How to pick the perfect sunscreen and tanning solution

If you enjoy summers outdoors, choosing the right sunscreen is essential. After all, the safest glow is always faux.

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EDIBLE BEAUTY Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen SPF50, ULTRACEUTICALS Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF30, VITA LIBERATA Phenomenal 2-3 Week Self Tan Lotion, ELLA BACHÉ Great Facesaver SPF50+ Lotion, HUNTER LAB SPF50+ Facial Sunscreen, DERMALOGICA Protection 50 Sport SPF50, LOVING TAN Deluxe Bronzing Mousse, LA BEACH Express Tanning Foam

If, up until now, choosing a sunscreen has stopped at the SPF number, and self-tan with the perfect bronze bottle, there’s a little more you should know. With summer coming in hot at our sand-covered heels, it’s time to find out what goes under, over and into your products.

The sun protection factor

If you have a sensible care factor about sun safety, you’ll be choosing between products with an SPF of 30 or 50. But what’s the difference between SPF30, SPF50 and SPF50+ when it comes to coverage? While the higher number sounds like almost twice the protection, SPF30 filters out 96.7 per cent of the sun’s ultra violet (UV) radiation, compared to SPF50+ which blocks out 98 per cent of UV.

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ULTRACEUTICALS

Ultra Sun Active SPF50+ Face Cream

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DERMALOGICA

Invisible Physical Defense SPF30

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ELLA BACHÉ

Active Lotion Great SPF50+

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NATIO

Daily Defence Face Moisturiser SPF 50+

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So stick with an SPF30 or above and you’ll be covered (until you hit the ocean or towel down, after which you’ll need to reapply). You’ll also want to ensure it’s labelled broad spectrum, which means it filters both UVA and UVB rays. UVA is the main culprit for wrinkles and blotchy skin, while UVB is the principal cause of sunburn – and both types contribute to increased skin cancer risk. Neither are worth the tan.

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HUNTER LAB SPF50+ Facial Sunscreen

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Cover your bases

If you’re in need of a fast fix, a gradual or instant self-tan will bring on that glow. But bronze isn’t the only shade you should be considering. Self-tans come in different base colours that suit different skin tones.

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VITA LIBERATA

Phenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse

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LOVING TAN

2hr Express Mousse

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CLARINS

Self Tanning Booster Face and Body

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VITA LIBERATA

Ten Minute Tan

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Cool tone? If your skin is pale and tends to burn more than it tans, a green-based self-tan will counteract any pink in your skin and provide a natural-looking hue. Warm tone? If you have more of an olive complexion, violet-based self-tan balances any yellow hues in the skin and produces a richer bronze colour.

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Polish and prep

For a flawless long-lasting faux tan, it’s all about the pre-tan prep. And the best place to start is with squeaky clean skin, so begin by polishing skin with an exfoliating scrub.

CLARINS

Tonic Body Polisher

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KIEHL’S

Crème de Corps Moisturiser

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CLINIQUE

Deep Comfort Body Butter

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L’OCCITANE

Almond Shower Scrub

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Once scrubbed, apply moisturiser only to the very dry areas (like elbows and knees) to avoid colour build-up. The best way to avoid a streak-free finish? Leave most of your skin free of body oil and moisturiser.

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Sunscreen specially formulated for the face has myriad skin benefits

Combining sunscreen and makeup

Regular, non-SPF makeup lacks sufficient protection against UVA rays, which are present year-round. As such, you’ll need a dedicated sunscreen to adequately protect your face — and yes, you should wear it every day, even if you’re only sitting inside by a window.

DERMALOGICA

Age Smart Skin Perfect Primer SPF30

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LIBERTY BELLE RX

Superstar SPF50+ Broad Spectrum Physical Zinc Sunscreen

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ELLA BACHÉ

Great FaceSaver SPF50+ Lotion

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ULTRACEUTICALS

Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF30

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Modern formulations mean you won’t have to worry about breaking out or looking shiny. Sunscreens specifically formulated for the face are more lightweight than traditional options and often have their own benefits for the skin, meaning you can skip using a moisturiser or primer.

Clean and green

If you’re particularly mindful of what your skin saviour is made of, there are vegan or chemical-free options out there. Check for physical sunscreens (as opposed to chemical sunscreens) with only zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a mix as their active ingredients.

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GROWN ALCHEMIST

Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF30

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HUNTER LAB

SPF50+ Facial Sunscreen

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EDIBLE BEAUTY

Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen SPF50

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LA BEACH

Express Tanning Foam

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If you’re looking for a reef-safe option, physical sunscreens also fit the bill. These from the likes of Grown Alchemist, Hunter Lab and Edible Beauty will take care of your skin with minimal harm to the ocean. And enjoy guilt-free glowing skin with cruelty- and fragrance-free self-tan formulations, such as this one from La Beach, made using organic and natural ingredients.

Use products as directed. Always read the label. Avoid prolonged UV exposure and always wear protective clothing, hat and eyewear when exposed to the sun.