Nomige’s High Protection Sunscreen is the latest addition to the growing selection of Belgian SPF products. It is high time we take a look at what our country has to offer SPF wise. #shoplocally
Until recently, finding a Belgian sunscreen was pretty hard. (It is an expensive, tough challenge to create a good sunscreen people like using and to have it approved by the EU.) Mylène has a pretty broad range of face, body and children sunscreens and Nannic has its SPF spray but that was it. Until last spring, when Skin by Dings launched, a brand that focuses on skincare with SPF that you love to use every single day. (Founder Ciska Dings is a firm believer in the importance of using sunscreen daily, rain or shine, to prevent skin ageing – and worse.)
Last summer both Rainpharma and Self launched their mineral sunscreens. Likami introduced its Anti-Pollution Shield SPF30 this April. And Nomige launched its High Protection Sunscreen SPF30+ in June. Both brands also chose to use mineral filters only.
I tested (most of) them, just in time for our national holiday. Good to know: I personally prefer a mix of synthetic and mineral filters. All the sun protection experts I spoke told me that they consider that combination to be the best protection against the sun.
Plus, it is pretty difficult to find pure mineral filter sunscreens that have a very high SPF. I prefer SPF50 or SPF50+, even if they only let through a few percent less UV rays than SPF30. I find those 2% important: we probably do not apply enough sunscreen to get the full protection of the SPF mentioned on the product, so in my opinion (and that of many dermatologists) it is best to use the highest protection available. Because the less you apply, the less protected you are. Suppose you use half of what you should of a product with an SPF20, then you might only get the protection level of an SPF10.
I do like mineral filters if you are sensitive/allergic to synthetic ones. They are also being recommended (in non-nano form) for very young children. (Check Dr. Jetske Ultee’s interview on sunscreens if you like to read more on the difference between mineral and synthetic filters.)
Rainpharma’s Natural Daylight Defence SPF30, 19,95 € for 50 ml.
What? This sunscreen lotion protects against UV thanks to non-nano zinc oxide. But doesn’t non-nano make you look like Casper the Friendly Ghost? No because the brand managed to develop a formula that does not leave a white cast. It is also free from added fragrance but does have a light scent.
Tested. This lotion is a lot more fluid than a cream, which means it is easy to massage into skin, which cannot be said of every mineral sunscreen. (Just make sure you apply enough of it: we tend to use less sunscreen when it’s a product that spreads easily over skin.) Because the product is so liquid, you have to be a bit careful that it doesn’t run out of the tube. A pump would have been a bit more convenient, as I sometimes end up with sunscreen lotion on the floor while applying it).
I don’t notice a white cast once I’ve applied the formula thoroughly. But I do find that the product feels a bit sticky once I start sweating a bit during a (low impact) YouTube workout. But for those of you who like to stick to purely mineral sunscreens, this is a pleasant sunscreen that can be used on both face and body. (If you like to use it on your body as well, I would advise you to invest in a 200 ml bottle, as the 50ml will run out very quickly. However, that one comes in handy to carry with you in your hand or beach bag.)
Nannic’s UV-Shield, 39,95 €, at the beauty salon or on the webshop.
What? As far as I know Nannic was one of the first brands to put a daily facial SPF in a handy spray. You use it as the last step in your skincare routine and it can easily be applied over make-up. It’s also great for topping up your protection every two hours.
The brand puts its synthetic sunscreen filters in transparent microcaps so that the filters do not penetrate skin but stay put on it and are well tolerated by (more) sensitive skin types. Red algae extract works as an antioxidant and helps keep skin hydrated, making it an anti-ageing skincare product, too. The spray also protects against blue light, infrared rays and pollution. (It is also fragrance-free).
There is no SPF listed on the bottle, but it should be an SPF20, as the brand states on its website that the filters filter 95% of UV rays.
Tested. A spray comes in handy if you want to quickly reapply sun protection throughout the day and/or over your make-up. I never use an SPF spray (or powder brush) on its own, but I do use it over a cream or lotion with SPF as an extra layer of protection. I feel like you can never be sure whether you have covered every inch of skin evenly with a spray and are a bit more in control when you massage a formula in with your hands.
(I also hold my breath while spraying so I don’t inhale any formula. Inhaling nano mineral sunscreens could be dangerous as they would enter the body directly. Incidentally, the EU does not allow nano-mineral filters in a spray. Just to be on the safe side, I avoid inhaling non-mineral filters, too.)
I personally would have liked a higher SPF, but the formula doesn’t feel sticky and doesn’t affect my make-up either. (The brand even says it helps set make-up.) You don’t need to massage it in, but I always notice a couple of drops of product on my skin after spraying. Which I dab in with my finger.
Skin by Dings’ The Next Best Things, 40 €.
What? This SPF spray is the brand’s flagship/bestseller. Shake it, spray it and you’re protected against UVA, UVB, blue light and pollution. The formula is not sticky or shiny, which makes it popular with (balding) men too. Plus, it is packed with antioxidants (so great to fight skin ageing), helps skin retain moisture thanks to hyaluronic acid and squalane, strengthens the skin barrier and sets make-up. In other words: it is a true multitasker.
Tested. Unfortunately for me, I cannot use this spray as it contains linalool and a glucoside, both of which I am allergic to. So I gave it to my boyfriend, together with the Take Things Easy, the brand’s body sunscreen spray, as he prefers using a sunscreen spray. My boyfriend found both products handy and quick to use: shake, spray, done. Although both he and I still like to massage the product in to be on the completely safe side. (Dermatologists also recommend to always massage a spray formula into skin with your hands so that every inch of your skin is protected.) The formula does not feel sticky, does not make your skin look oily and greasy and has a fresh, unisex fragrance.
Now that he has emptied both sprays, my boyfriend is using the Sunny Side of Things lotion for face and body. Which is also handy to use (hello, built-in cap so you don’t lose it and/or spill product!) and spreads easily and quickly. (I can recommend the aftersun foam, which is such a nice product).
High Protection Sunscreen SPF30+ van Nomige, € 49
What? A daily facial sunscreen with the mineral filters zinc oxide (non-nano) and titanium dioxide (nano) that protects against UVA and UVB. The formula is lightly tinted, which has to prevent the white cast effect. It promises a non-sticky, silky soft finish and is free from fragrance. (Unlike the Nomige serums and night cream the sunscreen is not a personalised formula but suited for every skin type.)
Good to know: when you buy this cream, you are supporting skin cancer research. Nomige donates 5% of its profits to Kom op tegen Kanker.
Tested. The greyish-brown tint of this cream is reminiscent of Paula’s Choice’s Defense Glow Moisturiser, one of my favourite moisturizers with SPF. It doesn’t even out your skin tone like a tinted moisturizer (slightly) does but is supposed to prevent a white finish. I am under the impression that the High Protection Sunscreen can leave a slight cast on your face if you don’t apply it well/long enough. When I first start applying it, the formula feels a bit grainy and looks a bit white but I keep massaging it in and the white effect and grainy feeling vanish. (Unlike the Defense Moisturizer, I don’t notice an exceptional glow on my skin, but this cream doesn’t promise that either.)
The formula does not feel greasy or very sticky and can be worn under foundation. My face can feel a bit itchy throughout the day when I’m wearing this SPF but for some bizarre reason it sometimes does when I’m wearing mineral sunscreens.
Self’s Boost of Protection SPF30 Sunscreen for Face & Body, 38 €.
What? A sunscreen lotion for face and body with non-nano zinc oxide. The vegan formula with grape seed oil promises to nourish and moisturise skin and tackle skin ageing. (It is also free of added fragrance but does have a light scent.)
Tested. To me, this lotion is interchangeable with Rainpharma’s: its very fluid texture spreads easily and quickly without leaving a white cast, but it feels a bit sticky on my skin as soon as I start perspiring. (Both INCI’s contain the same ingredients but in a slightly different order.) I do find its pump system more convenient than Rainpharma’s tube as it is less messy. (A pump might be a little less practical to put in your hand/beach bag, but you can ‘lock’ it so there’s no risk of spillage).
Also Belgian but not tested
Likami’s Anti-Pollution Shield SPF30, 49 €.
An everyday moisturiser with non-nano titanium dioxide. Promises a beautiful glow, no white cast and anti-ageing benefits. (I did not test it because the formula contains a glucoside and linalool.)
Mylène’s SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion, 26,99 €.
Sunscreen with a high SPF for sun sensitive skin. Protects against UV and infrared and has an hypoallergenic fragrance.
TIME’s Beschermende Anti-Age Fluid SPF50+, 19,95 €, at Ici Paris XL.
Not really 100% Belgian as ICI Paris XL is part of the Hong Kong A.S. Watson group and no longer a fully Belgian company. But still worth mentioning. This daily fluid has a very high SPF, protects against UV, infrared and blue light, promises a non-greasy finish and is suited for any skin type.