My Three Favourite Sunscreens

Struggling to find a sunscreen that doesn’t make you want to claw your own face off with one of those plastic spaghetti spoons? My three current favourites might give you some inspiration. They’re all virtually undetectable on the skin with pleasant, lightweight formulas and broad spectrum protection.

And I’ll tell you something else about my favourite face SPFs: you can just about get away with skipping moisturiser underneath them. Unless my skin is very dry indeed, I find that a quick pat-in of hydrating serum is all I need before (liberally) applying my sunscreen.

(Actually, the Lumene serum from my April favourites would be gorgeous beneath sunscreen, if you’re all about trying to minimise your layers. I know I am, when the weather starts to turn warm; I can’t abide the feeling of eighteen different products on my skin and prefer to keep things as simple as possible.)

So here they are: my Holy Grail trilogy. It wasn’t difficult to narrow my favourites down to these, because I simply went along my bathroom shelf and swept off the three I’ve used the most. Because surely if I use them the most then there’s a reason for that? Otherwise I’d be an idiot.

Elizabeth Arden Great 8 SPF35

I’ve done a full review on this marvellous facial sunscreen here but as a recap: this is one of the lightest, freshest, coolest SPFs I’ve ever tried. It’s quick to sink in, there’s absolutely no residue whatsoever and it sits brilliantly beneath makeup.

You can find it on Amazon here*, currently £27 instead of £36. Genuine product, as it’s supplied by Amazon beauty, but if you prefer to get it elsewhere then you can find it at FeelUnique here*.

The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF50

This is a new one to me and a total gem. Much more hydrating than the Arden, but with that comes an extra bit of heft. It’s not nearly as weightless and fresh, but those with dry or very dry skin will appreciate the relative creaminess. If your skin is very dry you’ll want a standalone moisturiser under all of these favourites, so it’s almost by-the-by.

Multi-Protection Lotion has a silky feel and doesn’t leave anything much in the way of residue, at least not after a few minutes, but you definitely feel the effects of the moisturiser even hours later.

Find it at The Body Shop here* – it’s £18 for 40ml or £22 for 60ml.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid

Or “Shaka Fluid” as I seem to be intent on calling it. Maybe because it now has “shaka” emblazoned on the packaging, but I can’t remember whether that’s a new thing or not. Whatever you want to call it, it’s excellent – absolutely light and sheer and without greasiness or chalkiness or any kind of annoying SPF side-effect.

La Roche-Posay are brilliant at formulating for sensitive skin and for spot-prone skin and for skin that is both at the same time – the Anthelios range has something for everyone, pretty much. But this particular version is fragrance free, very water resistant and won’t clog pores. You can’t really go far wrong. Just remember to shake! (Shaka shaka!)

It’s usually £17.50 but is currently £13.50 at LookFantastic here*.

Now, there are two little surprise “extra” sunscreens in this post – perfect for those who have to reapply their sunscreen throughout the day but need to do so over their makeup, without disturbing it.

I’m afraid I’m going to be incredibly irritating and tell you to watch the end of the video I’ve made to find out all about them – there will be a separate post on them quite soon, but I need to go and extract part of Spiderman’s Web Thrower from inside my dog’s mouth before he swallows it. I can’t even imagine what would come out of the other end if he digested that!

For those who absolutely, resolutely refuse to watch moving image, the SPF mists are linked below the video. The rest of you, enjoy the sounds of my springtime garden!

Kate Somerville Uncomplikated SPF50 Mist, £32 but new customers get 15% off and a free gift (see her home page)*:

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible SPF50 Mist – should be £14 but is currently £10.50 here*:

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  1. June 28, 2020 / 3:25 pm

    I would certainly like to try out La Richy.Even I always like using 50 SPF sunscreen to protect my skin from sun damage.

  2. Kate Burke
    May 27, 2020 / 2:17 pm

    Thank you!! This is really helpful. I have just ordered the elizabeth arden one. I also love the vichy ideal soleil for body that you recommended in another video. I am obsessed with your hat. Do you know the name of the style?

  3. Leah
    May 26, 2020 / 9:34 pm

    I find it really interesting you like the body shop one and it makes me wonder if I have a dud. Mine smells of alcohol and is super thin. I feel it has no protection and I got completely burnt which is totally unusual. The weather was no different to times when I wear my La Roche Posay one. I have tried it again and again and am left red and burnt. I feel really let down by this, so fascinated to find you like it so much?!

    • May 27, 2020 / 2:23 pm

      Hmm, that’s weird – the new one is much thicker than the old! In fact some people have complained they find it TOO thick! Does the packaging look the same? When did you get it? x

  4. Frances
    May 22, 2020 / 1:30 am

    Thank you!!! I’m in Paris and whilst I love the mega range of products you can find in the pharmacies here, some days i dont know where to start (first world problems). I used the bodyshop sunscreen last year and loved the non greasy texture but maybe no great for my sensitive skin, but going to try la roche-posay this week. Also a fan of the body shop anti pollution spf spray, just not a high enough spf for summer.

  5. LMG
    May 17, 2020 / 3:22 pm

    I need to reapply during the day because I have a very sunny office (I guess I’ll be back some day) but is a nuisance because I do wear some base. Am getting on well with Ilia super serum skin tint spf 30 – you can layer a bit more on later in the day

  6. Danielle
    May 14, 2020 / 4:46 am

    I am keen to try the Elizabeth Arden now thank you! I love how affordable La Roche Poway is, and am interested in the tinted formula.
    I’d love to know what you think of the Ultra Violette brand – they call themselves skinscreens because they are skin care plus SPF. The queen screen is like a serum, and the supreme screen is so moisturising you can skip moisturiser. They also do a clean screen with matte finish for oily types and a body screen I haven’t tried.
    So lucky we have great options to be protected now. Thank you for your reviews.

  7. May 10, 2020 / 1:06 pm

    I keep calling it Shaka fluid as well – totally a good thing as it makes me remember to shake it before application.

    Anne from Doctor Anne

  8. Nanaka
    May 9, 2020 / 11:24 am

    I really love the La Roche Posay and Bodyshop sunscreens! Both have been a staple for years now. I also tried the LRP Face Mist and it is incredibly easy to use. I burn really quickly, so I keep reapplying sunscreen religiously. How awesome that you don’t have to „dirty your hands“ when you’re out and about and need to reapply- just spritz and go!
    Though I must say the little spray can does not last me very long: since it feels like nothing at all on the skin, I think I tend to apply much more than needed – just to be on the save side…

  9. Bea
    May 8, 2020 / 5:15 pm

    The La Roche Posay Shaka Fluid doesn’t irritate the eyes, compared to the older version. I like it very much.

  10. Potimarron
    May 8, 2020 / 4:47 pm

    I like the Body Shop one too (I couldn’t find it last time I looked and assumed they’d discontinued it. Excited to see that’s not the case). I’m currently using the Beauty Pie ultralight sunscreen. It’s only SPF25 (only?! Does anyone else remember when factor 15 was considered highly responsible?)but because it’s so light I think I’m applying more than I did with heavier lotions (a lot of people recommended the Superdrug factor 50 face cream to me but I couldn’t get on with it. Just found it really greasy (and if you followed the instructions on the pack you’d have finished it inside of a week)).

    • May 9, 2020 / 10:23 am

      LOL I remember when SPF3 was considered OK! How times change.. : )

  11. May 8, 2020 / 3:46 pm

    Your first sentence about the spaghetti spoon kills me because it’s so true! It’s hard to find a sunscreen that is not greasy or makes you look like a ghost. This is the second blog post I’m reading today that’s raving on the La Roche-Posay, so I need to check that out asap.

    xoxo Amanda |

  12. May 8, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    Ooh, thanks for the tips about the mists. I live in the sun and reapplying SPF over makeup is pretty much a full time job so really interested to try these.

  13. Helen
    May 8, 2020 / 12:13 pm

    Where is your top from ? I really like it x

  14. Antonia Dailly
    May 7, 2020 / 6:23 pm

    Don’t forget to check the star rating on sunscreens. In the UK, star ratings indicate protection from UVA (which ages the skin), and SPF relates to UVB protection (which burns the skin). In any case, protection ratings is determined in laboratory conditions, and assumes correct amount of product being used, and correct frequency of application- neither of which usually happens in the real world.

  15. Kim Kovarik
    May 7, 2020 / 2:39 pm

    The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid sunscreen also do a tinted version, which is perfect for summer!

      • Jen
        May 8, 2020 / 12:36 pm

        I have the tinted one.Its fab.Light coverage for good skin days too.Just ordered the E Arden one too.Was £26 on amazon yesterday.

  16. LUCIE
    May 7, 2020 / 10:13 am

    Moisturiser before or after spf?
    I never know what comes first…
    thanks so much x

  17. Ali
    May 7, 2020 / 9:58 am

    I used to love the Body Shop Multi-Protection but since I turned 30, my skin seemingly can’t handle the alcohol content, it makes my face very tingly and tight! I used to buy multiple tubes at a time, I loved it so much. Have recently found Thank You Farmer’s Sun Project which looks like it might be my holy grail replacement, at long last.

  18. May 7, 2020 / 9:53 am

    I read an interesting post on Beauty Scientist awhile back that suggested SPFs over 30 didn’t give more protection. I’m going nuts here trying to find the post again. Anyway, I wanted to add that my personal favourite is Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration face lotion SPF 30. Works beautifully as a sun screen and moisturiser and gives a gentle matte finish.

  19. Riley
    May 6, 2020 / 8:33 pm

    Thank you for the sunscreen review. I have previously used LaRoche Posay and liked it. This year I got it in spf 60 rather than spf50. It’s absolutely horrible under makeup. The makeup just globs and collects everywhere. Could the difference between the 50 and the 60 make that much difference?

    I’m a golfer and also a person who has had at least one suspicious spot removed from my face. I’m diligent about sunscreen. In 2019 I used a different brand of sunscreen, and it was in the Fall of 2019 that I had the spot removed. Therefore I returned to LaRoche Posay for 2020.

    • June 21, 2020 / 6:12 pm

      With every sunscreen you need to re-apply during the day. The higher the SPF the longer you can go without re-applying. SPF 50+ is a very good coverage. I usually apply my SPF 50 twice during the day if I’m mostly inside and a few more times at the beach. Also check out:

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