There are so many luxury sunscreens, sun creams and lotions and potions to choose from. Here are some of my absolute favourites.
For some, sunscreen is just about going through the motions. Pick something from a retail shelf, ensure it has the right SPF protection and off you go. For others (myself included), picking the right sun cream can actually add to your holiday experience. The right smell can be or become part of one’s memories, and texture can also play a part. So yes, luxury sunscreen is a thing and I am here for it.
There are now specific sun creams for skiing (my edit is widely read every year), but if you are heading to the beach, here are some of my favourite sunscreen options.
For convenience, I have split the luxury sunscreen list into body SPF, face and after sun options for adults. I have also curated a short selection of sun creams for children.
What SPF to choose in your luxury suncream?
SPF stands for sun protection factor and refers to the level of protection from UVB radiation, linked to skin cancer. The British Skin Foundation recommends using SPF30 or more.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. For example, if you’re using SPF 30, it will take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sun cream.
In addition, look for a 4- or 5-star UVA rating which will help protect from UVA radiation, associated with skin ageing as well as skin cancer. Broad spectrum’ means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You may sometimes see a PA+++ rating, this is the American and Japanese rating system for UVA protection in sunscreen. PA+ being low protection, and PA++++ being high. I hope this helps somehow.
And obviously, do not forget your beach bag.
Best Luxury Face Sunscreen
Dior Solar Face SPF 30 (also available in SPF50)
I discovered Dior’s sun range last year and cannot recommend it enough. It is light and absorbs quickly and it is great value compared to Clarins for example (when it normally isn’t).
If you would not mind last year’s packaging, there’s some still available for £19 (and good til 2024). They also have after-sun (at a discounted rate).
Isdin Fotoprotector Fusion Fluid face cream SPF 50
Costs around £20. You can find it on any pharmacy in Portugal and Spain. I managed to find it on Amazon UK.
I am familiar with the ISDIN brand (highly recommended by my dermatologist and they do very good creams) but I wouldn’t necessarily pick up this product from a shelf. Once you put it on your face.. it then disappears. It is absolutely fantastic. I have been using this sunscreen as my every day sunscreen for a few years now and it also goes on holiday with me (I would also rate is as skiing appropriate).
Clarins Dry Touch Sun Care Cream for Face SPF30 50ml
Costs £24 from Sephora.
Clarins has revamped its sun range and whereas I lost 2 of my favourite products (the face after sun and the SPF 20 body milky spray), this new face cream is really good. It smells divine, and it is dry to the touch. However, I do miss ‘the old one’ which smelled even better and for some reason was better value as well (meaning current product is same price but smaller tube. Why, Clarins, why did you change everything?).
Also available in SPF 50.
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50 30ml
‘Beach’ sunscreen isn’t the same as city sunscreen (I didn’t really know as I did not use SPF except when on the beach or skiing until now) – and this was the most recommended cream by my readers. It is light and really good day to day (and for under make up). I asked my readers on Facebook for recommendations and if you want to have a look at all their suggestions, just click here.
Luxury Body Sunscreen
A full disclaimer: my preferred texture is a non stick milk spray, which dictates all my choices.
Dior Solar SPF 30 Protective Milk
Dior is really on to something with its new Solar range. It also smells divine.
Sun Bum invisible spray SPF 30 or 50
I converted to Sun Bum during a recent trip to Florida and absolutely love this easy to spray non stick formula. The Kids range is also excellent (but I cannot find it in the USA). Also great value.
Worth looking at their range at Sephora.
Coola Coconut Body Spray SPF 30
This range reminds me of California, and I always get a few of their scents as they are quite different and very tropical. It took me a few years to convert to these clear sprays but I found this very practical and also lasts longer than I anticipated.
Lancaster Sun Beauty Protective Water SPF 30 or 50
This was an interesting one. It is a mix of oil and water (if it made any sense). I have been a Lancaster client for over 20 years and I really like this new range. It does feel like ‘nude skin’ – and has a nice discrete fragrance.
Luxury After Sun Products
After sun is obviously a must and the texture and scent really depend on your personal preference. Here are some of my favourites.
Dior Solar After Sun
This Dior Solar after sun is for both face and body and smells divine. A little goes a long way too.
Lancaster after sun tan maximizer
I think Lancaster are exceptionally good with their post sun range, and this is worth a try (also lasts for a long time!).
Kids Sunscreen SPF 50+
We love Isdin SPF 50 for face (I use the adult version too, which is currently on sale, so stock up) as it is very easy to apply and little one cooperates. You can see where it goes (mineral SPF has proven to be challenging for us and type of skin).
For the body, the best sunscreen we have found is the Vichy Anti Sand for kids, which has some magical superpowers and does not get sand stuck to it. It is really great. In the USA we have purchased (and stocked up) on Sun Bum Kids SPF 50 which has the same effect and we loved it.
Click here to see my Kids Holiday Edit (and how to keep them entertained on airplanes and car journeys).
PS. If you are looking to buy these products highly discounted, it may be worth considering a trip to Tenerife where savings can be up to 50% (for real!).