My favourite SPF’s

I was blessed this summer to actually get some sunshine into my bones. I took full advantage of the few ‘rare’ sunny days typical of an Irish summer and sat out slightly scantily clad in my back garden. Thank god it is a private garden with no overlooking houses. I say I could have frightened quite a few people if they had set eyes on me. I was also lucky enough to escape over to Spain for a week in the sun. Something which has not happened in a long, long time. The warmth of the sun really helps ease my painful joints and as I am low in vitamin D, the only way to successfully top it up is to expose my skin to the sun. I am not going to lie, I am also a much happier person in the sunshine. Even though I love being out in the sun, I am fully aware of how dangerous it is. I am meticulous when it comes to protecting my skin and taking regular breaks. This post is a follow on from my recent post on the importance of wearing SPF which can be read here.

SPF is one of those essential beauty products that everyone regardless of age and race must have in their arsenal of skincare. If I could recommend only one beauty product to have it most definitely is a broad spectrum SPF. Not only does it protect the skin from the harmful rays emitted by the sun but it also greatly reduces the chances of developing skin cancer. I set myself a little goal this summer to try out different brands of SPF, mainly brands you would not automatically think of when you think SPF. I also added in my trusty go to SPF as a control. I know, the scientist in me is rearing her head here. Each SPF I discussed below is different in its own right and opinions expressed are merely my own. I am fully aware what works for one person may not work for another. The most important thing to take from all of this is the importance of wearing a daily SPF regardless of how sunny it is outside. Even on dull overcast days the suns ray’s will still penetrate through the clouds albeit at a reduced level. I have broken down each SPF into individual sections and highlight briefly the pros and cons of each.

Clarins suncare dry oil spray SPF 30 (150ml – €26)

Clarins sun care dry oil spray SPF 30

This high protection SPF from Clarins is slightly different in consistency to the type of SPF I would normally use. For one, it is a dry oil and a multi-use product. Its application is via a spray bottle which I think is the perfect method of administering an oil based product. Once applied to the skin and hair, it dries in quickly and most importantly is water-resistant. Even though it is an oil it does not leave a greasy residue behind but at the same time you can feel a protective barrier on the skin. What really intrigues me about this particular product is its multi-use abilities. Not only does it promote healthy tanning (being honest when is tanning ever healthy though) but it also creates a barrier to protect the hair and the scalp. My scalp is notorious for burning in the sun but since I started applying this to my hair I have had no issues whatsoever. The oil itself contains natural ingredients such as Indonesian nyamplung oil, senna extract, plane tree extract, gold cob, aloe vera and sycamore. All of which help nourish and protect the skin.

Vichy idéal soleil ultra-melting milk-gel SPF 50 (200ml – €19.50)

Vichy idéal soleil ultra-melting milk-gel SPF 50

This Vichy SPF is an interesting hybrid of a milk based cream and a gel. It offers a high level of protection from the suns harmful rays whilst also being gentle and nourishing on the skin. It is formulated with Mexoryl XL which adds a higher level of protection to the skin. The cream/gel consistency is light weight and can be used on both wet and dry skin. It contains a special wet technology to prevent water penetrating the layer of sun protection which is ideal for ducking in and out of the pool. This SPF feels nice on the skin and is not overly perfumed. It is great for those of us who have sensitive skin and is gentle to use on the facial area.

Bioderma photoderm max spray SPF 50+ (200ml – €20.52)

Bioderma photderm max spray SPF 50+

This extremely high protection SPF from Bioderma has a thick cream consistency. It contains a patented cellular bioprotection complex to add additional protection to the skin. It is both fragrance free and water-resistant. Out of all the SPFs, I found it to be the most challenging to apply but when it is applied lasts a long time on the skin. I know Kev really liked this one for use on his keloid scars to ensure that they did not burn when exposed to the sun.

Boots Soltan protect and moisturise suncare lotion SPF 15 (200ml – €5)

Boots Soltan protect and moisturise suncare lotion SPF 15

This sun-lotion from the Boots Soltan suncare range has been my go to SPF for the past number of years. It is both light in consistency and easily absorbed. I have never had any concerns or issues with it but I know when I posted about it on my social media, I received a few responses from people saying they burn whilst wearing it. Unfortunately I cannot offer any explanation as to why that may occur and can only share my own experiences with it. As I said, I have been using it for years. My skin really likes it and I especially love the moisturisation it provides.

Payot sun sensi protective anti-aging spray SPF 30 (125ml – €29.45)

Payot sun sensi anti-aging spray SPF 30

This sweet-smelling, light texture SPF from Payot is the newest addition to my list of SPFs. It offers high protection against the suns harmful rays and is water-resistant. The formula is non greasy and has the additional benefits of vitamin C and E to protect the skin.

Phyt’s high protection natural and organic SPF

Phyt solaire SPF 30 and SPF 50

Phyt’s are a skincare company that I had read about but not actually used so I was very interested to include their SPF in my little  project. They have two high protection SPFs that are composed of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These particles create a protective barrier by sitting on the surface of the skin. Most importantly they filter both UVA and UVB rays. Each SPF is composed of  jojoba seed, sesame seed and argan oils to nourish the skin.

Phyt’s crème protectrice SPF 30 (75ml – €39.00)

Phyt solaire SPF 50

Phyt’s fluide protecteur SPF 50 (50ml – €39.00)

Each SPF has an array of pros and cons. I do not think there is one specific ‘perfect’ SPF on the market. I suppose that is why there is such an abundance of sun protection products. For me personally, I found some of these SPFs to be quite expensive. There is no way I could afford to spend over €20 per sun lotion to bring on holidays. I am quite liberal with application so would require quite a few bottles. I wish I had the luxury of being able to afford whatever SPF I wanted but unfortunately my funds dictate otherwise. I am a fan of the reasonably priced Boots Soltan protect and moisturise SPF as I find it works for me personally. I have used this same lotion time and time again over the past ten years.  I did enjoy trying out the other variations and brands and was impressed by the Clarins dry oil being a multi-use product. I also loved the smell and feel of the Payot SPF. The Bioderma SPF would be the one I would apply to children’s skin as you know it is not going to budge. The Vichy SPF is a good all round SPF but I prefer to use it on my body more so than my face. In terms of facial protection, I feel both the Phyt Solaire SPFs are gentle to use on delicate skin and offer the best protection for the facial region.

All SPFs bar the Boots Soltan were kindly sent to me to undertake my little project. I had contacted each brand I wanted to feature and had no onus to review any of the products. I have no affiliation to any of the brands mentioned above and all opinions expressed are my own.


  1. 6th October 2017 / 2:13 PM

    Great timing indeed. I wanted try a new SPF. You review will surely help me choosing the right product. Thanks for this helpful post.

    • apalershadeofbeauty
      6th October 2017 / 10:22 PM

      Hope it helps in making a decision and am delighted you wear spf x

  2. Elizabeth O
    5th October 2017 / 7:47 AM

    Wow! This is perfect timing. I am looking for my new Spf and this is such a big help for me to choose what spf I can use. Really looking forward to this.

    • apalershadeofbeauty
      5th October 2017 / 8:01 AM

      Hey Elizabeth I hope the post was helpful. It’s so important to wear spf and I’m delighted you do. I hope you find something that you like x

  3. Anne Dela Cruz
    3rd October 2017 / 7:22 AM

    Wow!! I really like to use SPF for sunscreen protection for my lovely skin. and this is right timing coz’ I am looking for my new SPF. and I would like to try Clarins.

    • apalershadeofbeauty
      3rd October 2017 / 11:48 AM

      Hi Anne, that’s great to hear you are a big fan of wearing SPF. Your skin and health will thank you for it. The clarins spf is lovely. The bottle just gets a little slippy but the spray mechanism is a godsend. Do let me know how you get on using it. Enjoy your holidays x

    • apalershadeofbeauty
      2nd October 2017 / 10:18 AM

      Thank you. Yep bioderma produce some great quality skincare including spf. X

  4. 2nd October 2017 / 12:31 AM

    So many to choose from! You/ve given us great insight about what sunscreen will work best for our skin type. Great stuff here!

    • apalershadeofbeauty
      2nd October 2017 / 12:43 AM

      Hey hunter thank you for commenting. Yep I covered just a few didn’t I? I wanted to provide some choice as they are all different in their own way. I hope it wasn’t too much to cover all at once. Thank you for your kind words x

      • 13th October 2017 / 6:29 PM

        No! It’s perfect! I love seeing what’s available & believe most fashion people do. Cheers!

        • apalershadeofbeauty
          13th October 2017 / 7:46 PM

          Thank you for your support x

  5. 1st October 2017 / 4:17 PM

    Sunshine in the bones is one of the best medicines I think! I am glad you got to enjoy a few days of sun and had a lovely holiday in Spain. My English summer was certainly more wetter than I had hoped for. I’ll admit I am not that sussed up on SPF’s so this was handy to read!

    • apalershadeofbeauty
      2nd October 2017 / 1:13 AM

      I just love the warmth that radiates deep down to your bones. You can feel your muscles relax and tension seep out of your body. I know the sunshine is not for everyone but I definitely think I was born in the wrong climate. I take after my Dad. He loves the heat and the sunshine.

      Oh no, English and Irish summer’s can certainly be on the damp side of things. Unfortunately the weather is so unpredictable which is a shame. Regardless of where we live though it’s important to wear spf daily. I hope you found the post informative. I wanted to relay the importance of wearing SPF but at the same time not have it feel like I was lecturing to anyone. Thank you for taking the time out to comment and I hope you continue to enjoy the content I write. X

Leave a Reply to apalershadeofbeauty Cancel reply