The 10 Best Face Sunscreens That You Can Wear With Makeup
By now, you're likely well aware of how important sunscreen is for preventing skin cancer and also keeping a youthful glow—it helps your skin retain moisture and staves off wrinkles. But finding a formula that fits your lifestyle (not to mention, one you'll actually want to wear every day) is another issue. You want to choose a face sunscreen that rubs in clear, has a nice texture, sits well over or under your makeup—think: won't budge, pill, make you look excessively oily, or leave an annoying white cast—and can be reapplied throughout the day.
While some foundations and powders claim to have SPF, it's usually not enough to protect your skin. The reason? "It's likely not a high enough SPF, you're not applying enough of it, and you might not be spreading it evenly across the entire face," explains Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a dermatologist at Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut. Instead, look for a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher and apply strips of sunscreen to two fingers, which is the ideal amount of sun protection you want for your face and neck. You can then apply your makeup on top of you sunscreen.
Understanding the types of sunscreen—mineral or chemical—is also important, so that you can pick the right one for you, and use it correctly. Mineral sunscreens contain ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, while chemical SPFs have ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, or oxybenzone, says Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a dermatologist at Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut. Mineral sunscreens are also known as physical sunscreens because they sit on top of the skin and act as a barrier and repel UV rays, she adds. On the other hand, a chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin, transforms UV rays into heat, and then releases it.
Now that you have some idea of what to look for, keep scrolling for the best sunscreen for face under makeup, according to dermatologists and customer reviews.
Best Sunscreen in a Compact: Skin Better Science Sunbetter Sheer SPF 56 Sunscreen Compact
Since physical sunscreens typically work best as the very last layer in your skincare and makeup routine, SPF compacts are a great reapplication method. Dr. Robinson likes this sheer mineral compact for on-the-go touch-ups throughout the day. It's also available in a tinted version for a bit of color correcting and very light coverage.
Best Powder Sunscreen: ISDIN Mineral Brush Powder
Another super easy product for mid-day sunscreen application is an SPF powder. This one pumps through the brush head for goof-proof application. Also nice? The nearly-translucent powder is invisible for most skin tones, meaning it won't leave a white cast. Dr. Robinson recommends using it to blot shine, as well as to reapply sunscreen without messing up your makeup. (And Amazon reviewers agree, noting that it works great over makeup.)
One fan wrote: "I have melasma so I'm very particular with what products I use on my face. [The] powder has really made a difference it has helped clear the dark spots while protecting my face from computer light and sun light will keep on ordering more highly recommend it."
Best Glowy Formula: Colorescience Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50
If you're all about glowing skin, then this sunscreen will become your BFF. Available in two shades—bronze and glow—it gives skin a dewy radiance, with SPF 50 protection to boot. The zinc oxide and iron oxide formula protects against UVA and UVB rays, as well as blue light—like those emitted by phone and computer screens. Your skin will look flawless, whether you're in office or Zoom meetings, since it functions as a shimmery primer for beneath foundation or your tinted moisturizer.
It's earned more than 1,700 five-star ratings from Amazon customers, who say that it works well under and on top of makeup. "This tinted, mineral-based, fragrance-free sunscreen is lightweight [and] moisturizing, but not greasy or heavy feeling, and plays very well under makeup," reported a shopper.
Best Natural SPF: Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen
Clean or natural sunscreens used to be synonymous with thick, white, unspreadable formulas, but cosmetic chemistry has come a long way. The texture of this Biossance zinc-based sunscreen is a lightweight fluid that glides across skin thanks to water lily and ultra hydrating squalane (an emollient that seals in moisturize and minimizes moisture loss).
One reviewer said: "I found and chose this product purposefully because it had reviews of not leaving a "white cast" look and it truly doesn't make you look ghostly. The product is light weight-ish. If I apply before my makeup i can't feel it at all."
Best Invisible Sunscreen: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Packed with antioxidants, this sunscreen features red algae, frankincense, and a complex derived from meadowfoam seed to hydrate, soothe, and protect skin from the sun and blue light from your electronic devices. The formula is translucent, lightweight, and scentless, and the texture is like that of a pore-filling primer, helping makeup grip your face. Amazon shoppers love how it doesn't leave a white cast or pill when worn with makeup.
"The holy grail of facial sunscreens for those who wear makeup or prefer an invisible formula!!!" raved a fan. "I have tried many, facial sunscreens. I have found then oily, heavy and/or leaving a white cast. I keep seeing posts about Supergoop so I ordered the small size... expecting it to be like the others. Nope! It is perfect for me! I apply it on top of my skincare [products] and under my makeup. I cannot tell that it's there! I love knowing that I'm protecting my skin and Supergoop truly is invisible."
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
For anyone on the hunt for a fully zinc option that's affordable, look no further than this drugstore option. The lightweight formula is chock full of antioxidants, oil-free, non-comedogenic (read: won't clog pores), and boasts UVA and UVB protection—all for less than $20 a tube.
"I have been in the dermatology field for 20+ years and have tried numerous sunscreens. Zinc is the best, as it blocks UV light. I have sun damage from my teenage years and I do laser treatments. This sunscreen covers everything and blends well with foundation or face-powder," noted a shopper.
Best Sweatproof Sunscreen: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen
If you spend your summer in the sun, sand, and surf, then sweat- and water-resistant sunscreen needs to be in your arsenal. This Shiseido lotion is formulated to actually get stronger when it's exposed to heat, water, and sweat, making it a perfect match for active lifestyles. How exactly? The cream has a heat-sensing essence in it that becomes activated by external heat, as well as WetForce technology, which creates another layer of sun protection by allowing the negative ions in the formula to combine with positive ions in perspiration and water.
"I'm happy to report that the original is very transparent even on dark skin complexions and I love it, it feels light and doesn't leave a white residue and can definitely be worn under makeup. I will definitely buy again," shared a customer.
Best Sunscreen for Acne: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD is the go-to recommendation for oily and acne-prone skin from many dermatologists, because it is oil- and fragrance-free, and formulated for sensitive skin. Not to mention, with more than 20,000 reviews and a solid 4.7 star rating, it's become .
One reviewer wrote: "I have been wearing sunscreen on my face everyday for about seven years now. I've tried a lot different sunscreens and hated pretty much everything I tried. It either left a white cast, burned my skin and eyes, pilled up immediately, or was horrible under makeup. This sunscreen is not only good — but I actually enjoy wearing it!"
Best Moisturizing Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
This is a great choice for those looking for a one-and-done product, since it contains moisturizing ingredients such as ceramides and glycerin, as well as niacinamide, which supports the skin barrier. The lightweight, lotion-like texture absorbs quickly and is easy to layer makeup on top of it.
"This is my go-to morning moisturizer. It saves me a step having a moisturizer and SPF together. I will say it goes on like a sunscreen. I squeeze a pea-sized amount into my finger and dab it around my face and then rub it in. It feels thick at first but completely absorbs within a minute or two and I can put my makeup on top. I have dry, sensitive skin and my skin has been happy with it so far. No irritation, no breakouts," shared a customer.
Best Sunscreen for All Skin Tones: Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
A misconception about sunscreen is that it is only for people with fair skin—but sun burns, skin cancer, and sun damage can affect all skin tones. Finding a sunscreen that absorbs clear and doesn't cause flashback or a ghostly white cast is key. This sunscreen contains jojoba and avocado oil to hydrate skin and was formulated specifically for melanated skin.
"This has compensated for my long days of looking for a great sunscreen that doesn't leave a white cast, smells chemically, and balls up under my makeup. THIS CHANGED THE GAME!!!! Look no further! Looks STUNNING underneath makeup [and has] great consistency, while also moisturizing my skin. I will never buy another. PERIOD!!!" raved shopper.
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