Top of the blocks: the best suncare right now

Finally we’re seeing a little sun of late, which for me is a reminder that summer is - maybe? - on its way and new sunscreen needs to go on the shopping list. Whenever I’ve asked beauty experts – be they dermatologists, make up artists or cosmetic surgeons – for their pick when it comes to anti ageing skincare, they all agree that the most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking good well into old age is wear a sunscreen. Daily. No arguments, no forgetting on a cloudy day. Add to that the fact that an estimated 90 per cent of all melanomas in Australasia are caused by direct sunlight, making daily sunscreen use an absolute no brainer. Most sunscreens last twelve months max after being opened too, so if you’re still got some sitting around in your beach bag or glove box from this time last year then chuck it - ASAP!
One formula I love is Cosmedix Reflect, which combines a high performance sunblock with skin-loving ingredients. A physical, oil-free, spray-dispensed sunscreen that won’t clog pores and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive and oil-prone skin types, it provides broad-spectrum UV protection that absorbs quickly leaving a matte finish. Whilst it’s protecting your skin a combination of science and botanical ingredients help firm things and smooth lines, whilst free radical-fighting antioxidants defend skin from environmental stress that can cause inflammation and damage to collagen and elastin. Pretty impressive stuff! It is also formulated free of petroleum-based oils, and for those with severe gluten sensitivities or Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Reflect is gluten free. 
A new natural formula I have discovered of late is Natural Sunscreen from Eco By Sonya Driver - a vegetarian, reef-friendly sunscreen to protect the whole family. Sitting on the skin’s surface and staying out of the bloodstream, this formula creates a physical barrier between your skin and the sun by actively deflecting the sun’s UVA rays that have an ageing effect on the skin, and UVB rays that result in burning. It is up to three hours water resistant thanks to ethically sourced beeswax, and I love that the reef-friendly formula means you can snorkel without the associated guilt that many sun protection options bring. It is in fact formulated without any harsh synthetics, but has loads of yummy ingredients like Vitamin E, Green Tea, Rose Hip, Jojoba, Cucumber extract and Safflower to boost its efficacy on the natural front.
Another formula for their face that also doubles as a moisturiser is Aspect Gold Hydra Shield SPF 15, a lightweight yet super-hydrating little number with physical sun protecting benefits. Hydra-Shield SPF15’s ingredient list includes potent skin protecting antioxidants, skin hydrators and nourishing botanical oils, and the non-greasy formula is suitable for all Fitzpatrick skin colours and all skin conditions, including sensitive. It doesn’t leave a chalky look on the skin after application either, making it perfect for under makeup.
For those of you old enough to get nostalgic about tanning oils, Australian sun specialists Bondi Sands have created one that has the same vibe but won’t fry your skin. Called Protect & Tan Oil, it may be this summer’s go-to for those wanting to fast-track their natural tan, as it has a faux glow aspect too. Handily containing both a self-tanning and SPF factor in a global first, it even comes with a signature coconut scent that smells like pure, unadulterated, lazy summer days.
A product line that combines delicious scents and sun protection is COOLA, a collection of organic sun essentials out of Southern California that I have unabashedly preached about here before. Highly recommended is the brand’s high performance Sunscreen Spray SPF30, which comes in scents like Piña Colada and Citrus Mimosa. A “Farm to Face” sourced spray with zero nasties; it effectively reproduces that feeling of lying prone on a towel on the sand, but is formulated for the rigorous demands of sport and is water resistant for 80 minutes.
Lastly, NZ Sunscreen Company released Pure Shade Moisturizing Brightening SPF 50+ Sunscreen and Pure Shade Moisturizing Brightening Antipollution After Sun Repair earlier this year. Sunscreen-skincare hybrids, the company calls them a “two-step skincare system designed to be used together for ultimate skin protection and rejuvenation”. The Moisturising Brightening Sunscreen has an SPF 50+ - one application reportedly protects your skin for over 8 hours - and its ultra light illuminating formula won’t leave your skin white, chalky or greasy. 
Last up, one of the best beauty brands on the block according to Allure magazine is France’s La Roche-Posay. Recently arrived in New Zealand, its core ingredient is also therapeutic thermal water – one that contains a high concentration of Selenium, which has demonstrated anti-free radical, anti-irritation, soothing and healing properties with undeniable therapeutic virtues for the skin. The water is used at the La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Centre in France, which treats over 10,000 patients a year for a variety of inflammatory skin diseases and injuries from eczema to burns. Their Anthelios suncare range is legendary, packed with beautifully light formulas that are fragrance-free, paraben free, non-comedogenic and water resistant. La Roche-Posay also offers the first connected wearable UV patch to encourage safer sun behaviour and help minimise sunburn. Called My UV patch, it is a transparent adhesive containing photosensitive dyes that change colour when exposed to UV rays to indicate varying levels of sun exposure.


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