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Do you know your SPF?

SPF is one of the most important things in life. It is the most proven anti ageing product and not just for your beauty but your overall health too. With a product having so much importance in our lives it is amazing how little so many know about it. Did you know that there are different types of sunscreens with completely different benefits? Such as some having skin cancer protection but actually increase pigmentation on your skin? Others only having protection if they soak into your skin first before you wear any makeup? Anyway there is a lot to know and I’m going to break it down for you.

First let me give you the breakdown on some terms that you know but might not really know.


Standing for sun protection factor, SPF measures how long you can an be in the sun before the rays start sizzling your skin. Basically SPF 30 means that you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than without sunscreen before burning. So a normal person can stay out in the sun for 10 minutes without burning, so by applying SPF 30 you can stay out for 300 minutes. Of course remembering that this is altered if you go swimming, in which case you need to reapply straight after.

Broad Spectrum:

Before you learn what this means, just know that you absolutely need to be looking for a broad spectrum sunscreen. It’s a must and it isn’t in all sunscreens so watch out. Anyway, broad spectrum means protection against UVA and UVB rays (both different types of ultra violet rays). These are the nasty things that create skin damage. Often sunscreen only protects against one type. DO NOT BUY IT.

Physical Sunscreen:

Contains zinc or titanium oxide as the main protector, and works by reflecting the sunshine rays so the skin doesn’t absorb anything at all. Physical sunscreen is entirely natural being a mineral product. This means that it is a thicker often white consistency but is the go to option if you have sensitive skin. As it works by sitting on top of your skin it works immediately from application but if rubbed off it will immediately stop protecting. Physical sunscreen is therefore never water resistant.

Chemical Sunscreen:

This is the majority of all sunscreens you that buy. It works by absorbing the sunshine rays into your skin. As it absorbs into the skin you need to wait 20 minutes before going out into the sun.Β Chemical sunscreen has been shown to actually cause some skin damage on its own, which is why it is normally supplemented with lots of good antioxidants and vitamins. The main character on the naughty ingredient list is something known as oxybenzone. This is the active ingredient in the majority of chemical sunscreens. The jury is still out on this guy, as there is mounting evidence that it can cause cancer, infertility and other nasties. However, it remains to be governmentally approved so you will need to make your own mind up.

Sun rays

Application and consistency:

Chemical is much more common and is what you’re most likely using. Due to the chemicals being added to it, this one is really good choice under makeup as its a thinner consistency, however isn’t always great if your a sensitive skinned gal. On my body I’m less sensitive. I’m also much more likely on a beach to get my body wet and not my face. So therefore a water resistant sunscreen is a really high priority when I’m in bathers, or just sweating. I get slack with reapplying so the less I need to do so the better. I’m also less concerned about pigmentation on my body. For these reasons I’ll often wear chemical on my body.

Chemical should be applied first before makeup. Let that stuff absorb all the way in. Finally something that is the same for the both of them? Technique. Don’t rub it all over your hands before your face. Your palms will just absorb all the product. This goes for all skincare applications really. Use your fingers please.

Because physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin, they have to be ruthlessly reapplied when you wipe your face or enter water. My personal opinion is that I want a reflective product on my face as much as possible. As this sits on top of the face and is thicker, its not so easy to apply makeup with. That’s why I like a tinted version that acts like makeup. It evens out skin tones and adds a little glow to the face. As it is a thicker product and I can be prone to pimples I have to be ruthless with washing my face at the end of the day. For me when I’m spending a day out in the sun it’s an easy decision to wear physical on my face and chemical on my body, but remember that your face finishes at your boobs.

Physical should be applied last in your skincare routine before you use makeup. For extra protection you could wear a foundation or BB cream with an integrated SPF. These will most likely be chemical, but extra protection yeah?


My favourite products:

I used to live on Invisible Zinc tinted on my face. I liked the coverage for everyday and adds a nice glow to the skin for a pretty good price. However, I found that even when I set it down with powder I was getting a lot of transfer on my clothes. I really think that if you’re oily skinned then you’re not going to love it as much. I also have wondered about the thickness of the product and whether it was contributing to break outs. This product is good. I don’t mean to be knocking it by any means but I have since maybe found better.

I then moved onto Tarte Tarteguard which I’ve been loving. It is 30+ and physical so it gets that tick. This product looks and behaves far more like a makeup product than anything else. I got it in an essentials pack from Sephora that had a few other products in it. It makes it a whole lot cheaper than buying it off the Tarte website alone. I don’t have to set this stuff down as there is no transfer. I also love that I’ve been able to build up the coverage depending on my needs day to day. With such a high dose of zinc and titanium dioxide it is also odd in its field for not producing flash back with photography. The shade range isn’t brilliant but I’m also yet to find something that does have a good shade range for tinted products. Companies really need to make some gains in this department. It is a little more expensive and harder to come by than the Invisible Zinc but wow I think it is worth it.

There are also a few other products that I’m yet to try that I hear good things about. These are the Josie Argan sunscreen, First Aid Beauty ultra repair tint, It Cosmetics CC cream and the Go To Skincare Zincredible.

Another note always: check the expiration date. They don’t last more than three years. If it doesn’t have one and you know it has been in your draw for a loooong time then chuck it.

What are your favourite SPF products?

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