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Enjoying yourself on a bank holiday weekend needn't cost the earth. Whether you are looking for cheap food and drink, going to do a bit of DIY, or heading out for the day, the long weekend shouldn't leave you with empty pockets.

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Sun cream deals

  • Summer is here 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.

    Poundland (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 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)
       

    Savers (find your nearest)

    It stocks a range from a brand called 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.

    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:

    • Aldi Lacura extra sensitive sun lotion SPF50+, 200ml - £1.99 in store and online at Aldi. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Lidl Cien sun lotion SPF 30, 250ml - £3.99 in store at Lidl.
    • Asda Protect SPF 30, 200ml - £2.39 at Asda*. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Wilko Suncare SPF 50, 200ml - £3.50 at Wilko*. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Boots Soltan kids SPF 50, 200ml - £4 at Boots*. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Superdrug Solait SPF 30, 200ml - £4.99 at Superdrug. Five-star UVA rated.
       

    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 kids moisturising spray SPF 50, 200ml - £4.50 at Asda* and Tesco* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Sainsbury's).
    • Garnier Ambre Solaire ultra-hydrating sun cream SPF 30, 200ml - £4.50 at Asda* and Tesco* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Tesco and Sainsbury's).
    • Nivea Sun kids moisturising sun spray SPF 30, 200ml - £4.50 at Asda* and Tesco* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Sainsbury's and Morrisons).
    • Piz Buin allergy sun-sensitive skin spray SPF 30, 200ml - £4.99 at B&M Bargains (next cheapest we found, £8 at Superdrug, Boots, Sainsbury's and Asda).
    • Nivea Sun moisturising kids sun lotion SPF 50, 200ml - £4.50 at Asda* and Tesco* (next cheapest we found, £6 at Superdrug).
       

    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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