I’m going to be blunt: cruelty-free sun protection is an absolute bugger to find.
I know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least—I’m writing this the day after I both ate lunch outside in the beautiful sunshine and got woken up by a thunderstorm—but the sun always seems to break through eventually, even if it’s in between rain showers. And apparently clouds only stop 20% of UV rays anyway, so it’s incredibly important to apply your SPF on a regular basis.
But even with the best of intentions, SPF can clog up your pores and is often sticky, greasy, non-waterproof, non-sweatproof… and then of course you don’t want to compromise your ethical stance (and why should you?), which rules out the majority of the high street market.
Enter Superdrug’s Solait range.
Cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny-approved and with plenty of vegan products to choose from, Solait is ideal if you just want to nip off to the high street to grab your holiday essentials. The range is cheap, too, with most products costing under a fiver, and there are normally offers like buy one, get one half-price available.
But are the products any good?
Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v), £4.99 for 200ml
I find this lotion has a thinner, lighter texture than your standard sun cream, which makes it a lot nicer to apply — it glides over the skin with ease and doesn’t leave any residue. I wouldn’t say it was particularly moisturising, so don’t skip body butter if you need it, but for me this is a small price to pay for sun protection that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been basted.
Hair & Scalp Sun Spray SPF30 (v) [discontinued]
I had high hopes for this but it weighs my fine hair down and leaves my roots looking and feeling greasy. I tried it for a week and just couldn’t cope with the scalp build-up — or the wet look, which I must confess I’ve never fully understood anyway. Perhaps those with thicker hair would have more success?
This has been discontinued since I tried it, but there’s still a range of sun protection sprays on the Superdrug website.
Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50 (v)
If you need a heavy duty SPF then this is the ultimate choice, since it protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. It’s much thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion and doesn’t absorb quite so well, which makes it feel a little sticky, but if you don’t want to take any chances then you can’t go wrong. I’ve worn it many times and my skin hasn’t even turned a teeny bit pink.
(I can’t find a link on the website but I’ve seen Enhanced Sun Lotion in stores, so Solait don’t seem to have discontinued it. You can find their other sun creams on the website.)
I bought this when I was with my mum, which led to exclamations of, ‘What are you buying anti-ageing stuff for?! You’re in your twenties!’ but I don’t want a sunburnt face, quite frankly.
Anti-Ageing Face Fluid has a thinner formula than the Enhanced Sun Lotion but is thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion, which is something to bear in mind if you like a lighter base. My skin gets oily quicker when I wear this by itself, although it’s better when set with a light dusting of mineral foundation.
This fluid is good for holidays but I’m not so sure it works as an everyday SPF. I’ve worn it as both and my skin tends to get spottier if I use it too many days in a row, even if I double cleanse every night. I’m currently on the hunt for something else.
The one thing every product has in common is this: I’ve worn them on overcast days in the UK, the most unbearably humid days in Asia, and in the middle of the Arabian desert and not once have I been sunburnt.
Otherwise, this is a hit and miss bunch — I’d really recommend getting your hands on the Moisturising Sun Lotion though! A large bottle of non-sticky, cruelty-free sun cream for £4.99? Sold.
Do you have any cruelty-free SPF recommendations? Let me know in the comments!
(v) = vegan
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!