Review: Soltan Invisible Dry-Touch Transparent Suncare Spray SPF 50

I’ve written here a few times now about my sun-screen buying woes, but, well, it looks like I’m going to do it again. Sorry.

Because my skin is so pale, I don’t go out without first of all slathering myself with a high SPF sunscreen. Now, this can be a bit of a pain, because here in the UK, most high factor sunscreens tend to be of the thick, white, gloopy variety: they take ages to rub in, they leave your skin looking shiny, greasy, and even whiter than it was to start with, the smell is strong enough to knock you out, and, just to top it all off, they almost always end up staining your clothes, and let me tell you, that stuff almost NEVER comes out. Oh, and you’ll generally pay something in the region of £15 per bottle for this.

For this reason, I normally buy my sunscreen in the U.S. This summer, for instance, I bought two cans of Walgreens’ own brand dry spray, for about $10. It was SPF70, and it was the kind of clear spray which dispenses as a “mist” and dries instantly: all you have to do is depress the pump, wave it over your body for a few seconds, and you’re done. I love it, and there are always lots of different brands that come in the same kind of format, for the same kind of price.

This stuff is almost impossible to find in the U.K. I’ve purchased various cans of sunscreen which looked and sounded like the stuff I buy abroad… but which actually contained a product which was white and runny, rather than clear and dry. And it’s always cost me around £15 per can, too. Most of the time I just try to stock up when I’m in the US, and bring enough home with me to last the rest of the year, but unfortunately my habit of maxing out my luggage allowance meant that this year I just didn’t have any space for sunscreen.

Enter Soltan Invisible Dry-Touch Transparent Suncare Spray.

Soltan, as you probably know, is Boots’ own brand sunscreen, and I’ve used it quite a bit over the years. A couple of weeks ago, however, I noticed Boots were selling the “Soltan Invisible” variation of it for just £5.99 per bottle, so I jumped at the chance to try it out.

First, the good stuff:

1. It’s clear.

2. It’s “dry touch”, which means minimal rubbing-in, and no greasy skin afterwards.

3. It doesn’t have an overpowering smell.

4. It goes up to SPF50, which is normally high enough for a UK summer.

5. It’s currently reduced to £5.99 per bottle.

As for the “bad stuff”, well, there’s only really one thing I don’t like about this, and that’s the pump action spray. There are actually a few different brands in the UK which sell similar clear-spray sunscreens, and I’ve found the same issue with all of them, which is that the pump dispenser is generally quite stiff, and impossible to use with one hand: I find I have to brace the bottom of the bottle against something in order to depress the pump and dispense the product, so, rather than spraying it directly onto the skin, I normally end up having to spray it into my hands and then rub it into the skin from there. The American brands I use, by contrast, come in a aerosol-style can, with a pump which can be depressed with one finger, allowing you to just “mist” it over your skin, with no rubbing-in required.

That said, however, this is definitely one of the better sunscreens I’ve found on this side of the Atlantic, and while there are other brands which offer clear-spray in the same kind of bottle, this is also by far the cheapest, at the current price of £5.99, which makes me tempted to stock up before it goes back to the usual price of £11.99.

One further word about this: it claims to be water-resistant, which is a claim I haven’t been able to put to the test, as the water in the UK is far too cold to make me ever want to swim out of doors! I have, however, used it on a couple of the hottest days we’ve had since I bought it, when I was out in the sun all day, and I didn’t get even the tiniest hint of sunburn, so it does seem to work well in that regard, although obviously, as it’s a clear spray, you will have to be a little more careful when you’re applying it to make sure you don’t miss a bit!

This is still reduced at Boots, and you can click here to buy it.

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • Wilkinson’s sun care range is supposed to be very good for the price. I got factor 50 for £3.99 but it is hard to rub in well. That said, it works and it doesn’t have a horrible smell.

    August 3, 2011
    • It’s the “hard to rub in” bit that puts me off, unfortunately: I need something super-easy to apply, as I have to wear so much of it! I’d be prepared to pay more for it if I could find the same kind of stuff I biuy in America – it just saves me me so much hassle!

      August 3, 2011
  • Sara


    Sounds like a good option to try! I’ve been trying in vain to find the perfect spf50 that won’t aggravate my acne and oily skin for years.I’ll definately check this out while it’s on special offer @)

    August 3, 2011
  • Liz in Paris


    The French pharmacy brands are good – Bioderma particularly, but also Avène and La Roche Posay. I think these are available in the UK as well although I’m not sure where. None are perfumed and they all come in SPF 50 and very fluid formulations. The fluid is milky but sinks in quickly. If I need an invisible spray I use RoC Soleil Protection (over makeup or on hair parting etc.). That is slightly perfumed but it’s very unobtrusive. The Soltan sounds good though & I’ll try and pick one up the next time I’m in London!

    August 3, 2011
  • Isa


    I agree with Liz, Roc Minesol is really good (SPF 50) and it comes in an atomizer.Bought mine via Amazon,I think it was about 6€ a bottle.

    August 4, 2011
  • Nicola


    Yay for spray sunscreen! I’m just like you, need sunscreen but hate the stuff. So much so, sometimes I just stay inside when it’s sunny rather than tackle the bottle of horrid slimy sunscreen. I’ve also tried some of the invisible ones that still leave you greased up & mark your clothes. I love the idea of a sunscreen spray can though, so someone needs to work on bringing that into the UK! Good to know this is a dry one and I will definitely try it. I hate it when you have to pump it into your hand, or when your hands get a little greased up from applying the cream and then you’ve got no chance of pressing the pump!

    August 5, 2011
  • Nina


    Ooh – glad to see a review of this on here as I bought some at the weekend on a whim. 😀 I’m definitely another sunscreen hater. It’s the most annoying stuff in the world.

    I’m glad to read that, pump aside, you were happy with this, gives me hope!!

    August 8, 2011
  • lizvocal


    I just bought this:

    It is only SPF 30, but just a little went a long way, with no greasy feel and a light scent. I wore it this weekend in a canoe in full sun for over two hours, and it worked great!

    August 15, 2011
  • Emma


    Wow, that’s brilliant! I had no idea this sort of product existed and I’m definitely buying some. I went to a festival about a month ago and had to constantly coat myself in greasy gloop so as not to burn (very fair skin which tends to go from white to red and straight back to white again!). Next year I will be prepared! Though the danger of stocking up now for next year is that the SPF can degrade… I heard somewhere that a rule of thumb is that roughly half of the SPF is “lost” if the product is a year old. I don’t have a source for that unfortunately.

    August 17, 2011