Ask the experts


Sunscreen has come a long way since the days of thick white creams with a strong chemical smell. There’s a whole new level of sophistication to {body sunscreens} now, and we are 100% here for it. From invisible gels and vitamin-infused formulas to sprays and sunscreens that double up as self-tanners, there’s something for every beach bum.

With the help of Cult Concierge skin care expert {Ryan}, we’ve answered some of the most important questions about SPF and shone a light on our absolute favourite tried-and-tested body SPFs.

What level of SPF is best for your body?

The answer to this depends on a whole lot of different factors. As a starting point, consider your geography and UV index, and then take into account the season, your skin tone, and whether you’re also using a physical block such as clothing, a parasol or natural shade.

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in direct sunlight, then it’s always best to go for SPF 50, even if you want a tan, and especially if you’re having a beach or pool day. Trust us, you’ll still get a tan, but your skin will be much better protected from those harmful rays. You’ll need to reapply your body sunscreen every two hours or every time you get wet. SPF 50 only offers slightly higher UV protection (around 2%), but over a lifetime, this does make a very big difference.

For protection when you’re wearing clothes or in the shade, SPF 30 is perfect. It tends to have a more lightweight consistency that absorbs easily into your skin, so you won’t need to worry about feeling greasy or your clothes sticking to you.

Can you use the same SPF on your body and on your face?

In many cases yes, but for daily protection, face-specific sunscreens have a slightly lighter formulation that your face will thank you for. Some skin types will find that their face responds just fine to body sunscreen, but for oily and breakout-complexions, it’s definitely best to use a sunscreen specifically formulated for the face.

If you’re going to be in and out of the water all day, however, you might find that regular top ups can be done using your body sunscreen (this is the cheaper option too!). The price point of {face sunscreens} tends to be higher and the bottles much smaller, so it isn’t necessarily worthwhile using your face SPF to top up your protection throughout the day. For the same reason, it’s not worth using your face sunscreen all over your body.

Should you put sunscreen all over your body?

Every day – even in winter – you want sunscreen on your face, ears, neck and hands. Even when you’re spending the whole day indoors, your skin is still exposed to those damaging UV rays, so daily application on these key areas is always necessary, and SPF should always be the final step in your morning {skin care} routine. You only really need to apply sunscreen to the rest of your body in summer or when more of your skin is exposed.

But of course, if you live in a warmer climate when more of your skin is exposed year round, you should apply body sunscreen every day too.

How much sunscreen should you use on your body?

The amount of sunscreen you use will be individual to you, but as a guide, the NHS recommends two teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re just covering your head, arms and neck, and two tablespoons if you’re covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume. What’s important is that you want a noticeable layer when first applied, especially if you’re going to be in direct sunlight.


Here’s Ryan’s pick of the best sunscreens for your body:

  1. {Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract}

Completely invisible, water and sweat-resistant, lightweight, fast-absorbing and deliciously scented, there’s quite literally nothing not to love about this gel-textured body sunscreen (which you can use on your face too!). It’s enriched with skin-nourishing extracts and is laced with sunflower, rosemary and rice antioxidants to shield your skin against the impact of pollution. And of course, it also deflects UVA, UVB and IRA rays, plus it’s coral reef-safe too, so it’s good for both your skin and the ocean.


  1. {Tan-Luxe Super Glow SPF 30 Hyaluronic Self-Tan Serum}

A serum, a gradual self-tanner and a sunscreen all wrapped into one? Yes, you heard that right! The Super Glow SPF 30 quenches thirsty skin while giving you a dewy, naturally bronzed finish AND protecting you from the sun’s damaging rays. Superfood ingredients including coconut, avocado, chia and raspberry seed oils help to illuminate and plump your skin, while kale, blueberry and beetroot extracts boost collagen production. Get ready for perfectly plump skin with a natural-looking bronzed glow.


  1. {Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hydrating Body & Hand Skinscreen SPF 50+}

When the sun is out in force, Ultra Violette’s Extreme Screen is just the shield you need. It not only protects your skin (including four hours of water and sweat resistance), but it soothes and nourishes it at the same time. That’s thanks to plant-derived pentavitin which pumps your skin with moisture, aloe vera which is oh so soothing, and vitamin E which nourishes while fighting pesky free radicals. It gives a shimmery sheen and smells delightful too. Yes please!


  1. {Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray}

In a fuss-free spray can that’s ideal for sun protection on the go, Sun Bum’s Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray will slot seamlessly into your handbag for easy reapplication throughout the day. The formula calls on vitamin E to hydrate and nourish, so it moisturises your skin and works to neutralise free radicals while protecting you from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It smells like summer in a bottle, and it absorbs instantly for an immediately dry touch, so you’ll never feel greasy.


  1. {Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion}

Just like the spray, but in a lotion formula instead, Sun Bum’s Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion is ideal for those of you who want to feel fully in control of how much body SPF you’re applying. Just like its sister sunscreen, it’s enriched with vitamin E to neutralise free radicals and prevent skin from falling victim to dehydration, depleting collagen stores and premature ageing. And it’s infused with that iconic Sun Bum scent too! Which one will you pick?


Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert