The review: my best sunscreen buys for face & body

Style & Decor blogger Sarah's best sunscreen buys

How’s the weather with you today? After a disappointingly slow start, the sun has finally put in an appearance. But did you know you shouldn’t wait for summer to hit full swing before you slather on your SPF? We should all be wearing sunscreen every day, all year round. That’s because UV (ultraviolet) radiation is present every day – even in the depths of winter.

Although I can burn easily, I do enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. And I realise that most of us feel more confident and attractive with a bit of a tan. But the only totally safe tan is a self-tan. Over-exposure to UV rays can cause all sorts of serious damage to your skin, from dullness to pigmentation to skin cancer. It’s also thought that sun exposure is responsible for 80-90% of extrinsic skin ageing. So protecting your skin from the sun isn’t just a health issue, it can keep you looking younger for longer, too! But with so much choice available, how does anyone choose the best sunscreen? To help you, I’ve tried and tested a range of cruelty-free formulations that are also suitable for sensitive skin. Read on to discover the results.

Best sunscreen buys with Style & Decor blogger Sarah in her garden
Check out my carefully curated collection of best sunscreen buys below!

Ultrasun Body Tan Activator SPF30

I’m a big fan of Ultrasun. A Swiss chemist founded this brand, which I find very reassuring! This year, I’ve been impressed with Ultrasun’s Body Tan Activator SPF30. I don’t achieve much of a tan but this clever product incorporates Bronzyl®, an ingredient that activates melanin (the pigment in skin) to encourage a faster and more even tan. Apparently this formulation has been shown to accelerate the tanning process by over 40% in ten days!

I love that it’s easily absorbed, water-resistant, and offers protection from UVA, UVB and Infra-red A damage. Importantly for me, it’s also reef*- and vegan-friendly, and free from oil, fragrance, emulsifiers and preservatives. It’s currently on offer for £40.50 for 400ml, which makes it one of the best sunscreen buys around, in terms of effectiveness and value!

*Reef-friendly are sunscreens that do not contain the UV-blocking chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can cause coral bleaching.

Ultrasun body tan activator SPF30
The 400ml size of Ultrasun’s Body Tan Activator SPF30 – complete with handy pump dispenser – is an excellent investment for summer

The 400ml size of Ultrasun’s Body Tan Activator SPF30 – complete with handy pump dispenser – is an excellent investment for summer

Ultrasun Face Fluid SPF50+ & Tinted SPF50+

Personally, I tend to choose higher SPFs for my face, so a lot of my best sunscreen buys are SPF50. I definitely recommend Ultrasun Face Fluid SPF50+ and the Ultrasun Face Fluid Tinted SPF50+, the latter of which I use within my daily skincare regime. Both deliver heavy-duty UVA, UVB, blue light and infrared-A sun protection, while still feeling light and non-sticky. Best of all, the tinted formula incorporates a hint of blendable colour that stops me looking pasty and is perfect for those non-make-up days.

Sun protection should very much be part of a daily skincare routine, and anyone serious about their skincare will know that UVA and UVB protection is a daily core component,” notes Ultrasun UK MD Abi Cleeve. “No serum or moisturiser can reverse UV damage. A good UV protection, ideally with a UVA filter of over 90%, will multi-task, delivering a lightweight under-makeup formula that often rivals and replaces BB and CC creams. Look for those that also give enhanced pigmentation-mitigating, anti-pollution, skin radiance and smoothing benefits, alongside the crucial high SPF and UVA filter as standard.”

Tinted Utrasun Face Fluid
Priced at £28 for 40ml, Ultrasun’s Face Fluid Tinted SPF50+ delivers high-level protection with a flattering, blendable tint that suits all skin types and tones

Evolve Organic Beauty Climate Defence Facial Cream SPF30

If you prefer an un-tinted face formula, add Evolve Organic Beauty’s new Climate Defence Facial Cream SPF30 to your best sunscreen list. It offers broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, within a light, non-greasy formula. This is a mineral (as opposed to chemical) sunscreen. Unlike chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays, mineral formulations protect the skin physically with a layer or barrier. Some leave a chalky white finish, but this one blends beautifully leaving no unsightly white cast.

“By wearing SPF daily, you can prevent sunburn, skin irritations, premature ageing and skin cancer,” confirms Evolve Organic Beauty Founder Laura Rudoe. “Our new broad-spectrum sunscreen Climate Defence Facial Cream SPF30…contains Lingonberry Stem Cells that help to protect the skin from the damaging effects of sun radiation and free radicals, whilst improving skin texture. Prickly Pear Cactus Extract deeply hydrates and soothes [any] irritation. Hyaluronic Acid helps promote a firmer, plumper appearance whilst locking moisture into the skin.”

Evolve best sunscreen for face
Evolve Organic’s Climate Defence Facial Cream SPF30 (£29 for 40ml) is a great way to combine your skincare and sun protection

Seventy-One Percent SunKissed SPF30 and SPF50

I know it’s important, but applying SPF properly can be a real chore. So if you’re active like me, one of the best sunscreen formats is a stick. They’re compact, portable, and allow you to simply swipe and go!

SunKissed SPF30 and Sunkissed SPF50 are two excellent discoveries I’ve made that are perfect for targeted, but easy, application. They both provide transparent, non-sticky, broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. And both versions contain organic mango butter which is super moisturising, and leaves my sensitive skin feeling really soft and smooth.

Seventy-One Percent Sunkissed SPF30 and SPF50
Great for sports lovers, SunKissed’s sunscreen sticks (RRP£10.99 for 15g) are available in SPF30 and SPF50

Rosalique 3 in 1 Anti-Redness Miracle Formula SPF50

If your face is already prone to redness or rosacea, a gentle, non-irritating SPF is a must. Rosalique is a sensitive skin specialist, and if my face is feeling especially reactive, I find its 3 in 1 Anti-Redness Miracle Formula SPF50 one of the best solutions to soothe it.

“Rosalique is a miracle product when it comes to reducing redness, thanks to its one-of-a-kind micro-encapsulated technology,” explains Educational Trainer and CIDESCO Beauty Therapist Emina Avdukic. “The green-coloured micro balls contain skin-coloured pigments which, when applied to the skin, break to create an instant concealing effect, which neutralises redness to help skin look more even-toned.”

Rosalique best sunscreen
Soothe and camouflage any unwelcome flushing with Rosalique’s 3 in 1 Anti-Redness Miracle Formula. Suitable for all skin types, it incorporates an SPF50 is priced at £29.99 for 30ml

She adds: “Rosalique is also packed with active natural ingredients including a-Bisabolol, Zeolite and Urea which have been clinically proven to treat sensitive and red skin. This formula also includes a 5* rated SPF50 which protects skin from further aggravation caused by harmful UVA and UVB rays. Studies have shown that daily use of Rosalique over a period of 4-8 weeks can result in redness being significantly reduced long-term.”

An added bonus? This sunscreen’s coverage is buildable. I use it alone and sometimes as a primer under make-up, after my regular moisturiser.

Aloe Sunscreen

Forever Living’s Aloe Sunscreen is another recent addition to my best sunscreen collection. It’s a great multifunctional, family-friendly formula that’s suitable for use on the face and body. It offers water-resistant, broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. What my dry, sensitive skin really loves, though, is the added aloe vera which, along with vitamin E, moisturises, softens and soothes.

A broad-spectrum coverage sunscreen with higher SPF values offers more protection against sunburn, UVA and UVB damage,” acknowledges Forever Living’s Skincare Expert & Trainer Jeannie McGinnis. “Add this to the hydrating benefits of aloe for the skin, and a mineral-based sunscreen with aloe is ideal.”

Aloe Sunscreen spf30
Forever Living’s Aloe Sunscreen (RRP £20.68 for 118ml) kept my dry, sensitive skin feeling soft and nourished


The final brand on my best sunscreen list is Tropic, a new discovery that combines wild tropical botanicals with cutting-edge science. The product range is vegan, ethical, sustainable and carbon negative, too.

The Skin Shade Sun Cream SPF50 is designed specifically to keep sensitive, naturally fair skin safe in the sun, so all you typical English rose complexions, rejoice! Another mineral sunscreen, this formula features zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to defend against UV rays, but leaves no chalky white residue.

Other key ingredients include Kahai and roucou oils. Rich in vitamin E, these really do soften and smooth. This is a lovely rich formulation that somehow manages to not feel greasy or heavy. It smells absolutely amazing too.

Tropic Skincare best beauty buy
Tropic’s Skin Shade Sun Cream is perfect for pale skin. I love the SPF50, but it’s also available in SPF15 and SPF30, and in 1000ml or 200ml sizes

Lip service

It’s easy to neglect certain areas (tips of the ears are a classic) where sun protection is concerned. Another area that needs some extra TLC is your lips. Did you know that the skin on your lips is thinner than on other areas of your body? It doesn’t have any sebaceous glands to help keep it soft and moisturised, either. So Tropic’s Lip Shade Nourishing SPF50 balm is perfect for a soft, sun-safe pout.

Tropic lip shade best sunscreen
Keen to look after your lips? Try Tropic’s Lip Shade Nourishing SPF50 balm. It feels and smells fabulous, and adds a subtle gloss

It combines high-factor, mineral sun filters with conditioning Kalahari melon seed oil, aloe and shea butter. At just £8 it’s really reasonably priced – I think I have one in every handbag!

My third Tropic pic is the Sun Stick SPF50. Another great option for fast, on-the-protection, I’ve been really impressed by its water resistance. It’s unscented, so it’s a great ‘best sunscreen buy’ if you prefer your sunscreen products to be fragrance-free.

Tropic Sun Stick
Great for outdoor exercise, Tropic’s water-resistant Sun Stick (RRP £20 for 17g) is fast and easy to apply

AD: Many thanks to all the above brands who have kindly collaborated with me for me to produce this blog.

Skin feeling parched after too much summer sun? Click here to read my round-up of the best body lotions, oils, moisturisers and creams