NATURAL WONDER L’Occitane Angelica UV Shield SPF40 Score: 8.23/10 ‘Bouclier radieux’ translates as radiant shield, which certainly sums up this high-protection, illuminating milk, based on the hydrating, toning angelica plant. In a pump-action glass bottle - though probably better for the bathroom than the beach, unless you can get someone to lug your beach bag! (And do beware of glass bottles around swimming pools, of course.) It has a very light and silky texture, and a pretty scent - from the organic angelica plants, grown in France's Drôme region.
Comments: ‘Loved the “smell of summer” fragrance - like fresh-cut grass! And good moisturisation, without making my skin looked like it was covered in chalk, as many sunscreens do’ • ‘easy to apply and rubbed in well, ideal for people who hate a heavy duty SPF moisturiser, or over an ordinary moisturiser for dry skins’ • ‘sunk in well over my usual moisturiser, leaving a lovely sheen’ • ‘a good make-up base’ • 'feels very comfortable on the skin' • 'I LOVED THIS! The lotion was silky and easily absorbed, felt lovely on my skin and didn't leave any white "ghostliness" - gorgeous' • 'light, fresh, sunny fragrance' • 'liked the benefit of having a lovely dewy sheen, while knowing my skin was protected - and a little goes a surprisingly long way'.