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SPF Decoded: The Sunscreen Rules You Need to Know

You probably know to apply SPF to the backs of your hands and to cover up your hair parting. But new sunscreen findings and formulas are flipping sun protection on its wide brimmed, hat-wearing head. Here are the new rules for staying protected this summer…

Don’t Rely on SPF-Infused Make-Up

Sunscreen in make-up like your BB Cream breaks down faster than regular sunscreen, so you need to supplement it with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above. If you aren’t hitting the sand, Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 provides high-quality daytime coverage in a primer-foundation hybrid that smooths lines and evens skin tones while protecting against UVA and UVB rays.

Pick the Appropriate Formula

Chemical sunscreens like Benefit’s Dream Screen filter and scatter the sun’s rays, absorbing into skin, so they’ll stay put through sweat sessions. Physical formulas like the COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 are made with natural minerals which are ground down into fine powders that sit on the surface of skin and deflect rays, making them ideal for layering over everyday make-up.

Apply (and Reapply) Accordingly

Physical sunscreens start blocking UV rays immediately after you apply, and tend to last for longer because they deflect the sun’s rays, whereas it takes your skin 15-20 minutes to absorb chemical formulas. There’s no hard rule for when you should reapply, since sweating, towelling off, and even the wind can impair your SPF’s defensive powers, but we’d advise aiming for additional coverage every two hours.

Embrace Sunscreen Cocktailing

For your face, opt for a UV protection-infused moisturiser like the Paula’s Choice CLEAR Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid that’s lighter and won’t lead to breakouts. Use a nourishing formula like NUXE Sun Melting Spray SPF 50 on your body for moisturised skin with high spectrum protection.

Numbers Aren’t Everything

Since SPF 50 filters out 98% of the sun’s harmful rays, any additional protection doesn’t make a big difference. One thing you can do to avoid a burn is apply two layers of sunscreen (because most people don’t apply as generously as they should).