Undetectable SPF to wear under make-up, approved by our beauty editor

Posted by
Lucy Partington

Is there such a thing as too much SPF content? We’re not convinced there is so here’s some more.

Let me start by apologising to anybody who’s ever clicked on my author tag, to anybody who’s ever spoken to me in real life, and to anybody who’s ever asked me for skincare advice. I’m sorry for only ever talking and writing about SPF.

I know it’s all I ever harp on about, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my seven years as a beauty journalist it’s that it’s imperative for every person in the world to wear it every single day. 

You may also like

The 8 best beauty products you’ve probably never heard of

In fact, it’s essentially become my life mission to make sure that happens. I want it to be my legacy, the thing that I’m known for when I’m no longer here. Can you tell I’m passionate about it?

SPF is one of those divisive topics. Some think they’re better than it (you’re not), others think they don’t need to wear it in the UK (you do), some believe it’s too thick, white, greasy or oily and it breaks them out in spots (not if you choose the right formula) but most of all I get people saying they can’t find one that sits well under make-up.

However, SPF has come a long way in the last few years. Formulas are so much better and more invisible than ever before.

Trust me, I get it: finding the perfect product that works for you and your skin type can be difficult. So, in a bid to make things slightly easier, I’ve rounded up the best sunscreens that I’ve used (and finished) in the last few months - and, just in case you’re interested I apply sunscreen every morning as the last step in my skincare routine, after cleansing and Vitamin C and before either primer or foundation. 

None of the products that I’ve mentioned below have caused me to breakout or left my skin oily, instead they’re virtually undetectable once rubbed in and actually, are a real pleasure to use. Because yes, I would go as far as saying that I enjoy putting SPF on. Sorry.

So please: make me happy, do the right thing. Pick one, treat yourself, protect your skin and let me know how you get on.

The best every day, beauty editor-approved SPF to wear under make-up

  • Cerave Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF25

    I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, the one downside of this is that it’s only factor 25. Experts and dermatologists say you need a minimum of SPF30, but I had to include it anyway because I do really love it. Cerave is one of my favourite affordable brands and I find this product in particular – as its name suggests – really hydrating but not at all greasy. It’s formulated with niacinamide which means it’s soothing, too. 

  • Glossier Daily Sunscreen Invisible Shield


    I’ll be honest and say that, for some reason, I didn’t really trust Glossier as a brand when it came to SPF. I’m not entirely sure why but I now realise the error of my ways and I wish I’d tried Invisible Shield a lot sooner. It’s slightly fragranced which I’m not necessarily a fan of, but the fact it truly is invisible on skin, doesn’t leave any sort of greasy residue or film, and the addition of antioxidants means this has shot straight into my top three of all time (which, as I’m sure is already obvious, is a list that I take very seriously). 

  • Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense Aqua Gel SPF50


    I’d never tried an SPF from Kiehl’s before this launched, but I actually fell in love with it pretty quickly. The gel-like, lightweight formula basically disappeared seconds after application, it didn’t leave my skin feeling sticky and it’s non-comedogenic and fragrance-free – both of which mean it gets an even bigger tick from me.

  • Medik8 Advanced Total Day Protect SPF30


    This was the product that got me into wearing SPF every day. Medik8 is one of my favourite skincare brands that I trust implicitly, and I love that this feels more like a hydrating moisturiser than anything else. It’s free of alcohol and fragrance, it has antioxidant protection and it has additional blue light defence, too. 

  • Rituals The Ritual of Namaste SPF50


    I didn’t even realise Rituals did SPF until I was introduced to this new launch. I found this sunscreen super lightweight (it’s also oil-free), but it left a nice glow on my skin - that I did actually really like - and my make-up applied extremely well on top. My only negative is that the bottle is quite small so it didn’t last very long, but it was a good size for taking away on holiday with me. Highs and lows, I guess. 

  • Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF50


    I was prescribed this last year when I went to see Harley Street dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk and loved it so much, I’ve gone through at least three tubes. I love that it’s SPF50, absorbs quickly and easily and actually leaves my skin really soft and smooth which acted as a great base for my foundation. 

Want make-up tips, skincare advice and more? Sign up for the Stylist Loves Beauty email

Images: courtesy of brands


Share this article


Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

Recommended by Lucy Partington


How to address stressed skin, according to a psychodermatologist

And how to help your skin cope

Posted by
Amelia Jean Jones

This online clinic is making dermatology accessible and affordable

Prescriptions are delivered directly to your door

Posted by
Lucy Partington

Reef safe sunscreen: the best facial SPFs that are kind to the environment

Our SPF usage is damaging the oceans beyond repair.

Posted by
Lucy Partington

This is how to reapply sunscreen over your make-up

It's easier than you think

Posted by
Lucy Partington