The best UV protection on the high street

One of my most popular recommendations, if your emails and messages are representative, is Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50. This feather-light sunscreen, ideal for oily and congested skins, is loved by many of you; but as it’s imported from Asia, it’s frequently out of stock.

You need go no further than Boots or Superdrug to find a replacement. La Roche-Posay’s new Hyalu B5 Aqua Gel SPF30 (£34, 50ml, available from Boots, Superdrug, Look Fantastic, Feel Unique, Escentual and independent pharmacists) came to me via an unlabelled lab sample last year and I’ve been waiting impatiently to tell you how terrific it is. The transparent gel (great for anyone with a darker skin tone, as well as beardy men) plumps and hydrates skin within moments. All you grease-haters will love the silky finish, which provides enough moisture and slip for oily (even acne-prone), combination and balanced skins to proceed directly to makeup, skipping the day cream altogether. The SPF30 is adequate for extended periods outdoors; remember, the difference between 30 and 50 is pretty tiny. Low-maintenance and comfortable, it will be, for many, the dream sunscreen.

For the older, drier, less evenly pigmented among us, the brand is simultaneously launching Anthelios Age Correct SPF50 (£25, 50ml), a satiny cream suitable for all skin tones, which includes hero ingredients hyaluronic acid (hydrating), niacinamide for inflammation and pores, lipohydroxy acid for mild exfoliation, and resorcinol to inhibit melanin production resulting in sunspots. The idea is for it to be used in place of day cream, not additionally, and my skin agrees that it’s plenty rich enough to go solo. If you are drier, this is as close to an ideal sunscreen as I’ve seen this year.

Sitting somewhere between gel and cream in richness is Vichy’s Capital Soleil UV-Age Daily Anti Photo-Ageing Water Fluid SPF50 (£21, 40ml, available from the same stockists as La Roche-Posay), launching next month. Like the other two, this offers more than mere UV protection. The trendy but unarguably skin-beneficial niacinamide gets in on this act, too, along with peptides and probiotics, neither of which are ever a bad thing. But what all types will love most, I suspect, is that pump-dispensed, watery fluid.

The influence of finely textured Korean skincare has made the sunscreen category far more appealing to a reluctant public. Though after a year indoors, it’s a novel delight to have a reason to slosh on the SPF.