So by now you already know that wearing SPF is a must for your everyday routine – no skipping allowed (especially on cloudy days)! But just like the rest of your skincare arsenal, sunscreens are multi-functional products designed with specific needs or skin types in mind. This summer holiday, we tested a barrage of facial SPFs to determine which are the best in each category. Here’s what we’d spend our money on:
Aah, the trusty tinted sunscreen, our saviour on mornings when we just don’t have time for a full face of makeup. Plus, who doesn’t want a little extra coverage when they’re out and about?
Heliocare 360 Color Cushion Compact – R520.00
We love Heliocare products and with good reason – they offer brilliant protection from the sun, they always have convenient packaging and they smell like a dream. This handy compact offers SPF50 protection and surprisingly good coverage. We love the innovative cushion compact – no spilling or messing, plus it’s impossible to waste product. Because of the extra strong protection, we’d recommend this to anyone, but especially to those who burn easily.
Coverderm Filteray Face Plus SPF50+ – R335.00
Known for their extraordinary sun protection products, Coverderm ticks all the boxes with this high-performance tinted SPF. A two-in-one sunscreen and after sun product, it offers very good coverage in addition to UVA, UVB and Infrared protection, plus nourishing ingredients soothe sun-exposed skin and prevent blemishes and reduce oxidative stress. We love how multifunctional the product is, plus, it’s waterproof, even when sweating or swimming, making it the perfect product to use outdoors.
Bioderma Photoderm NUDE Touch SPF50+ – R262.95
This must be one of the runniest sunscreen formulas we’ve tried, so we were a little sceptical as to how it would sit on the skin. However, it applied beautifully. It offers even matte coverage (great for oily-skinned girls!) and has a silky texture and eight-hour oil control. It’s broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays and has a water-resistant formula. We can highly recommend this to anyone with combination to oily skin.
Extra anti-ageing benefits in your SPF? Yes please!
Dermaceutic Sun Ceutic 50+ – R587.72
When it comes to high-performance anti-ageing SPFs, this is the cream of the crop. It contains UVA and UVB filters plus a powerful stem cell stimulator and restoring active ingredients hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. The results? Skin is protected from visible signs of photo-ageing, such as spots, fine lines and dehydration. It’s a good product to use alongside aesthetic procedures when the skin is very vulnerable. And in addition to all its scientific benefits, it’s a really nice product to use as it feels light and comfortable on the skin.
Eau Thermale Avène Fragrance Free Cream 50+ – R239.95
The ideal choice for sensitive skin, this cream is ultra-gentle on the skin whilst still offering the very best in sun protection and additional skincare benefits. Suitable for normal, sensitive and combination skin types, it has a unique antioxidant complex to fight free radicals that cause the signs of ageing. It has a light texture and dry touch, so you won’t be left with a shiny complexion. Plus, it contains soothing Thermal Spring Water, which offers great hydrating and soothing benefits to all skin types.
Filorga UV-Bronze SPF50+ – R490.00
This non-greasy sunscreen offers very high sun protection whilst fighting the visible signs of ageing and hyperpigmentation. It has photo-activated technology, meaning it protects against visible light and infrared rays (think blue light from your electronic devices) and contains a potent antioxidant called Sulforaphane to protect cells from oxidative stress (thereby lessening wrinkles!). Vitamin PP is included to even out skin tone and dark marks.
Best sensitive skin
It’s hard enough to find a daily skincare regime when you have sensitive skin – SPF is a whole other ballgame. Our top tip is to stay away from overly fragranced or tinted formulations and try a product that contains gentle ingredients that don’t skimp on performance.
SOTHYS Sensitive Zones Protective Fluid SPF 50 – R595.00
This luxurious sunscreen glides onto the skin like a dream, and melts away without leaving a greasy or oily residue on the surface of the skin. It contains calcified algae to fight against infrared radiation, sunflower extract to strengthen the skin’s natural protection and celligent to optimise skin cell functions. It does not contain any skin-irritants and is fragrance free, making it the perfect sun protection product for anyone who has a sensitive or intolerant skin.
BioNike Defence Sun SPF30 Melting Cream – R129.95
Nickel tested, preservative free, fragrance free and gluten free, this SPF cream has a comfortable non-sticky texture and is recommended for fair skin that is hyperreactive to the sun. It provides triple photo-protection against both short-term and long-term damage. The formula also strengthens the skin’s natural protection abilities. Suitable for normal, dry and sensitive skins, it’s both effective and surprisingly affordable.
Heliocare 360 Mineral Tolerance Fluid – R480.00
A broad-spectrum SPF fighting UVA, UVB, Infrared and visible light, it has an exclusive 100% mineral-filter formulation specifically designed for sensitive and intolerant skin. We love the soft and silky texture of the runny fluid – it disappears into the skin almost instantly and has no distinguishable scent like the rest of the Heliocare range (to accommodate fragrance-sensitive skins). If you’re looking for a highly protective product, this is one to consider – it’s a favourite among dermatologists and aesthetic doctors too.
There was a time when blemished-skinned girls would run a mile if they saw a bottle of sunscreen. Luckily modern formulations have resulted in a wide array of products suitable for acne and blemish-prone skins.
BioNike Defence Sun Dry Touch SPF50
We love this SPF because it has a very lightweight, non-oily texture and dry touch complex, making it perfect for those who struggle with clogged pores and excessive oil production. It provides a matte effect on the face (yay!) and provides tripe photo protection to fight off the harshest of the sun’s rays. Free of preservatives and fragrances, it does not aggravate already irritated skin.
SVR Sun Secure Extreme SPF50+ – R240.00
This formulation is one of the most unique we’ve ever seen. It takes the form of a clear gel with an ultra-matte and non-greasy texture. As most facial sunscreens have a white or milky colour, it’s quite something to see a high-performance SPF in a clear gel format. It’s great for active people or those enjoying the outdoors as it is absorbed quickly and is water and sweat resistant. It’s free from a host of nasty ingredients that could aggravate blemish-prone skins, such as parabens, mineral oils and methyl benzoyl camphor.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart + DNA Enzyme Complex™ + Anti-Pollution + Antioxidants Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ Hydrating Shield – R799.00
A powerful physical sunscreen, this sheer formulation is oil-free and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. It is specifically designed to protect the skin against the pollutants and environmental aggressors we come into contact with on a daily basis. The advanced anti-pollution complex and SPF50 physical sunscreen form an invisible protective shield to screen out pollutants and 98% of UVB rays – now that’s pretty impressive. Throw in some antioxidants to fight off free radicals and you’ve got yourself one of our favourite sun protection products.
Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF30 – R262.95
Designed for combination, acne-prone and oily skins, this innovative SPF prevents the appearance of blemishes thanks to its Fluidactiv patent, which biologically regulates sebum quality to keep pores from becoming clogged. A dual-action product, it focuses equally on photoprotection and the fight against blemishes. It also has a long-lasting mattifying effect which anyone with blemish-prone skin will appreciate!
As the world becomes more aware of the damage we’re doing to our oceans, sunscreen is being put under the microscope. It’s been confirmed that certain sun filters and chemicals found in sunscreens cause major damage to marine life – so much so, that some islands like Hawaii have now banned the use of commercial sunscreens, only allowing coral-safe SPFs to be brought into the country. While this is still a relatively new category in the sun protection market, we’re super excited about the options available.
Coverderm Filteray Face SPF40 – R465.00
Containing photo-stable natural sun filters only, this SPF’s hero ingredient is Avocadin – an antioxidant derived from the avocado. It is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin, and is safe for children too. It’s extremely long-lasting on the skin (we’re talking 8 hours!), which is great when you’re out and about. Because it contains natural filters only, it’s not just safe for the environment, but also very safe for your skin.
Pradiance SPF30 Sun Stick – R235.00
This is one of the handiest sunscreens we’ve ever used! Small and compact, it’s perfect to carry around in your handbag or beach bag, and we love the stick formula – no spilling and no leaking. It doesn’t have much of a fragrance which is great for anyone with sensitive skin (or those who don’t like a typical sunscreen scent), plus the organic composition is free of nasty chemicals and preservatives. It’s safe for the whole family and a really good choice for those wanting a natural and organic SPF.
Eau Thermale Avène Fragrance-Free Fluid 50+ – R249.95
Eau Thermale Avène is known for their sensitive skin-safe products, but did you know that their SPFs are also ocean-friendly? This biodegradable formula contains minimal sun filters without compromising on the product’s efficacy. It offers extremely high protection and is photostable, but once applied to the skin, it feels like it doesn’t even exist – this is thanks to its nude skin feel innovation. Non-greasy, non-sticky and rapid absorption – what more could we ask for?