Sun Protection on a Budget: Tried & Tested

So here we are in the midst of a heatwave in Ireland…who’d have thought! Sometimes because of our somewhat underwhelming Summers, we Irish can be complacent about applying and reapplying sun cream when out and about. When the sun does shine, instinctively, the kids want to play outside all day. Running around the garden, in and out of the paddling pool, sucking on ice-pops – generally getting wet. Before you know it, you realise you’ve been outside for a few hours in the intense sun. For peace of mind and to ensure you and your little ones are protected in these somewhat unusual conditions for us – it’s a good idea to brush up on the do’s and don’ts of sun protection! The Irish Cancer Society have a really great checklist for keeping your children safe in the sun which is well worth a read. Sun protection doesn’t need to break the bank and being responsible with our skin doesn’t have to mean being short of pocket. I have tried out a range of sun creams in the last couple of weeks spanning different budgets. So here is a list of Sun Protection on a Budget: Tried and Tested by yours truly.

Considerations when buying sun cream (for you and the kids)

  • Is it broad-spectrum protection? (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • Is it SPF 30 or higher? (regardless of your skin type)
  • Is it Water resistant?

The Contenders

1. Lacura Extra Sensitive Sun Spray Cream (SPF 50+) – Aldi €3.99

2. Lacura Caring Roll-On Sun Lotion (SPF 50+) – Aldi €2.99

3. Garnier Ambre Solaire Kids Sensitive Advance (SPF 50+) – Boots €10.50

4. Riemann P20 Once a Day Sun Protecition (SPF 30) -€16.50

5. Cien Invisible Sun Spray Sport (SPF 30+) – Lidl €3.99

6. Lacura Refreshing Sun Spray (SPF 50+) – Aldi €4.99

The Consensus

My Favourite: Lacura Extra Sensitive Sun Spray Cream  – Aldi €3.99

Most versatile of the bunch. It also happens to work out the cheapest. This one was great from a sensitive skin point of view – given that both of my boys have eczema this is a big consideration. Selling point for little kids: it squirts like a water gun. More importantly it boasts a 5 Star UVA rating and SPF50+. It is fragrance free and water resistant. Creamy consistency doesn’t leave hands feeling oily. The perfect choice of sun protection on a budget or otherwise.

Practical: Lacura Caring Roll-On Sun Lotion (SPF 50+) – Aldi €2.99

A novel idea – a creamy consistency on the equivalent of a deodorant roller ball. Found this handy to apply with one hand (for example when wrestling one child and applying cream to the other!). Handy for faces and hard to reach spots. Only downfall is I’m not sure how it would fair out congealed in sand on the beach. Otherwise a super handy companion to my favourite above and well worth buying. Again boasting SPF 50+, 5 Star UVA and water resistance.

Dissappointing: Garnier Ambre Solaire Kids Sensitive Advance (SPF 50+) – €10.50

Though this is obviously a better known brand, the UVA rating is only 3 star compared to the 5 star on Aldi’s Lacura range. Again I bought the SPF 50+, and although this cream is perfectly good, there is definitely less bang for your buck. Given that it is an aerosol, it obviously runs out quicker. Also read the instructions carefully, because contrary to popular belief, you still have to rub the spray into the skin! The bottle also pertains to be an ‘Anti Sand Spray’ which I found amusing because I’m not sure how any substance can be anti-sand?!

The Old Reliable: Riemann P20 Once a Day Sun Protection (SPF 30) -€16.50

Significantly more expensive than the other creams I’ll admit, but P20 promotes itself as a once a day sun protection meaning it needs to be reapplied less frequently. The new formula is ‘very water resistant and quick drying’. Considerably less oily than it used to be and comes in a 100ml bottle which is handy for travelling. All in all at the rate my kids are sweating and swimming, this is a great option, though I would be inclined to top it up throughout the day, just to be sure.

Solid Contender: The Cien Invisible Sun Spray Sport (SPF 30) -Lidl €3.99

Actually really liked this Cien aerosol from Lidl for myself, but unfortunately it didn’t agree with my youngest’s skin so we went back to Aldi’s range. Although it does boast UVA and UVB protection it doesn’t specify a star rating, which I like to see. Again, as it is an aerosol, it definitely runs out quicker. It does also come in an SPF50+ which is my preference. All in all a solid buy, but not quite on par with its Lacura counterpart over in Aldi.

Good But Oily: Lacura Refreshing Sun Spray (SPF 50+) – Aldi €4.99

I have found this particular spray quite difficult to find this year in Aldi stores and although I’m a fan, it can be a little oily and leave a funny feeling on your hands. My least favourite of the three Lacura products mentioned, but again promotes an SPF 50+, UVA and UVB protection, water resistance and quick drying.

The Products I Chose

  • I tried to choose products that are readily available nationwide and are easy enough to get your hands on. Though not included here, I also love Boots Soltan products which are reasonably priced and have a very good reputation in terms of quality of sun protection.
  • All of the sun creams tested provided both UVB & UVA Protection.
  • I tried to choose a range of products: aerosol sprays, creams, squirt sprays and roll on.


Important Points to remember

  • Even if using an aerosol spray, read the directions carefully. You still have to rub the spray in! Don’t be caught out and learn this the hard way.
  • Make sure to skin test products with little ones before applying all over. If they show any signs of irritation or rash, try another brand.
  • Remember, that sun protection products need to be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  • Dont get caught out, leave sun cream in the car/buggy and changing bag to make sure you have it available whenever you need it.
  • Reapply – every 2 hours or sooner if the kids or you have been in water or sweating excessively.

Useful Reading

The Irish Cancer Society’s checklist for keeping your children safe in the sun.


1 Comment

  1. Mary
    July 3, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Have you used the cien one also on your face or just on a body? How it was?

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