These are probably the most important tools in your anti-ageing arsenal – because when it comes to lines and wrinkles, prevention is way, way better than cure. In summer, you need a daily moisturiser with SPF – but for holidays or times when you’re spending a good chunk of time outdoors, seek out formulations which are specifically formulated (as these are) to withstand other challenges, such as humidity. We still advise keeping your face under a hat whenever possible – and no matter what the packaging says, always reapply after swimming; no sunscreen is towel-proof.
GOLD AWARD Ultrasun Face SPF 30 Anti-ageing sun protection for very sensitive skin
Ultrasun is a 'cult' brand loved by beauties-in-the-know, but which is actually very widely-available (think: Waitrose and other supermarkets). Packaged in a sleek bottle with a pump action, this oil-free, emulsifier-free, perfume-free, non-greasy and water-resistant cream seeks to go beyond protection against burning by incorporating specific age-defying ingredients: boron nitride to reduce moisture loss and keep skin plumped, S.O.D. – an enzyme to neutralise free radical activity triggered by sun exposure – and something called ectoin, to protect DNA. (That's not a typo – though we did have to check!). Great for touchy skins.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'This sunscreen is now a permanent fixture in my make-up bag. I use sunscreen every day anyway and this works well and gives an additional moisturising layer. It is easily spread and absorbs quickly, leaving a faint sheen. I usually react to sunscreens designed for the face – this is the only one that doesn't make my eyes stream. It says something about you not needing a moisturiser but I wouldn't feel comfortable with that’ • ‘I like that, inside the packaging, there is information about different skin types and length of time to be in the sun; this is interesting and also shows a level of care for the customer. Although this smooth lotion is quite ‘heavy’ (which is the sunscreen, I guess), it is easy to smooth on the skin and doesn't need rubbing’ • ‘This is thick compared to my usual product but my skin felt comfortable and hydrated, and make-up sat very well on top of it. When I trialled in in the sun, I was impressed that I didn't burn, as I usually keep out of the sun. Also it didn't make my skin flare up in any way’ • ‘I used this product every morning on my recent holiday in Florida. It left my skin moisturised and glow-y. It gave me enough protection for the whole day, is easy to apply, light weight and reliable.’
£20 for 50ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+
In reality, due to the weird way sunscreens are measured, SPF50+ offers only a modicum of additional protection over and above an SPF30. But these higher SPFs are increasingly popular (and since any additional protection is always way better than trying to fix lines and wrinkles, that's still a good thing, in our book). The ultra-light product from this French pharmacy brand – now very popular in the UK, too – is more suited to normal to combination skin' it's especially designed for complexions that are sensitive, sun-intolerant or prone to prickly heat and is also said to help prevent the appearance of sun-induced dark spots, offering a photo-stable UVA/UVB protection that's water-resistant, too.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'Top marks. This light liquid is a must have for every day use. It is very easily to smooth in. I wear it under tinted moisturiser, which goes on very easily on top. I now buy this’ • ‘A lovely product. I have a very sensitive face and this didn't irritate it at all. I used this in place of moisturiser under make-up, which went on with no issues. It’s very effective sun protection’ • ‘Fabulous. I really like this product, which is far superior to my usual high street brand, and will use in the summer - it is so easy to apply and leaves no trace. It is a really fantastic advance in sun products. IT has a really good moisturising content, which is great for my very dry skin. Thank you so much for introducing this product to me’ • ‘I live by the sea and often get wind burnt when I am out walking on the beach. This helped to keep the moisture in my face’ • ‘This light SPF is good for your face, as it doesn't leave your face too greasy, just glow-y after application. I also like that it is non-perfumed. I tested it in different weather conditions – sunny, windy, overcast – and it worked well. I will buy it and look forward to wearing it through the summer.’
£16.50 for 50ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD Clinique SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face
If you're troubled by the interaction of chemical sunscreens and the sun they're designed to protect against – which is a surprisingly common problem, resulting in itching, redness and hives – then a mineral sunscreen may well be the answer. That's not something we'd necessarily have expected from Clinique, with their super-high-tech reputation, but this shake-before-use product shields skin with 100% mineral sunscreens. It's very lightweight and comfy, even on sensitive skins. (A favourite of Jo's, actually.) Apply after your morning skincare regime and at least 15 minutes before sun exposure – and do reapply, as with any sun protection, after swimming.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'Great SPF protection for face, not too expensive and perfect size for handbag (or large make-up bag). Especially like how it didn’t irritate my skin and is a good base for make-up; it doesn't slide off like many greasy sunscreens and has great staying power. Easy to spread into skin but leaves no white residue unlike many sunscreens I have tried’ • ‘My usual sunscreen is thick and greasy, difficult to blend into skin and leaves a white residue. It can also give me spots if I use it frequently. I am very careful about sun exposure and would definitely buy this product, as it doesn't bring me out in spots or smell heavily like some sunscreen lotions’ • ‘Very moisturising and my skin felt softer and smoother after I applied this. A little goes a long way. I could apply make-up on top without any problems’ • ‘This is much less greasy than my usual supermarket own brand product; it disappeared quickly, leaving a nice sheen on my skin. Make-up went over it very well. My face felt comfortable and well moisturised all day’ • ‘I found that the product gave my skin good protection and my face still felt moisturised at the end of the day. I love the size of the bottle, as it is so easy to keep it in my handbag to use whenever I am caught out in the sun. The nozzle means that I’m able to squeeze out the right amount without wasting any product and the screw lid stays securely done up in my bag.’
£22 for 30ml - click to buy