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Sun cream

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Sun cream logo£1 sun cream dealsBritish Skin Foundation says they check out on skin safety

Ongoing

We're in the middle of a summer heatwave and you should be wearing sun cream in the UK, not just on your holiday abroad. Staying safe needn’t cost the earth though, if you’re willing to ditch the brands you know, you could save with sun cream for £1. It sounds too good to be true, yet we've found a number of products available for £1 rather than the usual £6-£12. We've contacted skincare experts to find out how safe the lotions are.

Are they safe?

We've been in touch with the British Skin Foundation (BSF) charity and the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) trade body. Both say people shouldn't be put off by low prices, as long as they check packaging for:

  • The UVA rating. This tells you how much protection the product is giving you from harmful long-wave ultra-violet UVA rays. Some bottles have a star rating (the BSF recommends four or more stars) - while others don't, they should at least contain a circle with the letters UVA inside, as this indicates the minimum level of UVA protection. See images below for the logos you should be looking for.

  • The SPF number. This stands for sun protection factor. The higher the number, the greater the level of protection against harmful medium-wave ultra-violet UVB rays. The label should also tell you whether the product provides "low", "medium", "high" or "very high" protection against UVB. See the CTPA's section on sun protection for more info.

The BSF says: "When choosing a sunscreen look for a high protection SPF (SPF 30 or more) to protect against UVB, and the UVA circle logo and/or 4 or 5 UVA stars to protect against UVA."

You might be a bit sceptical about sun cream for £1, we always are too, but we’re trusting that these big companies such as Savers (owned by Superdrug) have done their own independent checks to ensure these sun creams are fully tested and are legit.

Important -  As with any product, if you have sensitive skin it’s important to do a patch test before using any new skin care or hair care product and sun cream is no exception.

How long will it last? 

The period after opening (PAO) number should also be included on the bottle. This will be displayed as an "open jar" symbol with a number inside indicating how many months the product will be safe for after opening, providing it is stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight (see example below). 

Don't automatically chuck old sun creams away

Most of the cheap sun creams we found are good to use for at least 12 months from the date of opening, so don't throw away your excess sun cream after your holiday, check the PAO as it's likely you can use it again on your next trip.

£1 sun creams 

We checked the big pound store chains and scoured the high street. The products we found may not be the same as the ones you find and are subject to stock, so make sure you do the checks above. It's also worth noting these bottles are slightly smaller (40ml-120ml) than some of the better-known brands (norm 200ml). They may not be brands that you recognise, but all have the UVA rating symbol to indicate they meet at least the minimum level of UVA protection.

Poundworld (available in store, find your nearest)

It stocks a range from a brand called Sun Tropic, which should be available in most of its 180+ stores for £1. We found:

  • Kids' Sun Tropic sun lotion SPF 30, 50ml (next cheapest we found, £3.50 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

Poundland (available in store, find your nearest)

It stocks a range from a brand called Anovia Tropical Sun, which should be available in its 400+ stores for £1. We found:

  • Tropical Sun lotion SPF 15, 100ml (next cheapest £4.95 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

  • Tropical Sun lotion for kids SPF 30, 65ml (next cheapest £4.95 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

  • Tropical Sun lotion SPF 30, 65ml (next cheapest we found, £5.99 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

B&M Bargains (available in store, find your nearest)

It stocks a range from a brand called EAD sunscreen, which should be available in its 400+ stores at £1, possibly reduced to 50p. We found:

  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 30, 120ml (next cheapest we found, £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

Savers (available in store, find your nearest)

It also stocks the EAD sunscreen, which should be available in its 230+ stores at £1. We found:

  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 30, 120ml (next cheapest we found, £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 45, 120ml (next cheapest we found, £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

A 200ml EAD sunscreen SPF 50 is also available, but that's £1.99.

Poundshop.com

It stocks a range of lotions from SPF 8-30 in various sizes for £1. The best option we found is five-star UVA rated:

We've Blagged a code for Poundshop.com to get 10% off - making this lotion 90p - but delivery's £5 so only worth it if you're stocking up. See our full Poundshop.com write-up for the code and more details.

Other low-cost branded sun creams

For those who just can't ditch a brand they know and trust, we've also compiled a list of the cheapest we've found some of the most popular products. When they are cheap, we found quite often prices elsewhere are only a few pence more.

It's worth remembering that sprays and special formulations (eg, clear/coloured/sensitive) usually cost more, so check to see if your chosen cream could be cheaper in a different bottle.

  • Garnier Ambre Solaire moisturising milk SPF 30, 200ml - £4.50 each in the two for £9 offer at Asda*, norm £6 separately (next cheapest we found, £6 at Tesco).
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire moisturising sun cream SPF 50, 200ml - £4.88 each in the buy one, get second half-price offer at Superdrug*, norm £6.50 separately (next cheapest we found, £5 at Morrisons).
  • Piz Buin 1-day-long lotion SPF 30, 100ml - £4.99 at B&M Bargains (next cheapest we found, £9.99 at Superdrug).
  • Nivea Sun moisturising sun protect & moisture SPF 30, 200ml - £4.50 each in the two for £9 offer at Asda*, norm £6 separately (same price at Tesco*).
  • Nivea Sun moisturising sun lotion SPF 50, 200ml - £4.50 each in the two for £9 offer at Asda*, norm £6 separately (same price at Tesco*).

Own-brand sun cream for less than £5

At MSE we're always trying to get you to think about downshifting, so we've had a look for the cheapest own-branded sun creams on offer, all under a fiver:

  • Superdrug Solait SPF 30, 200ml - £3.37 in the buy one get one half price offer at Superdrug* (norm £4.49 each). You'll also get a free 50ml cooling spray* when you buy two selected products. Five-star UVA rated.
  • Boots Soltan kids SPF 30, 200ml - £4 at Boots*. You'll also get a free Disney Cars 3 water bottle when you buy two selected products. Five-star UVA rated.
  • Wilko Suncare sensitive SPF 30, 200ml - £3 at Wilko*. Five-star UVA rated.
  • Asda Protect SPF 50, 200ml - £3 each in the two for £6 offer at Asda*, normally £3.50 each. Five-star UVA rated. Sold out online.
  • Tesco Soleil SPF 15, 200ml - £3.50 at Tesco*. Five-star UVA rated. Sold out online.
  • Morrisons Sun spray SPF 15, 200ml - £3 at Morrisons*. Five-star UVA rated.
  • Lidl Cien sun lotion SPF 30, 250ml - £3.49 at Lidl.
  • Aldi Lacura sun spray SPF30, 200ml - £2.79 in store at Aldi (find your nearest). Five-star UVA rated.

Buy before you fly - watch out for hand luggage restrictions

Research from the Post Office suggests sun cream is generally cheaper in the UK than abroad, so it's best to buy before your holiday - especially with the weaker pound this year. Don't forget though, if you're flying, you can only carry a maximum of 100ml in your hand luggage, unless you buy in shops after you've gone through check-in. You may find items will be taken off you if transferring flights, so be sure to check before flying if you're unsure.

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Soltan logo'Free' Disney water bottle with £6 sun cream*Cars 3 bottle, similar norm £6ish. Factor 15 to 50+ incl in offer

62 days left

Disney Cars 3 water bottleIf you go in store or online to Boots* you can get a free Disney Cars 3 water bottle, similar are normally £6ish, when you buy any two bottles of Soltan until Tue 29 Aug. This includes the £3 minis (50ml), so you could get it 'free' with a £6 spend.

Boots Soltan sun cream is five-star rated for UVA protection, factor 30 or above is recommended by the British Skin Foundation.

See our sun cream round-up for other deals from £1 and skin safety advice from the British Skin Foundation and Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association.

Expired Deals

Sun cream logo£1 sun cream dealsAnd British Skin Foundation says they check out on skin safety

Expired

It's scorching out there and you should be wearing sun cream in the UK as well as abroad. Are you a loyal brand user or would you be willing to save money with sun cream for £1? It sounds too good to be true, yet we've found a number of products available for £1 rather than the usual £6-£12. We've contacted skincare experts to find out how safe the lotions are.

Are they safe?

We've been in touch with the British Skin Foundation (BSF) charity and the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) trade body. Both say people shouldn't be put off by low prices, as long as they check packaging for:

  • The UVA rating. This tells you how much protection the product is giving you from harmful ultra-violet (UVA) rays. Some bottles have a star rating (the BSF recommends four or more stars) - while others don't, they should at least contain a circle with the letters UVA inside, as this indicates the minimum level of UVA protection. See images below for the logos you should be looking for.

  • The SPF number. This stands for sun protection factor. The higher the number, the greater the level of protection against UVB rays. The label should also tell you whether the product provides "low", "medium", "high" or "very high" protection against UVB. See the CTPA's section on sun protection for more info.

The BSF says: "It is not the price that indicates the level of protection the sunscreen offers, but the SPF rating and the UVA rating. We recommend people use a sunscreen with a high SPF 30+."

You might be a bit sceptical about sun cream for £1, we always are too, but we’re trusting that these big companies such as Savers (owned by Superdrug) have done their own independent checks to ensure these sun creams are fully tested and are legit.

How long will it last? 

The period after opening (PAO) number should also be included on the bottle. This will be displayed as an "open jar" symbol with a number inside indicating how many months the product will be safe for after opening, providing it is stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight (see example below). 

Don't automatically chuck old sun creams away

Most of the cheap sun creams we found are good to use for at least 12 months from the date of opening, so don't throw away your excess sun cream after your holiday, check the PAO as it's likely you can use it again on your next trip.

£1 sun creams 

We checked two of the big pound store chains and scoured the high street. The products we found may not be the same as the ones you find, so make sure you do the checks above. It's also worth noting these bottles are slightly smaller (40ml-120ml) than some of the better-known brands (norm 200ml). They may not be brands that you recognise, but all have an EU compliant UVA rating and have a PAO of 12 months.

Poundworld

It stocks a range from a brand called Sun Tropic, which should be available in most of its 180+ stores for £1, but is also available online, delivery's £3.95. We found:

  • Sun Tropic sun lotion SPF 15, 100ml (next cheapest £3.50 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • Sun Tropic sun lotion SPF 30, 50ml (next cheapest £3.50 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • Kids' Sun Tropic sun lotion SPF 30, 50ml (next cheapest £3.50 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

Poundland

It stocks a range from a brand called Anovia Tropical Sun, which should be available in its 400+ stores for £1. We found:

  • Tropical Sun lotion SPF 15, 100ml (next cheapest £4.95 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • Tropical Sun lotion for kids SPF 30, 65ml (next cheapest £4.95 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • Tropical Sun lotion for sensitive skin SPF 50, 40ml (next cheapest £5.99 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

B&M Bargains

It stocks a range from a brand called EAD sunscreen, which should be available in its 400+ stores at £1. We found:

  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 15, 120ml (next cheapest £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 30, 120ml (next cheapest £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 45, 120ml (next cheapest £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

Savers

It also stocks the EAD sunscreen, which should be available in its 230+ stores at £1. We found:

  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 30, 120ml (next cheapest £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
  • EAD Sunscreen SPF 45, 120ml (next cheapest £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

Other low-cost branded sun creams

For those who just can't ditch a brand they know and trust, we've also compiled a list of the best deals we've found on some of the most popular products, including discount retailers B&M Bargains and Home Bargains, as well as items in promotions at supermarkets and Superdrug.

It's worth remembering that sprays and special formulations (eg, clear/coloured/sensitive) usually cost more, so check to see if your chosen cream could be cheaper in a different bottle.

  • Garnier Ambre Solaire moisturising sun protection spray SPF 30, 200ml - £6.49 at Superdrug* (next cheapest: £6.50 at Boots).
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire moisturising sun milk SPF 50, 200ml - £6.49 at Superdrug* (next cheapest: £6.50 at Boots).
  • Piz Buin 1-day-long lotion SPF 30, 100ml - £4.33 at Tesco* in 3for2 offer until Fri 28 Aug, norm £6.50ea (next cheapest: £4.99 at B&M Bargains).
  • Nivea Sun moisturising sun lotion spray SPF 30, 200ml - £3.99 at Home Bargains in store, online delivery 50p and Savers (next cheapest: £4.50ea at Asda in two for £9 offer, norm £7.48ea).
  • Nivea Sun moisturising sun lotion SPF 50, 200ml - £4.50ea at Asda* in 2 for £9 offer, norm £5ea (next cheapest: £6.49 at Superdrug).

Buy suncream, get freebies

If you still can't decide what to go for, Savers is offering a free Nivea beach ball with the purchase of any two Nivea sun products. We tried this with Nivea sun SPF30 lipbalm for £1.69 and got the free beach ball, but stock's limited so it's not worth a special trip.

Home Bargains is offering a set of Malibu 400ml SPF 15 sun cream and 400ml aftersun for £4.99 with a free fold-up frisbee.

Buy before you fly

Research from the Post Office suggests sun cream is generally cheaper in the UK than abroad, so it's best to buy before your holiday. Don't forget though, if you're flying, you can only carry a maximum of 100ml in your hand luggage, unless you buy in shops after you've gone through check-in. You may find items will be taken off you if transferring flights, so be sure to check before flying if you're unsure.

Soltan logoBoots Soltan sun cream two for £8*Norm £7ish each for 200ml. Factor 8 to 50+

Expired

If you go in store or online to Boots* you can get two 200ml bottles of its own brand Soltan sun cream for £8 (norm up to £7 each) until Tue 7 Jul. It's five-star rated for UVA protection in factors 8-50+ (factor 30 or above is recommended by the British Skin Foundation).

See our sun cream round-up for other deals from £1 and skin safety advice from the British Skin Foundation and Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association.

Sun cream logoSun cream offers*MSE's best bargains on top sun care products

Expired
Sun cream offers are always available in some way, shape or form. Traditionally, retailers such as Boots* and Superdrug* have promoted 2for1 deals, whereas now they're advertising half price on many brand and non-brand items, which is better if you only want to buy one item.

For those on a really tight budget, we've also noticed pound shops such as Poundland stock their own range of sun lotions.

The key things to remember are that you need never pay full price and always do some price comparisons to find the lowest prices. Here are the best bargains we’ve found on some of the most popular products, showing that even the half price offers can be beaten:

  • Garnier Ambre Solaire moisturising sun milk SPF 30 (200ml) - £5 at Asda* (£6.14 at Boots)
  • Piz Buin 1 day long lotion SPF 30 (100ml)- £5 at Sainsbury's* and Asda* (£6.49 at Boots)
  • Nivea Sun moisturising sun lotion SPF 30 (200ml) - £5 (was £10) at Asda* and Tesco* (£6.50 at Sainsbury's)
  • Ambre Solaire After Sun Skin Soother (200Ml) - £3 at Tesco* (£3.48 at Superdrug)
  • Nivea Sun moisturising after sun spray with Aloe Vera (200ml) - £3.99 (was £7.99) at Boots*

Always remember to check on the bottle how long the sun cream will last after opening. Most will be good for at least 12 months, providing they're kept at the right temperature.
MSE Steve B says:

Research from the Post Office suggests that sun cream is generally cheaper in the UK than abroad, so it's best to buy before your holiday. Don't forget though, if you're flying, you can only carry a maximum of 100ml in your hand luggage, unless you buy in shops after you've gone through check-in.

You may find items will be taken off you if transferring flights, so be sure to check before flying if you're unsure.

Sun cream logo£1 sun cream*MSE's best bargains on top sun care products

Expired

It sounds too good to be true. £1 sun creams – I suspect just reading it, many of you are saying: "Seriously, would I trust my skin to something that cost a quid?"

Yet we’ve found a number of products available at pound shops rather than the usual £6-£12. We've contacted skincare experts to find out how safe the lotions are.

Are they safe?

We've been in touch with the British Skin Foundation (BSF) charity and the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) trade body. Both say people shouldn't be put off by low prices, as long as they check packaging for…

  • The UVA rating. This tells you how much protection the product is giving you from harmful ultra-violet (UVA) rays. Some bottles have a star rating (the BSF recommends four or more stars) - while others don't, they should at least contain a circle with the letters UVA inside, as this indicates the minimum level of UVA protection. See images below for the logos you should be looking for.

    The CTPA says: "The European Commission recommendation on the labelling of sun protection products [...] is the letters 'UVA' in a circle [...] and will be used throughout Europe. If the product carries this logo, consumers will know their product contains at least the recommended minimum level of UVA protection for a sunscreen."

    Click on the image to enlarge Click on the image to enlarge

  • The SPF number. This stands for sun protection factor. The higher the number, the greater the level of protection. The label should also tell you whether the product provides "low", "medium", "high" or "very high" protection. This is essentially just an explanation of the SPF number. See the CTPA's section on sun protection for more info.

    The BSF says: "It's important to reiterate that when consumers are choosing a sunscreen, it is not the price that indicates the level of protection the sunscreen offers, but the SPF rating and the UVA rating. We recommend people use a sunscreen with a high SPF 30+."

  • How long will it last? The period after opening (PAO) number should also be included on the bottle. This will be displayed as an "open jar" symbol with a number inside indicating how many months the product will be safe for after opening, providing it is stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight (see example below).

    Click on the image to enlarge


The £1 sun creams reviewed

We checked two of the big pound store chains. It's important to understand the products we found may not be the same as the ones you find – so make sure you do the checks above. It's also worth noting these bottles are slightly smaller than some of the better-known brands so, while they're great for hand luggage, it might be worth buying more than one.

Poundworld: This has 180+ stores in the UK. We found it had two different brands on its shelves. Poundworld says stock levels are good and these products should be available in most of its 180+ stores.

  • Malibu face cream
    SPF: 10-50 UVA: 3-5 star. PAO: 18m Size: 40/75ml

    MSE Archna's touchy-feely review: "If you’re a coconut lover, this smells nice. This light weight cream absorbed quickly and didn’t look like I’d plastered my darker skin in talcum powder. There was also no greasy residue. Win!"

  • Sun Tropic sun lotion
    SPF: 2-30 UVA: Displays logo to indicate EU compliance. PAO: 12m Size: 50ml

    MSE Archna's touchy-feely review; "This was the nicest-smelling by far, redolent of sunny holidays. However the thick cream took a while to rub in (could waste precious sunbathing time) and left a waxy film."

Poundland: This has 400+ stores in the UK.

It stocks a range from a brand called Tropical Sun, which will be readily available in its 400+ stores. The range includes SPF numbers 2, 8, 15 and 30.

  • Tropical Sun lotion for kids
    SPF 30 - Displayed none of the logos used to indicate the UVA rating had met with EU requirements.

    Poundland told us all its prodcuts had undergone the appropriate testing, but the logos had not been added to the label.

    This of course raises some concerns. We’re not saying it's unsafe, but it's less comforting than the Poundworld options.

    MSE Archna's touchy-feely review: "I smelt a little like a sherbet factory after slathering this on, for some it may be a little much. Apart from that it was fine though I think I’d be reluctant to put this on my baby as it doesn’t have the standard stamps."

Please give us your pound store sun cream feedback.

Other low-cost sun creams

For those still wishing to stick with a brand they know and trust, we've also compiled a list of the best bargains we’ve found on some of the most popular products, including items in the 2for1 promotions at Boots* and Superdrug*:

  • Garnier Ambre Solaire moisturising sun milk SPF 30 (200ml) - £5 at Asda* (£6.14 at Boots)
  • Piz Buin 1-day-long lotion SPF 30 (100ml) - £5 at Sainsbury's* and Asda* (£6.49 at Boots)
  • Nivea Sun moisturising sun lotion SPF 30 (200ml) - £5 (was £10) at Asda* and Tesco* (£6.50 at Sainsbury's)
  • Ambre Solaire After Sun Skin Soother (200ml) - £2.50 at Tesco* (£3.48 at Superdrug)
  • Nivea Sun moisturising after sun spray with Aloe Vera (200ml) - £3.99 (was £7.99) at Boots*
MSE Steve B says:

Research from the Post Office suggests sun cream is generally cheaper in the UK than abroad, so it's best to buy before your holiday. Don't forget though, if you're flying, you can only carry a maximum of 100ml in your hand luggage, unless you buy in shops after you've gone through check-in.

You may find items will be taken off you if transferring flights, so be sure to check before flying if you're unsure.

use the money mantras

Before spending, use Martin's Mantras. If you answer 'NO' to any, Don't buy!

are
you
Skint? ask:
  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
are
you
not skint? ask:
  • Will I use it?
  • Is it worth it?
Section 75

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And although Section 75 doesn't apply to debit cards, there is something else to fall back on if you've paid using a debit card, or used a credit card for a purchase under £100. Known as Chargeback, this is part of banks' and card companies' internal rules and not a legal requirement. Read full details of Section 75 or Chargeback, plus how to claim, in our guides.

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You shouldn't notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.

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