Patient mum Louise McSharry on the best protection under the sun for little ones
If your children are anything like mine, the application of sun cream is an endless battle. Either they don’t want to wear it, and make its application virtually impossible via screams and wiggles (truly cruel that they become more slippery as you apply), or they are overly enthusiastic and you end up with a ghostly child encased in one inch of opaque white cream slipping around on a floor also tinted white with excess product.
Currently, I have both of these specimens via my three- and five-year-old sons. I’m no supermam, but I have figured out a few tricks along the way which help to ease the pain of the process.
First, consider the product you’re using. A well-designed product will make your life substantially easier. This year, the three-year-old’s skin has been saved by solid sun protection sticks.
It started on holidays in Italy when he insisted on using my Clarins’ Invisible Sun Care Stick (€25 via brownthomas.com) all over his body, every day (you can imagine the pain it caused me — my beautiful product), but since then I’ve invested in a couple of similar products without the Clarins’ price tag.
Boots’ Soltan Kids’ Suncare Stick (€4 via boots.ie) is much more appropriate, and offers extra water resistant factor 50+ protection.
I also like La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios SPF 50+ Stick (€11.50 via osullivanspharmacy.ie) which is super for sensitive skin and will go a fairly long way on a small body,
and Hello Sunday’s The Take-Out One Invisible Sun Stick (€15 via cultbeauty.com) although that one only offers factor 30 protection. The beauty of these is that they’re not going to explode all over the beach bag, and are compact and handy to carry around.
An alternative to the sun stick is the roller applicator — where the product is applied in the way a deodorant might be.
Nivea Sun has a couple of options in its kids’ range, Kids Protect and Care Roll-On SPF 50+ (€10 via supervalu.ie), and a version which rolls on green (€10.50 via boots.ie). Anything to get the kids into it!
If you feel safer with a cream product, I find Reimann’s P20 Sun Protection Kids SPF50 to be excellent. As you probably know, P20 offers protection for up to 10 hours, or three hours in the sun, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about re-applying. For my older son, it’s a dream. He actually enjoys putting on sun cream these days, but in previous years I managed to get it on him with a makeup brush which was a huge help, especially for the face. Any large, dense brush will apply it well, but body brushes are the most efficient as they cover larger patches of skin.
Penneys has a few options — the PS Pro Body Buffing Brush is beautifully soft and very easy to use.
Whichever product you use, remember to apply regularly and generously to avoid the rotten guilt that comes with noticing that you’ve missed a patch or didn’t apply often enough. It’s no fun being the sun police, but one day they’ll be doing their own sun cream and apparently we’ll miss all this!
West Barn Co’s Soap Brows (€16.99 via duoireland.com) changed the game for brows when it launched six years ago. This little pot of soap provided excellent hold and made it easy for people to achieve the laminated brow look at home without actually getting the treatment. You simply spray the soap with a little water, then rub it with a spoolie before working the product into your brows and manipulating the hairs into the position you want. Since then, lots of brow hold products have launched and many people use a regular glycerine soap in place of the product, but I come back to Soap Brows all the time. Aside from anything else, the tin is handy for keeping the product fresh and travels really well.
Yes, it’s happening again. My Something New is almost the same as my Something Old. That’s because West Barn Co has now launched two new versions of the original product, an Extra Strong formula and a tinted version (both €16.99 via duoIreland.com). The Extra Strong version is formulated to hold the brows even longer, and comes in a black tin. I find the standard Soap Brows is enough to hold my brows, but if you have particularly stubborn hair this will work brilliantly for you. If you are someone who relies on regular brow tints, the tinted version is excellent for bridging the gap between appointments. It holds the hair in place and comes in one universal shade.
While we’re talking sun protection, let’s break down the difference between UVA and UVB. These are two types of the sun’s rays, and we need to be protected from both. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply and lead to signs of aging, while UVB rays are the ones responsible for sun burn. Broad spectrum sun protection products will keep you safe from both rays and the star rating on many bottles will indicate the presence of UVA protection.