Like many others, holidays are the absolute highlight of my year and it doesn’t take me long to start feeling impatient in the run up to our departure. But it’s never too soon to start the holiday shopping!

My annual holiday is usually a week away in Europe, but this year is very different as I’ll be exploring three different countries on the other side of the world, all of which are super hot climates. Because of this, I’ve been on the hunt for a good sun lotion.

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Expensive isn’t always best

You might think that because it’s mega pricey, it must be incredible, but this isn’t always the case. As an example I considered splashing out on the Riemann P20 brand that offers 10 hour protection, that was until I read reviews that said, despite it being a good sun lotion, it actually stains all of your clothes. At an incredibly expensive price of £24.99 per bottle, do you really want to risk staining your clothes all in aid of not having to apply the sun lotion as often? I certainly don’t.

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It’s not all about the SPF

I read on a travel blog a while ago that the SPF isn’t the only key part. Next time you go sun lotion shopping, flip the bottle over and have a read of the UVA rating on the back. Ideally you want four stars which is classed as “superior” – or even better, five stars. Three stars isn’t too bad, but anything less I would be concerned about.

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Alternate sun lotions

If you’re trying out a new sun lotion, it might be worth taking a combination of two or three brands or types of sun lotion that all offer the same protection. If you get to your holiday destination and find that it your skin doesn’t agree with your chosen sun lotion, you might have an issue. In all fairness you can buy sun lotion in most holiday destinations, but to save wasting money on two or three bottles that you can’t use – maybe take this advice!

Take note of the packaging

Is the bottle lid likely to open and leak all over your luggage? Will you get as much from a spray can in comparison to a bottle? It sounds silly, but simple things like this are always worth considering. I’ve gone for a mixture of spray and bottle lotions (purely as sometimes spray bottles are easier when on the go!), both with lids that I trust to be left alone in my suitcase!

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Look into the finer details

Do you have any allergies or skin conditions that a sun lotion might clash with? For example, I have a skin condition where I can’t put oily products on my skin, so I hunted down the most oil-free, affordable sun lotions I could find and stocked up. The Garnier ones are said to be perfect for oily skin, and I chose the “allergy” lotion from Piz Buin and the “Sensitive Skin” from Garnier as both supposedly help with annoying sun-related reactions and irritations that you might get during your time away. I’m yet to try them out of course, but from what I’ve read they’re absolute winners!

Take a variation of SPFs

Unless you burn really badly, it might be worth taking SPF50 for the first few days or weeks, and then finish the holiday on a slightly lower factor such as a SPF30. There’s no problem with sticking to the highest factor the whole time, but it usually has a horribly thick, paste-like consistency – something of which you might not want to put up with for the whole holiday! Also, once you’ve built up a nice bronzed glow, you won’t be *quite* as prone to burning (but you must still wear sun lotion and have periods of time in the shade!).

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It doesn’t end at sun lotion

A lot of people forget that a good aftersun lotion or aloe vera gel is heavenly on burnt or dry skin. Take a small-medium bottle along with you and smother yourself in it once or twice a day, ideally before bed. You’ll wake up feeling fresher, softer, smelling good and ready for the day ahead.

I hope that helps anyone who is unsure of what sun lotions to go for when planning any future holidays! Has anyone got any holidays planned for the end of this year like me?

Shop my sun lotions

See the www.which.co.uk SPF test results here (though it’ll cost you £1!).

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