Marie Claire posted "The 26 Best Sunscreens for Your Face in 2022" The article includes Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel cautions that using makeup with SPF shouldn't take the place of a proper sunscreen.
Come for the SPF, stay for the makeup-enhancing powers.
We get it: Not all sunscreens are created equal. Fortunately, the greasy, thick, break-you-out formulas you remember from the '90s are a thing of the past, and the facial sunscreens on the market right now are some of the best sunscreens ever made. Not only will they protect you from sun damage, today's sunscreens for your face can also serve as a primer for your makeup, make your complexion look smoother and more even, and help combat oily skin—to name just a few benefits.
Dermatologists say it ad nauseam—as do beauty editors like us—but the fact remains: Sunscreen is the single most effective way to preserve the long-term elasticity and suppleness of your skin. Oh, and protect from dark spots, too. This means you should wear sunscreen products every single day. Yes, even for days mostly spent inside your home, an office, or a car. Windows, people. Plus, outdoor sanity walks are lovely, and you should treat yourself to them whilst adequately protecting your skin.
It doesn't stop at facial sunscreen, either. You should wear sunscreen on every part of your body exposed to the sun, and even those parts that don't. Clothing does act as a UV barrier for your skin, but we're only talking single digits, which certainly isn't enough. You need a good sunscreen for your whole body—but especially for your face, neck, and ears (a very common spot for skin cancer to form).
What SPF should I wear every day?
According to Dallas dermatologist DiAnne Davis, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF 30 or higher. She says she prefers lotion and cream formulas over sprays. “Since you have to manually rub them in, it increases [the chances of] getting maximum coverage over the applied area.”
Is makeup with SPF enough to protect me?
According to Purvisha Patel, a dermatologist in Germantown, Tennessee, and founder of Visha Skincare, “Because we generally do not apply makeup thickly, makeup with SPF is not as effective." In short: SPF-laden makeup should not be your only form of sun protection.
What's the best sunscreen for my face?
Hey, thanks for asking. We cherry-picked the absolute best formulas to slather on every morning (yes, every single morning, lest you become a skin cancer statistic). These sunscreens can fight acne, brighten dark marks, fade scars, and even make your foundation look ridiculously smooth and natural. A lot has changed since your high school days, okay? So instead of dreading SPF application every morning (!!), find a product you'll genuinely enjoy applying. Our picks are below.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 PA+++
SPF haters, meet your new favorite sunscreen. The totally clear gel disappears into the skin as soon as you smooth it on and won't leave a cast on deeper skin tones. It's also free of fragrance, common irritants, and oil—all the stuff you'd usually use as an excuse not to wear sunscreen. Basically, it's the most pared-down, nothing-to-see-here, obsession-worthy formula.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Daily Tone Correcting Tinted Primer SPF 50
This creamy sunscreen has the stamp of approval from Consumer Reports (the Anthelios line has been ranked number one for four years running). It's crazy lightweight and non-chalky—a rarity for mineral-based sunscreens—and formulated with a bit of a tint. Wear it alone for a subtle blurring effect, or layer it under your concealer and foundation for a smooth finish.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Ask 100 derms what their favorite sunscreen is, and you'll get the same response 100 times: EltaMD. Not only is the cult-favorite brand completely safe for acne-prone skin, but it's infused with a small dose of lactic acid to keep pores clear, along with mattifying ingredients to help prevent makeup from slipping and sliding by noon.
THE SQUALANE FORMULA
Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++
Biossance's signature squalane formulas extend to the SPF category. This one is super sheer, formulated with 100-percent non-nano zinc that protects and hydrates even the most sensitive skin.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50
You can get your sunscreen in dropper form with Dr. Barbara Sturm's SPF 50 sundrops. The lightweight liquid is super gentle, sinks in quickly, and protects against photo-aging UVA and sunburn-threatening UVB rays.
FOR OILY SKIN
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery 50 g Sunscreen SPF 50 +
K-beauty has the jump on SPF technology, and this water-based formula is one of the best. It has a cult following on Amazon thanks to its long-lasting protection and sea-creature smooth finish that makes makeup glide on seamlessly.
THE SOCIAL-MEDIA STAR
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
You've definitely seen Ilia's SPF-packed skin tint on social media, and trust us, it lives up to the hype. If you like dewy coverage )who doesn't?!) you'll quickly become obsessed with this formula, which is available in 30 shades.
Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
Prevent new pimples from popping up with Dermalogica’s non-comedogenic formula. Bonus: It has green tea extract to fight free-radical skin damage before it happens.
THE CELEBRITY-OWNED BEAUTY BUY
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen with Niacinamide
Of course, Rihanna's beauty line features an exceptional SPF product. But she's not solely giving us SPF. Instead, Ri does us one better with a refillable two-in-sunscreen moisturizer that's lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and invisible. Plus, it targets dark spots and layers well with makeup.
FOR UNDER MAKEUP
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen
If you're a primer devotee, you understand the necessity of a smooth base underneath foundation and concealer. Not only does this AAPI-owned option sink in for a silky finish, but it treats and calms skin with rice and Japanese wild rose.
FOR ALL SKIN TONES
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
This weightless formula miraculously repairs existing UV damage while protecting your skin from new rays. Oh, and it won't leave that telltale white cast you loathe and use as an excuse not to wear SPF daily.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen
Aveeno's proprietary soy skin-lightening blend both prevents future sunspots and lifts those that have already settled on your skin. The SPF 30 formulation is unquestionably the more intelligent choice for all-day protection than the 15 variety.
THE SHEER PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
Looking for a sheer physical sunscreen that delivers powerful broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection? We'll you've found it in Drunk Elephant's SPF 30, which also aids in the prevention of free-radical and oxidative damage.
Kiehl's Since 1851 Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+
This fast-absorbing fluid is a winner for those who find the sensation of applying SPF akin to glooping on lotion under makeup.
SPF ANTI-AGING DUO
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
This drugstore sunscreen provides SPF in a lightweight formulation you'll quickly obsess over. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides—three skincare saviors that enhance your complexion. Plus, even though it's not mineral-based—which tends to be less irritating—it's supremely gentle and non-comedogenic.
THE DEWEY SPF
Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer SPF 35 Sunscreen
For an effortless dewy complexion that's appropriately protected, look to Saie's tinted moisturizer. The sheer hydrating formula feels weightless while offering 100-percent mineral UV protection.
ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30
Thanks to silicone, vitamin E, and non-inflammatory titanium dioxide, this elegant SPF formulation is excellent for layering under makeup. It also contains melanin, the naturally occurring skin pigment with free-radical zapping properties.
PCA Skin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45
Caffeine and bisabolol—a soothing compound derived from chamomile tea—give this humble sunscreen an antioxidant boost that doesn't break out acne-prone skin. The super-lightweight formulation gets extra points for the natural and (and very subtle) botanical scent.
Olay Complete UV365 Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
A no-nonsense mineral sunscreen with a simple dose of vitamin E for a bit of added antioxidant protection. About as simple for sensitive skin as you can get.
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+
We get it—applying sunscreen feels like an extra annoying step in your skincare routine. But SPF in stick-form makes the process ten times easier, like this legitimately clear formula that won't leave a white residue. Even more, it glides so beautifully with a weightless feel you can apply on top of makeup without messing it up.
Glossier Invisible Shield
We asked eight beauty editors of color their favorite sunscreen for dark skin, and at least half name-dropped this gem. Why? It truly is invisible and works on the deepest of complexions. Fortunately, the sunscreen market understands the demand to create innovative formulas, including Glossier, which made this gel-based formula full of active microcapsules to hydrate and protect the skin deeply.
THE LUXE FORMULA
Lancôme Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Pay a lot, get a lot. Moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid, wrinkle-releasing retinyl palmitate, exfoliating glycolic acid, and collagen-boosting peptides are the key ingredients to this pricey-but-worth-it SPF. Plus, a host of botanical antioxidants like linseed extract—talk about luxe protection.
Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder, Refillable Broad-Spectrum SPF 30
Brush On Block's translucent powder blends seamlessly with a self-dispensing brush you can buff over your face, neck, and scalp throughout the day. That's right, your hairline and part need SPF attention, too.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Mist Sunscreen SPF 55
Neutrogena's spray-on mist makes sunscreen reapplication a total breeze, even over makeup. So, give your face a quick spritz to mattify pores and prevent UV damage.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum SPF 50
This serum sunscreen combines broad-spectrum SPF 50 with an antioxidant complex to improve the appearance of dark spots and skin texture over time.
Dermalogica Protection Sport SPF 50
This water-resistant sunscreen has a creamy, lightweight feel that sinks right onto your skin and stays put for hours. Those with dry skin will appreciate the microspheres floating around to lock in moisture without that extra shiny side effect.