The Handiest Sunscreen Ever?

I was more than a little sceptical about Riemann’s P20 and their claims that it was water resistant even after repeated swimming sessions. Riemann say that P20 offers up to 10 hours protection from the sun’s rays, and I quote, “even after frequent swimming”. The FAQs on their website also say that the product is effective after showering, so long as you haven’t used soap or “loofahed vigorously”. (God, I love the sound of that phrase. “Loofahed vigorously”. Wonderful.)

“Utter Tosh!” I said to Mr AMR, “there’s no way that this will stay on after swimming!” But it did. I stand corrected. It stayed on through swimming – repeated swimming sessions, in fact. The stuff is epic! It’s also really, really easy to apply and rub in, though some might find the smell a bit chemically. OK, everyone with a nose will find the smell a bit chemically. But I think that it’s well worth the few seconds of unpleasantness to gain a whole day’s worth of sun protection. If you’re the kind of person who forgets to reapply, or simply can’t be bothered, or who falls asleep in the afternoon only to find that they are no longer in the shade of the brolly, but frying alive in the direct heat; this is for you.

P20 provides protection from both UVA (ageing, cancer-causing) rays and UVB (tanning) rays, which is so important. You MUST make sure that your holiday sun products protect against UVA as well as UVB. Riemann’s sunscreen stood up to 38 degree heat in Greece and a 200ml bottle lasted both of us for four-and-a-half days. This will definitely be a holiday staple for me from now on!

The P20 Once-a-Day SPF20 costs from £12.95 with free delivery at

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  1. August 28, 2012 / 6:52 am

    I have vivid memories of me as a child and my Mum and Dad rubbing this into me and the smell and it nearly always pouring all over the floor!

  2. Jac
    August 28, 2012 / 7:25 am

    Hi Ruth, have you also tried Ultrasun? Also fab once-a-day waterproof and various different levels of SPF-ness. Would have loved to have taken it on hols with us (as planned) though hubby helpfully packed it in his hand luggage and we had to ditch the lot in departures……..

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 9:33 am

      Nooooooo! How annoying! x

  3. August 28, 2012 / 7:55 am

    This is quite ingenious! I love the concept! X

  4. August 28, 2012 / 8:42 am

    My prayers have been answered. Now we just need one that you need to apply once a week???? Thanks for the info, Ruth. (And I’m not joking about the once a week bit – unfortunately!)

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 9:33 am

      LOL xx

  5. phoebe
    August 28, 2012 / 9:29 am

    hey Ruth! whats the difference between their sun filter and sun protection?? it sounds like a great sunscreen though. is it greasy? because even those that say non greasy almost always leave an oil slick :S … you don’t know of any super mattifying sunscreens do you?? – would be great for my oilier skin

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 9:34 am

      It is a little bit, and it’s strictly an “in your bikini” type of product, actually, as it can stain. Though the stains do wash out very easily.. x

  6. August 28, 2012 / 9:39 am

    Define “chemically” ……… I’m such a wuss when it comes to bad/funny smells.

    Ali x

    • Ida
      August 29, 2012 / 6:35 pm

      It doesn’t linger at all, it’s gone after about a minute. I’ve used this for years and years.

  7. August 28, 2012 / 9:46 am

    Ive used this for many years while abroad. It’s not as natural as I’d like but quite simply it works! When I’m on holiday I don’t want the hassle of reapplying every 2 hours!!
    You’re right about the smell though but after a few minutes it’s gone.
    Also I avoid white clothing, even after they changed the formula I find it still stains clothes.
    I recently tried Ultrasun but burnt so switched back to this pretty quickly :)

  8. Lin
    August 28, 2012 / 10:16 am

    I have used a bottle the two last summers, and as you say, the smell is not all that pleasant.
    I just bought another bottle, but only for use in boats and on days with frequent swimming. All other days I use the Biotherm, which I love. It smells good, and protects my Scandinavian skin all day.

  9. Pia
    August 28, 2012 / 10:19 am

    Hi Ruth, I just looked at this product on Cult Beauty and noticed that the first ingredient is alcohol denat. Is that bad for the skin?

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 10:41 am

      For the number of days per year you’d use it? No. x

  10. August 28, 2012 / 10:24 am

    Piz Buin do a similar thing, but it’s less greasy and doesn’t smell of alcohol! They do different SPFs too.

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 10:40 am

      Which one? I thought I had tried all of theirs! x

      • August 28, 2012 / 12:48 pm

        It’s called Piz Buin 1 Day Long Lotion – feels and smells like a normal suncream, only it’s waterproof and you only have to apply once. I’ve never gone back after using this stuff! Boots and possibly Superdrug tend to do buy-one-get-one-free offers throughout the year (think there’s one on now at Boots), so it’s worth looking out for!

        • Ruth
          August 28, 2012 / 2:48 pm

          Oooh, I shall look into this! x

  11. Ali
    August 28, 2012 / 11:02 am

    Hi Ruth,

    I’ve been using this product for a couple of years and I have to say its fantastic. I even use it on my young son and the peace of mind it gives you when you put it on in the morning before even leaving the room it goes on to last. He spends most of his time in the water as kids do and not once has he be burned. Very easy to carry in a bag. It does stain clothes though especially white but it washes out (with the white clothes i find its best to wash them as soon as you can though). My only issue with it is this – when i go on holidays i like to shellac my nails with french manicure, after couple days using p20 the nail turns yellow, very yellow stained. and you cant get it off, my tip, this year when i went away i used a coloured shellac polish instead.
    just the best product.

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 3:15 pm

      Oh, my nails did that too! I thought it was my Chanel polish that had stained them! Good to know x

    • Angela Caton
      September 2, 2014 / 6:38 pm

      So does the coloured shellac stay on ok was worried it might smudge

  12. August 28, 2012 / 12:44 pm

    This is probabably a dumb question but how do you know that it was really still on after swimming etc?

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 3:15 pm

      Because I didn’t burn. In 38 degree full-on heat you would burn within minutes with no protection, I’d have thought! x

      • Ida
        August 29, 2012 / 6:42 pm

        Well to be fair, the temperature has nothing to do with the UV index. I’ve been using P20 forever and ever, also in places with really high UV index (around 8-9), I never burned once. Actually I’ve never burned ever. Not even when I forget sunscreen. I might not be the best example, but you catch my drift :D

  13. Bel Brown
    August 28, 2012 / 1:40 pm

    I always use Boots Soltan Once. It’s the exact same concept minus the bad smell. I find it lovely and moisturising, it comes in a range of SPFs and also provides 5 star UVB (or is it UVA?)protection. Best of all, it is almost always on 3 for 2!

  14. Helen
    August 28, 2012 / 1:55 pm

    Heya Ruth, this is an excellent post! As I’m currently holiday-ing in Asia (waving at you from Hong Kong to be exact), it’s really important to have adequate skin protection. I easily forget to reapply after 2 little hours so this product is well worth my money to be honest. If you’re enjoying your holiday, who the hell has the time to remember to put on their lotion every 2-3 hours? The UVA rays here is insane, I don’t burn in the UK but I bet you that I will whilst being here, I know that I need to have wear a SPF at least on my face everyday! Think I’ll buy that next time when I run out of my sunscreen!

    Btw, sorry to digress, but I saw something yesterday which made me think of you!! You’d be delighted to know that a shopping mall I went to yesterday has an actual MELVITA SHOP!!! I was thinking “OMG, RUTH LIKES THAT BRANDDDDDD!!!!!!!!”. Alack, I didn’t go in because I couldn’t quite remember the products you like which I can check out, but I’ll definitely look through your archives and next time when I’m there I’ll try some stuff out for real!! I’ve also noticed that niche brands seem to have their own shops here, like a Tori Burch shoe shop, along with Giuseppe Zanotti (excuse the spelling, but you know what I mean!) and also a Chanel make up store too.

    OKok, I must stop rambling!! Have a nice day Ruth xx

    • Ruth
      August 28, 2012 / 3:14 pm

      That is VERY interesting! I wouldn’t have thought that they would have one there, for some reason! Enjoy your hols, how lovely for you! xx

      • Helen
        August 29, 2012 / 8:02 am

        Aww thanks! I also had another heart attack today…I SAW A BIODERMA SHOP!! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!! I mean, make up brands having their own shops is nothing new here in HK (think Clinique and Chanel and other Asian giants like Shiseido and Shu Uermura)but European brands like Melvita and Bioderma are more niche, so it’s definitely a brave move for them to open stand alone shops. The disappointing thing about Bioderma is that the price is still just as expensive if I ordered it online back home in England (to have the stuff sent from France). But that could be explained due to having an actual shop (rent) and also shipping (all the way from France to HK). So you know, it’s tricky when it comes to buying niche brands like that out there, I’m not exactly getting my moneys worth tbh. Anyway, have a nice day!!

        • Ruth
          August 29, 2012 / 8:54 am

          You really are on a beauty mecca! xx

  15. Angie
    August 28, 2012 / 10:01 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    I always carry this in my bag. Make sure you don’t get it anywhere near your eyes as it stings so bad. I mainly bought it to prevent prickly heat which I *used* to suffer from. Thus stuff prevents both burning and heat rash. Love it!

    • Ruth
      August 29, 2012 / 8:56 am

      I didn’t put it on my face – it smells too bad! LOL x

  16. August 29, 2012 / 6:08 am

    I am constantly trying new sunscreens, but this one is different. I would love to try it and I am happy that the website ships worldwide. Yay and thanks!

  17. Flick
    August 29, 2012 / 10:48 pm

    so useful – I am tired of reapplying creamy high factor SPFs.

    As an aside, what’s your favourite high factor SPF that can be worn under makeup and not melt off/ruin makeup? I have to be at a blazing hot wedding (far away from rainy UK) in a few weeks.

    • Ruth
      August 30, 2012 / 11:51 am

      Alpha-H Essential SPF50 is pretty, pretty good. Also Neal’s Yard Rose thingy with SPF30, excellent. See review on here. x

      • Flick
        September 1, 2012 / 12:59 am

        thanks! I had no idea about the existence of alpha h sunblock (doh). I shall check it out.

  18. August 30, 2012 / 10:14 am

    I’ve used P20, UltraSun and Piz Buin Once a day and they all work really well – I’m fair, blonde and blue eyed and burn easily. P20 and UltraSun Sport are both the clear liquid types, my man loves them as they’re much easier to apply to hairy chests, arms & legs than a cream. Read the instructions carefully though as products with silicone can prevent them working properly so check your body moisturisers and aftersun.
    UltraSun Family and Piz Buin Once a day are like regular suncream texture and come in higher SPFs. The kids love these as they only have to apply once a day.

    Lastly top tip from my Aussie cousin-in-law which works great with these once a day products – always apply suncream when you’re naked*, you’re much less likely to miss the bits around your swimsuit and even if your bikini moves around during the day you’re still protected.

    *Best done in your room, not on the beach!

    • Ruth
      August 30, 2012 / 11:42 am

      Thanks, very helpful! x

  19. Claire
    August 31, 2012 / 7:45 pm

    You’re the best Ruth!

  20. September 3, 2012 / 2:47 am

    I did a post on this too as I have used it for years :) I’m glad it also has your seal of approval! Looking through comments many other people have mentioned it but the ultra sun range is very good too :) Phoebe x

  21. pinklovenugget
    September 3, 2012 / 12:27 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    Great review, I will have it on my list for when we finally use up some of the 20-odd bottles of cream we have (OH to lazy to look to see what we have and just buys a new bottle!). Anyway, when I was in Thailand a few years ago I really burned my scalp. I should have been wearing I hat, I know, but do you know of any products that spray onto the scalp as a sunblock?


    • Ruth
      September 6, 2012 / 10:33 pm

      There are a few with small amounts of filters – I use the Aveda hair veil on holiday x

  22. Kay
    November 11, 2012 / 11:04 pm

    I am looking to go on holiday next summer and have heard and seen how well p20 works on friends on holiday not burning and going a fantastic colour!! I’m just a bit concerned as my boyfriend is very fair and burns easily is there a higher factor of the p20 range or what would you recommend! Hope you can help??

  23. Beautystargalactica
    February 4, 2013 / 3:09 pm

    What SPF do you use for your face if you’re acne prone? Would love to know xxx

  24. M.turner
    May 3, 2013 / 11:25 pm

    I have used P20 on my children from being 4, need to ensure you cover well and let it dry in and not go in the sunlight for an hour. But I can honestly say they never burnt or had any reaction to it, I did not have to worry all day and they were in and out of the pool all day. My youngest has just turned 18 and still insists on using it on holiday, she still comes home with a beautiful tan and doesn’t burn!

  25. DB
    July 17, 2013 / 12:54 pm

    I love this stuff! Their factor 50 is a staple of my summer :) Doesn’t feel too sticky and leaves a subtle shine that it quite nice really when out in the sun.

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