Future-proof your face: the best SPF for the Australian sun

Woman holding Ultra Violette SPF Queen Screen
Woman holding Ultra Violette SPF Queen Screen

SPF – what is it?

Gone are the days where people accept the SPF 15+ in their foundation or moisturiser as enough daily protection against the sun. We’re more educated than that now and recognise just how much damage can be caused to our skin. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve probably heard of the terms UVA, UVB and UVR. ‘Solar UVR (Ultraviolet radiation) is invisible energy produced by the sun. It’s made up of three wavelengths, UVA, UVB and UVC [and] both UVA and UVB can reach the earth’s surface…’ – meaning our skin is susceptible to damage from both.

UVA radiation penetrates deep into the skin, affecting the living skin cells that lie under the skin’s surface. UVA can cause long-term damage like wrinkles, blotchiness, sagging and roughening, and also contributes to skin cancer. Cancer Council Australia states, ‘every time we overexpose our skin to radiation from the sun, some of our skin cells are damaged and we increase our risk of developing skin cancer.’ ‘A sunburn or a tan is a sign of skin being damaged by solar UVR.’ UVB radiation penetrates the top layer of skin and is the main cause of skin damage and skin cancer.

Introducing Ultra Violette

For what seems like forever, there’s been a gap in the market for a product that combines quality skincare with a ‘broad spectrum‘ sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB. Enter Ultra Violette, a brand that has championed a new category of sun protection: skin screens. Co-founded by Ava Matthews and Bec Jefferd, Ultra Violette has 4 skin screens: Queen, Supreme, Clean and Extreme. In an interview with Gemma Watts of Glow Journal Podcast, Ava revealed that the pair first set out to ‘…make a sunscreen that doesn’t pill under your makeup, that wears nicely, that isn’t too heavy…’ I got a chance to pick Ava’s brain and find out a little more about UV’s range.

Sitting Down with Ava Matthews

EST: What’s the difference between your four skin screens? And what skin type suits each?

Queen Screen

AVA: This is our best-seller (and my personal fave). It’s best for normal/dry/dehydrated skin. It’s just different to anything out there, and has a really lightweight serum-like consistency with a lot of glow. And it’s also basically invisible on skin so really works for all skin tones.

Supreme Screen

AVA: This is our all-rounder. Great for combo/normal/dehydrated skin – [it’s] also the product that is most suited/purchased by men. [It has] more of a satin finish than Queen Screen, so if you’re a little oilier and don’t like a ‘glowy finish’ this is for you. [It’s] also super hydrating so can (and does) replace moisturiser easily. [It] makes for a really good primer too – it’s our 3-in-1!

Clean Screen

AVA: This is best for super oily/acneic skin or skin that is sensitive or easily inflamed. So, anyone with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. It’s more of a matte finish and really good at managing oil flow. [It’s] very soothing on [the] skin and contains Green Tea [and] Cucumber extract. [It’s] still hydrating but if you were in need of extra hydration, I’d look to the other two.

Extreme Screen

AVA: A body and hand SPF like no other. For all skin types, this product is great for the beach but was developed more with everyday wear in mind. Think afternoon wines with the girls, long walks on the beach, or we have a mini that’s perfect for in the car.

It’s infused with ingredients like Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to help soothe skin and reduce UV damage. It also has a gorgeous subtle sheen to give off that sexy summer glow. It’s not heavy, gloopy, [or] greasy. It’s a really sheer, hydrating formula with no white cast, that we wanted to feel and act like a body lotion. It also has a bit of a sheen, so perfect for arms, chest and legs. We included a bunch of nice ingredients too including: Pentavitin, which we have in our facial screens, [that] hydrates skin for up to 72 hours; Vitamin E for antioxidant protection and Aloe Vera, [which is] nice and soothing especially if you’ve spent a bit too much time in the sun!!

Woman holding Ultra Violette SPF Queen Screen
Woman opening Ultra Violette SPF Queen Screen

When do you apply SPF?

EST: Is there a correct order to apply your skincare, makeup and sun protection?

AVA: Sunscreen needs to be the last step in your skincare [regime] before you apply makeup. Contrary to advice you may have heard, chemical sunscreens don’t go on first and physical don’t go on last. They all are applied at the same point. Apply [your] sunscreen first on its own as a base layer and then if you want to be super diligent apply again mixed into foundation. Make sure you have that first solo layer though. Our products are designed to sit perfectly under makeup and double as a moisturiser/ primer so many people skip these steps.

A common misconception is relying on the SPF in your moisturiser or foundation – this is a biggie and it’s more common than you’d think. Even if it’s a foundation with SPF 50+, you’d need to apply SO much to get adequate coverage (hello mask face!) Most people do not wear the correct amount of SPF. It’s a 1/4 teaspoon for [the] face – we’ve actually measured it out for our products (5-6 pumps for Clean and Supreme Screen and 3 full pipettes for Queen Screen) to make it as easy as possible.

Woman holding Ultra Violette SPF Queen Screen

My Ultra Violette Pick

My favourite Ultra Violette skinscreen is Queen Screen – only somewhat influenced by the unique, luxe packaging. Queen screen is lightweight, gliding onto the skin for a hydrating and protecting base before makeup. It isn’t sticky, doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin and gives a subtle glow to the face. It protects from UVA and UVB, infrared, blue, visible light, and pollution. The perfect everyday SPF.

Have you tried Ultra Violette? What’s your top pick? X


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