While I think that the importance of wearing SPF is pretty universally known by now, it doesn’t take away from the fact that a lot of people still avoid using it on a daily basis. It might well be the
only product that actually protects our skin from sun damage—including the resulting pigmentation, dryness, fine lines and potentially something worse—but I’ll admit that it’s hardly the most luxurious of skincare products to use. In fact, some are downright horrible to wear. While I now wear sunscreen religiously every single day (I’ve heard too many horror stories from dermatologists to skip it), I actually avoided it entirely for years for fear that the traditionally thick and greasy SPFs would clog my pores and exacerbate my breakouts.
However, facial sunscreens have come on leaps and bounds since then with textures becoming more lightweight and pleasant to use. In fact, with so many good options to choose from—from French favourites to decadent formulations with three-figure price tags—I’d say there really is no excuse not to be wearing an SPF right now. But if you still need a little more convincing, then allow me to introduce you to my new favourite sunscreen brand of all time: Ultra Violette.
Despite only landing in the UK a couple of months ago, the Australian brand’s collection of new-generation sunscreen—or “skinscreen,” as its products are known—has become somewhat of an obsession of mine. I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends and co-workers, and I know that my beauty-editor pals are equally enthralled. But what sets it apart from other sun protection that I’ve tried? Keep reading for my honest Ultra Violette SPF review to find out.
First things first, while I would never disregard a product based on packaging alone, there’s no denying that shelf appeal helps—especially when we’re talking about a product that’s as functional as SPF—and Ultra Violette’s cobalt blue–and-neon aesthetic looks seriously good in my bathroom cupboard. And why shouldn’t it? One of the most common reasons my friends give for not wearing SPF is simply that they forget to apply it, but there’s no missing these vibrant sunscreens. Not only do they look good, but they actually work. All of the Ultra Violette products have broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection to keep your skin protected from the sun, and products start from at least a factor of SPF 30—the minimum that we should all be wearing, according to skin experts. Plus, the products have all been formulated to avoid that white-cast finish that is so common with many other SPFs, so it looks great on all skin tones.
The thing that I love most about the overall range, though, is that founders Ava Matthews and Bec Jefferd think of Ultra Violette as being “a wardrobe of facial sunscreen.” There’s a mineral formulation for days when you might have a breakout, a glow-boosting serum when you’re seeking a dewier finish, and a hydrating lotion that doubles as a brilliant makeup primer. Rather than making SPF feel like a chore, I can mix up the skinscreen to match my skin’s needs that day, much like I would with the rest of my skincare routine. It’s genius.
This is the product that got me hooked on Ultra Violette, and it’s the one that I’ve been raving about most to anyone who will listen. Honestly, even if you hate SPF, I think you’ll like this. As an oily skinned person, I probably shouldn’t love it as much as I do, because this product is all about the glow to the point where, I’ll be honest, I’m probably looking a little oilier than some might like by the end of the day. However, if your skin verges on the dry side or you’re like me and embrace that dewy-skinned life, then you’ll adore this. It’s a silky, milky, serum-like texture that contains SPF 50 alongside kakadu plum—a skin-brightening, vitamin C–rich fruit—and it’s simply a joy to use.
This is probably my most reached-for SPF right now. It has a satin finish so your skin still looks really fresh and healthy, but there’s less of an intense glow than with the serum. As well as the all-important sun protection, the thing that I really love about this product is that it also protects against blue-ray damage, which is brilliant when I spend so much time glued to either my computer or phone screen.
Generally speaking, I don’t tend to love mineral sunscreens. Titanium dioxide—the ingredient that provides the sun protection in the case of Ultra Violette’s mineral offering—tends to be thick, white and chalky in texture, and I find it can often pill beneath makeup. I don’t know what magic makes this formulation different, but it’s none of the above. In fact, it somehow manages to even out my skin tone and leave it looking better than before I applied it. But it also layers beautifully under my makeup. It’s totally fragrance-free, so it’s great for acne-prone, sensitive or reactive skin types in particular.
While a lot of Ultra Violette products are geared toward glow, the brand has also created a mattifying formula for those who prefer a shine-free finish. This is another mineral skinscreen, but this time zinc oxide is the star ingredient in the SPF 50+ formulation. While it’s definitely matte compared to the other products in the collection, I was impressed with how non-drying this product was and how it didn’t leave my skin looking dull or flat. In fact, it felt lovely and hydrating to wear. While it isn’t my favourite product in the range, it’s a lovely, gentle option for anyone looking to dial down the shine.
Of course, it isn’t just our face that needs protecting from the sun; it’s our bodies too, and this makes all-over sun protection a real treat. Infused with cooling aloe vera and soothing vitamin E, this is a beautifully scented sunscreen that feels lightweight and hydrating to wear. Sure, I haven’t had much of a chance to really put this to the test, as summer hasn’t really arrived in the UK yet, but I can’t wait to wear it out in the coming weeks. It does contain the tiniest amount of shimmer, so if you hate that kind of thing in your products, then maybe avoid this. I, however, am up for anything that might help me look even slightly more J.Lo-esque.
I have been unfortunate enough to have burnt my lips in the past, so I’m a huge fan of SPF-infused lip balms, and these are the most luxe that I’ve tried. Silky-smooth and impressively pigmented, the tinted versions come in a few shades and offer up SPF 50 protection alongside lip-conditioning lanolin, shea butter and vitamin E.
I must also give a special mention to the shimmer version of the lip balm. Not only does it look super pretty worn alone, but I love layering it over the top of other lipsticks and stains to add extra dimension alongside that all-important sun protection. Up next: five products we should all be using this summer, according to skin experts.