16 best face sunscreens in the UK for every skin type
Face sunscreen gets a bad wrap. The chalky, greasy formulations that clogged pores and left a white cast on the skin that were popular years ago left people wary of weaving one into their daily routine.
But rest assured, sunscreen has come a long way in recent years.
Now, you can buy sunscreens that protect the skin from the sun, blue light, and free radicals, while sitting nicely under makeup and working well with your skincare routine.
If you ask a dermatologist what the most important step in a skincare routine is, chances are most will say sunscreen. So if you’re dropping money on serums, exfoliants, and moisturisers but are skipping sunscreen – you’re doing yourself a pretty big disservice.
Sunscreen is without a doubt the most powerful anti-ageing product there is, as it protects you from the premature ageing caused by sun damage. Classic signs of sun damage include fine lines, hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and spider veins.
And these are just the aesthetic effects – skin cancer is becoming an increasingly common and extremely scary reality for millions worldwide, which makes the importance of adequate sun protection abundantly clear.
Wearing sunscreen shouldn’t be a chore. If it feels like that, chances are you won’t want to wear it. The key to cementing this step into your skincare routine is finding one that works with your skin and you really love, so you won’t want to leave the house without it.
To help you find your sunscreen soul mate, we’ve rounded up the 16 best in the UK for every skin type and concern.
Best face sunscreen for sensitive skin
Institut Esthederm Adaptasun Sensitive Skin Face Sun Protection
When you have sensitive skin, the harsh formulations of some sunscreens can cause a reaction – which can easily put you off experimenting with other sunscreen products.
While this is a valid concern, wearing SPF every day is vitally important if you have sensitive skin. This face sunscreen from Esthederm has been formulated with sensitive skin types in mind, able to help the skin adapt better to the effects of the sun.
In doing so, the innovative cream helps to protect against UVA and UVB rays and photoaging, while allowing the skin to develop a glow by activating the skin’s natural melanin process.
Best face sunscreen for dry skin
Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30
Those with dry skin tend to avoid mattifying products like the plague in order to enhance radiance and keep them looking glowy throughout the day.
The tricky thing with sunscreen is there’s a fine line between radiant and greasy, and some sunscreens start off looking like the former and devolve into the latter throughout the day.
Supergoop! Glowscreen shields you from UVA and UVB rays while giving a dewy finish and avoiding appearing oily. While the formulation works well with all skin types, the blend of hyaluronic acid with B5 makes it a particularly good match for dry or mature skin types.
Niacinamide, sea lavender, and cocoa peptides can also be found on the ingredient list, which works together to fight free radicals, tighten pores, and provide antioxidant protection.
Best face sunscreen for oily skin
Eucerin Oil Control Sun Gel Cream SPF 50
Oily-skin sufferers are perhaps the most likely to avoid SPF – as the greasy finish associated with sunscreen can be off-putting to anyone trying to mattify their skin.
But as we’ve already said – sunscreen has come a long way. Brands have made sure to develop products specifically for oily skin, such as this Oil Control Sun Gel from Eucerin.
The lightweight suncream has a non-greasy texture that keeps shine under control for up to eight hours. It does this with an innovative formula enhanced with absorbent micro-particles and L-Carnitine that leaves users with a mattified, dry-touch feel.
Best face sunscreen for combination skin
Bioderma Photoderm Sunscreen Face Cream SPF50 .
Combination skin is famously tricky to deal with. If you opt for something too hydrating your oily patches can start looking greasy, and if you go for something mattifying you can exacerbate existing dry patches.
For this reason, you need to keep an eye out for a lightweight formula that is hydrating yet non-greasy – just like this one from Bioderma.
Suitable for all skin types, the fragrance-free sunscreen sinks into the skin effortlessly, protecting the skin from UV while creating a hydrating veil
Dehydrated skin can actually trigger excess oil production, so while it may sound counterintuitive to opt for a hydrating formulation, it is actually really important for combination skin as it balances combination skin.
Best face sunscreen for acne-prone skin
Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-free SPF50
The lacklustre sunscreen formulations of yesteryear were famous for seeing off breakouts and were therefore wholly avoided by acne-sufferers.
But times have changed, and you can find plenty of sunscreens that work well with those prone to breakouts. In fact, many acne treatments actually require sun protection in order to ensure your skin is being properly protected.
The oil-free formula of Heliocare 360 Gel gives the skin a dry-touch effect while providing broad-spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, Visible Light, and IR-A.
The anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and oil-controlling formula makes it a perfect match for sensitive and acne-prone skin types – able to protect the skin from further breakouts as well as from sun damage.
Best face sunscreen for men
Clinique For Men Protect SPF 21 Moisturiser
While any of the sunscreens on this list would work on men’s skin, there are certain ranges that have been designed specifically with men in mind – like Clinique For Men.
Without generalising, the stereotypical male priorities multitasking products that get the job done without requiring investing time and money into half a dozen products.
While we recommend against the five-in-one body wash, shampoo, cleanser, moisturiser, shaving cream hybrid you’ll find discounted at your local supermarket, there are good multitaskers on the market.
Clinique For Men Protect SPF 21 Moisturiser adds sun protection into a lightweight moisturiser, so you can hit two birds with one stone – adding hydration while protecting the skin from sun damage.
Best face sunscreen for under makeup
Bioderma Photoderm Sunscreen Face Cream SPF50
Some of the best, most protective sunscreens just don’t work well under makeup. They can create a sticky base that makes your face look patchy and lacking in longevity.
Queen Screen Lightweight Skinscreen SPF50+ is lightweight with a serum-like texture that has a slight shimmer which sits seamlessly under makeup.
The formula is smooth and silky, melting into the skin with ease and prepping it for makeup. As well as protecting skin from the sun, it also shields against infrared and blue light with vitamin C and dragosine plus.
Best face sunscreen for rosacea
Bioderma Photoderm AR Tinted Cream SPF50
Specially formulated for reactive skin prone to redness, this protective suncream uses Photoderm AR’s exclusive Rosactiv® patent to soothe and relieve discomfort.
As well as this exclusive technology, the active ingredients in the formula diffuse redness while also preventing existing redness from getting worse. A slight tint helps with patchiness by blurring skin tone, making it most suitable for those with fair skin – which is the most likely skin tone to suffer from redness.
Best face sunscreen for radiance
Hello Sunday The Everyday One Face Moisturiser Sunscreen SPF 30
This hydrating, radiance-enhancing sunscreen works hard to protect your skin from sun damage, blue light, and infrared rays, while the ultra-hydrating ingredients give your skin a healthy glow, without looking shimmery.
The lightweight texture of The Everyday One Face Moisturiser Sunscreen sinks in with ease, making it suitable for all skin types.
Best face sunscreen for skiing
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Repairing Balm SPF 50
Extremely cold temperatures, wind, blue skies, and harsh reflection from the snow onto the skin can wreak havoc on your skin while you’re skiing, meaning a hydrating SPF is extremely useful to have on hand.
The La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Repairing Balm is a multipurpose balm that will be your new best friend on the mountain, assisting with dryness and irritation while protecting your skin from sun damage.
The balm works wonders on chapped lips, dry patches of skin, and grazes – which are all common occurrences during a day of skiing. The formula absorbs quickly, avoiding any greasy residue so you don’t have to wait around long to get back to shredding the slopes.
Best vegan face sunscreen
The grüum SPF50 Facial Sunscreen
This vegan and cruelty-free facial sunscreen from grüum is water-resistant and fast-absorbing, helping to protect against sun damage by offering high UVA and UVB protection.
As well as being kind to animals, the product is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, so it’s also a dream for sensitive skin.
Best budget face sunscreen under £10
Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Sunscreens can be daily expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a banger on a budget, and the 164 5-star reviews can make you fairly confident this one from Bondi Sands is a winner.
Perfect for a day out, the water-resistant formula is non-greasy and contains aloe vera and vitamin E for up to 72 hours of hydration.
Best waterproof face sunscreen
La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50
A day at the beach or by the pool requires a water-resistant sunscreen that will provide protection even while your skin is wet.
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+ protects skin against damage caused by UVA, UVB and ultra-long UVA rays while being water, sweat, and sand resistant.
You don’t just have to reserve this sunscreen for big days out either, with the invisible, non-greasy formula designed for all skin types and ideal for daily use.
Best anti-ageing face sunscreen for mature skin
Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF50 Hydrating Shield
As we get older and the effects of sun damage start to appear on our faces, the need for adequate skin protection becomes apparent. On top of that, if you’re using retinol or chemical exfoliants as part of your skincare routine, you actually need sunscreen if you want to avoid damaging your skin.
Although this sunscreen from Elizabeth Arden is on the pricey side at £57, it has a comprehensive anti-ageing formula that protects from pollution, UV rays, and the visible signs of ageing.
As well as shielding your skin from the sun, the lotion also supports the skin’s repair process to help protect it from free radical damage while leaving a smooth, radiant finish.
Best face sunscreen for kids
Green People Scent Free Organic Children Sun Lotion SPF30
Fragrance-free, absorbed within seconds and made with 84 percent certified organic ingredients, this eco-friendly children’s sun lotion is perfect for kids with sensitive skin.
Best face sunscreen for topping up
Supergoop Resetting Mineral Powder.
It’s essential to keep reapplying sunscreen throughout the day and powder sunscreens protect the skin, while keeping it fresh.
The Supergoop! Resetting Mineral Powder is the perfect sunscreen to reapply throughout the day as its transluscent and can be easily applied on top of make-up.
Handy with a bruch applicator, it feels lightweight on the skin and doesn’t crease over make-up, making it great to use as a setting powder as well.
Best tinted face sunscreen
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50
Once you try the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream you’ll never go back.
With legions of fans all over the globe, this best selling CC cream is infused with hydrolysed collagen, peptides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid – as well as SPF 50, of course.
This means the product not only gives you a radiant finish, but it also helps to improve the appearance of redness, dark circles and pores every time you wear it.
The radiance-boosting CC cream looks effortlessly natural, not creasing or cracking throughout the day and able to blend makeup and skincare flawlessly to make a product your skin will love.
Best mineral face sunscreen
Supergoop! Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30.
Mineral sunscreens are great options for sensitive skin and instantly provides SPF protection upon application, unlike chemical sunscreens which require 15 mins before sun exposure.
The new Supergoop! Mineral Sheerscreen feels smooth on the skin and doesn’t leave a white cast over different skin types.
It’s super sheer and also acts as a great base for make-up.
Face sunscreen FAQs
Can you use body sunscreen on your face?
Just like face and body moisturisers, face and body sunscreens are formulated differently and serve different purposes.
The skin on your face is more delicate than the skin on your body and needs products that are lighter and more easily absorbed than the sunscreen you use on your body.
This ensures you can wear them under makeup, they won’t clog your pores, and they’re usually fragrance-free as to not interfere with your skincare.
You can also find face sunscreens that have been designed to work with your particular skin type, whereas body sunscreens tend to be more of a one size fits all product that may not be suitable for oily, dry, or combination skin.
While desperate times call for desperate measures and body sunscreen will still protect the skin from the sun – and it’s far better than no sunscreen at all – for daily use it’s better for your skin to opt for one that’s been formulated for the face.
Should I apply face sunscreen every day?
Yes. Although it can be tempting to skip this step when it’s cloudy outside or you’re working from home, wearing sunscreen every day is the most important part of your skincare routine and the best way to avoid premature ageing.
How often do I need to reapply face sunscreen?
This depends on what you’re doing. If you’re outside in the sun, swimming, or sweating, it is recommended you reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
But if you’re staying mostly indoors and it’s a cloudy day, you’re safe to apply it in the morning as the last step of your skincare routine and then once again in the afternoon before heading outside.
How can I re-apply face sunscreen without ruining my makeup?
This is a tricky question, and something skincare aficionados have been struggling with for years. If people have to take off all their makeup just to reapply their sunscreen, chances are they will skip this step – which is fair enough. Who has time to re-do their makeup multiple times a day?
But thankfully, TikTok beauty gurus have found a new way to reapply your sunscreen during the day that doesn’t involve taking off your makeup, and we think it’s pretty genius.
You’ll need a lightweight, preferably radiant sunscreen (the ones from Ultra Violette work particularly well) and a dry sponge.
You dot the sunscreen over your face and then dab into the skin with the sponge.
The most important thing to remember with this process is to dab rather than swipe, as this helps to keep your makeup in place. The sponge will help the skin to absorb the sunscreen without ruining your makeup, but you’ll have to be careful to go slow and steady with the application.