Best sunscreen for face: non-greasy SPF to wear every day (that can be worn under makeup)

We've rounded up the best sunscreen for face no matter what your skin type or concern because wearing sunscreen every single day is one of the best anti-aging habits to get into.

A selection of the best sunscreen for face is pictured from left to right, Supergoop, Ultraviolette, Glossier
(Image credit: Getty Images / Constantine Johnny / SuperGoop! / Ultraviolette / Glossier)

SPF is non-negotiable, so we've rounded up the best sunscreen for face for you to get into. Speak to any skincare expert or dermatologist and they will tell you the same thing: sunscreen is the single most effective skincare product you can use, and getting into the habit of wearing it every single day is one of the very best habits you can get into.

90% of skin aging is caused by sun damage, which means it’s vital that you wear a minimum of SPF30—ideally SPF50—and ensure it’s a broad spectrum formula, which means it’ll protect against harmful UVA (the ones that cause premature aging) and UVB (the ones that burn skin) rays. It’s also important that you wear it every day; UVA rays can pass through clouds and glass, so even if the sun hasn’t made an appearance or if you’re inside all day, SPF is still very much required.

How to choose the best SPF for you

While there was a time when sunscreen formulas weren’t great; they veered more on the oily, greasy, and pore-clogging side, meaning they were likely to cause mass breakouts. However, clever technology and a vast improvement in formulas mean that sunscreens are no longer like that. Instead, they’re much more pleasing to use, won’t cause breakouts, and are much more lightweight, therefore they blend more easily into the skin and are less likely to be ashy or leave a white cast on skin.

In order to find the right formula for your individual skin type, it’s important to know the difference between physical and chemical formulas. Physical sunscreens—also known as mineral sunscreen—sit on the surface of the skin and deflect the sun’s rays. The active ingredients in them are usually titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and then absorb UV rays, converting them into heat and then releasing them from the body. The active ingredients in them include avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. 

It’s worth knowing that chemical sunscreens tend to be easier to apply, although both are as effective as each other when it comes to protecting skin and really it comes down to personal preference—however, experts tend to agree that mineral is better for those with sensitive skin, for children and people with melasma. The most important thing to remember is that the SPF that works for you is the right one for you to use.

The best sunscreen for face you can buy right now

Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense is one of the best sunscreens for face

(Image credit: Kiehl's)

1. Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense

A super lightweight gel formula that absorbs quickly and easily into skin, best for normal to oily skin

Specifications
Mineral or Chemical: Mineral
Size: 30 and 60 ml
SPF rating: 50
Broad spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight texture that absorbs into skin quickly without leaving residue+Has added antioxidant and blue light protection+Leaves a shine-free finish
Reasons to avoid
-Contains alcohol denat which may cause slight dryness in some skin types-Is on the more expensive side

A firm favorite of many beauty editors, Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel has an intensely satisfying texture that feels cooling on the skin. It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin and it sits well on top of existing skincare as well as working well underneath makeup. It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t block pores, plus it’s fragrance-free, is tested by dermatologists, and has the added benefit of vitamin E which provides antioxidant protection. The only downside is that it does fall on the more expensive side, and it does contain alcohol denat which can be good for oily skin types but means it’s probably not the best choice for those with dry skin. 

Read the Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF50 review

Ultra Violette Clean Screen Sensitive is one of the best sunscreens for face

(Image credit: Ultraviolette)

2. Ultra Violette Clean Screen Sensitive

Best for sensitive and acne-prone skin, this is a sunscreen with skincare benefits, it’ll soothe inflammation while protecting skin

Specifications
Mineral or Chemical: Combination of both
Size: 50ml
SPF rating: 30
Broad spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Formulated in Australia – which is the hardest place in the world to get SPF approved+Fragrance free formula
Reasons to avoid
-Combines mineral and chemical filters so no good for people who prefer mineral formulas-Some users have said it leaves a very slight white cast on darker skin colours   (although it is easily covered with makeup)

New to the UK, Ultra Violette is an Australian sunscreen brand that prides itself on developing ‘skinscreens’—which, in their words, is a combination of skincare and sunscreen. Each product is developed with hydrating ingredients that are just as effective as the SPF elements, meaning it’ll work just as hard when it comes to looking after your skin and protecting it against UVA and UVB rays. This one, Clean Screen, is formulated especially for sensitive, reactive and acne-prone skin, is entirely weightless on the skin, and is free from both alcohol and fragrance, and promises to help soothe inflammation. 

Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Anti Dark Spots & Anti Pollution Face Fluid SPF50+ is one of the best sunscreens for face

(Image credit: Garnier)

3. Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Anti Dark Spots & Anti Pollution Face Fluid SPF50+

Incredibly affordable and recommended by dermatologists this is best for all skin types

Specifications
Mineral or Chemical: Chemical
Size: 40ml
SPF rating: 50+
Broad spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly affordable+Hypo-allergenic and promises not to sting eyes+Fragrance free+Recommended by dermatologists
Reasons to avoid
-Super runny formula could make it harder to apply-Leaves a slight glow on skin that some people might not like

One of the most affordable and effective daily sunscreens currently on the market, Garnier’s Ultra Light Sensitive Face Fluid SPF50 is formulated with hyaluronic acid to help hydrate skin. It also utilizes the antioxidant power of vitamin E for added protection against pollution and other environmental aggressors. The formula is fairly runny—more like milk than a cream—so be aware of that. However, it’s easy to blend in and is virtually invisible, too. It sits well under makeup and thanks to the low price point, it’s a great starting point for anybody who’s still yet to make SPF a solid part of their daily skincare routine. 

Glossier Invisible Shield SPF30 is one of the best sunscreens for face

(Image credit: Glossier)

4. Glossier Invisible Shield SPF30

A truly invisible formula from one of the chicest brands around, best for most skin types

Specifications
Mineral or Chemical: Chemical
Size: 30ml
SPF rating: 30
Broad spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Truly invisible formula+Absorbs instantly into skin+Chic packaging
Reasons to avoid
-Is formulated with fragrance so potentially not suitable for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin-Some users say that the bottle size—30ml—is too small for the price

Glossier is one of the few companies that have managed to combine chic packaging with hard-working, effective skincare products, and Invisible Shield is one of the brand’s most loved products. The gel-like formula feels a bit like a serum and is entirely invisible, making it suitable for all skin colors because it will never leave a white cast. It’s formulated with so-called ‘active microcapsules’ which will instantly absorb into skin, meaning it makes for a great makeup base. The only downside is that it contains fragrance, so if you’re somebody with super sensitive skin or skin that’s easily irritated, it’s probably best to avoid this particular sunscreen. Invisible Shield is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores, it’s also vegan and—like all Glossier products—is cruelty-free. 

Supergoop! Glowscreen is one of the best sunscreens for face

(Image credit: SuperGoop!)

5. Supergoop! Glowscreen

A sunscreen-cum-makeup primer that imparts a natural-looking glow, best for normal to oily skin

Specifications
Mineral or Chemical: Chemical
Size: 15 and 50ml
SPF rating: 30
Broad spectrum: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Instantly gives skin a lit-from-within glow+Doesn’t feel like sunscreen+Formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin b5
Reasons to avoid
-Drier skin types might not find it hydrating enough-Not suitable for anybody who doesn’t like a glowy finish

Also new to the UK, Supergoop! originates from the USA (it was also around long before—and isn’t at all affiliated with—Gwynnie’s Goop) and is a sunscreen-only brand, meaning it’s spent the last 16 years really working to perfect its formulas and making them as cosmetically pleasing as possible. It’s a brand that prides itself on creating different formulas for different occasions and for every skin type. Glowscreen, the latest product to land on our shores, gives skin a natural-looking glow and provides an incredible dewy finish without a speck of glitter in sight. It blends out really nicely, doesn’t feel at all like sunscreen, and instead creates the perfect base for makeup—in short, it’s essentially all but a glow-giving primer with the added benefit of having broad-spectrum sun protection. The formula also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate along with niacinamide to soothe while added antioxidant protection comes from sea lavender and cocoa peptides.