We’ve said this countless times, but it deserves to be repeated — sunscreen is essential to your skincare routine, and if you haven’t gotten into the habit of applying daily, it ought to start now. Not to sound alarmist or anything, but photoageing, or premature ageing caused by the skin’s exposure to UV, is a thing, and thankfully, easily prevented with sunscreen.
We get it though, sunscreen can often feel like a hassle or extra step, but here’s a new brand to know: Ultra Violette. Devoted to making sunscreen utterly un-boring, the young Australian beauty brand has officially landed in Singapore with cult-favourite products that do away with the suffocating, sticky or stinging formulas that we might associate with SPF products.
Instead, they’ve come up with the term ‘Skinscreens’, to describe formulas that combine sunscreen and skincare made to look, feel, and naturally fit into your daily skincare routine. Plus, and I know this is an assumption, but hear us out — Australia also happens to be one of the toughest places in the world to get sunscreen approved, and they’ve passed with, well, flying colours. Their sunscreens are free from reef-killing oxybenzone, and are cruelty-free and made in Australia, while containing powerful native Aussie antioxidants that help brighten, hydrate and nourish your skin.
The Queen Screen, in particular, has been lauded by beauty content creators all over the world, and has become a bit of an Internet-famous celebrity herself, as she offers broad-spectrum UV protection while feeling like a luxury skincare serum. The best part? She’s silky, lightweight, and leaves skin with a stunning glow as well. We definitely couldn’t resist giving it a go — review below!
Ultra Violette’s fun packaging also makes their products very welcome on our vanity tables and bathroom counters, and of course, we have to mention how smooth and luscious they feel on the skin. Most of these formulas are suitable for all skin types as well, including sensitive ones, and cater to different skincare needs, whether you’re looking for a mattifying primer, something that gives your skin extra hydration, or even SPF for healthy and glossy lips. Ahead, we review some of the most prominent products from the brand’s extensive collection.
— Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Serum Skinscreen, $55
What it is: It looks like a serum, but is really a sunscreen hallowed for a silky lightweight texture that melts into the skin, leaving behind a glowy finish that’s great under makeup. Antioxidant ingredients such as the famed Aussie-native Kakadu Plum, can also be found here, while the sunscreen is ideal for normal to dry skin.
No lie, I had really doubted the serum bottle for its practicality. I’m not the kind who’d complete my skincare and makeup routine diligently while sitting at a vanity table, and I like to bring my sunscreens out with me, so the glass bottle and dropper dispenser seemed like a hassle to me. All these concerns though, quite literally, melted away when I tried the sunscreen on my skin! I finally got why it’s such a holy grail product.
Texture & FINISH
Definitely, one of the things that had me going back for more. Queen Screen has a milky, serum-like consistency that was quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving zero white cast. It’s super lightweight and smooth to apply, but not greasy at all, and kind of feels like good skincare. I felt that the brand had nailed the usually laborious process of applying sunscreen, by making this easy to use and as non-sunscreen-like as possible, without the usual icky texture and overpowering scent of sunscreen; instead, there’s a comforting rose scent that made me feel good about the product.
What really makes this stand out though, is that finish. You’re looking at dewy, glowing skin that looks moisturised and healthy. It doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all, but you still get that radiant look — this looks good on its own and underneath makeup as well, which doesn’t slip or pill when applied on top. Also, skincare ingredients, and a top-grade SPF50+ while at it? This one’s a winner.
— Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50 Hydrating Facial Skinscreen, $52
— Ultra Violette Clean Screen SPF 30 Fragrance Free Weightless Gel Skinscreen, $48
— Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF 50+ Mattifying Zinc Skinscreen, $52
What it is: A multi-tasking, SPF50 sunscreen that moisturises, protects against UV damage, and primes skin for makeup — and while hydrating for our skin and containing multiple ingredients that give us long-lasting hydration; it promises to not slide under makeup too.
Our thoughts: I know I already picked a ‘top pick’, but the Supreme Screen is a very close contender from the moment I tried it on. The formula had a nice cream texture with a skin-like tint when first applied, but then dried sheer and seems to disappear into the skin, blending in such that it’s neither glowy like the Queen Screen, nor matte like the rest. I particular enjoyed its smooth, creamy texture, which made the sunscreen application experience feel less like a dread. I also detected a rosy scent that, for me, added to the “not-sunscreen” experience, though those with sensitive skin might want to check out the other options.
The Supreme Screen has also been tested under countless foundations, concealers and BB creams (remember those?), and it shows. When left on, it didn’t feel at all greasy or oily, and the whole idea of a white cast isn’t even a concern due to how it naturally blended into the skin. I use this on top of moisturiser and my face felt hydrated throughout the day; it didn’t make my light base makeup pill or feel slippery either, so this absolutely works as a highly-protective primer. That it’s in a tube format is also a lot more practical, especially if you’re touting this around on beach or vacation days.
What it is: Formulated for those with extra sensitive skin, this one’s made to be gentle and in a super-lightweight gel texture. It’s fragrance-free, SPF30 formula contains Titanium Dioxide, an ultra-gentle UV filter, making it suitable for reactive and acne-prone, or normal to combination skin.
Our thoughts: Next on my list, the Clean Screen for its weightless gel texture. As you can see from the above swatches, I find this to be a little less “seamless” when compared to the Supreme Screen, though everything great about the former is retained here — it’s not greasy, smooth on application, feels lightweight on skin, and dries to a natural skin-like finish that isn’t too dewy or matte. Since this one’s made for sensitive skin types, you won’t find added fragrance or alcohol within the formula. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, but plenty of users with acne-prone skin or rosacea skin have left glowing reviews on their Aussie site! There might be a little trade-off with the SPF protection here, but Titanium Dioxide is still a solid active ingredient for its broad spectrum protection and skin-soothing properties.
What it is: The brand’s first physical SPF with a zinc-only formula, that is, only zinc oxide is used for its SPF50+ UV protection. “Minimal ingredients with maximum UVA/UVB protection”, they say. Good for those with sensitive skin and those who prefer a matte finish, particularly if you have oily or reactive skin.
Our thoughts: That this is a zinc-only formula certainly impresses, but I wasn’t quite a fan of its thicker, matte texture, which perhaps can’t be helped since we are talking about a physical sunscreen here. Its consistency felt like a thick moisturiser, with a more peachy-beige tint that did dry down sheer when spread out. The good thing here is that it’s as matte as claimed! There was no overpowering scent, and no shine either when left on skin, while the slight tint helped even out my skin tone and blur pores; you can opt to skip the foundation then. Lots of sensitive-skin users have also reported that it works wonderfully for them without irritation or redness. I’d personally still prefer a more lightweight sunscreen, but if you want high SPF50+ protection, have more reactive or oily skin, this might be a better option.
THE LIP BALMS:
— Ultra Violette Sheen Screen SPF 50 Hydrating Lip Balm in Shimmer, Rose, Peach, Nude and Flamingo, $26 each
What it is: A glossy lip balm that also protects the lips from UV damage. These contain ultra-hydrating lanolin, cacao seed and shea butters so that we get soft and smooth lips throughout the day, while the formula arrives in either Shimmer, for colourless holographic shine, or four other shades with sheer or tinted pigments. Expect shiny lips as well.
Our thoughts: I immediately reached for Shimmer, the clear shade, and it didn’t disappoint. The tubes reminded me of 90s lip gloss, which to be fair aren’t the most elegant, though they still get the job done since they can be applied directly onto the lips with just one hand. The fuss-free life. Its texture also felt a lot like gloss when glided on, and is a little sticky though it did create a protective layer over my lips that kept them well-hydrated for long hours. Shimmer also created a subtle dimensional glow that I love.
Now, colour options. Rose is said to be a tinted dusty mauve and the most opaque of the bunch, but I’m not sure the pink was a good match for my skin tone; it felt a little too cool-toned and Barbie-like. Dusk and Peach though were perfect. Peach gave a sheer golden-peach shimmer, which complemented my usual peachy makeup looks, while Dusk was a neutral, universal warm beige that flattered my natural lip colour.
Ultra Violette, available at Sephora stores and online at sephora.sg.