Sunscreen face-off: Consumer watchdog pits 14 popular options against each other - and you'll never guess which $6 bottle beats the expensive brands

  • Choice Magazine put Australian sunscreens and SPF moisturisers ?to the test
  • The consumer watchdog looked at 14 different products and trialled them all
  • Coles $6 home-brand sunscreen was found to be the surprising winner?
  • While more expensive brands such as?Neutrogena failed to impress testers

Australia's product watchdog has cracked the whip on some of the biggest sunscreen brands on the market - with many failing to meet standards for a hot Australian summer.

Choice Magazine conducted a sunscreen comparison test with 14 different moisturisers and face sunscreens based on durability, smell, absorption and protection.

Five of the tested sunscreens scored abysmally low, with consumers particularly disappointed with expensive brands such as Neutrogena and Invisible Zinc.

However Olay, a supermarket home-brand and Cancer Council creams were all rated highly.

And perhaps a surprising dark horse for the best sunscreen on the supermarket shelf was Coles' home-brand product, the cheapest variety test for just $6 for 100ml.

A product watchdog claims that some of the biggest sunscreen brands on the market are failing to meet standards (Stock image)

A product watchdog claims that some of the biggest sunscreen brands on the market are failing to meet standards (Stock image)

Close behind Coles' product was Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting UV Cream (right) and QV Face Moisturising Day Cream (left) which were both identified as being 'silky, smooth and easy to apply'
Close behind Coles' product was Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting UV Cream (right) and QV Face Moisturising Day Cream (left) which were both identified as being 'silky, smooth and easy to apply'

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting UV Cream (right) and QV Face Moisturising Day Cream (left) which were both identified as being 'silky, smooth and easy to apply'

The Coles Sunscreen For Face SPF 30+ scored 12 out of a possible 15 and was described by testers as 'easily absorbed, light, nice texture, mild scent and quite moisturising'.

Close behind Coles' product was Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting UV Cream and QV Face Moisturising Day Cream, which were both identified as being 'silky, smooth and easy to apply'.

It is also no shock that the Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Sunscreen was praised by Choice for being 'silky, smooth, light, no smell, easy to apply - but a bit oily and a little sticky.'

Next up was?Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion (Sensitive) and the?Nivea Sun Protect & Light Feel Daily Face Veil which were both given the thumbs up by testers.

Next up was Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion (Sensitive) and the Nivea Sun Protect & Light Feel Daily Face Veil (pictured) which were both given the thumbs up by testers

Next up was Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion (Sensitive) and the Nivea Sun Protect & Light Feel Daily Face Veil (pictured) which were both given the thumbs up by testers

A surprising dark horse for best sunscreen on the supermarket shelf was a Coles home-brand product (pictured), the cheapest variety on the list at only $6 for 100ml

A surprising dark horse for best sunscreen on the supermarket shelf was a Coles home-brand product (pictured), the cheapest variety on the list at only $6 for 100ml

It is also no shock that the Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Sunscreen (pictured) was praised by Choice for being 'silky, smooth, light, no smell, easy to apply - but a bit oily and a little sticky'

It is also no shock that the Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Sunscreen (pictured) was praised by Choice for being 'silky, smooth, light, no smell, easy to apply - but a bit oily and a little sticky'

A $62 bottle of?Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream was rated 10.5 out of 15 with several people commenting they 'loved it', but complained it felt a bit heavy and that it smelt and felt like a sunscreen.

On Choice's less than expressive list was a collection of branded sunscreens which were slammed for being oily, sticky, thick and hard to apply.

According to Choice, the worst rated product at five out of 15 was the $19.99 Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry Touch Sunscreen, which was described as being: 'Very thick and sticky, difficult to apply, made skin white and smells like sunscreen.'

Next up was the $35 Invisible Zinc Facial Moisturiser and $25 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Fluid Facial Sunscreen which were both dry and oily with poor moisturising properties despite being touted as moisturisers, claims Choice.

According to Choice, the worst rated product at five out of 15 was the $19.99 Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry Touch Sunscreen, (pictured) which was described as being: 'Very thick and sticky, difficult to apply, made skin white and smells like sunscreen

According to Choice, the worst rated product at five out of 15 was the $19.99 Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry Touch Sunscreen, (pictured) which was described as being: 'Very thick and sticky, difficult to apply, made skin white and smells like sunscreen

Next up was the $35 Invisible Zinc Facial Moisturiser (pictured) which was rated poorly by testers

Next up was the $35 Invisible Zinc Facial Moisturiser (pictured) which was rated poorly by testers

Lastly, the $29 La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort and $13.95?Ego SunSense Moisturising Face also faced poor Choice rankings?with testers pointing out the fragrance was the biggest deterrent.?

'With a mix of cheap, expensive, sensitive-skin and high-SPF products in our list, there's something for everyone,' Choice stated.

'But the best-rated products didn't suit all trialists, and even the lowest-rated products were loved by some, so you may need to try more than one to find a product that suits you.'

HOW DO THE SUNSCREENS STACK UP??

1. Coles Face Sunscreen:?12/15 -?Easily absorbed, light, nice texture, mild scent, quite moisturising; Some thought it wasn't moisturising enough.

2. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting UV Cream: 12/15 -?Smooth, silky, easy to apply, most liked the fragrance; A bit too heavy or oily for some, and some didn't like the fragrance.

3. QV Face Moisturising Day Cream: 12/15 -?Nice consistency, easy to apply, no bad smell, skin looked fresh and dewy; Didn't like the shiny, oily look.

4. Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Sunscreen: 11/15 -?Silky, smooth, light, no smell, easy to apply; A bit oily and a little sticky.

5. Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion (Sensitive): 11/15 -?Nice texture, sinks in, good moisturiser for some; Didn't have great smell, felt a bit dry for some.

6. Nivea Sun Protect & Light Feel Daily Face Veil: 10.5/15 -?Smooth and light, feels good and looks good on skin; A bit runny, some didn't like the smell.

7. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream: 10.5/15 -?Several people commented they loved it, left skin looking moisturised without being shiny; A bit heavy, smelt and felt like a sunscreen.

8. Banana Boat EveryDay Faces: 10/15 -?Quite moisturising, nice texture, looked fresh; Sticky, sunscreen smell, not moisturising enough.

9. Nivea Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream: 9.5/15 -?Goes on smoothly, good moisturiser; Felt sticky and oily, deteriorated over the day.

10. Ego SunSense Moisturising Face: 7.5/15 -?Thin and light, went on easily and had a nice feel; Quite drying, not moisturising enough, makeup didn't stay on, some didn't like smell.

11. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort: 7.5/15 -?Would be OK as a sunscreen; Sticky, made face shiny, didn't like the smell.

12. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Fluid Facial Sunscreen: 7.5/15 -?Light, feels nice, skin looked glowing; Drying, oily, stings eyes.

13. Invisible Zinc Facial Moisturiser: 7/15 -?Felt thick and protective; Too thick, made skin white, too sticky, not moisturising enough.

14. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry Touch Sunscreen: 5/15 -?Performed well as a sunscreen, stayed on despite sweat; Very thick and sticky, difficult to apply, made skin white, smells like sunscreen.

Source: Choice?

The $29 La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort (pictured) was slammed as being 'sticky' and made the skin appear shiny

The $29 La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort (pictured) was slammed as being 'sticky' and made the skin appear shiny

The $13.95 Ego SunSense Moisturising Face (pictured) also faced poor Choice rankings with testers pointing out the fragrance was the biggest deterrent

The $13.95 Ego SunSense Moisturising Face (pictured) also faced poor Choice rankings with testers pointing out the fragrance was the biggest deterrent

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