This year I found myself unwillingly testing and trialling dozens of sunscreens (or at least, that’s what it feels like!). If you know me, you’ll know I recommend not fixing a skincare routine that isn’t broken, because I really believe it’s all about consistency over time with skincare. However, my holy grail sunscreen (Boots Soltan SPF50 for face) was sadly discontinued – the second time this has happened to me in three years, so I was unfortunately backed into a corner with this one!

Nevertheless, a skincare routine without SPF is not a skincare routine at all in my opinion – especially if you use retinoids on a weekly basis, which I do. So in February earlier this year, after I’d run out of my last supplies of the good stuff, I had to start using some new things on my face – something that makes me incredibly anxious due to my extremely fussy skin.

Months later (we’re now in June), I’m sitting here writing this blog post with the Australian brand Ultra Violette’s ‘Clean Screen’ SPF30 all over my face, for maybe the 14th consecutive day in a row now after patch testing it for over a week prior. Here’s hoping this review can help somebody in the same boat, testing and trialling SPFs to find one that works for them – an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone!

UV filters

Ultra Violette Clean Screen advertises itself as a mineral sunscreen, and this is one of the main reasons I picked it up in SpaceNK on a whim. Mineral sunscreens are, on paper, superior for those with sensitive skin and/or rosacea. Whilst I don’t have rosacea, I have found myself reacting poorly to chemical sunscreen filters, so lately I have been looking for a mineral SPF that works for me.

When I got home, I found that it is actually a hybrid sunscreen, meaning it combines a mineral filter with chemical filters (it contains both kinds, basically). Honestly I was a little disappointed, but it didn’t stop me testing it out all the same. I was also drawn to this sunscreen because it doesn’t contain fragrance or essential oils, claims to be for sensitive skin and also has a super short ingredient list – something I look out for in every new skincare product I try.

In terms of the protection itself, I didn’t notice a change in colour on my face after wandering around Paris in 30 degree heat all day for a week, so all in all I feel it did a good job here.

Texture and finish

For context, I have dry to combination skin that gets oilier around my t-zone prior to my period. I usually love an SPF that has a dewy finish and one that is quite moisturising, as opposed to something more matte. This is how UV describes the product:

“Impressively lightweight and in a refreshing gel texture, this gentle sunscreen boasts SPF30 protection and a no-fuss, natural-looking finish that won’t mess with your make up (or skin!).”

Honestly I think this is a very accurate description of the product, the finish is certainly natural looking with a very mild tint. It is much more matte than I’d usually prefer, but somehow I find myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. Because my skin is on the drier side and due to this formula, I don’t find myself looking oily at the end of the day, so I think this would be liked by those with oilier skins.

Because it contains titanium dioxide, a mineral filter that has a reputation for appearing chalky on the skin, I did initially find that the application looked a little streaky. Honestly, though, I just kept on applying it each day and I eventually figured out the best way to work it in without said streaky appearance. I also noticed that the formula melts into your skin a little after a few hours, so the streaks kind of fade away on their own. All in all, this isn’t a huge problem for me personally.

White cast

Sunscreens obviously get a bad reputation when it comes to white cast, especially mineral sunscreens. I have to be honest here, I am quite pale so I’m no the best to judge on white cast, however my gut feeling is that the tint of this SPF is probably too pale for those with anything deeper than olive skin tones.

Acne suitability

As with most people in the market for an SPF, one of my main concerns was around breakouts. I’d previously tried many that my skin simply *hates*, and this seemed to have some great reviews from breakout-prone users – although as you’ll know, you really have to take these with a pinch of salt.

Fortunately for me, I found that this doesn’t irritate my skin at all or break it out for the most part. In the past with chemical sunscreens, I’ve noticed they can cause random inflamed whiteheads that appear almost overnight, however in the 2/3 weeks I’ve used this, I’ve seen no change, and now I feel very comfortable with it.

The only drawback I’ll share, is that I do feel it causes some small closed comedones on my forehead, sadly, which may be due to the silica, dimethicone or colourants (or all three). My workaround for this has been to use a different SPF on my forehead, since my forehead tolerates most SPFs (currently I’m using the Isntree Watery Sun Gel on it). 

If you’re someone who breaks out with nearly all SPFs, I do have a good feeling about this one, I think it’s worth a shot!

Final conclusions

All in all, I’m glad I found this SPF, I like to have a few around me that I can fall back on and know that they don’t break me out or irritate my skin, if something I was using gets discontinued (cheers, Boots!). It’s probably not my ‘forever’ SPF, but it is a good stop gap and one I can rely on in times of skin irritation. I will keep using it for now, whilst looking for one I can also use on my forehead and one that is maybe a little dewier.