Sunday 22 October 2017

Beauty Panel: Sting Rays - the best sun protection

We know it's smart to wear sun protection, says Sarah Caden, but these five panel hits make it look good too

Pictured, from left, Eucerin Sun Creme CC Creme 50+; Avene Hydrating Skin Tone Perfector SPF 30; Thalgo Age Defence Sunscreen Cream 50+; La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Tinted Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 50+; L'Occitane Velvet Hands in Amande SPF 15. Photo: kip carroll
Pictured, from left, Eucerin Sun Creme CC Creme 50+; Avene Hydrating Skin Tone Perfector SPF 30; Thalgo Age Defence Sunscreen Cream 50+; La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Tinted Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 50+; L'Occitane Velvet Hands in Amande SPF 15. Photo: kip carroll

Stop rolling your eyes in exasperation. Of course we've heard it all before. And yet, and yet, we do it all the time: we panic-pass on the suncream in order to soak up the rays while they're going, and then we are surprised when we get scalded. It's like we have come to accept that sun protection is the right thing to do on holidays, out foreign, but at home, the rules are different. Because we're deficient in vitamin D, because sun damage doesn't really happen in Ireland? You know it does, though.

One reason we resist suncream - stubborn stupidity aside - is that a lot of them don't feel nice. The very creamy, slippery ones that are fine on holiday just don't cut it at home, particularly not under make-up. Then there are more matt sun-protection products out there, but a lot of them leave skin tinted white, due to various ray-blocking ingredients.

Given that we seek excuses not to wear this stuff, it needs to be more appealing, like our five favourites today. They are not moisturisers or make-up with sun-protection benefits. They are sun protection with skin-primping benefits. They make you look good while doing you good, and it's not often you can say that.

Best Overall

Eucerin Sun Creme CC Creme 50+, €23.76, pharmacies nationwide

Anyone with sensitive skin will know this brand, which works wonders for those with rosacea, psoriasis or just general, Irish, thin-skinned issues. It does great sun products and this is a gem, combining light make-up coverage as well as excellent broad-spectrum sun protection. Seek out broad-spectrum protection in all sun products, as it means you're protected from the rays that age as well as those that burn. "This doesn't feel like a sun product; it feels like a proper CC cream," one panellist said. "Light, smooth and non-greasy."

Best Dewy Delight

Avene Hydrating Skin Tone Perfector SPF 30, €26, selected pharmacies nationwide

This is a tinted spin-off of the brand's thermal-water moisturisers, but it's far better than your standard tinted moisturiser. The tint is better, and so is the broad-spectrum sun protection. This is the most dewy of the five favourites, and it has indiscernible purple pigments in the mix, which add to the glowy effect, as they neutralise any dull yellowness in the complexion. "Sheer but not shiny," said one panellist. "It covers imperfections, without looking like you're caked with make-up in strong summer sunlight."

Best Creamy Choice

Thalgo Age Defence Sunscreen Cream 50+, €22, selected pharmacies, spas and salons nationwide, or see thalgo.ie

This is the most creamy of the crop and has no tint, but it is a pleasure to use. It's best for older, dryer skin and it works well under make-up. We are recommending it as a very nourishing product, however, that is also very effective on the decolletage, which can get burnt very easily and shows sun-damage ageing very early. "Creamy but not greasy," one panellist said. "My skin was lovely and soft after a few days' use, as with a posh moisturiser."

Best Matt Mate

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Tinted Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 50+, €20, available nationwide

If you have oily skin that looks sweaty come summer, and goes slippery no matter how non-greasy the sun cream claims to be, then check out this product. The gel-cream bit of the title is supposed to convey the fact that it has enough slip, but it's not like applying ye olde panstick. And yet, wonder of wonders, it's fantastically matt in terms of finish. "I got through a sunny day in town and the park with this on, and no shine and no sunburn; both of which I am prone to normally," said a panellist.

Best Hand Hero

L'Occitane Velvet Hands in Amande SPF 15, €21, L'Occitane shops and selected pharmacies nationwide

Our hands tend to be overlooked when it comes to sun protection, which makes no sense, given that they show signs of age and damage early and obviously. Apparently, driving in summer is a real killer for the hands, but it's a tall order to remember SPF before taking the wheel. You're more likely to use hand cream regularly if you leave a few around the house (and car), and this delicious and nourishing product has broad-spectrum high protection. "Not too greasy and lightly scented," said one panellist. "SPF that's a pleasure to use."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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