Edwina Ings-Chambers: These don’t just protect you…

The new wave of high-spec suncreams are kind to skin – and the ocean.

It’s a bit of a suncare special this week. And in a sea (forgive the pun) of sunscreen bleariness, Ren’s take on the topic is reassuring. Its recently launched mattifying Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 (£30 for 50ml, spacenk.com) for face isn’t whitening, gives no flashback in photographs (a key customer request), isn’t too greasy, contains no silcones and works well under make-up. Plus the cap is made from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic, with the tube at 50 per cent – it currently can’t be more as it needs to keep the product stable but Ren is working on this. 

reef-friendly sunscreen

It’s also reef friendly, which was a crucial element in formulation. Note, friendly, not safe. ‘We want to be totally transparent,’ says the brand’s global product expert David Delport. There is, he says, no regulation of reef-safe labelling, ‘so brands can use it if their products don’t contain two of the chemicals known to be damaging to reefs.’ These include oxybenzone – toxic to coral, algae, sea urchins and fish – and octinoxate. And, in my own research, I’ve found concern about camphor and butylparaben. ‘But,’ says David, ‘nothing is reef-safe. We believe we’ve produced one of the cleanest formulas out there but if you asked me whether putting zinc in the ocean instead would cause damage, the truth is we just don’t know.’ 

Zinc is now a common physical sunscreen ingredient (these work by sitting on the surface of the skin and shielding it by bouncing back harmful rays). Though many brands are now oxybenzone-free, my other favourites are The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 (£39.95, theorganicpharmacy.com) and Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF 30 (£22.50, greenpeople.co.uk), which both lead the reef-friendly chant. 

To note: according to skin ageing and skin cancer expert Dr Marko Lens, SPF 30 offers 97 per cent UVB protection, while for SPF 50 it’s 98 per cent but with almost double the amount of chemicals. His own suncare is top-notch, too. 

For on-the-go topups

If practicality is your key requirement, then this new addition from Sisley is the bee’s knees. The Super Stick Solaire Tinted Sun Care SPF 50+ (£76, sisleyparis.com) is a great on-the-move bit of beach-bag kit and meant for touching up protection on sensitive areas of the body

An a non-oily option

If you have oily skin and find a good facial suncare product hard to come by, try Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier SPF 45 (£35, murad.co.uk). It doesn’t leave you feeling shiny and soaks in well, so you can apply your make-up swiftly afterwards. It also looks after skin, so you can skip the moisturiser. Men love this, too.

My sunscreen spritz hits

The latest spray-on formulas are super-easy to apply

Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Water Mist SPF 30 (£8, boots.com). This absorbs almost immediately and the 360-degree diffuser means that you can even do your own back.

Shiseido Sports Invisible Protective Mist SPF 50+ (£36, lookfantastic.com). Formulated for outdoor sports, it’s water- and sweat-resistant and the delicious fragrance has a luxury feel.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Invisible Mist SPF 50+ (£22, boots.com) also has a 360-degree dispenser and helps soothe even the most sensitive skin, with mattifying powders to avoid the telltale sheen of sunscreen.

Coola SPF 30 Citrus Mimosa Sunscreen Spray (£36, spacenk.com) is non-greasy and has a delightful holiday-inspired scent, along with organic aloe vera and algae extracts
to help soothe skin.

Vichy Idéal Soleil Solar Protective Water SPF 30 (£19, vichy.co.uk). A light yet moisturising formula with antioxidant action from blueberry polyphenols, which also give it a lovely fruity fragrance.

Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson