You know it. We know it. Baz Luhrmann knows it. Sunscreen is one of the most important steps in our skincare routine. Not only does it protect us from painful burns, but it also helps to keep skin tone even, prevents the early onset of wrinkles, and crucially, reduces the risk of developing life-threatening melanoma. While they’re not a replacement for good old-fashioned sunscreen (especially if you’re heading out to the beach), beauty products with SPF can help to integrate your sun care regimen with your skincare or makeup routine, giving you that little bit of extra protection.
They’re also great for winter when you don’t want to lather yourself in sunscreen, but you do want to keep your skin safe. Because yes, you should be wearing SPF in the winter. And when you’re inside too. (Really!) Here’s why — plus some of our favorite cruelty-free SPF skincare product picks.
Is SPF Necessary in Winter?
UV rays retreat in the winter, but they are still present. They are particularly harmful when there is ice or snow, which reflects around 80 percent of UV light. If you’re heading to the slopes, be extra careful: the higher the altitude, the stronger and more harmful the UV rays. But even on a regular, or even a cloudy day, it won’t do any harm to apply SPF. (According to the American Cancer Society, the amount of UV that clouds can filter out varies. This means you’re at risk of sun damage even when it’s overcast.)
Why Wear SPF Indoors?
Yep, UV rays aren’t just harmful when you’re out and about. They can also pass through glass windows, which means that while you’re in the car or gazing out the window at home, you’re at risk of sun damage. You won’t burn, because UVB rays (the rays responsible for sunburn) can’t pass through the glass, but UVA rays (responsible for premature aging and skin cancer) can.
From Your Face to Your Hands: 7 Cruelty-Free SPF Skincare Products
So with all this information in mind, it’s a good idea to consistently apply SPF to your face and your hands as part of your everyday skincare routine. Then it’s done, dusted, and you can get on with your day. Here are our top 7 cruelty-free picks.
Ultraluxe MicroVenom Hand Cream
It’s really important that we take care of our hands, because, as one of the most exposed parts of our bodies, they are incredibly vulnerable to sun damage. This isn’t helped by the fact that we constantly wash them throughout the day, removing SPF in the process. (Pro tip: keep a tube of sunscreen or SPF-infused hand cream by your sink or in your bag and consistently reapply.)
This hand cream by Ultraluxe contains SPF 30, as well as synthetic “snake venom.” The latter is a peptide designed to relax muscles (just like snake venom does) and smooth out wrinkles. The hydrating cream also features green tea extract, lavender oil, and Apple Stem Cell technology. Obtained from Swiss apples, the plant-based cell-protecting tech helps to smooth and firm fine lines on the skin.
Hello Sunday The One That’s a Serum
With SPF 45, this serum by Hello Sunday is a simple way to keep your face protected from the sun. All you have to do is add a few drops to your moisturizer in the AM. The drops will also help to keep your skin hydrated and smooth, thanks to hyaluronic acid and gluconolactone. The former helps your skin to retain water, while the latter works to remove dead cells.
The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 With Antioxidants
This cream by The Ordinary is a little sun warrior in a bottle. Designed for use on your face, the SPF 30 formula contains zinc oxide. The compound works to protect you from the sun by sitting on the top layer of your skin and absorbing harmful UV radiation. (While it was previously thought that zinc oxide reflected and scattered the sun’s rays, that is actually not the case.)
The lightweight formula, which should be applied about 20 minutes before you head out into the sun, also contains antioxidants. These clever little compounds help to repair cell damage caused by harmful free radicals. Too many free radicals, which UV damage can lead your body to produce, may lead to the development of diseases, including cancer.
Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen
Just because the weather is warm doesn’t mean we want to stop wearing makeup entirely. So it’s handy that this tinted formula by Unsun not only works as a sunscreen and a color corrector but also as a makeup primer too. Suitable for a range of skin shades (and with no white cast), the SPF 30 cream will ready your face for makeup and leave it feeling moisturized, courtesy of shea butter and a number of fruit extracts.
Eleven by Venus Williams Lip Balm SPF 15
The skin on our lips is very thin, which puts it at high risk from sun damage. For that reason, it’s a good idea to choose a lip balm that contains SPF. Designed by tennis pro Venus Williams, this sheer pink balm will not only shield your lips from the sun’s rays, but it will soothe and moisturize them too, due to the inclusion of bayberry fruit wax and shea butter in the formula. Plus the color is super cute!
Thank You Farmer Sun Project Shimmer Sun Essence
Once again, SPF meets shea butter to create a lovely SPF and skincare blend. The difference with this BB cream-like formula is that while it’s protecting and moisturizing, it’ll also have your skin shimmering in the sunlight. The cream also contains a form of vitamin B called niacinamide, which helps to brighten the complexion and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
Pacifica Vegan Collagen SPF30 Every Day Lotion
This body lotion from Pacifica combines sun protection with skin-firming collagen. While the latter traditionally comes from animals, Pacifica claims it uses real collagen derived from plant-based sources. (The brand notes the fermentation process is currently patent-pending.) The formula also includes ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as soothing aloe vera extract.
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