Kids' sunscreens they'll actually let you put on them
Summer is full of fun and frolics for kids. Keep them safe outdoors with a fab sunscreen they won't mind you applying.
Not as fun but incredibly important? Sunscreen - kids should be kept out of the sun where possible, and should wear sun protection in the summer months to stay safe.
This might sound like no big deal, but sunscreen application on kids can be a real trial, with everything from the smell of the product to the texture to where you need to apply it (um, everywhere the sun can hit?), proving problematic.
According to the NHS, babies and children should wear a sunscreen wtih an SPF of at least 30, that protects against UVA/UVB rays. A sun hat and sun parasol for the buggy is also advised, as is keeping little ones out of direct sunlight, or at least minimising their exposure, when the sun is strongest between the hours of 11am-3pm. Remember to reapply regularly, especially if children are splashing in fountains or swimming.
These days, parents have tons of options when it comes to brilliant sunscreens for kids, from kid-focused brands that are gentle and won't contain any ingredients that irritate little ones, to French pharmacy faves that have fantastic kids' ranges. You'll also find colourful and glitter suncream options for any children who need extra enticing...
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Our favourite sun creams for kids
Best for sensitive skin: Childs Farm
Childs Farm doesn't just make brilliant sun creams for kids (their body washes and bath soaks are also lovely and smell delightful), but the range ticks every box: the sunscreens are water-resistant, unfragranced, free from any nasties and suitable for children with super-sensitive skin, including ezcema, and each product undergoes a clinical trial for dermatological and paediatric approval. While you can't go wrong with any kids' sun cream in the range, the rollerball is wonderfully portable, has a high SPF of 50+ and children don't mind the application process (result!).
"If you are aware of ingredients that irritate your child, always look for them on the ingredients (INCI) label on the pack. And, if you have children with sensitive or eczema prone skin, always patch test products to ensure there is no reaction to them. To patch test simply take a fingertip of product and put on the inner arm or behind the ear then wait 24 hours to see if the skin reacts. If there’s no irritation, the product is safe to use. If there is any redness and itchiness your child may be sensitive to the product," advises Joanna Jensen, Childs Farm founder.
Best colourful kids' sunscreen: Nivea
One way to entice a reluctant child to wear sunscreen? Get a fun, colourful version. Nivea's sun spray has a high SPF and kids love that it sprays on green or blue. This is also a bonus for parents, who can see where they've missed a spot.
P.S. If you're looking for glitter-studded sunscreen to appeal to the kiddos, Unicorn Snot at Liberty has holographic glitter so you can leave a dusting of pink sparkles on the skin.
Best for portability: Soltan Kids Suncare Sticks
Culture Whisper's beauty editor swears by Soltan Kids' Suncare Sticks, which boast high water resistance, have a super-high SPF and can be tossed into handbags, glove compartments, gym bags, buggies and more so you'll always have an easy-to-apply sunscreen available.
Best water-resistant sun cream: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo Kids
La Roche-Posay is a favourite French pharmacy brand that's known for its gentle yet effective formulations. The sun cream for children is easy to apply, has a high SPF and is super-water resistant. Go on, enjoy the splash slide.
Best eco sunscreen: Green People Organic Children
Green People is a great brand to know that wins points for sustainability - down to the sugarcane packaging. Their scent-free sunscreen is a smart choice for everyday since it's lightweight and has an SPF of 30. It's also eczema-friendly.
Best for babies: Mustela Very High Protection Sun Lotion
Mustela's high-protection sun lotion is specially designed to be gentle enough for newborn skin and is enriched with patented natural ingredient Avocado Perseose® to protect skin cells from damage. As with all Mustela products, it's absolutely delicious to use.
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Best no-residue sunscreen: Organii
This milky sun lotion is certified organic, fragrance-free and suitable for even the most delicate skin. It has lovely and hydrating argan, jojoba, sunflower, olive fruit, linseed, rice bran and karanja oils and glides onto the skin without any unpleasant residue.
Best spray-on sunscreen: Altruist Invisible Sunspray SPF 50
Fun fact: a spray-on sunscreen tends to be met with more enthusiasm than a classic cream or lotion. Altruist's sun spray has dermatological credentials (the range is created by Dr Andrew Birnie, a consultant dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon) at an affordable price point, and is also hypoallergenic so can be used on sensitive skin. Plus, the brand supports a charity helping children with albinism in Africa.
Photo: Frank McKenna/Unsplash
Sun accessories for kids
Sunscreen isn't the only way to protect your children from the sun - sunglasses, sun hats and UV-protective swimwear all ensure that children can play in the sun and stay safe. When choosing sunglasses, fashion should only be part of the consideration - remember, those sunglasses need to protect developing eyes, too.
"It's really important that parents choose a pair of glasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure they cover a good portion of the eyes and look for durable features such as flexible hinges. Sunglasses should be worn on babies from as little as 6 months old, even when it is cloudy.
"UV rays are reflected from the pavement, water, sand and snow further increasing the amount that reaches the eyes and skin, so it's crucial they are properly protected," says Dan McGhee, director of professional services at Vision Express.
Sunglasses for kids
Timeless styles: Everyone's favourite French children's wear label, Bonpoint, has collaborated with chic sunglasses brand Izipizi on a new collection of shades for boys and girls this summer, with sizes to fit babies through 10 year olds. The round frames in blue or pink are stylish, timeless and look particularly fetching on chubby cheeks. Prices start at €25.
Playful shapes: Unlike suncream, kids love sunglasses. They often want to wear them indoors and out, so the problem is holding onto a pair for longer than a few weeks. Get a style to remember with a fun, shaped design - these yellow flower power sunnies from Boden should do the trick nicely.
Designer frames: For a great selection of designer shades for little ones, Childrensalon has our favourites like eagle, swan and rainbow shades from Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana cat's eye frames. These Stella McCartney Snake sunnies don't just look fab, but also offer a category 3 sun filter and UVA/UVB sun protection.
Classic silhouettes: From Ray-Ban aviators and Wayfarer styles for kids to cool sunnies from our favourite brand for kids' face masks, Hype, Vision Express has a wide range of styles and price points when it comes to kids' sunglasses. Better yet, with prices starting at £7, you won't feel stressed about the kids misplacing their new shades.
Sunglasses for babies: Yes, even babies need sunglasses - from about six months onwards. Banz Sunglasses are no-glare, expert-approved sunnies for babies that protect against UVA and UVB rays and also have an adjustable, flexible neoprene band so they stay put. They come in a range of colours and prints.
Sun hats for little ones
Baseball caps and sun hats: For fun printed hats, including reversible designs for children from babies through toddlers, Boden is your go-to. They also have sun safe swim hats. For older kids, you can't go wrong with an embroidered baseball cap - perfect for running around outdoors, while also protecting delicate skin. This shark cap won't bite.
Straw hats: Give your daughter's wardrobe a dose of Riviera chic with a straw sun hat, which helpfully boasts a wide brim for sun protecting prowess, while a straw trilby works on boys or girls. Brands like Mayoral, Grevi, Selini Action, IKKS and Lili Gaufrette all have smart styles. This ribbon-adorned design from Lili Gaufrette is just the cutest (and it's on sale).