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Three big brand sun creams fail Which? SPF tests

Strict tests also reveal seven Best Buy sun creams

Suncream products

These three products – from Hawaiian Tropic, Piz Buin & Malibu – failed our sun cream tests

The latest research from Which? has uncovered sun creams from three popular brands which failed to offer the level of protection claimed on the bottle.

Using strict British Standard tests, Which? tested 15 sun creams that claim to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. Three products twice failed our tests: Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Ultra Radiance Sun Lotion SPF30 200ml, Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid SPF30 150ml and Malibu Protective Lotion SPF30 200ml.

Twelve sun creams passed our rigorous series of tests, with seven of these being named Best Buys. Which? members can log in now to see our full results – and which sun creams we’ve rated as Best Buys – by visiting our sun creams review. 

Sun creams that failed Which? tests

Which? used British Standard tests to assess the SPF and UVA protection provided by 15 sun creams. If a product failed either test, we retested a second batch. 

Our video, below, will show you more about the Don’t Buy sun creams that failed our tests.


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Video transcript

Sunscreens are something you rely on to protect you from the sun. But how do you know they’re up to the job, and are cheap ones as good as expensive ones? Our testing’s found three don’t buy sunscreens that failed our SPF test. One of them was nearly ten times the price of the cheapest one that passed.

Unfortunately, testing suncreams doesn’t involve a trip to the beach, but in our lab we do use human volunteers. We tested 15 of the most popular SPF 30 suncreams available in the U.K. and incredibly found that three of them failed our tests, even when we repeated them. Suncreams from Hawaiian, Piz Buin and Malibu were all found to fall short of the claimed sun protection factor.

We used strict British Standard tests in lab controlled conditions and found only seven best buys and three we strongly recommend you avoid buying. Price didn’t quality either. One of our don’t buy suncreams from Piz Buin costs almost ten times as much as our cheapest best buy. Our tests insure that you’ll get a best buy suncream, that’s not only nice to use but will protect you and your family.

‘Which?’ members can login now to see which suncreams we rated as best buys, and if you’re not already a member, why not sign up for one pound trial to get access to this and hundreds of other reviews.

Two sun creams, Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Ultra Radiance Sun Lotion SPF30 200ml and Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid SPF30 150ml, twice failed our SPF test. A third sun cream, Malibu Protective Lotion SPF30 200ml, twice failed both our SPF and UVA tests.

We don’t think you can rely on products that twice failed our tests to provide the level of protection you’d expect, so we’ve named them Don’t Buys.

Want to see our tests in action? Click to find out how we test sun creams.

We contacted the manufacturers of all three products with our results. Each told us that they conduct testing at independent laboratories and are confident their products meet the labelled SPF and UVA claims.

Best Buy sun creams

As well as testing the SPF and UVA protection of each sun cream, we asked a panel of testers to assess how easy each sun cream was to get out of the bottle and how it felt, looked and smelled on the skin. Seven of the sun creams which passed the SPF and UVA tests scored highly for application, earning Best Buy status.

Our Best Buys not only offer the protection they claim, they’ll feel great on your skin, too. And the best products don’t have to be expensive – three of our Best Buys are amongst the cheapest sun creams we tested.

More on this…

  • Want to know which products aced our tests? Check out our sun cream Best Buys
  • To see which sun creams passed our SPF and UVA tests, head to our full sun cream test results
  • Going abroad this year? We reveal the best and worst airlines
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