Forget knights in shining armour; for 21st century folk protection comes in packets, pills and tubes and the only shields we’re interested in are the ones for our over-exposed, undernourished skin.
Although we live on what is essentially an overgrown hillock being buffeted from all sides by oceanic tempests, sadly we are just as likely to get sun damage as those fortunate enough to live in sunnier climes (probably to do with our all- too- enthusiastic sunbathing when on holiday).
But in a world of myriad choice and expendable, fashionable ingredients it can be difficult to figure out which ones are any good.
It’s best to start with the basics. For every day wear, Factor 30 should be sufficient whilst for extra sunny days when exposure to harmful rays is more likely, rank it up to 50. You should also look for broad spectrum lotions if you can- these protect from both UVA (the ones that burn you) and UVB (the ones that give you wrinkles) rays, helping you to combat both the short and long term effects of exposure.
If the thought of adding yet another potion to your beauty regime fills you with exasperation , try swapping one of your usuals out for one of these multi-tasking wonders instead. Trust us- your skin will thank you one day.
Supergoop! Defence Refresh Setting Mist
If you’re already steadfastly loyal to a particular moisturiser, you can use a face setter such as the Supergoop instead. After applying your makeup just spray this over the top for a perfectly set look that’s also protected from harmful rays. The rosemary and mint extracts will give your skin a little brightness boost that you’ll be thankful for after a late night, but if you’ve got oily skin steer clear- although it claims to be suitable for all skin types, it sits better on dry skin.
£25, Beauty Bay, Buy it now
Solait Head & Hair Protect SPF 30
A burnt scalp is difficult to avoid if you’re not wearing a hat and can lead to flakiness and itchiness, which are probably not a part of the summer look you’re going for. Even though this isn’t technically for the face, it’s such a nifty product that we had to include it. Water-resistant, fast drying and non-greasy, it’ll protect your hair and keep it from turning into a frazzled mess.
£5.99, Superdrug, Buy it now
Skinceuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50
Dealing with claggy, sweat warmed sun screen that feels sticky on the skin is the last thing you want to think about when you’re out on a hike or scoring an ace in beach volley ball. Skinceuticals’ lightweight formula absorbs quickly, eliminating this worry and reducing the risk of clogged-pore related breakouts.
£36.75, Skinceuticals, Buy it now
Neutrogena Clear Skin SPF 55
Bad skin in the summer is the worst- not only do you feel greasy and as if your makeup is sliding down your face, but it can cause an inhibiting self-consciousness that, among all the social engagements, frankly, we haven’t got time for. This SPF is specifically designed for sensitive skin and is light enough to keep those pores unclogged. Even better, it won’t leave behind a chalky residue on dark skin either.
£15, Amazon, Buy it now
Susan Posnick Brush On Block SPF 30
Hate using creams? This sun screen comes in the form of a mineral powder that you can brush on quickly and easily- it suits every skin type and colour (it’s translucent) and is particularly great for babies, being both gentle and easy to apply. If you’re out and about and unable to wash your hands, the self-dispensing brush design will also be a godsend.
£22.49, Skin Oracle, Buy it now
Ultrasun Anti-Age & Anti- Pigmentation SPF 50+
Just one day of burn can show up in the form of pigmentation years later, reminding us of the bad choices we made on beautiful summer days. For those that suffer, UltraSun has the answer: an ageing and pigmentation busting SPF that’ll reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brown spots. Filled with antioxidants, its non-greasy texture will suit even the most sensitive skin.
£32, Ultrasun, Buy it now
Avène Cleanance Solaire SPF 50
Another great one for fighting blemishes, the Cleanance Solaire contains Monolaurin, which actively targets the production of sebum (which can lead to clogged pores and eventual breakouts). Although the cream looks quite thick, it’s actually mattifying and quickly sinks in. With its spring water base, it’s actually soothing and refreshing.
£16, Escentual, Buy it now
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30
Give your skin a Photoshop finish with this genius product by Murad. Not only does it shield the skin, it also blurs lines and wrinkles, dramatically reducing their appearance with every use. This is great if you want to go make-up free or want to remove the furrows brought on by all that squinting in the sun.
£55, Feel Unique, Buy it now