Sun safety is a second language for most Australians. And as we head into the sunniest season, it’s a good time to restock your SPF. From learning the rules about correctly applying and reapplying sunscreen, to understanding the difference between physical and chemical formulas and building an SPF “wardrobe”, these local brands have got you covered.

Ultra Violette

Melbourne brand Ultra Violette launched in 2019 and quickly gained a cult following for its no-nonsense SPFs. While Ultra Violette’s sunscreens – or “skinscreens”, as founders Bec Jefferd and Ava Matthews call them – protect the skin from the sun’s rays, they also incorporate active ingredients more typically found in skincare so users can simplify their routines. The brand offers a suite of products to cater to different skin types and SPF preferences. Queen Screen is a consistent favourite – although Fave Fluid, which launched in May, might be coming for the title of lightweight love. Lean Screen is an option for fans of mineral sunscreen, while Preen Screen mist makes topping up easy. The brand has just relaunched its Sheen Screen lip balm with a new silicone applicator, subtle peppermint scent and four fresh shades, perfectly timed for summer pouts.

Mother SPF

Tandia Walsh launched Mother SPF in 2019. The brand’s focus stemmed from personal experience: when her mum was diagnosed with cancer, Walsh found herself searching for products that didn’t contain endocrine-disrupting ingredients. Unsatisfied with the options out there, she leant on her professional background in science to create the range, which harnessed mineral-active zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays. Hero products include the face and body SPF 30; the Tinted Touch Up; and the Mother of Pearl drops, which don’t contain sun protection but add a bronzed glow to mineral SPFs and shield skin from environmental stressors such as pollution and free radicals. The brand has just released a skin barrier-boosting broad-spectrum SPF 50, Face Barrier 50, which comes in a refillable jar. Another summer must-have joined the family in November: Universal Face 50 SPF.
The brand is now available at indie online grocer Wholesome.

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Airyday founder Frances van der Velden was diagnosed with skin cancer at 36. Fortunately it turned out to be basal cell carcinoma and was detected early enough to be treated. But with nine stitches on her forehead, she decided she needed to find a sunscreen that she could really love wearing every day. The brand’s signature SPFs have been created to adapt to your skin’s moods and needs – think of it like a “wardrobe” for different occasions. Clear As Day SPF 50 (which is now also available in a fragrance-free formula) is packed with hyaluronic acid. Mineral Mousse SPF 50 includes vitamins C, E and F, which are thought to help hydrate skin barrier, boost collagen production and protect against free radicals. And Golden Glow SPF 50 offers a subtle tint and includes niacinamide to help boost the skin’s radiance. There’s also a body formula that’s not tacky to touch.

Naked Sundays

Naked Sundays’ signature purple packaging has become a summer make-up bag must-have. The brand might be best known for its Glow Mist, an SPF 50 spray that protects skin and can be applied (and reapplied) as the last step on top of your foundation or skincare products. The Cabana Glow serum drops work to illuminate your complexion and even out skin tone – with ingredients such as pink algae and hyaluronic acid listed on the label, alongside mineral SPF 50 – acting as an everyday skin tint. The Glow Balm sticks, which come in shades of rose, champagne and Espresso Martini, are sun-safe alternatives to classic blush, bronzer and highlighter. And the Glow & Go lip oil range promises to protect your pout without tasting like sunscreen. The brand’s new Clear Glow sun stick is an invisible, solid sunscreen that can be used on your face and body – another great option for reapplying on the go.

Mecca Cosmetica

Mecca Cosmetica’s To Save Face SPF 50 sunscreen is a beauty-bag favourite for many. But for this summer, the brand has expanded its range to include To Save Body SPF 30 mousse. The new formula has a weightless, whipped texture that rubs in seamlessly and includes ingredients like glycerin and vitamin E to promote hydration. To Save Face SPF 50 Brightening Sun serum is another skincare-meets-suncare option for anyone looking for a lightweight layer in their routine.

Outside Beauty & Skincare

Outside Beauty & Skincare might only be a year old, but the brand’s SPF face mist and lip-to-cheek tint have quickly become beach-bag essentials. The range is formulated with Australian native botanicals like Kakadu plum and raspberry-seed oil. The idea is that these products complement your daily routine and make topping up your sunscreen easy. The brand also offers a line of sun-safe merch – there’s no reason to not slip, slop, slap.

This story was first published October 20, 2023 and has since been updated.

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