Capsule Considers: Don’t Feel the Burn! Our Picks of the Best Sunscreens

Believe it or not, summer is coming (seriously, it is – we promise!) and you’ll want to be as stocked up with sunblock as possible for when those sunny days hit – because we all know New Zealand doesn’t stuff around when it comes to the burn!

So to help in your choices, Alice, Emma and Kelly have rounded up their tried and true sunscreen favourites below. Have we missed yours? Let us know at [email protected]

Hydra UV Protect SPF 50+ Face Lotion by Bondi Sands
$22.95, 50ml

I have the kind of skin that likes to burn, even just from thinking about the sun. And, apparently, to add insult to injury, I’m not all that good at applying sunblock.

Even though I reapply every other minute, I somehow manage to do it unevenly, or miss spots entirely and end up with some pretty wild sunburn art.

One holiday in Fiji I had a burn on my thigh that looked exactly like a sassy old woman riding a scooter, with a scarf flying in the wind behind her. My sunblock subconscious is quite the artist.

So, one of my goals is to pay more attention to what I’m doing with my sunblock this summer. And, I have to say, Bondi Sands’ Hydra range is making that a lot easier to achieve. These sunblocks are milky, easy to spread around and absorb quickly without feeling greasy.

Bondi Sands Hydra UV Protect SPF 50+ Face Lotion, $22.95, 50ml

They’re also all the things I want in a sunscreen: Paraben free, reef friendly, fragrance free (although it still somehow smells like summer!), sulphate free, plus provides broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection. 

My favourite from the range is this little 50ml face lotion – it’s a little pricey for its size, but it seems to be lasting and lasting. Plus, it is the perfect size for keeping in your bag, so if you find yourself accidentally in the sun, it’s so easy to reapply!
– Alice

Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen Aloe Vera SPF30
$14.54, 113g

Years ago, when I started trying to reduce the amount of chemicals in my life, I came across this little brand on iHerb and it’s quickly become one of my favourites.

It’s cheap and I have never got a burn (*immediately touches wood) while I’ve been wearing it.

It’s non-greasy and contains aloe vera, sunflower oil and tropical fruit extracts – and, despite having no synthetic fragrances (or colours!) it smells full-on like Hawaii. If you close your eyes you can almost taste the Mai Tais.

I’m aware that scent isn’t for everyone after reading through the reviews on iHerb, but c’mon, who doesn’t want to be reminded of a Hawaiian holiday right about now?

I’m a fan because it’s all the things I look for in a sunscreen – no parabens, phthalates or sulfates. This one is also free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA and Vitamin A. It’s gluten-free (yip, this is something to watch out for!), reef friendly, biodegradable and cruelty-free.
– Alice

Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen Aloe Vera SPF30, $14.54, 113g

Go-To Zincredible SPF 15
50ml, $49

Before you absolutely scoff at me for recommending an SPF 15, in THIS environment, let me tell you that as someone with rosacea, this zinc based sunscreen has truly changed my life.

When you have rosacea, it haunts you like an angry ghost, waiting to pounce. Blush at a joke? Pounce. Exercise? Pounce. Sit in a room with air conditioning? Double pounce. So much as LOOK at a glass of wine? You might as well go home, Rosy Cheeks.

But this magical sunscreen is not only immediately calming for my sensitive, angry face but because of the zinc and some sort of magic, it sits more on the surface of your skin, meaning that your face never gets dry.

If you put this on your face in the morning, you will still have bouncy, moist (sorry) little cheeks by the evening. It’s so good I have been known to use it as a make-up primer in the evening, because it keeps my face so dewy and flush-free.

Also, an SPF 15 is totally fine as a sunscreen to apply daily (every. single. day) for when you’re going about your normal business, e.g. you have incidental sun exposure. I will continue to use this sunscreen every day until I day.

Go-To Zincredible SPF 15 50ml, $49

COOLA Face SPF 30 Rosilliance BB+ Cream
44ml, $99

I love a BB cream any time of year and this COOLA one is super natural and glowy and also has a great level of SPF 30 for Proper Summer Outings, plus it’s waterproof.

It’s also super hydrating, smells super yum (roses!) and is vegan, plus has 70%+ certified organic ingredients. I have a lot of love for the COOLA products – the pina colada sunscreen? Instant Hawaii vibes – but they can be kind of pricey, so this BB cream is a good balance.

COOLA Face SPF 30 Rosilliance BB+ Cream 44ml, $99

Hawaiian Tropic Duo Defence Lotion SPF 50+
RRP $23.99 180ml

I look for three things in a sunblock – price point because Jesus Christ it’s criminal how much it costs not getting burnt to a crisp; scent because I hate the smell of most sunblocks and if I can smell like I’m on a tropical island, I damn well will, and obviously SPF because I’m not an idiot.

This wee number does it all and is a permanent fixture in the tote bag. It’s not sticky like a lot of others – you know what I mean, it feels like a muggy Auckland day has latched onto your skin and won’t let go – and it glides on super easy. ‘Tis also water resistant for four hours which is very handy.

But the winner for me is the smell – coconutty and gorgeous, if I close my eyes I can pretend to be Chrissy Teigen in a bikini on the beach because that’s surely what a Sports Illustrated model smells like. Right?

Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Sunscreen Lotion and Roll On
RRP $10.99 65ml

I love a roll on – they’re practical, they fit in a hand bag, you cut down on waste and you don’t accidentally squirt the nozzle in the wrong direction almost blinding your mate lying on the beach next to you.

Nivea’s lil’ roll on and I have been buddies for a long time, and my handbag would’t be the same without it. Dependable, reliable, unflashy and easy, it’s like I’ve found my ideal qualities in a man in a sunblock. What greater compliment can you give.

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