Sun protection for pre-summer: Sun Med lotion and Piz Buin sun lipstick
And I’m back again! I like warm weather, I do, that’s one of the reasons why I live where I live, but between the summer preview we’re experiencing, and other circumstances I’ve needed to conserve my energy… anyhow, I’m here again, and my back-to-blogging review is all about SPF, of course.
In case you find yourself sunscreen-less in the middle of your Spanish holiday and need to locate a bottle ASAP, the sun lotion in the pic can be found in supermarket chain Mercadona, and is as good an inexpensive option as you can find.
I’d never seen this brand before, which is offered in the chain’s newest suncare line, but since I needed a body sunscreen, it the price was nice (6-7€, IIRC) and the simple packaging caught my eye (I admit I’m kind of a packaging sucker), it went straight into my basket. The lipcare stick is from Piz Buin, and it hasn’t left my handbag since I got it.
While we’re at it, I must confess that I have two important handicaps when it comes to reviewing sunscreen: I’m actually quite anti-sun and anti-beach, even though I live in southern Spain, about 45 min from the coast.
Yes, I’m a weirdo. If the fam or friends are having a pool ‘do, I’ll go, but it’s never something I consider when making plans for myself. My favorite way to spend summer is chilling at home, hanging out with good company in a terrace bar (my preferred outdoor activity), and wait for the low season to visit a city destination, which is what I really like.
Sun Med SPF 50 sun lotion
Generally, even though Mercadona’s sunscreens have their detractors, on the whole I like their sunscreens and find them a reliable option, but it’s true that this one and others I’ve bought before are pretty much only for use in the city, NOT for swimming, sports, hiking or anything that requires long hours of exposure to the sun.
As for the product itself, it is made for the chain by German firm Dalli under its trademark Sun Med; that is, it’s made in the EU, and as such not (at present) tested on animals; good. I seem to recall they also had this available in SPF 20 and 30, and the chain’s Solar Line also featured a few other suncare products from other makers.
I’ve said it before on another post, but I’ll say it again (annoying, I know, but my skin is on the lighter side, I live where the sun lives, and would rather avoid melanoma, as well as delay looking like the elderly, sun-soaking snowbirds in Benidorm): I typically buy SPF 50 out of deeply rooted habit, but note that it doesn’t necessarily shield you more from radiation than a lower SPF. A SPF 30 sunscreen properly applied should give sufficient protection.
In reality, what an SPF 50 does provide is a little more time of protection against radiation than if you used a 30+… as long as you apply an adequate amount on all exposed surfaces, and reapply after a few hours. On the other hand, no less a cardinal of Cosmetolicism than Caroline Hirons has said sometime that she prefers an SPF 30 to avoid a false sense of security, which in turn is likely to make us slack on proper application.
The scent is very mild and pleasant… it smells like faint, gender-neutral lotion, so it could be appropriate for family use.The texture is fairly fluid, spreads well and, even though it does feel sticky upon applying, being that I’m used to wearing sunscreen on a regular basis I find it comfortable to wear and to reapply; the sticky feeling fades quickly after applying.
Also, even though it looks quite glaringly white at first, after spreading it well it doesn’t leave a too-noticeable white cast; however, frequent use means it will leave its mark on surfaces, such as my usual handbag: now that short-sleeve weather is here to stay, I notice the traces left by my arm… and of course, forget about wearing black and this thing at the same time (though who’d be mad enough to wear black in this heat?)
Is it water resistant as the package claims? Yes it is, in fact, I find it a little stubborn to remove at night in the shower; also, I wash my hands several times a day, and I notice that there are traces left on my skin after the first wash, so I guess it should withstand a bit of soap-free splashing without much damage… nevertheless, you know the drill, regardless of brand or maker: reapply after swimming or sweating a lot, blah blah…
Does it protect adequately? Again, I can’t really say; despite my best efforts to dodge radiation, I always get a little color every year when temps go up and layers come off, and this year has been no different (also, despite what the calendar says, it’s been summer here for a while already); as far as I can tell, it does work well when you take into account my frequent commutes in sun-fried roads, and the odd outing or sidewalk-café hangout that doesn’t involve many hours under the sun.
Would I buy this product again? Probably yes, mainly because it’s easy to find an economical option to have on hand, and apply liberally and often, a sine qua non requirement for sunscreen to do its job. On the other hand, I absolutely do not recommend this sunscreen if you hate the slightest feeling of stickiness on your skin, however fleeting. I’m giving it 4 points: it isn’t an exciting product in the least, and I’ll probably go on to try others, but it’s okay and useful.
Piz Buin Moisturising Sun Lipstick SPF 30
A few months ago I bought a lip sunscreen also from Mercadona, but even though I’ve been using it relatively often, it’s just not really feasible to wear it on its own outside of Halloween, since it leaves a horrid whitewash on the lips; in fact, my preferred use for it is as a base to tone down the odd lurid lipstick in my stash, and make it wearable for me.
What I really wanted was a lip sunscreen I could use on its own or under lipcolor, and reapply as often as needed. So I didn’t think twice about getting this Piz Buin Moisturising Sun Lipstick SPF 30.
The brand makes a big to-do in this product’s description in the Spanish website about including aloe vera in the formula… its well in the second half on the INCI list, actually, but nevertheless, it does feel quite emollient and conditioning; I like how this feels on my lips, but I also do not recommend this if you can’t bear the feeling of a coat of “something” on your lips.
Also important, this lipstick does not leave a white cast at all: it may be applied profusely and reapplied as often as needed, which as I said, it is fundamental for any suncare product to do what it says it can do. It also has a very slight scent, reminiscent of coconut or vanilla; so faint in fact, I just noticed it about a week ago while I applied it.
Would I buy again? Yep, it’s quite likely I’ll stick with it for a while, no pun intended: it does everything I require from it for a modest price (about 4.50€), without giving me any cause for complaint, so it gets 4.5 points out of 5 from me.
1 point: No! Never again, not even if you gave it to me, or even paid me to wear it.
2 points: I didn’t finish the container and it’s very unlikely I’d buy this again. It might work for you, but it does nothing for me.
3 points: Meh. I’ll use up my jar/tube, but I don’t think I’d buy again. It might work for you, but it doesn’t do much for me.
4 points: I like it. It’s nice and does its job. I might buy this again, if I find nothing I like better.
5 points: I love it! It does its job very well, I find it a pleasure to use, and it’s earned its place in my beauty routine.
Bonus track for a Friday
To celebrate I’m getting back some free time in my usual schedule, and on top of that, I got a big box of nectarines and Saturn peaches, some days ago I made this recipe: it’s cool, creamy and not overly sweet: panna cotta with nectarine gelatin. The fam gave its stamp of approval, from my 5-year old sweets-greedy niece to a couple of relatives with the opposite of a sweet tooth.
This recipe is pretty quick too, doesn’t require much time in front of a stove (agh), and it’s just delicious in this temperature; besides, you could easily swap the nectarines for any other fruit in season in your area. Recipe with pix below, or click here for a downloadable PDF copy.
Panna cotta with nectarine gelatin
250 g chopped nectarines (3 o 4 fruits)
30 g (2 tbsp) sugar
5 g unflavored gelatin (1 1/2 sheet)
A spoonful or two of orange juice (optional)
250 ml* heavy cream (35%)
35 g sugar
1 tbsp condensed milk (optional)
1 tbsp vanilla essence or flavoring
5 gr unflavored gelatin (1 1/2 sheet)
*That’s a little over a cup / 8.45 oz for you non-metric barbarians, I think… really, just be sensible and use a scale.
First stop: fruit gelatin – we begin by hydrating the gelatin sheets. Next we purée the nectarine slices with a hand mixer, add sugar and a spoonful or two of orange juice (optional) if you’d prefer the fruit purée a little more fluid.
Next, add the hydrated gelatin once it’s nice and gooey (squeeze first before adding), and grind the mixture well with the hand mixer, making sure it’s perfectly smooth (when I first made it, a few bits of solid gelatine remained in a couple of servings, a rather unpleasant find in an otherwise lovely, creamy dessert).
Pour the nectarine mixture in clear cups or glasses, and place them at an angle in the freezer; I used a clean kitchen towel to help keep them in place during the cooling period.
Note the word: cooling, that is, we keep the fruit part 30-35 min. in the freezer or until it sets and is firm enough for the next phase, but making sure it does not freeze. If this begins to happen, place them in the fridge.
Time to prepare the panna cotta: hydrate the gelatin sheets in a bowl, then gently heat the cream on medium heat; stir constantly, but do not let the cream reach boiling temperature. Add the condensed milk (apologies for this one to any Italian who may be reading this with narrowed eyes), sugar and vanilla; stir well for a minute.
Remove the cream from the stovetop and add in the gelatin, stirring well until it is perfectly dissolved and there isn’t a single offending trace of solid gelatin left.
Let cool for a few minutes, then pour in the cups over the solid fruit gelly. Refrigerate for at least an hour prior to serving, and for a final dash, garnish with mint leaves and fruit slices (I used Saturn peaches, which are flatter and look cuter sliced)