I’ve been really pleased to see more cosmetically elegant sunscreens coming onto the market, and Ultra Violette is one of the most hyped-up brands to launch recently. This Australian brand has come out with three different facial sunscreen formulas, and sent them to me to try.
About Ultra Violette
Ultra Violette is all about sun protection, as you can probably tell from the name. Their mission was to create “facial sunscreens that looked good, felt nice to wear, and didn’t bore us to tears”. As an Australian brand, their products comply with Australian sunscreen standards, which means (amongst other things) that the broad spectrum UVA rating is more stringent than the US criteria (you can read more about differences in UVA ratings here).
Ultra Violette call their sunscreens “skinscreens” – since they have skincare benefits as well as sun protective properties. Much like for moisturisers, there are a few versions available, depending on your skin’s needs:
- Supreme Screen: A hydrating sunscreen that does triple duty as moisturiser, primer and sunscreen, for all skin types
- Queen Screen: A luminising sunscreen that acts like a serum, for normal and dry skin
- Clean Screen: A mattifying physical (inorganic) sunscreen, for all skin types especially sensitive skin
All three are housed in stylish and unusually saturated blue packaging, which made my camera freak out a little – it’s reminiscent of Yves Klein Blue to my uncultured eye.
Awesomely, Ultra Violette have made the full ingredient lists available for their sunscreens. In Australia, only the percentages of each active ingredient are required since sunscreens are classified as therapeutic goods (drugs), which means most sunscreen brands have decided that it’s better to hide their formulas (from competitors maybe, or from well-intentioned consumers with scaremongering ingredient scanner apps). Ultra Violette have all of the information out in the open, which is great for me as an ingredient nerd.
I also really like that Ultra Violette are very clear on how much sunscreen you need to wear for effective coverage for your face, neck, chest and ears (5 pumps of Clean/Supreme Screen, and 2.5 droppers or pipettes full of Queen Screen). This is a big difference from the dodgy claim of “a little goes a long way” that a lot of other brands use – I suspect to get you to forgive them for a really unpleasantly textured, heavy product. They’re also very upfront about how long one sunscreen will last if you apply the right amount (40 days).
Related post: What Does SPF Mean? The Science of Sunscreen
On the down side, the marketing does encourage you to mix the sunscreen with foundation or moisturiser, which I wouldn’t recommend, since it can interfere with film formation and lead to holes in your protection (more on this in my video on how to use foundation and sunscreen together).
Related post: Video: All Your Sunscreen and Make-up Questions Answered
Onto my reviews of the three sunscreens…
Ultra Violette Supreme Screen
Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen ($47 AUD for 50 mL) is my favourite of the three sunscreens. It’s a beige cream that comes in a tube with a pump top, and is designed to be a moisturiser, sunscreen and primer. It claims not to interfere with foundation, and I found that to be the case – there was no balling or separation with the three foundations I tried it with.
My favourite thing about Supreme Screen is the texture. It’s lightweight and feels like it sinks in very quickly. The texture is very much like another one of my favourite Australian sunscreens, Mecca’s To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+ (not so coincidentally, the founders of Ultra Violette used to be part of Mecca’s product development and worked on their sunscreens).
The big difference between the Mecca sunscreen and Supreme Screen is the filters. Supreme Screen has the newer generation organic filters Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M, along with octinoxate. Tinosorb S is one of my favourite filters since it’s a very photostable and effective UVA filter. Tinosorb M is usually a bit more hit-and-miss for me, since it’s partly physical in its action, so it tends to give a bit more of a white cast on my skin – but this wasn’t an issue at all with Supreme Screen. Octinoxate is generally not very stable, but the Tinosorbs will stabilise it (more on how sunscreen filters interact in my eBook sample chapter).
In terms of skincare ingredients, there’s Penavitin (saccharide isomerate), which is a humectant moisturiser that’s doing a lot of the hydrating work and claims to hydrate for 72 hours, along with other humectant workhorses glycerin and butylene glycol. While there’s alcohol near the top of the ingredients list, I think the humectant-heavy formula more than compensates for it, and overall my skin didn’t feel dehydrated at all.
There’s also Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana fruit extract), a natural source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, and Dragosine Plus (L-carnosine), a dipeptide naturally found in the body that can act as an antioxidant, and claims to protect against infrared, visible and blue light.
Related Post: Antioxidants in Skincare, and Tips for Product Selection
Supreme Screen is also the most lightly scented of the three sunscreens, which I appreciate for a product I need to apply heavily. Overall, I pretty much have no complaints about this sunscreen – it’s shot up to Holy Grail status for me.
Active ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (10%), Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (3%), Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol (2.5%)
Inactives: Aqua, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Nylon 6/12, Ceteareth-20, Squalane, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-40 Stearate, Silica, Saccharide Isomerate, Decyl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 60, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Parfum, Triethanolamine, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, L-Carnosine, CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499
Ultra Violette Queen Screen
Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum ($47 AUD for 50 mL) is a liquid sunscreen that comes in a dropper bottle. It’s designed for sensitive, normal and slightly dry skin. It’s a runny translucent white liquid.
I’ve heard fantastic reviews for Queen Screen from people with drier skin, so I think your experience will very much depend on your skin type. Since my skin is more on the normal-oily side, this wasn’t really designed for me, but I gave it a solid go anyway.
While it’s oil-free, Queen Screen felt like it never really set on my skin and slid around on my face a bit, so my foundation tended to bunch up throughout the day. The texture was fine if I applied less, but less sunscreen means lower protection, and I like high protection. It worked well under foundation, and definitely gave me a glowy look, but as someone with oily skin I’ve spent a lot of my life fighting oily glow. So in short – while it might be amazing for dry skin, tread with caution if your skin is on the oilier side.
Related post: Skincare and Makeup Tips for Oily Skin
Like Supreme Screen, Queen Screen contains Pentavitin, Kakadu plum and Dragosine Plus. It also has a lot of hydrating glycerin. I wasn’t a big fan of the fragrance which is pleasantly rose-like, but I found it a bit overwhelming.
Active ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (10%), Ethylhexyl Salicylate (5%), Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (4%), Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol (2%)
Inactives: Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Silica, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Hydroxyacetophenone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Saccharide Isomerate, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum, Mica, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Aminomethyl Propanol, Pentylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Iron Oxide, L-Carnosine.
Ultra Violette Clean Screen
Clean Screen SPF 30 Mattifying Mineral Skinscreen ($42 AUD for 50 mL) is Ultra Violette’s physical sunscreen. It contains 20% zinc oxide, but it does have a lower SPF rating than the other two sunscreens (and a lower price tag). It’s recommended for all skin types, particularly for sensitive skin, and has a mattifying texture.
I really liked the texture of this sunscreen – it’s probably my favourite texture from all of the physical sunscreens I’ve tried so far. But my main issue with this (and every other physical sunscreen I’ve tried) was the white cast. Unfortunately even one pump of this sunscreen was white enough that I needed a lot of foundation to cover it up. If your skin is lighter (I’m NC 20-25) then you’ll probably have better luck.
Skincare-wise, Clean Screen contains humectant Pentavitin as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory green tea extract, soothing cucumber extract and moisturising rose hip oil. Like with Queen Screen, the fragrance was a bit too heavy for my liking. I also found that I had some clogged pores after a few days of wearing this, which is standard for my skin with all of the inorganic-only sunscreens I’ve tried so far.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (20%)
Inactive Ingredients: Aqua, Isoamyl Laurate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Isostearate, Xanthan Gum, Saccharide Isomerate, Citric Acid, Parfum, Cetearyl Glucoside, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sucrose Cocoate, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499
Products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.