Sunday 25 September 2016

Beauty panel... Base Notes

Summer has been an on-off affair this year, but when the sun comes, you should be prepared

Sarah Caden

Published 03/08/2015 | 02:30

Pictured, from left, Erborian BB Creme SPF 20 in Clair; Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream SPF 30 in Clair; Fuschia Anti-Ageing Tinted Moisturiser Sunscreen SPF 30 in Light; Chanel CC Cream SPF 50 in Beige 20; SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defence SPF 50
Pictured, from left, Erborian BB Creme SPF 20 in Clair; Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream SPF 30 in Clair; Fuschia Anti-Ageing Tinted Moisturiser Sunscreen SPF 30 in Light; Chanel CC Cream SPF 50 in Beige 20; SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defence SPF 50

These past months have been a prime example of how the Irish summer can be a patchy affair. We were spoiled in recent years by long stretches of solid sunshine, but this year has been a more typical, unpredictable mix of light and shade. And when the summer behaved, so did we. We slapped on our sunscreen and took care of our complexions, but a sense of panic sets in when the sun seldom appears and we want to soak up every ray that comes our way. Even odd bursts of sun exposure can do damage, which is why it's no harm to incorporate a little bit of sunscreen into your cosmetic coverage.

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Let's be really clear on one thing: the sunscreen in a cosmetic product is no match for a dedicated sunscreen. The SkinCeuticals product on the page today is a sunscreen with added tint, but this item aside, there is not sufficient sun protection in a make-up product to make it work for a day at the beach or a picnic. Not that we've had many of those this year. What we've had, however, is many instances where the sun pops out briefly and catches you unawares. Then, it's the case that some protection built in to your make-up is better than no protection at all. And if the sun fails to shine, then it's just good make-up.

Best Overall

Erborian BB Creme SPF 20 in Clair, €32, Space NK, Grafton St, D2; Dundrum Town Centre, D16

There is only one shade in this product, which adapts to your skin colour as you blend. But if you have very dark skin, it's going to be too pale. This cream claims to produce a "baby skin" effect, which we take to mean softness and clarity. Certainly you get a dewy smoothness and, like all the other products on the page today, it offers broad-spectrum sun protection, which means it guards against ageing UVA rays, as well as the burning UVB variety. "I was impressed with how it magically matched to my skintone," said one panellist. "The coverage is concealing, but not heavy."

Best Calming

Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream SPF 30 in Clair, €17.50, selected pharmacies nationwide

This French pharmacy brand is a welcome recent arrival in Ireland. The prices are good and the quality of their skincare is excellent. This BB cream is a beauty for sensitive-skin types, as it tackles rosacea, and any tendency to high colour, as well as offering good make-up coverage and decent sun protection. The drawback: it only comes in one shade, which isn't one of those magical adapting colours, so it will either match your skin or look like a mask. "My cheeks flare up regularly, and I noticed this product's soothing abilities," said a panellist. "A little goes a long way, however, or it can look like heavy-duty foundation."

Best Oil-Free

Fuschia Anti-Ageing Tinted Moisturiser Sunscreen SPF 30 in Light, €24.95, see fuschia.ie

If your skin tends to be oily, the summer can be slippery. Oil-eliminating products can look chalky, but this is a nice example of one that doesn't appear to be dry and dulling. With vitamins A and E, it's very skin-friendly, and the finish is quite glowy. It comes in two shades, the darker of which should suit most skintones in the olive-to-dark range. "I love this brand's mineral make-up and this is another winner; it's sheer but not shiny," one panellist said.

Best Updated Excellence

Chanel CC Cream SPF 50 in Beige 20, €60.50, Chanel counters nationwide

When this product launched last year, it came in one shade and was a little thick and tacky. This year, Chanel brought out a new, improved version, which is slightly thinner and easier to blend, and comes in three new shades. We like this warm tone. "Seamless blending and a beautiful glow," a panellist said, "and none of the white shine that you'd half-expect from a high-SPF product."

Best Light Layer

SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defence SPF 50, €43, for stockists, see skinceuticals.co.uk

Unlike our other choices, this is a thin lotion rather than a conventional cosmetic cream, but the coverage is impressive nonetheless. It's a 'one fits all' colour that covers most skintones from pale to mid-dark, and the finish is matt and very natural-looking. A combination of physical and chemical sun protection, it's very effective, while feeling more like make-up than sun cream. "I wear this for everyday and for when I'm out running," said a panellist. "It operates equally well for both."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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