You’ve heard it a million times: Sunscreen is the most important part of one’s skin care routine. Still, it feels like a chore to apply (and re-apply) every single day.
That’s especially true for face sunscreen, which people often think they can skip. It’s true that facial sunscreen gets a bad rap for being too thick or greasy or just flat-out incompatible with your other products and/or makeup. But applying sunscreen on your face is the first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays and their effects — namely, premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Unless you’re wearing a full-face mask, carrying an umbrella everywhere you go or wearing a very wide-brimmed hat all the time, your face is exposed to both UVA and UVB rays regularly. So cover it up.
If you’re one of the many who don’t wear sunscreen on the regular, perhaps you just haven’t found the right product. But that’s where we come in. Below, check out the face sunscreens and moisturizer-sunscreen combos (perfect for anyone who hates a lengthy skin care routine) our editors swear by.
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1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 55
“I went years without wearing sunscreen religiously when I was younger and have a face full of freckles to show for it. These days, I’ve learned my lesson: If I’m going to remain in LA, I can’t forgo SPF. I have friends that swear by Shiseido and stock up on it whenever Sephora has its Beauty Insider sale, but I don’t use anything too fancy. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch water resistant and non-greasy sunscreen lotion with broad spectrum SPF 55 is my go-to. The formula feels light, my makeup blends nicely over it, and it doesn’t feel greasy like other sunscreens I’ve used before.” ― Brittany Wong, senior lifestyle reporter
Get the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen lotion with SPF 55 for $7.97.
2. Naturopathica Daily UV Defense Cream SPF 50
“This sunscreen is decidedly sticky, which I prefer over slippery sunscreens on days when I’m going makeup-free and don’t want to take any chances with sun damage. It’s got a light, natural scent and won’t budge from your face, thanks to zinc oxide.” ― Kristen Aiken, senior editor of food and style
Get the Naturopathica Daily UV Defense cream SPF 50 for $58.
3. Image Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturizer SPF 32+
“This is my go-to for everyday sunscreen because it’s perfect for wearing under makeup, whether you wear foundation or just a light BB cream. It’s oil-free and goes on matte, providing the perfect canvas for makeup to glide on over, and it doesn’t smell like a typical sunscreen — it’s light and a little fruity.” ― Aiken
Get the Image Skincare Prevention+ daily matte moisturizer SPF 32+ for $40.
4. Elta MD UV Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 45
“It’s oil-free and it’s light, offers full protection, works great on the body too, absorbs well, leaves no residue, blends well with other products and doesn’t stain at all. It’s about $30 but worth every cent. It’s not to be confused with the SPF 46, which is great too and made for sensitive and acne-prone skin, [or those with] rosacea or hyper-pigmentation. I’ve used that one too, but once they made an oil-free version, I never looked back.” ― Izzy Best, video producer
Get the EltaMD UV Shield broad-spectrum SPF 45 sunscreen at authorized physicians’ offices. Price may differ.
5. Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46
“I started wearing EltaMD UV Clear probably five years ago and it’s helped my sensitive skin so much. It’s a moisturizing sunscreen (SPF 46) that doesn’t feel like a sunscreen and it’s perfect for someone who has acne-rosacea like me. It’s worth the money in my opinion! I’ll never wear anything else.” ― Carly Ledbetter, lifestyle reporter
Get the EltaMD UV Clear broad-spectrum SPF 46 sunscreen for $40.
6. Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 15
“When I need something quick to throw on because I’m running an errand and will have short exposure to the sun, I use Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15. It absorbs nice and quickly and doesn’t feel like it just sits on your skin.” ― Wong
Get the Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 for $21.67.
7. Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+
“I love this Kiehl’s facial sunscreen because it’s ― as the name suggests ― super fluid and thin to apply. It’s a white color but takes no time to blend in and provides SPF 50 coverage not only from the sun but from pollution. I tend to burn easily and get lazy about reapplying sunscreen (I know, I know…) but this makes it super easy to remember and reapply at the beach.” ― Jamie Feldman, reporter, personal and lifestyle
Get Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense sunscreen for $38.
8. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
“I love the way the buttery gel stretches across the skin and leaves me with a soft, velvet finish, almost like a primer. It’s a thick enough barrier to make me feel like I’m wearing something without actually being heavy on the skin. It’s also amazing under makeup, especially in the summer, so I don’t have to worry about it melting off.” ― Danielle Gonzalez, lifestyle commerce specialist
Get the Supergoop! Unseen sunscreen for $32.
9. Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen
“I usually find mineral sunscreens to be way too thick for me, but when I tried this Drunk Elephant version, I was pleasantly surprised. The formula was admittedly thick, but it blended in well, didn’t make me look like I was covered in chalk and didn’t feel too heavy. The only thing I don’t love about it is the smell, but it dissipates very quickly.” ― Julia Brucculieri, beauty and style reporter
Get the Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense broad spectrum sunscreen for $34.
10. CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50
“It’s ultra-light but spreads beautifully. And it smells lovely.” ― Molly Redden, senior politics reporter
Get the CosRX Aloe soothing sun cream for $15.
11. Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray
“I haven’t used [this product] much in the winter, but it’s a staple of my summer makeup routine. I like how easy it is to use: Just shake, spritz across your freshly made-up face, and you’re good to go! It has a nice, fresh smell too!” ― Brittany Nims, manager of commerce content
Get the Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 soft focus makeup setting spray for $38.
12. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 100
“I like that it doesn’t feel greasy on my face. It also doesn’t hate my moisturizer, so I don’t have to worry about the products just sitting on top of each other. A little really does go a long way.” ― Rowaida Abdelaziz, reporter
Get the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen with SPF 100 for $12.99.
13. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Tinted Sunscreen
“I’m too lazy to put on makeup, so this evens things out a little and is also a mineral sunscreen, so I can put it around my eyes, because the chemical sunscreen burns and burns.” ― Lisa Yeung, managing editor of lifestyle and perspectives at HuffPost Canada
Get the La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 mineral ultra-light tinted sunscreen fluid for $33.99.
14. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer With SPF 30
“If you’re dark-skinned, it’s really hard to find a sunscreen lotion that doesn’t make you look ashy, purple or stripy. This one [doesn’t do those things]. It feels like my favorite moisturizer, and I know I’m getting protected. The bottle lasts a long time and you can wear it under makeup.” ― TK Matunda, producer of HuffPost Canada’s Born & Raised podcast
Get the Aveeno Positively Radiant daily moisturizer with SPF 30 for $13.97.
15. Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer With SPF 15
“I recommend Olay Complete All Day SPF 15 for the girl who always forgets the sunscreen step. I like the convenience of it. I’ve been using Olay products since I was a kid; so has my mom and my grandma and my great-grandma. I never liked putting a lot things on my face except water and a gentle lotion. So when I found out that my fave moisturizer also came with some SPF, sunscreen has just been an easier thing to make sure I do regularly.” ― Jolie Doggett, reporter
Get the Olay Complete daily moisturizer with SPF 15 for $10.99.
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