Protecting your skin can sometimes feel like a full-time job. If you’re not fighting off eye wrinkles with a caffeinated cream or trying not to nick or scratch your skin while shaving, then you’re probably throwing a sheet mask over the whole thing and hoping that it works its mollifying, moisturising magic. It’s exhausting.
And now, as we kick off another shaky summer in Britain — Will it rain? Will it shine? It’s a lottery! — there’s another thing to worry about. That’s right, it’s suncream season. To add to your endless list of balms, serums and salves, there’s another product to put a strain on your bathroom cabinet. Or is there?
We’ve rounded up the finest SPF moisturisers that will soothe, smooth and protect your skin from even the most pernicious UV rays. Apply them whatever the weather and you’ll always be both protected from premature ageing and shielded from the sun. Two skincare birds with one FDA-approved stone.
For your one-stop skin defence shop, Lab Series Day Rescue Defence
Lab Series. It’s as scientific as it sounds. Among the unpronounceable — but thoroughly effective — compounds in this Day Rescue Defence moisturiser are Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate and Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. That last one’s a particular favourite.
But you don’t need to worry about that! All you need know is that Lab Series has really buttoned up its white coats on this one and come up trumps with a one-stop skin defence shop. It’s factor 35 SPF, blended with ‘Hydra-Endure Technology’, and promises to protect against the sun, dry climate and even pollution damage that can lead to dehydrated skin.
Lab Series Day Rescue Defence
For a subtle — but effective — offering, Malin + Goetz SPF 30 Face Moisturiser
Just hearing the main active ingredient in this Malin + Goetz moisturiser is enough to soothe you. Willowherb. Willowherb. How calming! Our skin feels softer already. Thankfully, it’s an ingredient that actually does something, too. Along with allantoin (just as helpful; not as catchy), this moisturiser will gently but effectively calm redness and irritation associated with sun exposure.
There’s UVA and UVB filters in there to protect your face and body from sun damage, Vitamin E and aloe to help relieve aftersun dryness, and it’s one of the least oily or sticky moisturisers we’ve ever applied.
Malin + Goetz SPF 30 Face Moisturiser
For a cool, fresh feeling, Perricone MD Photo-Brightening Moisturiser
If we’ve got one issue with Perricone MD’s offering, it’s the name. Currently rather clunkily named ‘Photo-Brightening Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30’, this product used to be called the altogether more slick and simple ‘Photo Plasma’. But, while the name on the pot is no longer as cool as it was, the contents still are — a fast-absorbing, oil-free moisturiser with freshness in spades.
It may protect you from the sun, but it’s also got lashings of active ingredients that’ll brighten up your visage. From Vitamin C, which will give the appearance of collagen-rich skin by smoothing, brightening and minimising discolouration, to Alpha Lipoic Acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it’s a winner for us. Now, if they’d only change the name back.
Perricone MD Photo-Brightening Moisturiser
Good enough to eat, Aēsop Sage and Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream
Aēsop had better be careful. The Australian brand cooks up such thrillingly scented products that it’s all we can do not to eat them straight out of our bathroom cabinet. (Don’t even bring up its cardamom and wasabia japonica-infused toothpaste.) This hydrating face cream is one of the brand’s more delectable offerings, formulated with sage, macadamia nuts and soya beans to keep your skin fresh and your mouth watering.
A blend of calming botanicals and mineral-based zinc oxide has been swirled together to form a barrier that both reflects sunlight and leaves your pores unclogged. And the best part? With its herbaceous, woody, warm aroma, it’ll keep you feeling fresh all day long. Just try to refrain from spreading it on toast.
Aēsop Sage and Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream
For effective simplicity, Clinique For Men SPF 21 Moisturiser
Curiously, for a company that recently took the plunge and began marketing make-up for men, Clinique’s SPF moisturiser is formulated to be utterly undetectable on your face. It’s got no aroma, no colour and leaves your skin with no surface shine. To all intents and purposes, no-one will know you’re wearing it — save for your distinct lack of both sunburn and crows feet.
And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Clinique has pared things back and kept this product simple. It hydrates, it protects. A grand basic.
Clinique For Men SPF 21 Moisturiser
For a no-nonsense, does-it-all moisturiser, Anthony Day Cream
There’s something chummy about Anthony. It’s a brand you’d quite like to meet down the pub for a pint. And why’s that? Because it tells things like they are. This basic-bottled moisturiser is no different. In fact, it’s so no-nonsense that it’s not even called a moisturiser. It’s a ‘Day Cream’. Because it’s a cream, and you wear it during the day.
But, behind the label, it’s got so much more going on. Formulated with squalene and glycerin, it will keep your skin hydrated from sun-up to sun-down, and has an impressive SPF factor of 30 to keep you protected in the hours in between. There’s also soy and Vitamin E in there to nourish away any signs of ageing. What did we tell you? Anthony’s a good guy.
Anthony Day Cream
For a miracle worker, Sisley Paris Super Soin Solaire Youth Protector
Nope, that’s not sunstroke coming over you — this really is a £153 moisturiser. Sisley Paris has called it a ‘Youth Protector’. For this price, you’d want the Fountain of Youth. But here’s the rub; this isn’t far off.
It’s non-greasy, non-whitening and has an SPF factor of 30. It shields the skin from the effects of photo-ageing, eliminating everything from lines and dehydration to dark spots. It’s been developed with UVA and UVB filters to protect from the sun, blended with Vitamin E acetate to strengthen skin, and both edelweiss extract and shea butter to strengthen it. So yes, you have to dig deep for it — but miracles rarely come cheap.
Sisley Paris Super Soin Solaire Youth Protector
Got more grooming problems that need solving? We ask top barbers if you should be cutting your own hair during lockdown…
Join the Gentleman’s Journal Clubhouse here.