There’s one beauty tip Australians have to care about more than the rest of the world

Words by @hannahfurst

I know what you did last summer.

I’ve had many beauty regrets: chemically straightening my hair, getting a lopsided haircut in South East Asia, overplucking my eyebrows, cutting my own fringe, wearing blue contact lenses with shimmery blue eyeshadow. 

But none as big as not wearing sunscreen in my twenties. 

I worshipped the sun, sans SPF, throughout my adolescence and early adulthood. Then I heard some very sobering news. According to one study by dermatologists at Monash University, Australian women can age up to 20 years faster than women in America.

I was further disillusioned when I had an ultrasound on my face – I do some weird shit working in the beauty industry – I discovered I had more sun damage on my driver’s side.

Despite hating the feeling of wearing sunscreen daily, I decided to get over myself and make SPF the most important step in my skincare routine. 

Sunscreen can be a drag. Especially if it’s sticky and thick with a white residue that instantly makes you break out in a pimple rash. But there are easy tricks to finding the right sunscreen, so there really is no excuse not be wearing it every single day.

Unless you’re into premature wrinkles and pigmentation. 

1. Moisturise and protect at the same time
I use an SPF50+ chemical sunscreen that doubles as a moisturiser, even in winter. I use retinol most nights, so it’s absolutely necessary. According to the Cancer Council Australia, you need to wear at least an SPF30+ whenever you’re going to be outside for more than a few minutes and the UV index is 3 or higher, and for most of Australia, daily winter UV levels will reach 3 or higher.

Product recommendation: Alpha H Protection Plus is a hydrating moisturiser with SPF50+. It’s non-greasy, non-whitening with a matte finish and a light tint. Perfect for my oil-slick-by-3pm skin.

2. It doesn’t have to be chemical
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, chemical sunscreens don’t have to be the answer
. Unlike chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays, converting them into heat and releasing them from the body, physical sunscreens stay on the surface of the skin to reflect the sun’s rays. Zinc oxide is probably the ingredient you’re familiar with, and despite that conjuring up images of thick, white paste on the bridge of your nose, there are some very nice sheer formulations that don’t leave a chalky residue on the skin.

Product recommendation: Ultra Violette created Clean Screen specifically for sensitive skinned people. It’s a mattifying mineral SPF 30 that’s loaded with zinc oxide to defend against inflammation. If you have breakouts, eczema, rosacea or dermatitis, you will no doubt have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen, so this SPF will be your new BFF.

3. Fake tan is your friend
Please don’t be tempted to take your hat off while sunbaking on holidays. Just use a face tan! Seriously, if you take nothing else (aside from SPF, of course), take a face tan. I use tanning drops mixed in with my nightly serum for the ultimate sunkissed glow without the sun damage.

Product recommendation: I cannot live without my Tan-Luxe The Face. This tanning concentrate will transform any moisturiser, serum or face oil into a custom self-tanner. Eco Tan Face Tan is another good choice. If I had to choose between the face tan and deodorant in my carry-on luggage, guess which one I’d choose? I don’t care if I stink, as long as I glow. 

4. Blend sun protection with a base layer
BB Cream and tinted moisturiser are our best friends when we’re time-poor, but if you don’t like too many layers of product on your skin first thing in the morning it’s possible to get three-in-one.

Product recommendation: IT Cosmetics CC Cream SPF50 blends 50+ SPF with 12 shades to match to your skin tone, while crowd favourite La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted SPF 50+ is a more budget-friendly option.

Follow my SPF-safe travels at @hannahfurst.

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