I Thought I Hated SPF Until I Discovered This French One

It’s no secret that applying SPF every day is the single best thing we can do to help prevent skin ageing. But the truth is hardly any of us actually bother to. Whereas other powerhouse anti-ageing ingredients, such as retinol, offer almost overnight results, SPF offers no instant change. On top of that, the formulas tend to be tacky, greasy and generally woefully unpleasant to use. And trust me, as a beauty editor, I get it. For years, I have had dermatologists, skin experts and other beauty editors preaching to me that if I’m not applying SPF every single day (yes, even when it’s dark and grey out), I’m not worth my weight in gold as a beauty editor.

Despite trying countless SPF products, I just couldn’t find one that my skin liked. If you ask me, a product that makes your skin greasy, flaky, irritated or susceptible to breakouts just isn’t worth the upset. But then, a couple of years ago, the early signs of ageing started creeping up on me. My nose became riddled with pigmentation, and the skin on my forehead started looking crêpey and wrinkled. As a result, I made it my mission to find an everyday SPF that actually worked for me. I put every SPF that came my way to the test. Most of them failed to pass, but there was one major exception: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+.

After many months of trying to find the perfect daily facial SPF, I realised that La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Ultra-Light was by far the most recommended by every skin expert and dermatologist that I quizzed. They insisted that whatever your primary skin concern, this formula would do the trick. And after finally trying it, besides the rather lengthy name, I honestly couldn’t find a single fault. It’s runny and lightweight, leaving a semi-matte finish on the skin that doesn’t compromise on glow, either. Unlike so many others, it doesn’t run into the eyes or cause stinging, and most importantly, it sinks into skin in seconds without a trace of greasiness.

Now, two years on from trying it for the first time, it’s still my favourite SPF around. In the past year or so, there’s no doubt that SPF formulas have come on leaps and bounds. When I first started my SPF journey, Anthelios Ultra-Light was pretty much the only half-decent product around. Nowadays, there are a plethora of SPFs that cater to different tastes. From sensitive skin–friendly mineral formulas to blurring tinted ones, there are some truly exceptional options.

But even with all of the new wearable SPF technologies, I still find myself reaching for Anthelios Ultra-Light the most. It’s no-fuss, non-irritating and far from claggy, making it the perfect base for makeup, too. Plus, its SPF 50+ and PA++++ rating means it offers you maximum protection from both damaging UVB rays and skin-ageing UVA rays. If you’re looking to start incorporating an SPF into your daily skincare routine (and I urge anyone reading to start doing so—my skin looks so much better for it), I truly can’t recommend this stuff highly enough.

Shop More Everyday Facial SPFs

This new launch from Vichy offers a shockingly similar formula to La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light. However, I particularly like that the packaging comes with a mess-free pump.

This cooling gel formula is perfect for hot summer days. Plus, it's jam-packed with hyaluronic acid to help plump and deliver soothing hydration. It's a real contender.

For dry skin that requires some extra moisture, this lotion feels just like a super-hydrating day cream but comes with all of the sun protection too.

Mineral sun creams (which tend to be better suited for easily irritated skin) are traditionally thick and unpleasant to use. This stuff, however, is lightweight and sinks into skin with ease. Plus, it doesn't leave skin looking chalky!

This stuff is quite possibly one of the most enjoyable sun creams to use. It's lightweight and leaves skin looking beautifully glowy. The price makes me wince a little bit, but if you're into luxury skincare, this one's a good 'un.

If you're serious about sun protection (as I now am), this setting spray is a game changer. Simply apply your normal SPF first thing in the morning, and mist this on over the top of makeup or throughout the day for super-easy top-ups.

Prone to irritation and SPF-inflicted breakouts? This lightweight formula is free from greasy, pore-clogging oils but leaves skin looking beautifully radiant.

I must admit, this stuff is thick. However, it still manages to melt into skin with ease. If you're naturally oily and find that SPF worsens the situation, this mattifying formula is seriously good.

Applying this super-lightweight gel formula first thing will have skin glowing all day long and offer really high protection.

Next up, the one product dermatologists wish everyone would start using right now.

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