Tried & Tested: 5 Brilliant Facial SPFs That Are Easy To Wear Every Single Day - The Gloss Magazine
Woman with freckles wearing SPF in the sun

Tried & Tested: 5 Brilliant Facial SPFs That Are Easy To Wear Every Single Day

It’s the single most important skincare step. We’ve tested a lot of sunscreens – and these are simply the best SPFs to buy now … 

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We need to talk about sunscreen. It’s simply the most important consideration in your skincare routine, bar none – yes, even when it’s cloudy. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, with more than 13,000 new cases diagnosed every year – and with this number expected to double by 2040. Nine out of every ten cases of skin cancer are caused by UV rays from the sun or use of sunbeds. “UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass, and their effects cause cumulative damage to all skin types every time skin is exposed to the sun, even when we’re indoors or driving a car,” notes Dr Marc Ronert of Image Skincare.

It’s clear we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding the dangers, and properly modifying our sun behaviour. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, Irish women are ranked as the tenth highest rate of melanoma skin cancer in the world; Ireland is also ranked sixth overall worldwide for non-melanoma skin cancers: the fifth highest for men, and sixth highest for women.

Listen to the derms – What the experts say

Ninety per cent of skin ageing is caused by the sun – but only a small percentage of people use sunscreen daily. The SPF in your make-up is not enough, cautions skin expert Dawn Hill at Dublin’s Floraison; it’s very unlikely you’re wearing enough to get anything like the stated SPF level, so it’s a false sense of security. You really need to wear a separate sunscreen on your face every day at this time of year. And with the high-tech formulas around now, this is no longer a pain.

You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun, notes Professor Caitriona Ryan of the Institute of Dermatologists. “It is important to not only wear sunscreen, but also to wear enough of it,” Ryan says. That means, she says, as a rough guide: a teaspoon for the face, and a full shot glass for the body. And you should reapply every two hours or so. “While lighter skin types are more prone to developing skin cancer, all skin types can develop skin cancer, including the deadliest type – melanoma. Whatever your skin type, you should still use sunscreen and never let skin burn.”

It’s your single most important skincare step, too. Says Ryan: “Not only does daily use of sunscreen on your face and neck protect you against skin cancer, but it also reduces the incidence of fine lines and wrinkles, and the formation of age spots and broken capillaries.” Dawn Hill recommends Heliocare as a good brand for facial SPFs she finds easy to wear and that don’t pill under make-up.

Out of a pile of new launches, these are the best SPFs we’re wearing every day:

Best SPFs for summer 2024

THE TINTED ONE Image Skincare is justly renowned for its sunscreens. And this year there is a whopper selection, with something to suit every skin type and sun scenario – there’s everything from a spray-on mist (€53.50) for speedy application, through to a sheer matte moisturiser SPF30. I like the choice of both chemical and mineral formulas, high levels of water resistance, and the high-tech focus on skincare and defence. So yes, these are an investment, but you’re also getting multiple skin benefits, from antioxidants to hydration, as well as protection. My pick is the Daily Prevention Pure Mineral Tinted Moisturiser SPF30, which evens out your skin and gives a nice glowing finish. €63.50 for 73ml;

THE INVISIBLE ONES Every sunscreen claims to be invisible on the skin. These really are. Swissline Cell Shock Age Intelligence Never-Creased Sunscreen SPF50, and the Never Seen Sunscreen SPF30 (€149 each, 50ml), a super lightweight one, are investments, but offer state-of-the-art protection from these Swiss experts in luxury skincare (it’s stocked only in the finest five-star hotels and spas). Fabulous for mature skin; Never-Creased means the sunscreen doesn’t sit in lines; Find Swissline at The Spa at The Shelbourne (and try their fabulous new facials, too, from €175);

I like Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Primer SPF50 too for a mini on-the-go tube that’s handy to take on a weekend away. It’s pricey on the high street (€49 for 30ml) – my tip is to find it at The Loop, Dublin and Cork airports for less (€41.60).

THE DERMATOLOGIST’S CHOICE EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SF46 facial sunscreen – The Institute of Dermatologists recommend EltaMD UV Clear (tinted), €61, it’s one of the most commonly recommended by dermatologists in the US. Ideal for those prone to acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation, this one is based on transparent zinc oxide and is genuinely easy to wear; you won’t know it’s there. From €43, exclusively at The Institute of Dermatologists;

THE PHARMACY ONE I’ve been wearing this No7 Future Renew Damage Protection Defence Shield SPF50 (€33 for 50ml) a lot – it’s a good daily failsafe. It’s small enough to take in your hand luggage when you travel, and it combines high broad-spectrum protection with hydrating and boosting skincare ingredients. The range is at selected Boots stores and online at

THE IRISH ONES Pestle & Mortar’s new Daily Shield SPF50 has a lot going for it – broad-spectrum, fragrance-free and Peta-approved (and made in Ireland), this light option gives your skin a lovely illuminated glow while protecting it – it feels more like a primer on the skin than suncare. I’m getting through my tube fast. Big fan. It’s sold out on P&M’s website but it’s at stockists and pharmacies nationwide, €38 for 50ml. It’s also handily at The Loop, Dublin and Cork airports, for €32.30, so pick it up there.

From Irish-owned Skingredients, this Skin Shield SPF50 is a regular in my suncare armoury (it’s actually made in the US). I like the peach-coloured fluid’s finish on the skin. It comes in a refillable pump bottle (which then comes in an extra cardboard tube that isn’t really needed); instead, you can just buy the refill, for a few euro less –it’s smaller and is resealable. €52 for 73ml, at Boots and stockists nationwide;

See also this post for more on pharmacy brand Q+A sunscreens, three nifty tubes each at under €20 for 50ml.


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