I’m being rather slow on the whole sunscreen-testing thing, aren’t I? In truth, I have made extensive notes on dozens of sun creams – all tried very carefully and objectively – but my written reviews are, for some reason, slow to materialise. Perhaps it’s because I find writing about sun protection a little daunting; I feel it’s an area of skincare that, in many ways, crosses over into healthcare – misinformation on this topic can have very real, potentially dangerous consequences and it always feels like a bit of a hot potato.
But I shall bite the bullet and get on with the show, because this Classic Sunscreen from US brand COOLA is a gorgeous option for those currently feeling hot under the collar. So to speak. As Heatwave Week 8,931 rolls on in the UK, many people seem to have had enough and are requesting beauty products that are cooling, refreshing and hydrating. “Give us gel textures!” they’re pleading, “give us jelly masks and water serums and leg cooling sprays that’ll faux-freeze us to the bone!” The over-heated screams can be heard from miles around, “I need a face mist that feels like ice, even when the bottle’s been at the bottom of my bag, temperature similar to that of a domestic pizza oven!”
So here it is, for the heatwave-haters of Britain; a lightweight, completely invisible sunscreen that feels refreshing to apply but doesn’t leave skin tight or dry. It smells of cucumber, which I don’t mind – the scent’s subtle – and the SPF 30 formula is completely non-greasy and free from any sort of chalky, gunky residue. I originally tested this one because so many readers had asked for organic suncare recommendations, but it was instantly a firm favourite, along with the brand’s Pina Colada Sunscreen Spray.
I always find the word “organic” deeply unhelpful when it comes to choosing beauty products, largely because the meaning of the word seems to be so loose and unregulated, but COOLA do use a high proportion of ingredients that are organically sourced (over 70% in this products) so well worth noting if that is a particular concern. I did try quite a few products from brands who are dedicated to sourcing sustainable, organic ingredients and this was my favourite by far.
(Though, on a sidenote, Pot of Shade from Kypris (Cult Beauty here*) was a gorgeous, moisturising option with mineral rather than chemical protection, and I also really liked the SPF 30 Micro Mist from Soleil Toujours, here*. I’ll review those soon, for those waiting on more organic sunscreen options!)
The COOLA Classic Sunscreen SPF30 formula contains antioxidants and hydrators alongside the chemical sun filters, so despite the fresh, cooling effect on the skin, it never feels drying. Perhaps those with very dry skin might choose something creamier (I’ll put forward the CeraVe* again, I think it’s great) but for just about everyone else it’s an excellent sunscreen that’s completely undetectable.
A word on the Pina Colada SPF30 Spray, which comes out of the can in a continuous, invisible mist; it’s the ultimate in convenient sunscreen application. I mean, you barely need to use your hands to apply it, unless you feel the need to pat it in after spraying. But I’m always cautious with SPF mists because I wonder whether we ever apply enough of them to achieve the stated protection level. I virtually always use mists as a top-up strategy, keeping them handy for times when I might unexpectedly be out in the sun for longer than anticipated – an impromptu pub lunch in the beer garden, an unexpected sundowner after a day at the beach, or what have you. (Ha! Like that happens.) With a mist, there’s no faffing about moving vest straps or socks or jewellery out of the way of a messy sun cream, and you can spray yourself liberally in a fraction of the time it takes to put on a lotion, but if you’re using a mist then use a lot. I go over the same areas twice if I’m misting. You could probably be even more vigilant.
There’s an unscented version of the COOLA Eco-Lux SPF30 Spray, if you don’t fancy Pina Colada (I do find this scent a little less subtle than the face cucumber) and you can find both of them for £36 at Space NK here* or Cult Beauty here*. Absolutely no residue, no greasiness, no white cast – they’re as undetectable as the facial sunscreen and a total joy to use.
COOLA Organic Suncare Classic Sunscreen SPF 30 is £30 for 50ml at Cult Beauty here*.
Whilst on the subject of sun protection; I am sorry to see that Avon don’t stock the E-Defence anymore, it was a really luxe-feeling, silky product with SPF50 and sat brilliantly beneath makeup. I wonder if it was replaced with anything similar? I shall have to ask…