Best SPF sun creams for your face that protect and moisturise

·10-min read
 (Coola)
(Coola)

After a long, drawn-out winter in lockdown, summer is finally here.

Whether you are a sun worshipper, shade hogger or outdoor adventurer, we cannot stress enough the importance of adding sunscreen to your warm weather plans this summer and beyond.

A reliable sun cream should be one of the most important items on your holiday checklist - no matter if you’re basking in the British sunshine on a staycation or jetting off to far flung destinations (here’s hoping!).

While coating our complexions in lotions and potions up during the summer has been stressed since we were children, it should play a staple part in your skincare regime come rain or shine.

Apply half a teaspoon each day to give your skin sufficient coverage from harmful UVA and UVB rays as well as blue light that can cause premature skin ageing, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tones.

Dr Thivi Maruthappu Consultant Dermatologist at The Skin Health Alliance explains, “UV light is the number one cause of fine lines and wrinkles and so it makes total sense why we recommend wearing factor 30 SPF on a daily basis, even if you are spending time indoors as the light still passes through window glass. Think of it as part of your regular morning routine, like brushing your teeth.”

Gone are the days in which sun creams are sticky, chalky and laborious. Innovation in suncare protection has come on leaps and bounds with second skin-like formulas that feel lightweight and don’t leave residue or a white cast – so you can focus on what really matters; sun, sea and sangria.

We have tried and tested the best SPFs for your face with high-factor protection and quick and easy absorption.

Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30

Direct from the US, Supergoop has hit British shores with a bang. The suncare label is beloved by editors and dermatologists alike for the ease that it brings to the application process. From the Unseen Sunscreen and the Everyday Lotion, to the newest launch, Glowscreen, the products are efficacious and absorb quickly and seamlessly into the skin. This is not suncream as you’ve previously known it - it’s non-comedogenic, can be used on all skin tones and doubles up as a primer. Glowscreen gets our top pick for the dewy finish that the pearlescent formula provides. A hit of hydration, a natural glow (that’s not oily, sticky or greasy) and SPF 30 - what could be better? It’s also reef-safe and cruelty-free.

 (Supergoop!)
(Supergoop!)

£15 | Cult Beauty

Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+

As the clever name suggests, sun protection is this Aussie brand’s bread and butter. Referred to as ‘skinscreen’ by its adoring fans, the products combine suncare with a host of powerhouse ingredients that will delight skincare lovers. There are mineral, chemical and even an SPF lip balm to choose from. For the Luminising Sun Serum, the formula contains a huge radiance boost from the vitamin C-rich kakadu plum that is found in the label’s native country and is said to have 50 times more of the glow-getting ingredient than an orange. The silky serum texture absorbs seamlessly into the skin and can be layered up with ease. It has broad spectrum and blue light protection with SPF50. Bonus points go to the very lightly scented lovely rose aroma.

 (Ultra Violette)
(Ultra Violette)

£36 | Space NK

Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF50

Don’t be put off by the eye-watering price tag. If you’ll pay up for your favourite skincare brands, you should be doing the same for your everyday SPF - otherwise, what is the point in the former? For those with blemish-prone or easily sensitive skin, Dr Barbara Sturm has created the now iconic Sun Drops to protect you from the harmful rays of the sun, while not aggravating your concerns. The formula is packed with vitamin E and cassine extract that encourage cell regeneration as well as glycerine and arginine that have hydrating effects and will protect against free radical damage respectively. It also feels lightweight so can be used as the last step in your skincare regime, combined with your moisturiser or be placed under makeup without skin feeling overloaded.

 (Dr Barbara Sturm)
(Dr Barbara Sturm)

£110 | Space NK

Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face SPF30

This mineral sun cream from Clinique is great for those who find traditional chemical suncare irritating - literally and in terms of their often cumbersome textures. It is an oil-free formula that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to deflect the sun rays as they reach you (chemical sun creams absorb the rays). The product itself is extremely lightweight and melts into the skin on application without leaving a white cast behind. It dries quickly and then you can apply makeup on top with no issues of flaking or clumping.

 (Clinique)
(Clinique)

£23 | lookfantastic

Coola Full Spectrum 360 Sun Silk Drops Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30

Coola is beloved by the suncream community for its natural and organic-based suncare. We are huge fans of the Pina Colada scented products but for face, the label excels in its Sun Silk Drops that live up to the name with its smooth, luxurious texture. Feel-good, do-good, the formula will protect against UV rays, infrared and blue light, harnessing the power of 70 per cent certified organic ingredients. No sticky or tacky residue here, its super lightweight and gives a very welcomed luminous finish.

 (Coola)
(Coola)

£44 | Cult Beauty

Dr Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross knows a thing or two about skin ageing. While protecting against UV rays that can cause premature ageing, Sun Defense is also reversing signs of previous damage - it’s the total package. Sunscreen and skincare in one, it has a broad spectrum high SPF50, while also treating skin to a combination of nourishing and hydrating ingredients. This includes three forms of vitamin C, vitamin E and melatonin complex that acts as anti-ageing cream by giving your skin a boost of elasticity and brightening dark spots.

 (Dr Dennis Gross)
(Dr Dennis Gross)

£46 | Cult Beauty

The Inkey List SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen

For a no-fuss, no-frills approach to skincare, look no further than The Inkey List and its range of products that do exactly what they say on the tin. Straightforward and efficacious, this 100 per cent mineral product gives UVA and UVB protection, while also being vegan, cruelty-free, reef-safe and free from any fragrance. The product can be used on all skin types including those with sensitive skin and is non-comedogenic so works for blemish-prone too. The combination on zinc oxide with the added bonus of Shea butter ensures that while it’s defending you complexion from free radicals that it’s nourishing it at the same time.

 (The Inkey List)
(The Inkey List)

£14.99 | Cult Beauty

Caudalie Anti-Wrinkle Face Suncare SPF50

Applying this cream from Caudalie feels like a luxurious treat. Gone are the days when SPF was an arduous chore, this suncare product makes light work of the application process. The formula is made up of the French label’s signature ingredient - organic grape water - to soothe skin. It will sit undetected under your makeup but still packs a powerful protective punch, shielding from UVA and UVB rays. It’s not sticky on the skin and is free from any nasties and so, it’s non-toxic to marine life. The product has a beautiful but subtle floral fragrance.

 (Caudalie)
(Caudalie)

From £9.50 | Cult Beauty

NUXE Sun High Protection Fondant Cream for Face SPF 50

Sun worshippers, you’re in for a treat with Nuxe. This SPF for the face is formulated with the Kau Pe sun flower to support skin’s resilience and prevent you from overheating. This is combined with the hydrating benefits of water hyacinth that results in solid sun protection that will not add to your skin concerns. The product gives a natural glow to the skin and even works to minimise the appearance of dark spots.

 (NUXE)
(NUXE)

£19.50 | lookfantastic

Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF25

When it comes to skincare, Beauty Pie really can do no wrong, so it comes as no surprise that their SPF is of impeccable quality. While it’s a targeted SPF, the formula feels much more like a smoothing, velvety moisturiser or luxurious makeup primer, meaning you no longer have to apply three products in a row if you reach for this. It’s also loaded with ‘it’ hydrating ingredient hyaluronic acid.

£9.95 for members, £35 for non-members | Beauty Pie

SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF 50

A mineral sunscreen that is best used after a good shake, this lotion is so lightweight it’s practically undetectable when applied. The pleasant texture and skin-friendly ingredients mean this is ideal for any skin type, even the highly sensitive. It’s water-resistant, has excellent high protection, and is matte in finish, making it a great all-rounder.

£37 | lookfantastic

Jurlique UV Defence High Protection Lotion SPF 50

If you don’t like the standard scent of sunscreen, this oil-free formula from Jurlique is exactly what you need. Famed for their botanical-based skincare, much of which is rose imbued, the cult Aussie brand’s high protection SPF smells incredible and also doubles as an effective primer. There is no white cast and the slight shine dissolves nicely within a few minutes. Reapply every two to three hours if you are planning on a long day of direct sunshine or simply add to your morning makeup routine as a crucial first step. It is pricey for the amount you get (50ml), but it does stretch well and should see you through at least half of the summer with continued use.

£35 | Jurlique

Aesop Protective Facial Lotion SPF25

When Aesop first introduced this product into their range several years ago, they couldn’t keep it from flying off the shelves. The chic-looking tube houses a light, velvety lotion that sinks in with ease and won’t feel heavy over moisturiser. And with a matte finish, this works wonderfully prior to makeup application, especially if you have an oilier complexion.

£39 | Aesop

REN Clean Screen Mineral Sun Cream SPF 30

Mineral sunscreens (as opposed to chemical sunscreens) are so often associated with thick formulas and white residues that they were shunned for years. However, with our growing concern for the oceans, brands are starting to bring back reef-safe mineral SPFs but in a new, modern way. This one is a great example; it protects effectively, is safe to wear in the oceans without harming our eco-system, and it absolutely doesn’t leave any product behind.

£32 | John Lewis

Glossier Invisible Shield Daily sunscreen SPF 30

A fuss-free formula developed for Glossier’s legions of fuss-free fans who just want simple, easy-to-wear protection. The product has a water-gel formula that’s transparent, meaning it won’t leave any visible, unwanted residue. With an SPF 30, this is a great non-detectable option to apply before makeup application every morning.

£20 | Glossier

Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF 50 PA++++

Kiehl’s has always excelled in the suncare category, and their newest gel formula is their lightest, most comfortable yet. Ideal for normal to oily skin types, this effortlessly glides onto skin and absorbs quickly, without feeling greasy or leaving a white cast in its wake. As well as UVA and UVB rays, it also protects against pollution, and has a non-shine finish ideal for everyday wear.

£29 | Kiehl’s

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra-Light Facial Sun Cream SPF50

As with most of La Roche-Posay’s skincare products, this has been designed for sensitive skin, so if you fear bothering your already on edge complexion, it’s the bottle to reach for. It boasts an ultra-lightweight milky texture, which is thickened slightly after shaking. And as well as offering very high protection, the cream is also waterproof, sand-proof, and sweat-proof, meaning it’s just as suitable for city life as it is for the beach.

£13.12 | Boots

Verdict

From the crop above, it is clear that suncare has come a long way from the white, sticky textures of time gone by. For everyday use, Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30 has revolutionised the game. It deflects UV rays, won’t clog pores, doesn’t feel greasy and that luminescent finish is unrivalled. Honourable mention also goes to Ultra Violette and its range of luxurious protective products that make daily application a breeze.

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