The summer games may be over, but the season’s rays still demand sunscreens fit for the podium. While the sun is setting earlier and earlier as August comes to a close, don’t let the shorter days fool you into doubting the sun’s scorching potential during the daylight hours. When attempting to build a tan to see you through autumn to winter, be warned: contrary to myth, an existing tan will not protect you from burning.  Bronzed or not, you’re still at risk of soaking up dangerous UV rays. For you children of the sun, the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a SPF 30, to be reapplied every 2-3 hours.

Personally, I despise sunscreen. I know it’s necessary, and I use, but my issue is with how so many sunscreens out there seem to be either oily, sticky or smell of a medicated ointment. Worst of all, it can go on white and streaky, and with just a touch of humidity, it has the potential of leaving you looking like a displaced geisha.

To aid you in your hunt for the perfect protection from the sun (without sacrificing your tan), we’ve  narrowed down the playing field in both the face and body category. May the best sunscreen win!

I started my sunscreen test by painting lines on my thigh with each body product, and then compared their absorption time, the level of residual oil, and the dreaded skunk streak. In addition, I rated smell and ease of application. After gathering these preliminary findings, I put each sunscreen to the real test, and wore each for a day at the cottage.

Coming in third place, Clarins Spray Oil-Free Lotion (SPF 15) takes the bonze for the glow it endows users — a tan that would satisfy even the most zealous of sun worshippers. The waterproof spray is only an SPF 15, so make sure to reapply every couple hours. It is slightly oily to touch, but one application lasted through a mid-after noon shower. The lasting power of this one makes it a great choice for outdoor sports.

Clarins also won itself a silver with its Sunscreen Care Cream (SPF 30). The product has a smooth texture and is massaged easily into the skin without leaving your hands feeling sticky afterwards. It can be used on your face, and is also gentle enough for little ones. The multi-use cream promotes the preservation of youth, and carries the light refreshing scent of its natural ingredients including vanilla, apricot, and aloe. A fragrance that beats the overpowering smell of artificial coconut favoured by so many sunscreens on the shelves.

Lastly, gold must be awarded to Life brand’s Coconut Lime Spray (SPF 30). Not only is this one an economical choice, it has the chops to compete with luxury brands. Its subtle tropical scent smells divine, and its mist formula sprayed on evenly enough that there was no need to use my hands to redistribute the product over my body. I used a cut-out one piece bathing suit to put this one to the ultimate test. One application later, during which I went boating and for more than one dip in the water, the Coconut Lime Spray was still working hard i.e. no unsightly tan lines.

Moving on to my face, I began by protecting my pout with ETIVAL laboraoire Ambient Lip Shield Stick (SPF 45), a must if you want to avoid the uncomfortable sting of sun chapped lips. The waxy coating of this sun shield kept my lips moisturized and protected all day with only a handful of applications every few hours.

In the face category, bronze is given to Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard (SPF 50); a quick-absorbing sunscreen for men that protects against UVA and UVB. While labeled for men, active women can share in their man’s sun protection with no worry. The sunscreens water resistant formula and low viscosity makes it easy to apply for a streak free wear, while the fluid texture leaves skin soft to the touch. Added bonus: this one protects against premature aging. If sharing beauty products with the man in your life is something you’d rather avoid, ladies have the choice of Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense. Based on my test,  I couldn’t much tell the difference between the two.

Silver goes to Lancôme Bienfait UV (SPF 50). This silky lotion smooths onto your face without caking up underneath foundation. It’s an especially wonderful base to Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra 24hr makeup. Water resistant, the sunscreen left no signs of oily residue, and is sensitive enough for all skin types. While the humidity was at a high the day I tested this one, never did the product resurface onto my face as a white mask.

As for Gold, the victor was clear: Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream (SPF 50). One application lasted through harsh winds and heavy sun exposure during a day of boating on the lake . Even with the back spray off the water pelting me in the face continuous, the sunscreen stayed in place and kept my fair completion protected. Just as the bottle says, this little blue bottle of fragrant sunscreen magic (UVB and UVA rays) is “very water resistant.”

Which ever sunscreen you choose, remember to follow up your tanning session with a generous application of moisturizer to rehydrate your skin and prolong your glow. We like Clarins After Sun Replenishing Moisture Care for Face and Décolleté, which keeps its vow to protect skin from the active free radicals remaining, even after removing yourself from the sun. Try keeping this potion cool in the fridge for a soothing application after baking in the sun all day.