I’ve written here a few times now about my sun-screen buying woes, but, well, it looks like I’m going to do it again. Sorry.
Because my skin is so pale, I don’t go out without first of all slathering myself with a high SPF sunscreen. Now, this can be a bit of a pain, because here in the UK, most high factor sunscreens tend to be of the thick, white, gloopy variety: they take ages to rub in, they leave your skin looking shiny, greasy, and even whiter than it was to start with, the smell is strong enough to knock you out, and, just to top it all off, they almost always end up staining your clothes, and let me tell you, that stuff almost NEVER comes out. Oh, and you’ll generally pay something in the region of £15 per bottle for this.
For this reason, I normally buy my sunscreen in the U.S. This summer, for instance, I bought two cans of Walgreens’ own brand dry spray, for about $10. It was SPF70, and it was the kind of clear spray which dispenses as a “mist” and dries instantly: all you have to do is depress the pump, wave it over your body for a few seconds, and you’re done. I love it, and there are always lots of different brands that come in the same kind of format, for the same kind of price.
This stuff is almost impossible to find in the U.K. I’ve purchased various cans of sunscreen which looked and sounded like the stuff I buy abroad… but which actually contained a product which was white and runny, rather than clear and dry. And it’s always cost me around £15 per can, too. Most of the time I just try to stock up when I’m in the US, and bring enough home with me to last the rest of the year, but unfortunately my habit of maxing out my luggage allowance meant that this year I just didn’t have any space for sunscreen.
Soltan, as you probably know, is Boots’ own brand sunscreen, and I’ve used it quite a bit over the years. A couple of weeks ago, however, I noticed Boots were selling the “Soltan Invisible” variation of it for just £5.99 per bottle, so I jumped at the chance to try it out.
First, the good stuff:
1. It’s clear.
2. It’s “dry touch”, which means minimal rubbing-in, and no greasy skin afterwards.
3. It doesn’t have an overpowering smell.
4. It goes up to SPF50, which is normally high enough for a UK summer.
5. It’s currently reduced to £5.99 per bottle.
As for the “bad stuff”, well, there’s only really one thing I don’t like about this, and that’s the pump action spray. There are actually a few different brands in the UK which sell similar clear-spray sunscreens, and I’ve found the same issue with all of them, which is that the pump dispenser is generally quite stiff, and impossible to use with one hand: I find I have to brace the bottom of the bottle against something in order to depress the pump and dispense the product, so, rather than spraying it directly onto the skin, I normally end up having to spray it into my hands and then rub it into the skin from there. The American brands I use, by contrast, come in a aerosol-style can, with a pump which can be depressed with one finger, allowing you to just “mist” it over your skin, with no rubbing-in required.
That said, however, this is definitely one of the better sunscreens I’ve found on this side of the Atlantic, and while there are other brands which offer clear-spray in the same kind of bottle, this is also by far the cheapest, at the current price of £5.99, which makes me tempted to stock up before it goes back to the usual price of £11.99.
One further word about this: it claims to be water-resistant, which is a claim I haven’t been able to put to the test, as the water in the UK is far too cold to make me ever want to swim out of doors! I have, however, used it on a couple of the hottest days we’ve had since I bought it, when I was out in the sun all day, and I didn’t get even the tiniest hint of sunburn, so it does seem to work well in that regard, although obviously, as it’s a clear spray, you will have to be a little more careful when you’re applying it to make sure you don’t miss a bit!
This is still reduced at Boots, and you can click here to buy it.