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7 Different Types of Sunscreens That Work For Every Kind of Lifestyle


Vogue Arabia, July/August 2020. Photo: Carolin Lauffenburger

You’ve heard it before – the one non-negotiable for great skin is wearing sunscreen every day. But despite knowing this, some women skip this important step in their skincare routine, or are not using their sunscreen correctly. A 2020 study found that 90% of Saudi university students don’t apply a sufficient amount of sunscreen, with only 30% of sunscreen wears applying it on both sunny and cloudy days.

Not all sunscreens are created equal, with formulas, textures, level of coverages, and wearability all differing between sunscreen types – meaning if you don’t like how your sunscreen feels or looks on your skin, the less likely you are to remember to wear one as part of your daily routine. A key point about daily sunscreen wear – don’t rely on the SPF factor of your foundation, primer, or moisturizer, as you are unlikely to use enough of the product to meet the expected level of coverage.

The Lotion

Suitable for: Beach days, swimming

A beach day classic, a traditional sunscreen lotion is a good choice for many as it offers water-resistant protection. A lotion formula is easy to massage into skin, making it ideal for full body sun protection. Try a brand like Dubai-born brand SunKiss; its lotion range delivers a high level of protection, and is ocean friendly.

Try: SunKiss CocoLime SPF50



The Serum

Suitable for: All skin types, makeup wearers

Light and easily absorbed, sunscreen serums give protection without having to work in a thick cream. Formulas like Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops SPF 50 have the added benefit of nourishing vitamin E, doubling as a skincare treatment. Wear alone or layer under your daily moisturizer as part of your skincare routine.

Try: Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50

The Spray

Suitable for: Active summer holidays, those working up a sweat in the sun

Fast to apply and with a non-greasy finish, aerosol sprays sunscreens are great for those spending a longer time in the sun and needing to reapply. Most new spray sunscreens will protect for 60 to 80 minutes, even while exercising, then can be re-applied without pilling.

Try: Chantecaille SeaScreen 30 Mineral Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen Mist SPF30

The Stick

Suitable for: Those on the go, children

A denser sunscreen solution, sticks can be used to add extra protection to more delicate areas. Slide directly from the tube onto the nose, ears, shoulders, clavicle, and hair part to prevent nasty burns when out and about. Shiseido’s classic blue tube goes on clear and can be easily thrown in your handbag due to the leak-proof solid stick formula.

Try: Shiseido SynchroShield 50+


The Daily Protection

Suitable for: Oily skin types, those new to sunscreen

Sunscreen ingredients lists have come a long way since the days of the humble zinc stick, with new non-greasy formulas giving a lightweight and shine-free finish. The daily use sunscreen from Carbon Theory is formulated to discourage breakouts, made with hydrating glycerin and soothing antioxidant SymSave H.

Try: Carbon Theory Day-Brite SPF 50+

The Invisible Shield

Best for: medium to dark skin tones

It’s untrue that melanin-rich skin doesn’t burn – it’s just as vulnerable to sunburn and aging skin damage as paler skin. However some sunscreens can leave a white cast on dark skin, making them an unappealing option for tan to deep skin tones. Solving this problem is Black Girl Sunscreen, which offers moisturizing lotions which absorb into skin without a trace.

Try: Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

The Powder

Best for: Those occasionally popping outside during the day, touching up

Light and breezy, powder sunscreens are easy to use over makeup any time of day. While a powder sunscreen shouldn’t be relied on as your primary SPF protection, it’s ideal for top ups during the day. Apply like you would a setting powder, using a fluffy brush and buffing into the skin.

Try: iS Clinical PerfecTint Powder SPF 40

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