SPFs That Rock

The peeps in the skincare know squabble over all kinds of issues, but there’s one point that they can all come to some agreement on – the importance of SPF; the biggest culprit of ageing and a factor we’re exposed to every bloomin’ day. For the full sun protection lecture I’ll leave it to the professionals (Caroline Hirons, of course, has a great post on the topic), but the long and short of it is slap it on daily, be overzealous in application and stick to ones that offer broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection; heads up: all my picks do. After my recent pact to slather on the good stuff each morning I’ve been on a mission to find formulas that didn’t bring back memories of my Mum greasing me up on seaside resort holidays with thick, white sunscreens that transformed me into a sand magnet and in my debut round of testing I’ve found four which pass the tacky-texture-free test:

This Works In Transit Skin Defence SPF 30* – £29 – from Space NK. Now although this was featured on VDM as part of a collaboration with This Works recently, the guys at TW have no idea it’s appearing here too – I just lurve this stuff. It does break Caroline’s rule of being a moisturiser/hybrid, but its protection is broad-spectrum and it bucks all the usual SPF cliches; lightweight, easily absorbed and makes a good year-rounder choice.

Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30 – £13.70 – from Escentual. Oily skinned gals and guys listen up. An SPF without a hint of grease in sight – and it’s the cheapest out of the bunch; apply, busy yourself for a minute or two and you’re ready for your daily dose of makeup. The sheen-free finish means that I’ve been thrusting this in my boyfriend’s face each morning for him to use in his (very limited) skincare lineup and for once he’s been obliging.

Clinique City Block Sheer SPF 25 – £16 – from Boots. You noticing a trend here? Un-SPF like SPFs. Yep, well this fits that bill too. It’s a tad heavier than the previously mentioned, still oil-free but perhaps more suited to the drier-skin among us. It’s tinted too with a slightly peachy hint, but this blends out post-application giving more glow that it does colour.

Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defence SPF 50* – £31 – from Kiehl’s. SPF 50. SPF 50! But this stuff doesn’t conform to your high factor nightmares, oh no. In fact blind-tested against the other three I don’t think I’d be able to detect a difference. It’s a little richer perhaps, but still skins in, does the job and foundation acts like its usual self on top of it. When the serious rays come out to play this is what I’ll be reaching for.

…and all without a white-cast or sulk-inducing sticky formula in sight. Load. Me. Up. Sun – I’m ready for ya - whenever you’re ready to finally make an appearance.

*PR Sample


  • I am definitely going to get my hands on the Bioderma offering, shine free finish is right up my oily faced street!

    Lottie x

  • I only started getting in to wearing SPF daily this year (Clinique Superdefense SPF25 Moisturiser) but the ones I really want to try if the sun ever decides to come out on a more permanent basis are In Transit Skin Defense, Cityblock and anything by La Roche Posay.

  • Hailey

    I’d also suggest La Roche Posay Anthelios Daily Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen. SPF 15 (but I think they go up higher) and oil free! Love the stuff.

  • Alex

    I would add the Clarins SPF40:,en,pd.html?start=1

    It’s great for sensitive skin, I have combination skin and it adapts to dry zones as well as to oily ones. It sinks in quite quickly and I have noticed that it helps your makeup to last a little bit longer. There is a slightly pink tint to it, but it looks clear and it helps to brighten up your complexion and it has fruit extract that are good to your skin. What else can you ask for? The Clinique super defense spf25 (as someone has mentioned already) is what I used in the winter and it is also great, not greasy feeling at all, you wouldn´t notice you are wearing it!

    But my main concern about sunscreen is the fact that you should re-aply it and I dont know if it is possible to do so without ruining your makeup. I live in a very sunny country and I have problems with sun spots and hyper-pigmentation and it really worries me. If someone know any solution, please let me know!!

    I love your blog and your yt channel Anna! xx

    • Ah yes I’ve tried that Clarins one before – and used up the whole tube. It’s top stuff! In terms of reapplication have you thought about using a powder SPF to top up during the day? I know Chantecaille do one, but I’m sure there’s cheaper alternatives out there. Always thought they seemed like a great idea 🙂

      • Alex

        Oh! It’s a great idea! Thanks a lot (:

    • Kelly N

      In terms of topping up, I know there’s also a Peter Thomas Roth powder SPF that goes up to SPF45. I haven’t used them but I’ve heard really good things, definitely worth checking out!

  • Much like Alex and Hailey, in the previous comments, I really like Clarins and La Roche-Posay SPF products.
    I’m not a fan of Clinique City Block, since it looks very ashy on me – and I’m just a shade or two darker than you.

  • Elemis have a lovely product called Liquid Layer which is very sheer like a moisturiser perfect under makeup. It’s SPF30.

    If you don’t want to ruin your makeup after its applied but want to top up your SPF then invest in a good but very light powder foundation with an SPF to keep in your bag and buff on when you think it needs reapplied.

    • sorry noticed you mentioned powder SPF in another comment. There are a few good, reasonably priced ones out there. Bare Minerals?

  • Lauren

    Thanks for this post, I’ve been on the hunt for an affordable facial SPF for a LONG time, and I think the bioderma one will be perfect! xx

  • I’m a culprit of no sfp, which for my Casper complexion, is probably my biggest skincare crime! Most of the time my foundation doesn’t even have spf in. Thank for these though! Will definitely check them out.

  • Olivia

    Anna I am loving your posts at the moment, so many practical posts with amazing suggestions, while I love your makeup posts, you’ve really been focusing on essentials too that everyone is going to need to invest in and these posts are so helpful!! x

  • Nattie

    I wish you would sort out your spelling and grammar- no apostrophe in a plural, “spfs” not “spf’s”!

    • Thanks for pointing that out – all rectified now 🙂

  • http://babysdolcevita.blogspot

    I think none of these are available where I live 🙁
    But great and useful post nevertheless! <3

  • Emma Kirk

    this is as amazing post! i never thought that an SPF would be essential as I am living in Scotland and let’s just say sun protection isn’t the top of our worries!

    However, I want to try some out especially as I’m going to Spain in a few weeks and want a suncream specifically for my face which isn’t too oily that won’t break me out; too high that i won’t catch a wee cheeky tan or too low that i will burn (I burn pretty easily!)

  • Perfect <3 Need to dig out my little Bioderma sample and give it a go 🙂

  • Becky Fearn

    I’ve tried the city block many years ago and really liked it!

    B xx

  • Maddy Cane

    I really need to be more diligent with applying suncream, I always forget! xxx

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD


  • G

    I tried the Bioderma one, it was awful! Made me look as white as a ghost and felt really horrible, plus was really hard to work in and didn’t like the finish. Not great!

  • Jennie

    Oh great post, and I’m definitely taking note after having a bit of a dodgy reaction to a La Roche-Posay sunscreen.

    Also, my boyfriend is currently running a giveaway on his film blog; if anyone fancies winning 2 free, no-strings-attached cinema tickets stop by and enter here!

    Jennie x

  • SPF’s are so important…but what’s even more important is applying (and reapplying!) them at the right times. Great post Anna x

  • Jeanette Havmand Andersen

    How i the finish of This works cream?
    I´ve tried kiehls sunscreen, and loved the dewy finish..

  • sof

    Very interesting post Anna! thank you Xxx

  • ta
  • jas
  • Nisprih Mohan-Ram

    I’m loving my Kiehl’s sunscreen right now.

  • Tree Mushroom

    Any SPF that does not smell like SPFs ? that smell annoys me..


  • Emma Fox

    I’m so bad at wearing SPF but am determined to get into it this summer! Great post 🙂

    emma xo

  • sarah

    Yes! Really needed this post, thanks alot x

  • This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m conscious of the fact that my beloved Josie Maran SPF is decreasing by the day and seeing as it’s impossible to get hold of in the UK, I’ve been on the look out for an alternative. Next stop, Kiehl’s website!

  • Farzana @BeautybyEff

    Ooh I’m definitely interested in the Bioderma one! I use La Roche Posay Anthelios XL and LOVE it x

  • Natalie Baggott

    Cliniques city block is safe for use around the eyes too which is great!!

  • Ro

    Another vote for la Roche posay anthelios – it’s amazing.

  • So glad my mums into skincare, been wearing SPF on my face forever! Think i’ll get the bioderma one for the boy, thanks 🙂 x

  • Janelly

    I’m surprised you haven’t tried or listed the Clarins UV liquid SPF in this post. I’m curious about the Bioderma one now but I don’t think I can get it here in the U.S. :[

  • Skin Ceuticals has great stuff, mineral spf 50! Non-greasy, gives a little tint.

  • Elizabeth

    What happened to your chantecaille SPF?

  • tiffany

    i absolutely love avéne and la roche posay too! they are great for more oily skin like mine 🙂 has anyone else tried them?

  • Kelly N

    I wish more people would be away of SPF – there are so many people (at least in Australia) who spend a lot of time tanning and disregard the possibilities of sun damage. These ones sound fantastic and I’ll definitely have to check them out, especially the Kiehls!

  • I have used Clinique city block for years and love but I am trying some others out at the moment, SPF have come along way over the last few years. x

  • La Roche Posay anthelios sunscreen milk is an absolute favourite of mine for SPF50 on the face and neck and the Sk:n sunscreen is fantastic for body. Non-greasy, no stickyness, no suncream smell, just melt in and disappear leaving all the protection – the La Roche Posay one also works great under make up, no shine in sight!

  • katherine.parkes

    this could not have come at a better time as I really need an spf, thank you! x

  • Pippa Jones

    Something I definitely need to pick up! few decisions to make to between them tho.

    Pipp xx

  • ah so happy you’ve done this, going to greece in a week!

  • Honor Whitfield

    Is there anything that’s the best for using on your hair parting? I’ve never burnt there before today (oh my gosh OUCH) so im a newbie with hair SPF.. main thing is that I don’t want greasy looking hair! xx