That’s right, all the fanciest Dijon Ketchup”

When you walk into Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies you are immediately confronted by the cosmetics counter, where the staff are obviously instructed to greet you warmly. I always say hello, and then make my way into the heart of the store for whatever I’m looking for, never having had cause to stop.

Last week, though, I did stop, to ask the clerk where the sunscreen was.

Well, the high-end sunscreen is over here,” she said, pointing to a posh looking display nearby, “and everything else is on the other side of the store.”

High-end sunscreen? I had no idea there was such a thing.

More often than not, I am ashamed to say, I am a sunscreen aspirant rather than a sunscreen wearer. I’ve always found applying sunscreen to be akin to spreading a heady mashup of motor oil, molasses, and printers ink to my body, and walking around thus-protected has always proved rather uncomfortable.

Perhaps I’ve been shopping in the wrong aisle, I wondered.

So I walked over to the high-end sunscreen display, where I found suitably high-end brands with names like La Roche and Darphin and Shiseido

I settled on a tube of High Protection Spray SPF 50+ from Avène. At $33 for 200 ml, it was roughly 5x more than I’d ever paid for sunscreen.

I’m only a week—several applications—into using it, but I must say that the motor-oil-molasses factor is, indeed, significantly less than what I’ve experienced in “low-end” commodity sunscreen. 

Whether it will be $33 better, I’ll have to hold on to determine. But I am becoming a regular sunscreen user, so signs are good.

(“That’s right, all the fanciest Dijon Ketchup” is a line from If I Had a $1,000,000 from Barenaked Ladies’ 1992 album Gordon).