WHAT IS SPF?
PSA alert: Call it nagging, but sun protection is absolutely non-negotiable. You must use sunscreen of some sort during the day, even if it’s billed as a fancy-schmancy face “veil” that just happens to have “SPF” bedecking the bottle.
But what is SPF, anyway? Here’s a useful definition for beginner beauty students: “The SPF or sun protection factor of a sunscreen is a measurement of how well sunscreen can protect the skin against ultraviolet B rays,” says Joshua Wong, senior patient care pharmacist for Guardian Health & Beauty Singapore.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS MEAN?
What about all those numerals, then? “Sunscreens with SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of UVB rays, while sunscreens with SPF 30 and SPF 50 block approximately 97 percent and 98 percent of UVB rays, respectively.”
Will anything ward off a full 100 percent of UVB rays? Short of living a vampiric existence, it’s no go, I’m afraid. “There’s nothing on the market that will give you complete protection from the sun.” So there you go.
HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR SPF WHEN WEARING MAKEUP
What if I layer say, an SPF 45 primer under my SPF 50 foundation? Won’t that be equivalent to wrapping Ray-Bans of SPF 95 around my entire face?
I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you, but here’s Teri Tay, Dermalogica Singapore’s education manager, with the answer we’ve all been waiting for. “If you physically mix two products with SPF together, the final SPF rating will be somewhere between the two SPF products. You can’t average it out, though; the mixture will have to be lab-tested for a definitive figure.”
Granted, this isn’t the most gratifying resolution to our riddle, but Teri Tay offers a rejoinder that’s slightly more reassuring: “As most of us won’t be using the recommended quarter-teaspoon’s worth of sunscreen on our face, layering SPF products is the next best alternative to achieve good sun protection.” Whoo-hoo, awesome.
Teri offers a brilliant solution to making the most out of your SPF: “Mix equal parts of a lightweight, high-SPF product like Dermalogica’s Solar Defense Booster SPF 50 with your favourite foundation, store in an airtight tub and use this concoction as a concentrated concealer on existing freckles, so that these vulnerable spots get additional protection.” Incredibly ingenious, yes?
Try Sisley’s supremely silky new Super Soin Solaire Facial Sun Care SPF 50+ / PA++++, which comes amped up with anti-ageing antioxidants and feels like next to nothing under my warpaint, and top up during the day with a spray-on sunscreen – simply spritz generously as a sun-killing makeup setter.
In sum: Layering plus mix-and-matching plus spray-ons equal near-perfect sun protection – no skull-numbing SPF number crunching needed!