As far as relationships go, one of the longest and most supportive in my life so far has gotta be with sunscreen. In the age of over-exfoliation and environmentally disastrously single-use sheet masks, sunscreen remains a skincare product that anyone and everyone should still be using. Everyday too, not just when you have to pull your sunglasses out. I’ve waxed on about my favourite non-waxy sunscreen formula picks before and the Australian sunscreen brand Ultra Violette, of course, made an appearance.
Created by ex-MECCA and Rationale Skincare alumni Bec Jefferd and Ava Matthews, these pretty blue tubes contain some of the most beloved sunscreens currently on the market. Beyond the aesthetically pleasing packaging, what’s inside is excellent too. Each of the Ultra Violette ‘Skinscreens’ is thoughtfully formulated: they’re reef-safe, meaning they don’t contain the chemical UV filter oxybenzone which can cause harm to coral and sea life and are free of palm oil. Beyond that, you’ve also got a choice between sunscreens that use a chemical UV filter or a mineral (aka physical) ones like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
As for navigating all the different Ultra Violette Skinscreens in the range? It’s not quite a daunting task as making your way through The Ordinary‘s expansive range, but there are quite a few SPFs to choose from. In the interests of helping you and your precious skin find which Ultra Violette sunscreen (or sunscreens) are right for you, we’ve road-tested the lot and have gathered Our Thoughts.
Lean Screen SPF 50+ Mattifying Zinc
Type of SPF: Mineral
What Ultra Violette say: Our Lean Screen, with her zinc-only SPF50+, fragrance-free formula, hits different. She won’t make your skin all sticky, yucky or heavy, but she will soothe sensitive types and leave a subtle matte finish in her wake—perfect for anyone with oily or reactive skin, or those that just prefer a physical sunscreen.
What Julian says (@kermitshimbo) says: As someone with pretty oily, olive Italian skin, Gaga and I both struggle with finding a sunscreen that not only works but doesn’t feel gross and sticky. Cut to Ultra Violette’s Lean Screen. This bad boy has been my saving grace when it comes to skincare and sunscreen in the lead up to summer. Every day I wake up, do my silly little Pingu-inspired dance and apply this on as a quick moisturiser and sunscreen, and honestly, I haven’t been burned since.
The light tan tone is great for my skin and comfortably slides on with ease—but for those with facial hair, be warned. The texture does feel a bit gross between your wildly grown out stubble. With some of the stickiest and grossest days in history in Sydney, it’s been really nice to rely on a sunscreen that works and doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing blocks of sticky liquids.
Lean Screen SPF 50+ Mattifying Zinc. $45 from Ultra Violette.
Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen
Type of SPF: Chemical
Fragrance: Clean, pleasant scent
What Ultra Violette say: A hydrating, high SPF formula with a clean scent, Supreme is our all-rounder that’s perfect for normal to dry skin, or anyone who doesn’t know which SPF is right for them.
What Diandra (@diandramalivindi) says: Having dry, sensitive skin means it’s tricky to find an SPF that keeps mine both clear and hydrated. Ultra Violette’s Supreme Screen works as a moisturiser and SPF all-in-one, meaning that I can throw it on when I’m running out the door. Creamy, light and quick to absorb, it also sits perfectly under my makeup—a huge plus! However, the light colour tint may leave a cast on those with deeper skin tones.
Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen, $45 from Ultra Violette.
Clean Screen SPF 30 Fragrance Free Weightless Gel Skinscreen
Type of SPF: Chemical and mineral
What Ultra Violette say: Clean Screen is the Harry Styles of SPF—gentle, friendly and totally in touch with her sensitive side. With a super lightweight gel texture and a natural finish, Clean has a fragrance-free, SPF30 formula that’s perfect for acne-prone or normal to combination skin.
What Sukriti (@sukritiwahi) says: I have normal to combination skin and tend to get a bit oilier in summer, so I was keen to try Ultra Violette’s Clean Screen, because it’s labelled as a gel and I’m all about that mattifying finish! Having slip, slop, slapped it on my face for a while now, I can confirm that the formula has a silky texture and lightweight melt-on-your-face feeling.
I also love that it’s part-mineral (or, technically speaking, part-physical), as dermatologists do tend to recommend physical sunscreens over chemical ones as they are naturally broad-spectrum (protecting against both UVA and UVB rays), but I’d been yet to find one that suited my needs. I can say that, for the most part, it does what it says it will. It’s mattifying and non-irritating, but I did find that it didn’t fully replace my usual chemical sunscreen, which also does the job of a moisturiser and is SPF 50+.
Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen, $42 from Ultra Violette.
Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum
Type of SPF: Chemical
Fragrance: Light rose scent
What Ultra Violette say: With a silky texture and a heavy dose of glow, our Queen is renowned for her milky, melt-into-your-skin finish that acts as the perfect base for makeup. Perfect for normal to dry skin, Queen is more like a serum than a cream, effortlessly slotting into your skincare routine and imparting broad-spectrum SPF50+ protection with a subtle rose scent.
What I (@monishamay) say: As previously mentioned, I have used a lot of sunscreens in my time. Both a perk of previous jobs (manning the fort at Mecca Cosmetica) and because I’m a reformed skincare addict. What I tend to look for, as someone with skin on the ever so slightly drier side and with an increasing lack of patience for elaborate routines, is something that can serve as my daytime moisturiser and SPF all in one. It needs to sit well over whatever hydrating serum I’m using at the moment, not be too slippery under makeup and it definitely shouldn’t be heavy or breakout-inducing.
Queen Screen is definitely on the more slippy, serum-y and moisturising feeling side of the spectrum, but give it a few minutes to settle in before applying makeup and you’re left with a smooth, hydrated and happily protected face. The rose scent is pleasant, but if you’re sensitive to smells know that it doesn’t linger too long once applied. Another thing to note is that the texture is much more fluid than the other Ultra Violette SPFs, so be careful when dispensing this one.
Queen Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen, $47 from Ultra Violette.
Extreme Screen Hydrating Body and Hand SPF 50+
Type of SPF: Chemical
Fragrance: Light fresh scent
What Ultra Violette say: Extreme Screen, our super-light skinscreen that’s hydrating enough to fill in for your boring old body moisturiser (it’s cool, we CBF too), with SPF50+ protection and a lil shimmery sheen thrown in for good measure.
What we say: As people dedicated to getting as much beach time before warming oceans cook us all, body SPF is a summer essential. While there is a time and a place (BBQs, group holidays, etc) for those giant pump bottles of SPF, the formulations often leave a lot to be desired. Not so with Ultra Violette’s Extreme Screen. It’s hydrating, sinks in quickly, doesn’t leave a white cast and reapplies wonderfully, even if you’re slightly salty post-swim. For those who find themselves in the iron grip of sheen-inducing body oils, this SPF also has a subtle illuminating effect, so you can leave that leaky bottle at home.
Extreme Screen Hydrating Body and Hand SPF 50+, $35 from Ultra Violette.
Sheen Screen SPF 50 Hydrating Lip Balm
Type of SPF: Chemical
Fragrance: A light sweet vanilla scent, kinda reminiscent of Glossier’s Balm Dotcom Birthday Cake scent
What Ultra Violette say: Lanolin, shea butter and cacao seed butter will keep your kisser soft and smooth, while a subtle tint and SPF50 leave behind a bit of shine and a lot of protection. Choose from 4 cute shades: Rose, Nude, Shimmer and Peach.
What we say: Everyone has their own highly-attuned lip balm preferences and brand loyalties, and by no means is our intention to disrupt that. However, the skin on your lips is delicate and need protection just as much as every other inch of you, and these Ultra Violette Sheen Screen lip balms are a delight. The word that comes to mind when you first slide this on is “unctuous” but in a protective, super moisturising and balmy way. There is a slight hint of shimmer and sheen but because these actually absorb and properly hydrate your lips after a couple of minutes, it’s not too over the top. We reckon this would be an excellent and useful holiday gift for pretty much anyone with a mouth.
Sheen Screen SPF 50 Hydrating Lip Balm, $25 from Ultra Violette.