It was hot in the UK this summer guys. I mean not right now – it’s actually about to rain – but it was hot, and we all lost our collective minds for a while because we’re not used to it and we don’t know how to handle anything above 15 degrees.
One very important way to handle it? Sun protection. We all know that (even if we don’t always heed it), but when you’re looking for suncare that is vegan and cruelty free, which wipes out a lot of the popular options, it becomes more difficult. With that in mind, I decided that yes, actually, I would dedicate a whole post to what I’ve been using to dodge any inadvertent lobster impressions this summer.
I don’t usually do beauty ‘review’ style posts, but 1) I really love photographing products rather than putting my stupid face in front of the camera and 2) I’ve realised that they can actually be really useful – 2017 me would have avoided many a greasy SPF pitfall if I’d read some reviews. A heads up, before we begin: these were sent to me by Tropic. I’d tried their Smoothing Cleanser before (my mum bought it for me, what an angel) and LOVED it, so when they got in touch I was all too happy to give something else from them a go. I tried the majority of their suncare range, and here’s what I thought.
Let’s start with the facial spf, because that’s what I was most interested to try; while I hadn’t found cruelty free suncare I loved, I could get by with a couple that were passable on my body, but putting them on my face made my skin alarmingly shiny and very spot prone. I had no such troubles with this – it’s ideal for make up free days because it’s tinted, so offers sheer coverage, but can be used under make up too. A word of warning: if you apply make up immediately after, it causes it to break up a bit – so leave a gap of a few minutes before putting on foundation or anything. I found that allowing it to settle before applying make up on top works a treat (in fact, the texture is almost like some primers and it does even everything out for you).
Hopefully it goes without saying that the most important thing is protecting your skin, so: this works. I don’t think I’ve ever managed a summer without burning my nose or cheeks before, but this little spf50 dream has made 2018 the year I didn’t need to pretend I’d just gone wild on the blush. I’ll certainly be taking this on holiday – it’s a travel friendly 50ml – and repurchasing myself, although in all honesty I don’t think I’ll need to for months, as it’s lasting ages!
This contains three products: two of the Skin Shade Mineral Sun Protection (one spf 30 and one spf 50) and Sun Soothe (aftersun, basically), all cabin-bag sized at 100ml. You can also get the kit with Sun Balm (a pocket sized sun protection product designed for under the eyes, toes, nose, tops of your ears – has anyone ever burnt there before because it is so painful – and other areas that might be prone to burning). Let’s go through them one by one, because that’s a logical thing to do.
Skin Shade: Being the colour of a nice clean sheet of A4 means I have to be a factor 50 girl, moving down to 30 on my arms and legs perhaps if it’s not too hot, so I love that these are the spfs that come in the set. Hands down the best thing about Skin Shade is the lack of greasiness; it’s so nice to apply sun cream and not feel like a walking slimeball. The texture is silky, it absorbs well, and the tropical smell is pretty delicious too. Someone on Instagram did send me a message when I showed the parcel on my stories to say they found it drying, so to make sure that I used lots of moisturiser – I didn’t find that at all in the end, my skin felt great – but it’s perhaps worth noting if you are prone to dry skin.
Plus, you know those weird yellowy marks that sun protection leaves on white clothes sometimes? I wore this with three different white dresses/tops, and I’m pleased to say they are all still white. Hallelujah.
Sun Soothe: This does exactly what you would expect; it’s an aftersun, it’s cooling, and it soothes skin post-sun. It doesn’t feel overly rich; it’s fairly loose in consistency, which left me wondering about how nourishing it would really be, but it always left my skin soft so I have no complaints. I’ve enjoyed using it and it’s a nice addition to the kit, but I probably wouldn’t buy this alone for the price, simply because I’m a bit of a cheapskate. I’d be more inclined to buy a standard body moisturiser to use in the evenings, considering that vegan and cruelty free ones aren’t hard to come by.
Sun Balm: Being honest, I haven’t found myself loving this yet – it’s very solid (think about a cleansing balm where it’s solid and then melts on the skin, except really solid) and I haven’t been reaching for it all too often, even if I have it with me. However, the most exciting thing I did during the heatwave was eat ice cream outside during my lunch break; a long summer of simply going to and from the office is probably not the optimum environment to be trialling it in. I have my suspicions that it’s the type of product that will come into it’s own on holiday, and as luck would have it I’ve just booked one of those, so I’ll be taking it along and will be sure to update this with any observations, good or bad.
A last word – these are mineral based, which means that they don’t contain any of the ingredients linked to the bleaching of coral found in some chemical sun protection products. As I look more and more into the impact the way we live has on our world, things like this are becoming increasingly important to me, so although these are a little more spendy than I might be inclined to spend on sun cream, it’s the kind of factor that sways me towards shelling out more.
My verdict? I’m a tinted skin shade convert, and am reserving judgement for now on the sun balm. I’d happily use both the Skin Shade and the Sun Soothe again; they’re lovely products and the kit is perfect for a holiday – although if I was going away for longer than a week, I’d be more inclined to buy the larger versions of the Skin Shade and just use a standard body moisturiser as aftersun. As always, if you have any cruelty free and vegan product recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them. Enjoy what’s left of summer lovely things x