For all the press and preaching to “use your sunscreen”, the fact is, people still find reasons not to use it. We tend to tune out the warnings about premature aging and skin cancer because we just can’t find a sunscreen that we’d actually want to wear every day. I get it, I really do.
In response, companies are finally coming around to the fact that people want performance, but also a sunscreen that doesn’t feel gross, oily or leave a white cast. You can have the best sunscreen in the world, but if you won’t wear it, it does absolutely no good. Each sunscreen I’ve picked offers UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection over SPF 15, most are SPF 30 or over.
These are my picks for best sunscreens you’ll actually wear:
My #1 pick overall is Glossier’s new Invisible Shield SPF 35 Daily Sunscreen. This sunscreen doesn’t look or feel like you have sunscreen on. The sunscreen is a clear gel that is perfect for wearing under makeup. The formula is hydrating, with antioxidants and a bit of Sweet Orange Peel Oil (which some might be sensitive to, YMMV). Apply as the last step in your skin care regimen and before makeup application. It’s hypoallergenic and cruelty-free, too. Love!
IT Cosmetics Confidence In A Compact SPF50+ [review] is a solid serum makeup with SPF 50. This makeup feels so elegant on, you’d hardly know it’s considered a physical sunscreen. I love this foundation, because it hydrates skin with buildable, blendable, breatheable coverage. And although there is both Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide in the formula, this doesn’t feel heavy.
Shiseido Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ is a water-resistant, tinted sunscreen that is great if you want a little coverage, but are going to be outside. It feels like a BB cream and offers a bit of coverage. If you’re outside and sweating, no worries because the WetForce technology activates once water or perspiration is detected. I wore this every day on my trip to Cabo San Lucas and my skin never looked or felt greasy. Available in three shades: Light, Medium (this is what I tested) and Dark. Water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
For those with sensitive skins that may need/want an oil-free formula, I recommend the Eau Thermale AVENE Complexion Correcting Shield 50+. This 100% mineral sunscreen is available in three shades, provides medium to full coverage and has the feel of a tinted moisturizer–with a soft focus finish. With this formula, although I’m a light-medium, I went with the Light shade and that was a good pick.
Farmacy Green Screen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is my pick for someone that is looking for a more natural option. This mineral-based sunscreen contains natural antioxidants, while guarding against the environmental factors associated with skin aging. Green Screen is unique in that it helps guard against free radicals emitted from smart phones and computers, which can lead to accelerated photo aging. This is a light formula that absorbs quickly, has a matte finish and is non-greasy. This sunscreen should be applied over your moisturizer or under makeup.
Kate Somerville UncompliKated Makeup Setting Spray SPF 50 is one of my latest obsessions. This product is a fine-misting spray that sets makeup, controls oil and reduces shine, while providing a matte finish and delivering clear sunscreen protection. Brilliant! There weren’t any guidelines about how much to use, so I count 1001, 1002, etc. up to 1005 while spraying in a circular motion around face. I love that it is virtually undetectable. If you really don’t like sunscreens, you need to try this product!
If you’re looking for a good moisturizer with sunscreen, then I like the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Sunscreen SPF 30. Ultra Facial Cream is one of Kiehl’s best moisturizers, and now with the addition of sunscreen, it’s even better. I can tell you that this light moisturizer thoroughly hydrates, and doesn’t make your skin greasy. Let it fully absorb into skin before makeup application.
I love cushion compact foundations, so having the option of sun protection in a cushion compact was really appealing to me. The AmorePacific Resort Collection Sun Protection Cushion Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ offers a weightless texture, while being housed in a luxurious compact. The formula is lightweight, not tinted (although when sponged on it’s slightly white; that disappears once blended in) and doesn’t have a greasy feel. You can use this sunscreen over or under makeup. It is scented, so if you’re fragrance-sensitive, you should consider another formula. Great for travel!
Eyes and lips are some of the most sensitive areas of the face, so sun protection is essential. For eyes, I recommend Origins A Perfect World SPF 20 Age-Defense Eye Cream. This is a 100% mineral-based sunscreen, with anti-aging antioxidants like White Tea in the formula. Helps protect against UV damage and environmental aggressors. Context Skin Lip Repair SPF 30 is an unflavored balm that protects and moisturizes lips. The certified organic formula is nourishing, while being fragrance-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free.
I’ve done numerous posts on sunscreens for the body, so I won’t rehash those (you can find many recommendations here). For this update, I wanted to focus on sunscreens that felt good on the skin, while offering protection.
Clinique’s new Virtu-Oil Body Mist SPF 30 is amazing. It’s a lightweight spray-on body mist that’s oil-free, sheer and weightless. There is a slightly cooling sensation with no greasy feel, no residue–it really is almost virtually undetectable once applied. This is an excellent fragrance-free option, too.
And perhaps the sunscreen that I most enjoyed trying was the Supergoop Super Power Sunscreen Mousse Broad Spectrum SPF 50, because who can’t have fun when mousse is involved? The formula is super light without leaving a residue. It’s also hydrating, easily absorbable and has a slightly fruity scent, which dissipates quickly. To get adequate coverage, you need to be generous with the amount that you apply. It’s recommended that you apply a golfball-sized amount to each arm, two for each leg, one for neck and the chest area. This is a water-resistant formula, up to 80 minutes. After that, reapply.
Now that we’ve got the sunscreen covered, all I need is some sun!
Disclosure: Press samples have been provided by the brand/PR for editorial consideration, product testing, photography and review. Affiliate links have been used in the post; see Disclosure Policy for additional information.