High-factor SPF: From SPF50 to hydrating after-sun

As a teen I was never happier than when basted with nearly factor-free oil and sizzling in the sun – olive skin and youthful delusions of invincibility the only thing on my side.

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Indy Lifestyle Online

I've seen the error of my ways now, and am far more judicious about applying a high-factor SPF, only gradually going down to medium protection and actually tanning rather than frazzling. The effect is not only healthier but better looking: my skin is no longer damaged enough to peel off in protest and nor can I be used to colour-match when creosoting the garden fence.

Ideal Soleil SPF50

£12.37, Vichy, boots.com

Gone are the days when high protection meant pasting yourself; this dry oil is lightweight and easily absorbed with a pleasant scent.

UV face protector SPF50

£25, RMK, selfridges.com

All but invisible, this doesn't leave a sheen or sticky finish. It does have a slight rubbery smell but that dissipates quickly – pay extra attention to nose, neckline and ears.

Sun care oil spray SPF30

£19.50, clarins.com

Factor 30 is a good compromise for those who tan easily, while the dry oil – which can be used on body, hair and scalp – won't leave skin claggy or pores clogged.

Dry touch gel SPF20

£21, Lancaster, debenhams.com

More of a thick cream than a gel, this has a somewhat soapy scent that helps you feel fresh in the heat and won't leave an oil slick in your wake every time you jump in the pool.

Posthelios hydrating after-sun

£13, La Roche-Posay, feelunique.com

This seems thicker than most after-sun moisturisers, but is still quick to absorb, meaning you can get dressed and out for cocktail hour in a flash.