The holy grail: SPF50 spray you can even apply over make-up

A glowy finish shouldn’t look flat after a spritz of Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF

Sunscreen: the argument for wearing SPF daily is far more than cosmetic. Photograph: iStock

Sunscreen: the argument for wearing SPF daily is far more than cosmetic. Photograph: iStock

 

Sunscreen for the face is tricky. You’re meant to reapply it every few hours during sunnier weather, but the idea of having to remove and reapply make-up just to whack fresh SPF beneath it fills me with the burning rage of a thousand suns. None of us is going to do it.

Yet the sun does real and lasting damage, even in an Irish summer. Unprotected (or inadequately protected) skin will at best suffer premature aging and uneven pigmentation. At worst the exposure will lead to melanoma. The fairest skins are the most vulnerable; the argument for wearing SPF daily is far more than cosmetic.

The worst SPF sprays make you feel as if you are travelling back to the most traumatic moments of early puberty, and are just as likely to end in spots all over your chin

I have tested hundreds of facial SPFs over the years, and there is a lot of chaff: textures that are heavy as a wet blanket, chalky hues that make you look ill, products posing as SPFs that offer no protection at all. (SPF15? Get lost.) Facial SPF needs to be light, comfortable and, at the very least, not cause breakouts or irritation.

The idea of a sunscreen spray – an SPF you can spritz over make-up without disturbing it, and reapply without grimy build-up – is beyond tempting. In reality, a few of these are okay – they do the job but are heavier than is ideal – but many are terrible, causing make-up to look claggy and mottled, and forming a sludgy film that makes you feel as if you are travelling back to the most traumatic moments of early puberty, and is just as likely to end in spots all over your chin.

Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray
Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray

Finally, I have found the facial SPF spray you can use over and again, on top of make-up. Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray, which offers factor-50 protection, does not feel heavy or cause that ghostly flashback in photographs. It smells divinely of lavender and goes on matte, and its hyaluronic acid and light-diffusing silicone powder help stop your skin from looking dimensionless or drab, so a glowy make-up finish shouldn’t look flat after a spritz of this.

At €38, it certainly isn’t a bargain, and it is exclusive to SpaceNK, on Grafton Street in Dublin, for now, but it beats every other facial SPF spray, paste, gel or cream I have ever tried. I won’t be without it this summer.

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