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Dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts always recommend a daily dose of sunscreen but you'd be forgiven for ditching it from your morning beauty routine. It wouldn't be wrong to say that up until recently, SPF formulas have been less than ideal. Whether you opt for high-end or high street, it has been difficult to find products that aren't gloopy or greasy and don't make your eyes sting or leave behind an ashy, white cast on darker skin. Sure, sunscreen is there to protect you, but that doesn't mean you should have to compromise.
Why should you wear SPF during the day?
Australia is a staunch advocate of wearing SPF throughout the year to shield skin from cancer-causing UVA rays and to prevent common skin gripes like dark spots and fine lines. After all, we get a considerable amount more sunshine. So when Aussie sunscreen brand Ultra Violette launched, the hype was real. From the lightweight sunscreen serum to the hydrating facial cream, they're like nothing skincare enthusiasts have tried before.
What is the best SPF for oily, combination and dry skin?
I'll start with the Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+, $47. A quick whip round friends, family and colleagues shows that plenty are unsure about SPF 50 (which is one of the highest factors and provides great protection) for fear of it appearing chalky or feeling heavy on the skin. That's what makes this serum completely different. It does require a quick shake but it's milky and fast-absorbing — rather than thick and difficult to rub in — and lends skin a lovely, dewy finish. It completely disappeared on my olive skin and the brand promises it is light enough not to leave behind a white cast yet still effective (and the reviews concur). It takes a two-pronged approach to tackling dark spots and hyperpigmentation with the addition of brightening vitamin C, so you don't have to layer any other serums underneath.
The serum has a slight rosy scent to it which does fade but if you prefer something fragrance-free, try the Clean Screen Sensitive Skinscreen SPF 30, $47, which has become my go-to (and I'm very fussy). This is a mineral sunscreen so it reflects UV rays away from the skin and the brand ensures it doesn't make skin white. Two or three pumps sinks in fast and the best thing about this is that it doesn't feel as though you're wearing anything at all. I apply it over moisturiser for an extra hydration boost but it's so quenching, you could use it alone. If you're prone to breakouts or excessively oily skin, you'll absolutely love this.
For those with drier skin, Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50+, $49, is the one. A star ingredient is glycerin, which attracts water to skin, making it soft, plump and moisturised for longer. Like the rest, it doesn't feel like your typical sunscreen — more like an everyday moisturiser — making it easy and enjoyable to use. The collection also features a hydrating lip balm, $25 in four shades (because your lips also need protecting from the sun), a mattifying mineral SPF, $49 for quelling shine, and a hand and body sunscreen, $35, too.
Do you need to reapply SPF?
According to Holly Thaggard, skincare expert and founder and CEO of Supergoop!, it's important to reapply sunscreen every two hours to maximise the benefits, especially on sunny days spent outside.
If you're wearing makeup or don't like the idea of applying sunscreen on the go with your hands, I'd recommend Garnier's Ambre Solaire Sensitive Face Fluid SPF 50+, $16. It's reasonably priced, available on the high street and makes topping up easy. Also try La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Spray SPF 50+, $27.69, another purse-friendly option that works a treat on all skin tones and types.