A Guide to help you Choose the best Sunscreen for A Day at the Summer Races

For a day at the summer races sunscreen is essential but what type of sunscreen should you choose – chemical (absorbers) or mineral (reflectors)?

Whichever you choose your sunscreen should have both UVA and UVB protection. 

The SPF of a sunscreen relates to the UVB (the rays that cause sunburn and can lead to skin cancer). Not all sunscreen has UVA protection (the rays that cause premature ageing and are linked to melanoma). To check if a sunscreen has UVA protection look for PA +++ or the words ‘Broad Spectrum’ on the bottle.

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Prices correct at time of writing.

Chemical Sunscreens (i.e absorbers) 

Chemical sunscreens’ active ingredients sink into the skin where they absorb the UV rays and through a chemical reaction convert the UV rays into heat which is then released from the skin.

Pro: Due to being absorbed into the skin they work well underneath make-up. For maximum sunscreen protection from a chemical sunscreen always apply to clean bare skin. 

Con: To allow the sunscreen to fully absorb into the skin you do have to wait for approximately 15–30 minutes before applying moisturiser, primer and foundation in order for the sun protection to set.

Pro: Can moisturise your skin whilst being non-greasy. 

Con: Due to converting UV rays into heat this could cause redness if your skin is sensitive.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF30 available at Beauty Bay

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 30 – at BEAUTY BAY is a weightless, scentless and oil-free face sunscreen. 

Active ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene.

Vegan and cruelty-free.

Price: £15.00 for 15ml, or £40 for 73.9ml from Beauty Bay

Sun Bum Original Broad Spectrum Moisturising Facial Sun Cream SFP50 available at Boots

Sun Bum Original Broad Spectrum Moisturizing Facial Sun Cream-SPF 50 88ml – Boots is a light moisturising lotion with a matte finish. 

Active ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene.

Vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, PABA-free, fragrance free and reef friendly.

Price £14.99 for 88ml from Boots.

Mineral Sunscreens (i.e. physical/reflectors)

Mineral sunscreens’ active ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which act as physical blockers creating a protective barrier on the skin and reflecting the UV rays away before they can penetrate the skin.

Pro:  Takes effect straight away so no need to wait before exposure to the sun. 

Con: The sunscreen is not absorbed into the skin but acts as a barrier on the surface of the skin. This means mineral sunscreen must be the last layer of your skincare or makeup routine in order for it to reflect the UV rays. And applying sunscreen after foundation could smudge and so ruin your polished look. 

Pro: Zinc oxide keeps the skin cool by reflecting the UV rays rather than converting into heat – so kinder to sensitive skin.  

Con: Some mineral sunscreens can leave a chalky residue

If you don’t want to bare your skin and go for the natural look for a day at the races, but still prefer a mineral sunscreen, choose a tinted one to provide some coverage.

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinted Physical Daily Defense SPF30 available at LookFantastic 

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF30 60ml – LOOKFANTASTIC provides a glow-enhancing tint to illuminate all skin tones with a natural looking radiance.

Active ingredient: zinc oxide.


Price £30 for 60ml from LookFantastic.

Avene Very High Protection Tinted Mineral Fluid SPF50 available at Boots

Avene Very High Protection Tinted Mineral Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream for Intolerant Skin 40ml – Boots provides a natural tint and matt finish for light coverage.

Key Ingredients: mineral based filters (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and Avene thermal spring water. 

Fragrance free.

Price £18.50 for 40ml from Boots.

An Alternative to Sunscreen Lotion

Whether you choose a chemical or a mineral sunscreen, reapplying it throughout the day could ruin your carefully applied make-up. Unless you are planning on removing your make-up, applying sunscreen and then applying fresh make-up, a good alternative to sunscreen lotion is to choose a compact or loose powder with sunscreen which will not mess up your make-up and will also help blot out any shine.

Supergoop! re(setting) 100% Mineral Powder SPF30 available at Beauty Bay

 Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 30 PA+++ at BEAUTY BAY is a translucent, mineral setting powder with added SPF30 and its own brush so ideal to pop in your bag. 

Active ingredient: Zinc oxide.

Vegan and cruelty-free.

Price £28 from Beauty Bay.

Top Tip for Racedays

Take a tip from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth – wear a wide brimmed hat. A day at the races is an ideal opportunity for hats and the wider the brim the better to provide some shade.

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