Sunscreen is arguably the most important step in anyone- actually everyone’s– skincare routine. Most dermatologists agree that when on the hunt for the best face sunscreens, the only one that matters is the one you know you’ll actually wear. But finding that perfect sunscreen that checks off all your boxes can often be a challenge.
As someone who used to hate wearing SPF, (which I still consider one of my biggest skincare mistakes ever!), I have tried and tested so many different brands and formulas. Here’s my list of the 10 best face sunscreens you’ll love so much, you’ll actually be excited to apply, and reapply it, every day!
The Best Face Sunscreens: 10 Must Haves
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Before I introduce the best face sunscreens, let’s talk a little about why sunscreen is so important.
Sunscreen protects your skin from damaging UV rays from the sun. The sun produces two different types of UV rays that cause a number of skin and health issues. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, while UVA rays are primarily responsible for premature aging of the skin. Both UVB and UVA rays can cause skin cancer. Which is the main reason why wearing sunscreen every day is extremely important.
Here are a few super helpful tips for choosing the perfect sunscreen.
Look for Broad-Spectrum Protection
Because both UVA and UVB rays can cause cancer, and bring along other problems, like sun burn or skin damage, it’s important to find a sunscreen that contains protection from both. That’s what broad-spectrum sunscreen is. Almost all sunscreens have UVB protection, but you want to make sure you’re getting that UVA protection as well!
Use a minimum of SPF 30 daily
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and in the most simple of terms, it’s used as a unit of measurement for sun protection. No SPF percentage offers 100% protection from UV rays, but you can get pretty close. SPF 15 offers 93% protection, SPF 30 offers 97%, SPF 50 offers 98%, and SPF 100 offers 99%. So it’s usually recommended to aim for SPF 30 or higher!
Applying & Reapplying
Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin every single day. This is especially true if you know you’ll be spending lots of time outdoors. This includes on cloudy days, where the UV index can actually be higher!
It’s often debated whether sunscreen is necessary if you’re not going outside. I like the idea of implementing the habit to apply every single day, that way it becomes an automatic part of your routine, and you never forget it. But you be the judge. If you know you’ll be sitting near a giant window that leaves your skin exposed to sunlight, I’d recommend applying.
You should also be applying your SPF fifteen minutes before sun exposure. This allows the sunscreen to absorb into skin and start offering the best possible protection.
Unfortunately sunscreen doesn’t offer all day protection, so it’s important to make sure you’re reapplying at least every two hours. And if you’re spending time in water, or getting your face wet, make sure you know if, and for how long, your sunscreen is water resistant for.
Chemical Vs. Mineral
When looking for the best face sunscreen, you’ll come across two different types, chemical and mineral. They both have different advantages and disadvantages to using, and it comes down to personal preference.
Mineral sunscreen is typically formulated with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These two small particles sit on top of your skin and form a barrier to prevent UV rays from getting into your skin.
Chemical sunscreen is formulated with a number of different chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, ocitsalate, octocrylene, and/or homosalate, to name a few. Instead of blocking UV rays from entering the skin like a mineral sunscreen does, chemical sunscreens allow the UV rays to penetrate skin but then converts the rays into heat, which then gets released from your body.
Both forms of SPF have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide what kind of formula you prefer. I enjoy using both, and find that they both have different benefits, as you’ll see from the list below.
Now, here are the 10 best face sunscreens!
THE BEST FACE SUNSCREENS
Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46
This mineral, broad spectrum sunscreen has taken the internet by storm, and has cemented itself as a favorite amongst dermatologists, skincare bloggers, and basically everyone else, (including me!).
The Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 is fragrance free and comes loaded with amazing skin ingredients. With hydrating sodium hyaluronate and pore-refining lactic acid, skin is left looking healthier each time you use it. It’s great for all skin types, particularly oily and acne-prone, due to the oil-free formula. It goes on clear so you never have to worry about a white cast, and it’s non-irritating, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin!
My favorite thing about it: it doesn’t make your eyes burn like many other sunscreens!
Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush On Shield SPF 50
If you’re looking for the easiest and most mess-free way to apply your sunscreen, look no further!
The Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush On Shield SPF 50 is a broad spectrum mineral sunscreen in an easy to apply powder. Just shake it up, twist off the cap, and apply the SPF powder using the attached brush and you’re good to go! Two passes around your entire face is the recommended amount to achieve full sun protection coverage. It comes in 4 neutral shades; fair, medium, tan, and deep. The vegan formula is hydrating and rich in antioxidants.
My favorite thing about it: it makes reapplying SPF super easy, especially when you’re wearing makeup!
Supergoop Glow Screen SPF 40
Sunscreen that doubles as a skin enhancer? That’s what I would best describe the Supergoop Glow Screen SPF 40!
This broad-spectrum chemical sunscreen offers full sun protection, and has a comfortable to wear and non-irritating formula. Plus it gives skin the most gorgeous, dewy glow. (That’s pretty enough to go makeup free, or to use as a glowy base). Skin feels as healthy and nourished as it looks with this face sunscreen, thanks to hydrating hyaluronic acid and Vitamin B5!
My favorite thing about it: definitely that glow! I often opt for this when I don’t feel like putting any makeup on, but still want my skin to look amazing!
Dr. Dennis Gross All Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30
It certainly is a mouthful, but the Dr. Dennis Gross All Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen is one of the best face sunscreens currently on the market!
As the name states, the formula is extremely lightweight, as well as gentle and comfortable to wear. It’s oil-free and blends effortlessly into skin, leaving a very natural finish, no white cast! The ball point applicator allows for no mess, making it the best for on-the-go applying!
My favorite thing about it: the applicator, the formula, everything!
Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
This affordable chemical broad-spectrum sunscreen is perfect for all skin types, including acne-prone skin!
The Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 has an extremely lightweight texture and fragrance-free formula. This matte finish SPF that feels weightless on skin, layers easily on top of other skincare products and wears well underneath makeup.
My favorite thing about it: it won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts!
La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
Perfect for both body and face, the La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 is a must-have!
This chemical broad-spectrum sunscreen features La Roche Posay’s Cell-Ox Shield technology that combines UVA and UVB filters with skin-beneficial antioxidants. The formula itself is extremely lightweight and creamy, and instantly absorbs and melts into skin. Your skin is left with a natural finish, and no white cast!
My favorite thing about it: Everything! And although La Roche Posay has a huge range of amazing sunscreens, this one has to be my all time favorite!
Innisfree Daily UV Defense SPF 36
Reaching a much-deserved viral status, the Innisfree Daily UV Defense SPF 36 lives up to the hype.
This is a super affordable broad-spectrum chemical sunscreen. It soothes skin and offers other healthy benefits thanks to superstar ingredients like green tea, cica, and sunflower seed oil. It’s lightweight and applies just like a moisturizer, blending into skin easily.
My favorite thing about it: it’s so affordable. Which helps to prove that high quality products don’t always have to be expensive!
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50 Sunscreen
This award-winning broad-spectrum chemical sunscreen leaves skin looking and feeling amazing, while offering plenty of UV protection!
The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50 Sunscreen goes on clear, without any white cast or heavy residue. It’s easy to rub in and applies evenly, leaving skin with a subtle glow. This also helps keep skin hydrated throughout the day!
My favorite thing about it: it’s perfect for both face and body! The clear formula makes application so easy!
Cocokind Daily SPF 32
The Cocokind Daily SPF 32 is definitely one of the best face sunscreens out there!
This one is a zinc oxide mineral broad-spectrum SPF that gives skin a natural looking finish with no white cast. No need to worry about skin looking or feeling greasy either! The formula is comfortable and wears well under makeup, no pilling or streaking!
My favorite thing about it: it’s so comfortable and lightweight on skin!
Sun Bum Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30
The Sun Bum Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30 is a convenient and easy way to apply sunscreen!
This super affordable broad-spectrum chemical sunscreen offers quick and simple sun protection, and makes reapplication a breeze! Featuring skin-loving ingredients like Vitamin E that helps to neutralize free radicals, and soothing aloe lotion!
My favorite thing about it: it’s easy to use and smells just like summer!