May 30, 2014

Facial SPF: A Guide

Sun protection is incredibly important year-round, but if you're not already wearing an SPF daily, now is a great time to start; get into the habit over the summer and you'll keep it up for the rest of the year without a bother.

Living in gloomy Ireland, it can be so easy to think that we don't really need sun protection. Aside from the most obvious reason for wearing SPF (skin cancer rates are on the rise, and sunscreen has been proven to decrease the development of the disease), there is no better protection against ageing than suncare. It's one of very few proven methods of slowing down the skin's ageing process and regular wear will also render skin less likely to develop sun spots or any other kind of discolouration.
While I was preparing this post, a press release from La Roche-Posay came into my inbox; it included the findings of a really interesting US study on the subject of wrinkles vs. cancer. Below is a little excerpt from it:

--- A shocking study by the American Academy of Dermatology has revealed our attitudes towards skin cancer and sun protection.Teenagers felt more compelled to apply sunscreen if they saw in a video showing that it could protect their skin from premature aging, than if they saw that it could protect against cancer, a new study shows.

"Vanity is more of a driving force to use sunscreen, as opposed to the fear factor of developing skin cancer," the study's lead author, William Tuong, told Reuters Health. Tuong is a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, Davis.
In his study, high school students applied sunblock three times as often if they watched a video showing how it could prevent their skin from wrinkling than if they watched a video showing how sun exposure causes melanoma.

In one video the actress emphasizes the growing incidence of melanoma in young people and the link between the deadliest form of skin cancer and ultraviolet light. In the second vanity video, the same actress discusses how ultraviolet light contributes to premature aging and "can make you look older and less attractive." ---

Interesting stuff, right? Whatever your motivation for applying sun protection, it's important to just do it, and do it properly. It's almost always not enough to depend on the SPF in your foundation for proper protection - best to stick to proper skincare for a good filter. It's pretty difficult to find a good SPF product that sits well under makeup and doesn't upset the skin, and if you're oily, it's even more difficult. I've been trialling a ton of suncare for face in the lead-up to summer, so here's how I got on with five facial SPFs!

Vichy Capital Soleil SPF50 BB Tinted Touch Dry Fluid* (€16.50 for 50ml)

I thought I'd get the strange one out of the way first. This is, essentially, a BB cream with SPF50 and a matte finish. The colour seems quite dark but it's actually extremely blendable and I was able to wear this with a bit of fake tan (not a lot, I'm talking one application of Dove Summer Glow to remove the blue hue from my limbs). I've also worn this under foundation, similar to how I'd use the MAC CC Crème, and loved it. I think this could be a fantastic holiday product that would double up nicely as a light base for the beach or pool.

NUXE Sun Delicious Cream for Face SPF30* (€18.95 for 50ml)

They're totally right about the name - this cream smells absolutely delicious
I see this working best for drier or more mature skins that aren't overly sensitive; the scent is strong and not really necessary for facial skincare. I could make it work for myself under makeup but had to be very careful with certain foundations, and had to really ensure that it had dried properly first. I do like this and will happily use it up in conjunction with the right liquid bases, but it isn't my number one for oily skin.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+* (€19.50 for 50ml)

This is a universally trusted and well-known facial SPF, and I quite like it. The texture is very, very light, it dries to a matte-satin finish, and I really like the packaging too, it's a nice compact little rectangular bottle. The texture of this is very runny - a light lotion - and it feels very light on the skin, but takes a minute or so to set properly. This offers some of the best broad spectrum protection on the market, and works extremely well with my oily skin under makeup. It's an easy one to get a hold of in pharmacies nationwide and I definitely recommend it.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser SPF30 (€17.50 for 50ml)

This has to be my favourite everyday product of the moment - I feel like the SPF of 30 is grand for days when the sun has barely come out. It's quite a rich lotion but feels far more like a normal moisturiser than an SPF; it helps to perk up my skin on dull days and the scent is very zingy and fresh - although, again, not struictly the best thing to find in facial skincare. If I feel like my skin is leaning quite oily with this on, I just apply Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner over the top as a primer, and that mattifies my complexion quite nicely.

Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++ (about €33 for 60ml)

I've saved the very best for last - out simply, I have not found a better SPF product than this one. It feels like a light hydrating lotion, sets quickly to a semi-matte finish, and does not interfere with my makeup whatsoever. Out of all the products I'm mentioning today, this one is my favourite because it the least detectable on the skin, whilst still offering reliable protection. I think is this the one that I'll be returning to over and over again as it fits so nicely into my skincare routine and doesn't upset my skin in the slightest.
It is expensive but it should be noted that the tube I have is 60ml, whilst the other products I've written about in this post are all 50ml; I've had this since March and have been using it at least five times a week since then, and there's still plenty left.

I'd love to know if you use facial SPF, and if so, what one you're using - I've heard good things about the Soap & Glory and Invisible Zinc ones! 


  1. I am religious about applying SPF!! I have pretty pale skin and use SPF on my face, neck and hands all year round. People forget that UV rays can still damage your skin even if it's cloudy or cold ;)

    Alex | PinkElephantBlog

  2. I bought the la roche posay one today. Will try it out tomorrow. The soap and glory one sounds good but didn't want to risk it with sensitive skin

  3. I don't leave the house without SPF, but most people don't use enough of it. Pretty much any amount that's in make-up isn't enough to offer proper protection, as you say, so a separate SPF is essential for me. I use this stuff religiously:

    It's got niacinamide in it too, which my skin loves :)

  4. Delighted to see this post, so well timed! I'm currently using a Simple moisturiser with an SPF of 30 in it but on sunny days (like today!), I crack out Dermalogica Solar Defence Booster SPF50.

  5. Sounds like you're sorted! X

  6. Wow I've never heard of that, sounds great!

  7. Let us know how you get on!

  8. I heard about it from reddit, on the SkinCareAddication forum. I recommend you check it out if you haven't already, there's so much good info there :)

  9. My husband uses Boscia BB cream. I am jealous of how amazing his skin looks with it on, and tried it myself. I didn't like it. It had a super dry feeling, no slip. That said, he has quite a lot of redness and large pores and both issues are GONE with Boscia. I am going to try the IT Cosmetics CC cream today. Everything in their line has been outstanding so far, so i am going to assume it will *rock* :). Their brushes are well worth the money as well. Good review :)


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