brief post-vacation update


Testing methods:

  • applied to clean dry skin in the morning
  • pootling around in water for the morning
  • checked regularly to ensure no burning was taking place: I’m a very easy test subject, as unprotected my skin goes red in under a minute, is hot to the touch in under two, and starts to burn in under five. Reduced protection–if I’ve applied sunscreen badly or haphazardly, it’s streaky and patchy–you can maybe double those figures tops. I’m lucky, though, in that I’ll know when I’m burning… many people only find out after the fact…
  • reapplied on exiting the water: up to an hour later, up to two hours after first application
  • and so on, through the day

The results:

  • BLUE LIZARD SPF 30: ulp, forgot to bring the carefully-decanted tubes with us (my bad). Last fully tested on Bermuda in summer 2006, FWIW…
  • BURNOUT OCEAN TESTED SPF 30: resounding success.
    I’d been using this on my face, neck, and throat for ages; this was the first time I’d used it all over.
    Application’s a dream. Sinks in straight away and stays there. Reapplication’s dead easy, even on slightly damp skin and over sandy remnants. Even though this isn’t usually a sticky sort of sunscreen, at the end of the day you could definitely tell the difference between usual application (one layer) and ocean one (errm, somewhere around three).
    Also bravely tested this out by NOT reapplying after being in the water. In the water for about 45 minutes; skin felt fine (cool to the touch); out of the water, I patted skin and could still feel sunscreen there, and it still felt matte, as it usually does after it’s been first applied and has sunk in; went back into the water; didn’t feel any sense of impaired or reduced protection. Sat down to read book for about an hour. Skin still cool to the touch, and checked with SO: no signs of redness. Reapplied again around lunchtime anyway.
    This one was the winner with the SO: his main worry was that it felt light on skin, didn’t “seem greasy enough to be there.” Heh.
    I ended up using it all over, head to toe (plus their lipbalm: lips and around the eyes). We got through two whole tubes of this and partway through a third…
  • ECO LOGICAL BODY SPF 30: epic fail. Sorry.
    Initial application: fine (but greasy and never sunk in on my somewhat oilier companion). Used on body only.
    In water: protection felt to be wearing off, c/o sensation of heat on feet and calves, within 30 minutes.
    Reapplication: a disaster. This stuff ONLY works on absolutely bone-dry skin. Even then, you need to apply enough to cover, and also rub it in. Tricky business: too much and it’s a greasy mess and slips off. Too little and you’re not covered. Any dampness on skin and it sits on top then slides greasily off. Any sand on your skin, forget it.
    Also, the need to squeeze the stuff around to mix it in the tube was a PITA. Even doing that, I ended up with larger gritty bits of ZnO that don’t rub in very well. Grittiness on sensitive skin is not a good idea. Even on tougher parts of the anatomy.
    Unreliable. Impractical. We abandoned the stuff to the Gods of the Trash. RIP.
  • VANICREAM SPF 60: success.
    Slight niggle from my lovely companion and experimental assistant: greasy, needs to be rubbed in a lot, but stays put.
    Fine in the water. After leaving the water and drying off, when I reapplied, I found that the old layer was as far as I could tell completely intact. Had not moved. Could be felt on the skin (OK, that’s the pro; the con is that, well, there’s a perceptible layer on your skin… perceptible by touch, mind you, not visible…)
    Told you so. This is the one I always bring as fallback: protects and is waterproof.
    Consumed nearly two tubes of this: mostly by SO.


  • rub oil into skin
  • stick self under shower
  • rub oil/sunscreen/water mixture around a bit
  • rinse off
  • cleanse self with cleanser / shampoo
  • rinse
  • if sunscreen still present (Vanicream, looking at you here): repeat
  • To be honest, I wasn’t too fussy / neurotic about ensuring every particle of sunscreen had been removed. Especially with the zinc oxide ones, having never got clogs etc. with them. Besides, cocktails and sunsets and the whole vacation vibe aren’t really compatible with obsessive lengthy evening cleansing rituals…


  • sunglasses
  • wide-brimmed hat
  • clothes: in tight-knit fabrics; long sleeves, shorts to the knee; t-shirt while swimming (my shoulders and neck burn very easily)
  • covering up feels like cheating (re. sunscreen experiments), but saves money on sunscreen and is the best method, let’s face it.


  • Well, I was boring and it worked. Reviva Labs plus Clarins Double Fix’ Mascara on top. Stayed where it was put. Mind you, I always either had sunglasses or swimming goggles on, so not much chance of splashed getting into eyes…

LO: THE HOLY GRAIL OF SUNSCREENS: well, just one that actually does what it says on the tin. Not asking for much of my HGs. Mind you, in today's world of marketeering hyperbole (and LIES, looking at you EL group...): this is a major achievement.

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