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Even though I'm obviously Team Sunscreen all year round, this tends to be the season of new SPF-related launches, and there are four affordable formulas here that caught my eye, so I've tried them for you and I'm returning my verdict today...
The first I'm going to talk about is a bit of a mixed bag. The Beauty Bay SPF 50 | £8 | will be great for some but I'm a little unconvinced... In terms of pros: this is a purse-friendly £8 for 50ml of product so used daily, this will last you a couple of months (depending on reapplication). I like the texture too: it's a light lotion that melts nicely and feels moisturising but not heavy or greasy. It also works well under makeup and doesn't pill up with other products I'm using under or over it. It's a broad spectrum SPF 50 but is very easy to wear in terms of how fluid it feels and how easily it spreads. I like that this product is formulated with modern European filters that are going to be a lot less irritating to the skin than the old-school options, and it didn't irritate my eyes.
So, why is this a borderline review? It unfortunately leave a white cast on my skin! I was intrigued as to why this was happening, given I'd assumed it was a chemical sunscreen so dove into the ingredients and I think the culprit might be a nano-hybrid filter called Tinosorb M which does have some mineral sunscreen features. I do find that some chemical sunscreens take a moment to sink in fully, but I gave this 10-15 minutes and unfortunately there was still a mild cast on my skin tone (Fitzpatrick Type 4). This isn't noticeable under makeup, but I think it's just a bit too much for me to be comfortable wearing this on its own! If you're a type 1, 2 or (maybe) 3: this will probably be fine for you, but if you're a 4, 5 or 6, I'd probably avoid this one, sadly! I'm not sure why a chemical sunscreen (that's the only one in Beauty Bay's line, currently) couldn't have been a bit more inclusive, but I just wanted to put it out there that even though it doesn't seem like it should have a cast, it actually does.
Next, I have the Glow Hub Sun Silk Face Cream SPF 30* | £12 | which can act as a one-stop-shop as we head into the warmer months or if you're a little more on the oily side. This is a lovely, lightweight lotion that feels hydrating and melts beautifully into the skin. It sets down, so it's not shiny but does leave my skin with a healthy glow. This melts effortlessly and doesn't leave any kind of cast on my skin and I don't see it leaving a cast for anyone; obviously, I expect a chemical sunscreen to be pretty traceless on the skin, but after the Beauty Bay formula, I thought it was worth highlighting! In terms of the sunscreen filters: you're getting a broad spectrum SPF 30 and I think that's absolutely fine on a day-to-day basis if you're going into the office and you're only getting incidental sun. This is really what you'd expect from a modern, European sunscreen in that it contains a wide range of filters and relies less on the traditional, more irritating ingredients. This is an everyday sunscreen (like all the formulas in this post) so it's not water-resistant and it's not like I'm breaking a sweat in it typically but I did get a little bit of eye watering the one time I have.
When it comes to added benefits, this contains some nice antioxidants to work synergistically with the sunscreen filters: there's a Vitamin E derivative and green tea, which is also nice and soothing for the skin, plus glycerin and cetearyl alcohol hydrate and moisturise. It's a simple, fairly universal formula that I'm personally loving in terms of texture and application. It layers perfectly under makeup, it's great for days when I'm just working from home and want to slap on something easy. It's simultaneously both hydrating and softening but also very lightweight. It doesn't pill and it melts in with very little rubbing-in needed. This is a perfect intro to daily sunscreen for people who want a formula that's effortless to use: I can't stop reaching for it!
We also have a reformulation: Hello Sunday's the Everyday One SPF 50* | £16. Sunscreen brand Hello Sunday launched last year and a lot of reviews did mention that the SPF 50 version of this moisturiser-sunscreen hybrid pilled like crazy. I'm really happy that they listened to this feedback and reworked the product to improve the application experience, alongside upgrading the packaging to make it more easy to recycle. This is a UK brand so as expected and like the other products in this post, it's a modern formula utilising a range of filters. Although it contains the same mineral-chemical hybrid that I think gave Beauty Bay's formula that unfortunate cast, I don't experience that issue with this formula at all. This provides your broad spectrum protection as well as visible light protection, which I think is a really great addition for an 'every single day' product to make sure you're getting the widest-possible well-ageing benefits from your sunscreen.
In terms of added ingredients, we have Vitamins C and E, moisturising jojoba esters, hyaluronic acid and glycerin to draw water into the skin, plus allantoin and panthenol to soothe the skin. It's meant to be a sunscreen-moisturiser and it has a light lotion texture; on my dry skin, this will be a great one-stop-shop for summer, but at the moment I am still wearing moisturiser underneath it. This melts right into my skin with almost no effort and there's zero pilling with my other skincare or when I apply my makeup over the top of it - hurrah! It's not shiny and will suit most skin types. If you're more of a low-maintenance person then this is a great everyday option to make daily sunscreen a habit! I do slightly prefer the Glow Hub formula for my skin but it's all about what sort of finish you like and this one has more of a natural-skin look i.e. it will reflect the natural state of your skin at that stage in your routine and is neither matte nor dewy in and of itself.
Lastly, let's talk about the B. Superdrug Protect Defence Sunscreen SPF 50* | £14.99. This is the most moisturising moisturiser-sunscreen hybrid and I can comfortably wear this on my dry skin as a one-step product at the moment. I think it could be a bit too shiny for those with oily skin but I personally like the glow on me and out of all the formulas I tried that claim to be a sunscreen and moisturiser in one, this one does the best job, providing a good level of protection whilst softening and moisturising my skin. This is also lovely under makeup - there's no pilling and it provides a nice, smooth canvas.
In terms of ingredients: it's formulated with hyaluronic acid and glycerin to deliver water to your skin and Vitamin E for that antioxidant boost. This is primarily formulated with more modern filters so provides a high level of broad spectrum protection whilst melting in effortlessly without creating a cast on the skin. So, what's the negative? This actually really irritates my eyes! I like it enough on the rest of my face that I'm ok to just use a mineral formula around my eyes, but I totally get that that's just an extra step for most people that they could live without. So, I can't recommend this for sensitive eyes.
My top picks have to be the Glow Hub formula with the Hello Sunday as a close second! Check out my demo Reels here.
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