The Best of Sunscreen’s

I get it, we live in dull grey Ireland and the sun only comes out every 30 years or so. So when you hear that we should be using an SPF all year round it sounds ridiculous!  But there are different types of UV Rays and it does not have to be hot and sunny to get sun damage. It only needs to be daylight outside. Yep that’s right no need for sun. That’s so depressing! See this photo below of a truck driver, the side of his face that’s at the window is far more damaged that the inside side.


I am obsessed with skin in general and I try to go to as many classes/talks/conferences as I possibly can. It was on one of these courses that it was explained to me that the sun (day-light) causes up to 80% of our ageing. That’s terrifying! That alone should be getting you to run out the door to buy an SPF. But more worrying and more importantly dangerous is that skin cancer cases have risen by huge amounts in the past few years here in Ireland, it is the cancer that has the highest growth in this part of the world for the past few years. I believe that skin cancer is on the rise because all of the sun worshipping that we did in the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s etc is now playing havoc with our skin! I am one of those people who in the 80’s smeared myself in olive oil and stayed in the sun for the day in the back garden. I remember going on our first holiday to Spain and my Mum saying ‘you’d better put some of this Factor 6 Oil on you before you get burned’. I’d like to point out I was 6 at the time. But in the 80’s sun screen was not a thing that was used much. We all liked our carrot oil that enhanced our tan. I was always the envy of my friends because I went this unnaturally dark brown colour when in the sun, at the time I really thought I was massive. That all changed when I came home from a holiday in Egypt, where it was 48 degrees and over every day and not one person said I had a lovely colour, I heard ‘Oh you’re very brown’ quite a few times. Now when I go on holiday I do not have an SPF lower than 30 for my body and 50 for my face. I am really lucky that I still get a tan, not like my Glenn who comes back a lovely white shade not his normal blue shade. But even if I didn’t get a tan I would protect my skin. I plan on being 34 for a few more years yet and I have been 34 a few years already!!

I found it very hard to find an SPF for my face that was not thick and white, there is an incredibly embarrassing story that involves me and sunscreen were basically I looked like Queen Elizabeth I, scarlet for me, wha?? But after a lot of searching I have found the following, which I use for work and at home.

#Take shelter 30spf environmental shield €28.60The first is from cult brand Philosophy. Their Take Shelter spf30 environmental shield is a uva/uvb broad spectrum spf 30pa +++. Which basically means that you are protected from both sunny weather and daylight. Your SPF needs to say either Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or have PA+++ on it. That’s how you know that you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays. Take Shelter is is a lightweight, multitasking formula that shields skin from premature photo ageing and a complex antioxidant blend that helps neutralise up to 95% of free radicals to help shield skin from external pollution. It costs €28.60 and is available at Arnotts.

UV 50 Europe

This range from Chanel is mega! It comes in SPF 20 for medium protection, SPF 30 for high protection and SPF 50+ for very high protection, this is the one that I love. This range is different from other SPF’s of course it protects your skin on the surface protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. What makes it special is what it does on the deeper layers of your skin. Chanel Research has developed a unique shielding complex that prevents damage at the heart of the skin caused by UV radiation. This preserves the integrity and functionality of stem cells by protecting their microenvironment and their DNA, to strengthen the skin’s barrier function and thus provide optimal protection for the skin. Basicilly meaning that it works deep in your skin to help make it stronger and less prone to sun damage. The RRP is €50.00.

kiehls spfUlta Light Daily Moisturiser from Kiehl’s is a marvel! It is both an SPF and light moisturiser. It’s oil free so perfect for people with oily skin, like moi! It is broad specturm spf50 and it really is perfect! It is available at Kiehl’s in Arnotts, Wicklow Street and Dubdrum Town Centre.



  1. This is great Leonard – thanks – I’m a big fan of the factor 50 myself and these sound exactly like what I’ve been looking for!

  2. Thanks for this,I’m on medication that makes me extremely sensitive to the sun(even when it’s cloudy) but can never find one that isn’t thick and greasy,which makes it impossible to put makeup on over it.Would you have any suggestions please?I’d love to be able to wear my makeup without the fear of burning or my makeup sliding off!
    Thanks a lot!

      1. Thanks very much Leonard,I’ll definitely have to get this now,though it doesn’t look like we’re going to get sun any time soon!Your reviews are always great and I love the site.

  3. Hi Leonard, just catching up on some of your posts now, hope it’s not too late for you to see the comment. Is there one of these you would recommend for dry/dry-combination skin? I need to give my skin a good moisturising before applying makeup but have found most sun-creams more suited to oily skin and so leave mine too matte and my foundation then looks dry/cakey. Thank you

    1. Hey Clare, the Shiseido SPF50 for face is fab, not matte at all and does not effect the colour of your foundation. Go in and ask for a sample before you buy. I’d recommend bringing a small container with you just incase they don’t have a tester. Also AlphaH have a moisturiser that has spf50 they have added avocado nut oil which takes away the whiteness normally associated with SPF.

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