There is nothing like listening to skin experts to put the fear of God into you. I just hear the bad news wafting in and out of my ears like a nightmare scene in a movie - leaving me between a midlife crisis, panic attack and sending me on the hunt for the serum from "Death Becomes Her".
Of course one of the big mistakes that we make is not using sun protection on our face. For most of us in Ireland this is laughable considering for most of the year we are covered in heavy cloud (look, it's July and there are dark angry clouds) and we have a natural reaction to this by running outside the minute it's sunny like manic vitamin D deprived loons. During a recent stretch of sunshine (remember that one day - just the one) my friend (we shall have to come up with a code word for her exploits) told me that she was using factor 20 on her body but didn't apply factor on her face cause she looks better with a bit of colour. I gasped in a very overly dramatic way - I even held my hand to my chest as if protecting my heart from the horror. Let's face it we all look better with a "little" bit of colour on our face - especially since we see so little of it. There is of course the obvious downfall to getting a bit of colour on your face - that would be the haggard, lined and dried out prune look that your face will soon develop from too much time in the sun.
The clever people over at Avène (lets face it, the French pharmacy brands are outstanding aren't they) have come up with a solution for us with Eau Thermale Avène - High Protection Compact Foundation SPF 50. This is such a clever product which provides coverage and also gives us some of the highest sun protection available on the market. Avène use their soothing thermal spring water along with mineral filters to create this magic compact which makes this product perfect for all skin types even those with sensitive skin- if that is not enough for you it also contains vitamin E which protects the skin from free radicals and acts and an anti-oxidant.
To protect ourselves from the sun apply a small amount of the product and then reapply every 2 hours if the product has worn off, sweated off or if you have been swimming in the canal (of course if you have been swimming in the canal the least of your worries is sun damage). What is really clever about the formulation of the product is once it has been applied it doesn't transfer onto material - so you don't destroy your pristine white summer tops.
The product comes in a handy little compact which also contains a mirror making it perfect for on the go application. This product is perfect for those who wish to protect against UVB/UVA sunlight while providing coverage while also managing to be fragrance and paraben free.
We thought that the best person to test the compact would be Redser who (as the name implies) has red hair and very fair skin. She has skin that is so sensitive that it breaks out from Simple products (as in the brand Simple). Redser is very concerned with skin damage and burning. She already has plenty of what she describes as "kisses from angels" or freckles but being so fair she needs the maximum protection which Avène provides. Some people will cringe at the idea of factor 50 - I remember my dad (also a redhead) would use factor 30 on the first week and move down to a factor 20 and then down to a factor 10 until on the last day he would panic and use tanning oil - it was a routine so complex and bizarre it made roasting a turkey look easy (I don't actually know how to roast a turkey but I imagine you follow a similar procedure). It turns out that the lower factor doesn't affect your tanning - it just prevents you burning and damaging your skin.
Aren't we all very wary of the idea that one shade fits all? It was explained to us that for fairer skin a lighter layer of product is required and if your skin is darker you can layer the product.
In the above picture you can see a swatch of the product and above that is where the product is blended - although you cant really see that the product is blended - proof enough that the product does in fact suit a vast number of skin tones. Redser loves the compact - it's so simple to use and to apply on the go and more importantly it protects her skin without breaking her out.