9 proven sunscreens for every skincare regime (even yours)

7 February 2023
By Fashion Quarterly

Now is the hour to find a sunscreen that truly suits you.

The best 9 sunscreens for every skin care regimen: Seamlessly slip SPF into your beauty regime with our roundup of sunscreen superstars
Photography: Michael James Rooke. Styling: Lucy Hopkins. 

Ruby ‘Cher’ dress, $360, Meadowlark ‘Rose’ earrings, $969, pearl fob necklace, $895, and fob chain necklace, $899. 

Finding a sunscreen that suits your unique needs and skin type is no easy feat, so we’ve taken the guesswork out of SPF for you. Whether you’re looking for something that is skincare inspired with SPF-and-beyond benefits, a fail-proof vacation essential, or a cult must-have, we have the hassle-free formula fit for your needs. 

Seamlessly slip SPF into your beauty regime with our roundup of sunscreen superstars below. 

Skincare-inspired superstars 

Fond of a no-frills approach to summertime skincare? Consider these supercharged sunscreens, which fend off harmful UV rays while working to restore radiance and health to your complexion. Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ Luminising Serum Skinscreen ($52, from Sephora) includes kakadu plum and squalene to boost glow and hydration. Emma Lewisham Skinshield SPF30 Face Crème ($98) has recently received an overhaul to ensure no visible trace of the mineral sunscreen is left on the skin once it’s applied, and it’s packed with nine active ingredients that keep skin healthy, so it could definitely become the star of your summer beauty kit. Powered by a complexion-enhancing cocktail of niacinamide and liquorice extract, Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Brightening Sun Serum ($53) gets skin glowing, diminishes the appearance of fine lines, and improves tone and texture — as well as providing protection from the sun, of course.

Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ Luminising Serum Skinscreen, $52 from Sephora
Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ Luminising Serum Skinscreen, $52 from Sephora
Emma Lewisham Skinshield SPF30 Face Crème, $98
Emma Lewisham Skinshield SPF30 Face Crème, $98
Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Brightening Sun Serum, $53
Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Brightening Sun Serum, $53

Cult sunscreen must-haves

You know the drill: summer has arrived, so it’s time to slather on sunscreen from head to toe. However, if you really want to protect your visage and press pause on skin ageing, it’s vital to wear SPF 365 days a year. These icons of the sunscreen world make it easy to work protection into your daily skincare routine regardless of the season. If you’re on the hunt for a formula that won’t mess with your skincare and sits perfectly under make-up, look to the uber-lightweight Avène SPF50+ Aqua Fluid Suncare ($28). There’s no need to fret about unsightly residue with Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30 ($92), plus the non-nano zinc oxide formulation also features a bioactive mushroom complex and green tea to soothe skin and fight free radicals. Whether you’re beach or city bound this season, take Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick SPF50+ ($57) along with you. This little gem of a sunscreen is water-resistant, fuss-free and can be applied under or over make-up when you’re on the go.

Avène SPF50+ Aqua Fluid Suncare, $28
Avène SPF50+ Aqua Fluid Suncare, $28
Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30, $92
Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30, $92
Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick SPF50+, $57
Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick SPF50+, $57
Make a splash in these versatile pieces to wear to your next summer soireé or pool party.

Ruby ‘Lillie’ top, $199. Rachel Mills ‘Easy Mid’ bikini bottoms, $99. Meadowlark ‘Twisted Rope’ earrings, $749, and ‘Geneva’ ring, $419.

Vacation essentials

No holiday beauty routine is ever complete if it’s sans sunscreen, but finding the ultimate hassle-free formula to throw in your beach bag can be a little difficult given the number of options to choose from. Naked Sundays Golden Glow Body Sunscreen SPF50 ($50) ticks multiple boxes: it protects the skin from UV rays, imparts a sun-kissed glow and contains antioxidants to improve skin health. Skinnies Sungel SPF30 ($40) is a definite essential — the gel texture rubs on clear, is suitable for the whole family, and is sustainably minded as it’s made without any heavy-toship water whatsoever. Fans of the popular La Roche Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+ sunscreen won’t want to leave home without its Spray counterpart ($40) in tow — it absorbs almost instantly and is suitable for all skin types.

Naked Sundays Golden Glow Body Sunscreen SPF50, $50
Naked Sundays Golden Glow Body Sunscreen SPF50, $50
Skinnies Sungel SPF30, $40
Skinnies Sungel SPF30, $40
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Spray, $40
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Spray, $40

A close-up on which sunscreens perform as they say they do

If you’ve ever looked up Consumer NZ’s annual sunscreen test results to see which formulations actually deliver on their claims, you’ve probably wondered how on earth those that fail to pass the test ended up on shelves to begin with. Skincare and cosmetics are a bit of a minefield as far as regulations are concerned, and up until recently, sunscreen was no exception. Fortunately, in September 2022, the Sunscreen Safety Bill came into effect — a long overdue piece of legislation that makes it mandatory for sunscreens sold in Aotearoa to meet AS/NZS 2604 Standard. This tests sunscreen, skincare with a sun protection factor of 15 or more, and insect repellents with a SPF of 4 or more to ensure their safety and efficacy, meaning whatever sunscreen you buy, you know it’ll keep you protected.

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