It’s safe to say that SPF has come a long way from the chalky, white pastes of the past. We’ve seen a huge improvement in textures, with lighter, more absorbent creams and lotions launching that still manage to retain adequate protection against harmful UV rays. We’ve also seen things like skin types being considered, with brands catering to various skin concerns including acne and dryness with specialist ingredients and soothing formulas.
It’s just as well – each and every improvement to the SPF category increases the likelihood of us actually wearing sun protection everyday (rather than reserving it for holidays and heatwaves). Now, there’s a new instalment of products that are so thoughtful and advanced, they’re actually a pleasure to apply and wear.
Leading the pack is new brand on the block Ultra Violette, which is being dubbed as sun protection for those who hate sunscreen. “Ultra Violette coaxes non-users into wearing SPF on a daily basis,” says founder Ava Matthews. “We call our products Skinscreens as they’re a mix of skincare and sun protection – they’re able to cater to different skin types and concerns as well as provide different finishes from radiant to matte.”
The hero of the range is Queen Screen Serum, which is a super lightweight, serum-like formula that sits beautifully under makeup to provide a natural-looking radiance while offering SPF50+ and antioxidant protection thanks to ingredients like Kakadu Plum, which is rich in vitamin C. “It’s invisible on the skin, and none of our products leave a what cast or make skin look grey or pale,” continues Ava. “Each product has been designed to replace a step in your morning skincare or makeup routine, whether it’s moisturiser or primer.”
Then there’s CeraVe’s latest SPF for face, their award-winning Facial Moisturising Lotion but now with the addition of SPF 50. The original lotion had amassed throngs of fans (it even went viral on TikTok) for its skin-boosting combination of strengthening ceramides and plumping hyaluronic acid that helps all skin types and tones remain healthy. The latest rendition has the added benefits of SPF50 protection plus key ingredients niacinamide and vitamin E to provide round the clock skin-barrier support.
Over the past couple of years there’s been a huge focus on the importance of caring for your skin barrier and its microbiome (the unique ecosystem of bacteria that lives on the skin’s surface and is essential for skin health) and a strong and resilient barrier is essential for keeping harmful aggressors out and helping to reduce inflammation within the skin.
“CeraVe’s Facial Moisturising Lotion is a prime example of skin strengthening benefits – like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, both of which are a huge benefit to skin plus skin soothing niacinamide – combined with UVA and UVB protection to protect from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. I know a lot of patients are looking to simplify their skincare routines, so this is a great way to reduce the number of steps in your morning routine, without sacrificing any efficacy,” says Dr Ejikeme, founder and medical director of Adonia Medical Clinic.
It’s not just skin that’s enjoying the innovation in sun cream – sustainability has also become a focus for many beauty brands, with things like reef-safe ingredients and plastic free packaging becoming more commonplace. Holland & Barrett’s new range of mineral sunscreen is certified coral reef and marine life safe and the retailer as promised not to stock any brands that contain chemicals Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Sustainable skincare brand UpCircle has just launched their first ever SPF Sunscreen, which alongside being a high-performance broad spectrum, mineral sunscreen designed for all skin tones with skin barrier benefits, also boasts impressive eco-credentials. “Unlike most sunscreens on the market, ours is completely plastic-free and refillable. Our industry-leading Return, Refill, Reuse scheme provides customers with a 20% discount vs RRP and a freepost label to send their product back to us,” explains Anna Brightman, co-founder of UpCircle.