* Prices may differ from that shown
In April I booked a last minute trip to Portugal with a friend and had just over a week to get all of my essentials together. Surprisingly (or not) considering the strange early summer we experienced this year, it was a nightmare to find decent, reasonably priced sun protection in Coventry! What is a girl to do? Deciding not to wait until I arrived in Albufeira, I stumbled across the Calypso range in Bodycare.
With a range of products available and deciding that unlike my friend who is of Algerian descent, I would need some basic protection for our 4 day getaway. Carrot oil, SPF 2 deep tan spray, SPF4 - all seemed woefully inadequate until I picked up the Dry Oil spray. SPF10?? I hear you say, I had taken into consideration higher factors but without buying SPF40 there wasn't anything light that I could find any higher.
29 degrees, blue skies and the beach...ah I wish I was there now! Out came the Dry Oil and I dutifully applied it all over including my face and relaxed. Every 3/4 hours, I reapplied and after 2.5 days of solid sunbathing I had a nice golden glow and only a couple of delicate bits that I had missed when applying.
The spray is exactly what it says it is, dry. After pouring onto my hands from the "airline approved" bottle I had decanted it into (we had booked a no frills, hand luggage only deal) and applying to my body I was left with a healthy sheen without the usual sticky feeling you get after applying oil based products. The spray was light on my skin and even on my face where I am prone to breakouts, my skin remained belmish free (I'm sure the sun helped).
The spray is suitable for use all over the body including on your scalp and is water resistant so even after a dip in the deep blue sea you don't necessarily need to reapply - for peace of mind I did.
Calypso products are easily identified by their bottles and branding - a simple spray bottle which narrows slightly in the middle, usually with an orange spray pump and a white label with the orange Calypso branding. Exceptions to this are the deep tan oil which is in a brown bottle, the carrot oil which is in an orange bottle and the after sun which is in a blue bottle.
My dry oil was £2.99 for 250ml and most of the range were priced between £2.99 and £5.99 in Bodycare, I have yet to see it stocked widely elsewhere.
Even after decanting into another bottle, the oil was extremely effective and protected me from what was considered unseasonably warm weather in the Algarve. For a product which carries a 5 * ultra UVA rating on it I was extremely impressed and will definitely buy and recommend again in a heartbeat. Just a shame it'll be a while before I need to buy any more again!
As I may have mentioned in previous reviews, i'm an avid sun worshipper, and i usually dispose of my natural blue tinge with a long haul holiday towards the end of the winter. Once i'm back in the UK, I need a sun product as much for the moisturising properties as for UV protection, especially on arms and legs where the sun seems to have very, very little impact on my skin.
Consequently i'm always on the lookout for low factor products, which these days seem to be practically banned - i'm showing my age here, but in the 80s when i was a kid, factor 6 was considered "high". These days it's the lowest that many ranges go to. I think this is bizarre, because if the only option i have is between Factor 15 and nothing, i'll go with the nothing. Anyway, my health endangering tendencies duly noted, I was delighted to discover Calypso deep tanning carrot oil with the delightful factor of a mere 2, in my local Wilkinsons recently.
Calypso are a budget brand available through Wilko's and (i think) Matalan. They produce a full range of sun products including the normal high factor creams, but also a good range of "dry oil" type products in the lower factors - 2, 4 and 6.
The 250ml bottle is clear plastic apart from the label, with a bright orange pump spray top. According to the label, in addition to the F2 protection, the oil also provides vitamins A and E plus Carrot Oil and moisturisers to keep skin hydrated and supple whilst tanning.
~ In use ~
The oil itself actually is slightly orange when sprayed onto the skin, but this just acts as a very slight intensification of your existing tan once you've rubbed it in.
Again this might be an 80s thing, but the scent is just what retro suntan oil should be - it's what the Wham! Club Tropicana video would have smelt like. Coconut and pineapple, but in that entirely unnatural way that convinces you no living item was harmed in the production of this oil! I love it, but i would suggest anyone thinking of buying this should unscrew the top and take a quick sniff before buying, cos it could be a "love it or hate it" response for most.
A quick rub over the skin, and it feels very briefly oily, but on my skin is quickly absorbed, providing a really good softening and moisturising effect. You'd have to be a bit crazy to use this before you already had a fairly decent tan, but that being the case, the factor 2 works well enough for a little bit of protection and to help keep the tan even. I also need a lot less after-shower moisturiser at the end of the day, as the oil is so nourishing that the effects last really well.
Oh and a final thing - the bottle cost about £2.60, so it's a bargain, too.
Overall, i love this stuff, and i really hope it won't become impossible to find over the next few years. Use it sensibly - when you already have a tan, are not in the depths of the tropics, and alongside a high SPF on delicate areas (shoulders and chest, for me) and it really will help take care of your skin. Not as much as staying indoors with the blinds drawn, no, but if you're going to be outside then at least give your skin some TLC.
Dont you just love the summer, it lifts the spirits; the days are longer and out comes the sun products. Whether you are going abroad or staying in the UK there will be times when the sun becomes strong enough to burn your skin not a wise thing to do at any age.
I used to be one of the sun-worshippers, never happy until I reached that perfect shade of brown that suits my fair colouring. I would sit in the weak British sun as early as April to get a start on my tan. I never used sun protection at all unless I was going abroad and even then I would use the lowest factor possible.
Now I am older Im more aware of the damage that prolonged exposure to the sun does to your face and body. Wrinkles of the face and neck are more common in sun-worshippers and Ive started to acquire a lot of freckles on my body from sun bathing. The last time I went abroad to Rhodes in Greece I decided that a pale golden glow was preferable to risking skin cancer so I decided to take a range of different products with me but where would I start when I wanted to use different factors? My partner at that time was older than me and burnt easily in even the mildest of sun so the dual bottles of different factors were not suitable for us both.
The answer came in a most unusual way, we were shopping in Matalan for extra summer clothes and came upon a range of sun products called Calypso a brand neither of us had heard of before. I was a bit hesitant about trying it as I always thought the brand names were the best but there so many different collections in this range that we decided to try it out.
On offer at £10 a set we chose one which contained a factor 6, a factor 10, after sun lotion, a lip protection balm and a neat little coin carrier that could be hung around the neck ideal for going on the beach. Then I spotted a single item that was to prove the best buy of all. This was Calypso Dry Oil Spray.
What attracted me to this particular product was the writing on the front of spray that said body and scalp protection. My partners bald patch was always getting burnt and peeling afterwards so if it was really hot he would wear a hat and would end up with brown arms and the rest of him almost white. My own scalp had burnt as well especially since I love swimming and spend ages in the water. My hair is fine and since I keep it short it can burn easily in strong overhead sun.
The factor I chose was only 4 since I have usually worn a hat as well except when swimming or on a boat. The bottle itself can be easily recognised its a clear plastic with an orange label that has the words Calypso and protective Dry Oil Spray in bold lettering on the label. Underneath this are the smaller words body and scalp protection, non greasy, dries quickly and UVA/UVB Sunscreen. It also states its waterproof, now that really sold it to me as I said, Im a real water-baby and will stay in the sea or pool for hours, but sea attracts the sun and I used to end up with a very red face, scalp and ears. (Ouch!).
On the reverse of the bottle are the directions for use, information and advice and the ingredients. It also gives the amount (250 ml in this case) and those magic words, not tested on animals.
How did it perform?
Every day before going out in the sun I sprayed this all over my partners body rubbing it in well. You can spray this directly onto the scalp through your hair, in my partners case it went straight on his bald patch. It does advise you to put it on about twenty minutes before going out so my partner got the treatment first and I had mine after. I did find that using it on my short hair gave me a gel style but I simply combed my hair off my face.
Our beach was a short walk away so we both kept our hats on the first day using a stronger lotion in the same range to protect the areas that burn so easily, in my case my shoulders and back.
After a few hours we returned for a siesta and we both had a slightly pink glow but no sunburn. We went out again at four pm to do some food shopping and find out about the local trips, there was a cruise be both wanted to go on the next day so we were glad we used the stronger protection the first day.
The following day we applied the spray a good hour before going out, as it was a full day cruise. Again it is very easy to get sunburnt on a boat as you dont feel the heat so much and the water attracts the sun. I love being out at the front of the boat so I used the spray a few times during the day to stop me burning.
That evening before we went out for a meal I noticed that I had started to go brown already, but my partners face was a bit pink. From that day on I used the spray all the time but my partner only used it on his face and scalp resorting to the stronger protection of the sun lotion on his body.
Two days into our second week I was able to drop to a factor 2 and was a lovely golden brown. For some reason I get to a stage when I stop tanning and stay much the same colour. However, there are still parts of my body that can burn and the heat had increased to 90 degrees so I kept using the spray on my shoulders, my scalp and ears.
My partner was not so fortunate, walking around Rhodes town he thought he would be fine but he got slightly burnt on his head because he didnt think he still needed the spray. Well you know what babies men can be so out come the after sun lotion that I had been using every night to keep my skin soft.
That night we had a party going on at our apartment hotel and I was really looking forward to it. A chance to have a few cocktails and let our hair down but my partner had to sit and watch because the fun and games were rather strenuous and he could hardly bear to even have a shirt on, me, I just enjoyed the party.
The rest of our holiday passed quickly and soon it was our last full day. I had been careful and it showed with not only having a lovely tan but I didnt need to use any extra protection on my hair. This was a bonus I had overlooked, I freely admit to dying my hair a light blonde and normally found I had to use a lot of conditioner to stop it becoming like straw. The spray doesnt claim to protect your hair but in my case it did.
I was able to spend my last day without any sun lotion and felt like a million dollars wearing my white top and cropped shorts. My partner had stayed covered up for the last few days so we must have looked a very odd couple when we arrived back in the UK with completely different tans.
So would I recommend it?
I started using this about five years ago and to this day I would not use anything else. The formula has remained unchanged and continues to protect my skin and scalp. The last holiday I had with my partner was nearly two years ago now and this time he bought a higher protection factor. Ive continued using my factor 4 as it suits me perfectly. I dont burn nowadays and although Ive put on a little weight I will keep sunbathing because it makes me look and feel better. There are people who prefer to stay out of the sun completely but the sun provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which is essential for absorbing calcium into the body.
The key to healthy sunbathing is using the correct product for you and my Calypso spray will be remain a favourite as long as they keep making it.
Calypso products are manufactured in the Uk and are readily available in most large supermarkets but for those that have a convenient Matalan store this is the cheapest place to find to them. I had my Matalan special summer offers through the post the other day and they have special offers as usual on all Calypso products. For those that are concerned about the fragrance there is nothing more than a slight coconut smell that wears off quite quickly. I quite like the smell of coconut it reminds me of long hot tropical days and nights. At the moment Matalan are selling the Calypso range at three for the price of two and at only £3 per product its well worth giving it a try. The complete range comes in a low to high factors and includes special high factor products for children. At this price you can afford to give it a try, you have nothing to lose except that red face.
Effective sun protection products /