Thursday, 26 September 2013

Review: French Pharmacy Sunscreen & After-Sun

After a spectacularly hot summer in the UK, plus two weeks in Spain for weddings in Ibiza and Barcelona, I've had the opportunity to road test a selection of sun-related products. Read on for the good, the bad and the greasy...

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Invisible Nutritive Oil SPF50+

Sun oils have never been on my radar due to the fact they usually offer, at best, SPF 6, and, for me, that equates to around six minutes in the sun without burning. This product offers a high SPF and is a good option for those who like oil-based sunscreen. I used it in full Ibiza sun for a couple of hours at a time and didn't burn. 

I took this on holiday to trial but intended to use Piz Buin 1 Day Long as my main sunscreen. However, I had a reaction to it and came out in a rash (apparently this is common: if you google it, a lot of people have had issues.) So I switched to the La Roche-Posay but didn't have much success with this either. I found the mineral-oil heavy formula very greasy and difficult to tolerate. It was impossible to wash off my hands after rubbing it in and it left my body so oily I was like a piece of fly paper on the beach, with sand stuck all over me! Using it by the pool was a lot more successful but I still disliked the formulation, the feel and the thought of my body in the heat covered with impermeable mineral oil.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Fluide Extreme

This is an old favourite of mine; a very reliable, hard-working product that I use on my face most summers. It doesn't have any artificial fragrance added, which is good and bad. Good for those with sensitive skin but I do find the chemical smell a little off-putting. However, it quickly fades on application. Not too shiny and provides a good base for makeup or worn alone during holidays. Doesn't break me out – just make sure you double cleanse with a balm in the evening to remove it. 

Bioderma Photoderm Apr├Ęs-soleil Face and Body

This fruity-smelling cream provided much-needed moisture after sunbathing and took the edge off any over-cooked areas of skin. Again, I was put off by mineral oil as a key ingredient, as I wanted my skin to be able to breathe after being covered in sun cream all day. I didn't use it on my face. 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Melt-in Cream

My first time trying this tinted version of another La Roche-Posay gem and I was intrigued by the concept of SPF plus colour. I found the formula to be more akin to foundation than the sheer tint I had envisaged. It was a little dark for my skin and I felt that I wasn't able to get a natural look with it while also using enough product for it to act as sunscreen. Instead I had to first apply sunscreen and then use a little of this to add colour and provide light coverage. I don't understand how this could be rubbed all over the face without ending up with foundation-like product clogged in hair and eyebrows. Unfortunately not a concept that worked for me.

Suncream choice is a very subjective issue so please test these products out yourself to see if you like them. I'm enjoying the intermittent Indian summer we've been having and find myself craving a few more days in the sun.

What are you favourite SPF products?


  1. I love the SPF50 oil for face but i have very dry skin so don't mind the oil! I'm yet to find my perfect face product as i'm very sensitive and react to everything. I've been using an Avene SPF50 for dry and sensitive skin which is nearly perfect but leaves me looking a bit Caspar.

    1. I'm glad the oil works for you. I'm still searching for a HG face SPF as well - I usually can't bear the smell of them so they are always a chore to apply. The mineral ones do tend to leave a white cast. I have a sample of a Sunday Riley one which doesn't seem to but I'm sure it is super expensive.

  2. Hi Laura, your dad has just told me about your website, so thought I'd take a look, it's great! Very interesting and lots to read. I love all things to do with make up and skin care, especially the dermalogica products your mum buys me. I showed your dad the photos on here from your holiday and he said to tell you he didn't like the picture of you with the MAC red lipstick unfortunately. He used the word 'scary', but we know what your dads like!! I thought it was a lovely picture.

    I hope you are both ok and are happy in your new house.

    Love Charlotte xx

    1. Hi Charlotte, thanks for your comment. It is all rather neglected this year but hoping to get back into it this week. Dermalogica is great - have you tried the Daily Microfoliant? That's my fav. I'm also using their makeup primer at the moment and that is nice too. Dad is rude as always! That was Mac Lady Danger - a cool orange/red. I like it anyway! We are very happy thank you. Would be lovely to see you soon. xx

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