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Today, given we're heading into the height of summer (someone tell the current weather that, please), we're talking water-resistant and sweat-resistant sunscreens that aren't thick, heavy, greasy or waxy! I'm breaking down what water-resistance is and walking through some options for face and body that shouldn't run off the skin or sting the eyes, so hopefully we can get something in there to suit most budgets and skin types!
Let's start by talking about the difference between 'water-resistant' and 'waterproof'. You might notice that I'm not referring to sunscreens being waterproof and none of these bottles claim to be waterproof, because this just isn't possible with a sunscreen product. It's really important to understand that these formulas are designed to not drip off when you sweat. You can wear them to go swimming outside to protect exposed areas as much as possible, but they're not going to be intact once you come out of the water, so reapplication is still essential. Different countries have different rules around the usage of the term 'water-resistant', however I still think it's a helpful term in guiding you to the products least likely to come off your skin on hot days. Here in the UK (I'm assuming at this stage our rules are still pretty comparable to the EU regulations) a sunscreen can in its level of protection by 50% after two 20 minute immersions and still be able to use this claim whereas in Australia, you can claim water-resistance up to x-amount of hours only if, after being immersed in water for that period, the SPF remains the same. And none of that means a brand can't do its own testing to verify its claims, which we'll get on to. For me, waterproof sunscreens are for when I'm going to the beach, being dragged up a mountain by my boyfriend or heading out for a run or will be spending time in the heat. And, everything's broad spectrum here, so I won't repeat it for every product!
Let's start with the Evy Technology Sunscreen Mousse SPF 30 | £25 | and Evy Technology Daily Defence Mousse SPF 50 | £27. The original face and body formula (as opposed to the daily formula) has been through extensive hot tub testing to earn its 'very water-resistant' claim, and the daily face formula is still a great long-wearing option but more something I'd wear going out for a run because it doesn't run into my eyes and blind me... However, it also doubles as a great moisturising everyday option you can wear under makeup. These formulas come out as mousse, which is fun! You can rub it together in your hands to make it easier to apply, but this does mean you have to eyeball the amount. The original formula does come in an SPF 50, this is an empty bottle from last year to show you, so I'd repurchase the higher-factor in the future. This is the one I'd personally be packing to take to the beach. These are both good formulas that absorb easily, don't get greasy with reapplication and the 'very water resistant' option has been tested extensively to substantiate this claim.
I then have two options that can be used for both the face and the body. The first is an old favourite: the Ultrasun Sport Gel SPF 30 | £26. Ultrasun is another brand that's gone to great lengths to prove the veracity of their formulas and this particular one is a totally transparent gel that I tend to slap on for a run. They do actually now do an SPF 50 in this, which is what I'd opt for if you're going on a hike or to the beach because you're going to be exposed for longer and it just gives you some leeway with your reapplication. I tend to reach for this as a quick and easy face and body option for a run when I'll be out for 30-40 minutes tops. I have really sensitive eyes, particularly around this time of year with allergies, and I can trust this one not to run and burn them! My only word of warning is that it does go on shiny but dries off, which is likely due to quite a high alcohol content. If you find these sorts of alcohols drying for your skin, it might not be for you. I do have to say, though, if you don't mind the higher price per ml for more of a do-it-all formula, the Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract | £20 | is a more elegant option that works for the face, the body and sits nicely under makeup. Even though it's quite a bit pricier, if you want one product to take you from a pub garden with friends to a day at the beach: this is the one I recommend. It has a light lotion texture that's moisturising and absorbs with no white cast. It doesn't run and has seen me through some of the hot heatwave days we experienced last month.
Next we're talking American brand Sun Bum! I'm assuming this means the sunscreens pass our tests in the UK if it's sold here as 'water resistant', as I do know a number of brands, like Supergoop and Ilia have different packaging to sell here because it's the same formula but would be classed as SPF 30 (as opposed to 40) here. This purports to be 80 minutes water resistant. I've reached so much for both the Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion* | £15.59 | and the Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray* | £17.99 | this summer already. I really like the lotion because it's high-protection, it's not sticky and it absorbs really easily into the skin and the spray is totally transparent so it great for top-ups. It's also really handy if you, like us, go on walks out exposed in the sun; you can just pack this and topping up is a 10-second job! Just one word of warning: these do have a strong tropical-coconut scent, so if that's not for you or you have eczema / other sensitivities then I'd skip this line.
I have one more slightly more high-end option that's one I've used for years: the Coola Sport Classic Face Sunscreen with White Tea SPF 50 | £30. This can also double as a hydrating moisturiser; it's a water-based formula that melts right into the skin and it's another transparent gel so won't leave a white cast. This is an American formula with chemical filters that purports to be water resistant up to 80 minutes. This was always my go-to holiday formula because it's so light on my skin and doesn't run into my eyes in the heat.
Next, we have Aussie brand Bondi Sands, so you know these formulas have really been put through their paces in terms of testing. There's the Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+* | £7.99 | and the Bondi Sand Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ for Face* | £7.99. These are super-affordable and also almost always on offer for half price, which means you can get a tube for less than a Starbucks will set you back these days! They're lotions but I've seen them on a variety of skin tones and they don't seem to leave any white cast for anyone. I've checked many times and there's no difference in the INCI list between these two products, so possibly you could even buy the body version and use it for both, as they're the same price but you're getting double the product with the body formula. These two are fragrance-free and are water resistant for 4 hours, which is amazing. I use the face version even as an everyday product under makeup, but this feature makes this the perfect option for a beach day or any other circumstance under which you might be sweating it out under the sun.
Lastly, I have two face products from classic drugstore brands. It wouldn't be a sunscreen post without the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ | £18. I buy this product every year, and - I won't lie - every year it goes up quite a bit in price! However, it's still a very accessible option that works for a lot of people and the formula / brand are very trusted. It claims to be 'ultra-waterproof' though this isn't quantified as a time period. I can say in my own personal experience that this stays on the skin and you will need an oil-based cleanser to remove it fully at the end of the day. It's a super-light fluid lotion that melts into the skin easily and - from what I've seen online - it works for a range of skin tones. It's not sticky and the texture makes it easy to apply and reapply throughout the day. The final, more affordable, option I have is the Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Anti-Dryness Protection Cream SPF 50+ | £6. There are several versions of this and I have... one of them! What's also great about this is that Garnier is now cruelty-free, which is unusual for such an accessible drugstore brand. What I love about this formula is you're getting water-resistance (again, the exactly values aren't disclosed but it must reach at least the UK standard) but also a nice moisturiser and a product that sits beautifully under makeup all in one. This is a slightly thicker cream, so I recommend it for normal and dry skin types.
What are your favourite sunscreens for hot summer days?
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