best spf under makeup

Best face SPF: 14 beauty team-approved formulas to wear all year round

Posted by and for Skincare

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We’ve rounded up the best SPFs to wear under make-up or alone. They’re non-greasy, non-ashy and won’t break you out.

We know it’s all we ever harp on about, but if there’s one beauty truth in this world, it’s that it’s imperative for every person to wear at least factor 30 sunscreen every single day. In fact, it’s essentially become our mission to make sure that happens. (Can you tell we’re passionate about it?) And given that 90% of skin ageing is caused by UVA and UVB rays, it’s for good reason.

And the SPF in your moisturiser or foundation isn’t enough – you need a separate product. Plus, it’s been proven that wearing sunscreen can actually help improve existing wrinkles, pigmentation and texture. 

That said, we’re aware that SPF can be a divisive topic. Some think they’re better than it (you’re not), others think they don’t need to wear it in the UK (you absolutely do, all year round), some believe it’s too thick, white, greasy or oily and it causes them to break out in spots (not if you choose the right formula). 

It’s also vital that you still wear sunscreen when you’re not outside. Believe it or not, UVA rays can penetrate both clouds and windows. So even when you’re sitting daydreaming at your desk, it’s essential that you protect your skin as much as possible. 

Don’t despair, though, because SPF has come a long way in the last few years. Formulas are so much better and less visible than ever before, which means they’re much nicer to use and sit well under make-up.

Trust me, though, we 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, we’ve rounded up the best sunscreens that we’ve used (and finished) in the last few months. Just in case you’re interested, we apply sunscreen every morning as the last step in our skincare routines, after cleansing and vitamin C and before either primer or foundation. 

All of the products mentioned below come on the recommendation of Stylist’s expert beauty team. So please: make us happy, do the right thing. Pick one, treat yourself, protect your skin and let us know how you get on.

14 best face SPFs to wear under make-up, approved by Stylist’s expert beauty team

  • Lancaster Sun Protective Water SPF50

    best facial spf lancaster sun

    Morgan, senior beauty writer: A refreshing, sheer fluid that doesn’t leave a residue of any sort behind, this SPF water spray feels cooling and hydrating on the skin. Best applied before make-up, this spray is fast-absorbing, but do wait a few minutes before using complexion products to make sure the SPF has sunk in.

    Shop Lancaster Sun Protective Water SPF50 at Lookfantastic, £24.30

  • Glossier Invisible Shield SPF30

    Best Facial SPF 2022

    Lucy, contributing beauty editor: 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 that it truly is invisible on the 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).

    Shop Glossier Invisible Shield SPF30, £20

  • Avène Very High Protection B-Protect SPF50+ Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin

    Best Facial SPF 2022

    Morgan, senior beauty writer: As someone with incredibly sensitive, reactive skin, I feel you when you say sunscreen is the devil’s work – another product to wait and see if you break out in itchy splotches from. Categorically not the one. 

    This formula is designed specifically for our skin type, it contains the brand’s signature thermal spring water to soothe and hydrate sensitive skin, as well as UV and anti-pollution ingredients, too. 

    Shop Avène Very High Protection B-Protect SPF50+ Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin at Lookfantastic, £14.50

  • SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF50 Sunscreen

    best facial spf skinceuticals

    Morgan, senior beauty writer: A moisturising, lightweight lotion that sits well under make-up, Skinceuticals is renowned for efficacious products with myriad skincare benefits and this SPF is no different – it helps protect against hyperpigmentation and the damage from sun exposure.

    Shop SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF50 Sunscreen at Lookfantastic, £41

  • Saltee Face Daily Protection Formula SPF50

    best facial spf saltee

    Morgan, senior beauty writer: Enriched with moisturising ingredients like avocado oil, neroli oil and vitamin E, this vegan sunscreen is lightweight and soothing, helping to reduce the appearance of redness, tiredness and hyperpigmentation.

    Shop Saltee Face Daily Protection Formula SPF50 at Lookfantastic, £32

  • Hello Sunday The Take-Out One Invisible Sun Stick SPF 30

    Best Facial SPF 2022

    Morgan, senior beauty writer: An easy-to-use invisible stick, this SPF30 from Hello Sunday can be swiped along your face and forgotten about. It’s lightweight (and vegan) and works for all skin tones – a godsend if you’re sharing SPF with a friend or partner. 

    Shop Hello Sunday The Take-Out One Invisible Sun Stick SPF 30 at Cult Beauty, £15

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Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is 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.

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