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Best Facial Sunscreen

What's the Best Facial Sunscreen that you've tried?

For regular days, I love Origins A Perfect World (I have probably gone through almost a dozen now). For more outdoor time, I tend to go for Clarins UV Plus or Netrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch.

— Christine


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Aida Avatar

I’ve also been using Origins A Perfect World SPF25 as my daily moisturizer for a few years now. When hiking/camping/etc., I’ve been using Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth SPF50+ for the past two, almost three years.

Lulle Avatar

I’m still looking! I have the Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Liquid and it’s not bad, but still makes me feel a little greasy. A friend brought me Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence back from Japan and it feels great, but I discovered that it’s loaded with alcohol (smells like it too). These are the two best facial sunscreen I’ve tried so far, but I’m still not 100% satisfied.

Katherine T. Avatar

Oh bummer, I’ve heard so many people raving about the Biore one, but I held off because I couldn’t read the ingredient list, which is in Japanese. Now I know!

Lulle Avatar

Yeah I was really surprised the first time I used it, the smell of alcohol was so strong it made me cough. I didn’t expect that at all because none of the reviews I read mentioned it. So I searched the web for a translation of the ingredients list, and alcohol is all the way up, 3rd ingredients in the list. After some digging I learned that many Japanese facial sunscreens contain alcohol, apparently it helps achieve the weightless, non-greasy texture they’re renowned for.

markiebamboo Avatar

Christine, What SPF do the products you mentioned have? I am going through the sunscreen dilemma right now, so I will be watching the comments closely.

I have been wearing Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense (Broad Spectrum SPF 50+) for a few months. I went through most of a smaller bottle, then lost it. I ordered three large ones recently during the Friends & Family sale. The bigger bottle has worse packaging. I have had it leak around the neck but thankfully I had it inside a plastic bag. I also feel like I use more with this packaging.

Anyways I live in Southern California so when I rush around in the mornings, the product can melt and cause a white cast. But I have had that way worse with other products. I also have started reapplying round lunch time and i am not sure if this is great for my skin. In the morning I use a serum or two and moisturizer under the sunscreen. This is for a regular work day. I am not certain if I am overdoing it with the sunscreen or product in general. Does one really need a moisturizer under the sunscreen? My skin can be naturally normal-oily.

I know this is a mouthful but it would be nice to hear others insight/experiences with wearing daily sunscreen.

I used to use Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer with Sunscreen (Broad Specturm SPF 30).

Christine Avatar

Origins’ is 25, I think my Clarins is 40 but the current version says 50. Neutrogena’s varies from product to product, anywhere from 30 to 100+. For day to day, I don’t mind a mix of physical and chemical sunscreens, and the chemical ones hold up better with makeup/cast. For outdoor days, I tend to opt for a physical one.

markiebamboo Avatar

Thanks for the reply! This is a great topic Christine. I am male and I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. I have been trying a lot of skin care products this year and It can be hard to tell what formulations are working and how many products are too many? Particularly don’t know if a moisturizer and a sunscreen is more effective than a 2 in 1. I just started to do a second application of sunscreen in the afternoon and question how effective or necessary that is! I am shiny at that time as it is.

Katherine T. Avatar

markiebamboo, I recommend reading Paula’s Choice Beautypedia for honest reviews on many skincare products. She also has a great book called The Best Skin Of Your Life Starts Here -it explains all the different skincare products, which ingredients work and which don’t, how to put together a skincare regime for your skin type, etc. etc. She sometimes has promotions where the book is free if you buy $50 of products. And her skincare products are the best, been total HG and game changers for me, and reasonably priced compared to other brands.

Lacey Avatar

I’m not the best about day to day sunscreen-I rely on whatever is in the current moisturizer or foundation I’m using. I know, it’s bad, but I haven’t found a separate product that works for oily, acne-prone skin, under a full face of makeup, for 9 hours at work.

But, for days I’m outside and not wearing makeup, I love Sun Bum in stick form. It feels like a lip balm, but spreads well and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy on. It also doesn’t seep into my eyes or mouth when I’m in the water, or leave a white cast.

Bui Khanh Chi Avatar

Hey, I think Neutrogena has many kinds of sunscreen which are specifically made for oily/acne-prone skin! The “Dry Touch” one is good for instance, it is really light weight and dry, shoud be good to be a base for your latter make-up steps. Check them out!

Lacey Avatar

Unfortunately, Nuetrogena sunscreens have always made my skin break out! I’ve tried a few different face and body versions, and they just don’t agree with me. (I have trouble with the brand in general, even their acne lines of face wash and moisturizer.) The Dry Touch for face did have a nice feel to it, though.

Julia Avatar

My facial skin is very sensitive to chemical sunscreen, so I have to find natural formulations that don’t give a white cast. Everyday, I use Trader Joe’s Enrich moisturizer with spf 15.

But, I recently needed something for vacation that was higher protection. Last year I tried a Neutrogena Pure and Free formulation with SPF 50 for babies and it was horrific- apparently babies don’t mind heavy grease and white streaks/ pills that never go away, but I do! Luckily I found a brand called Bare Republic at Target, and it’s actually made by Coola! I could only find a liquid up to spf 30, but I never burned and the texture felt much like a silicone primer- silky and dryish. And most importantly, it went on clear. It was $15 for a 1.7oz tube, which I think is a little expensive for most Target brands but much more reasonable than Sephora’s options, including Coola ?

Katherine T. Avatar

I totally agree that Neutrogena Pure and Free sunscreens for babies is HORRIBLE! We bought it for our kid, and it is super duper thick and heavy, and leaves bright white streaks that can’t be rubbed in no matter how hard you try, so it’s not going to blend with your skintone unless you’re Casper the ghost. Our kid hated it, we threw it away, and moved on to other products.

Kaitlin Avatar

I have been loving Supergoop everday sunscreen spf 50. It feels like a moisturizer and isn’t sticky. I have been purchasing it as Costco for $5 vs $19 at Sephora.

Jacqueline Avatar

For everyday I use Clinique’s City Block Sheer SPF25, which only contains physical sunscreen unlike it’s higher SPF counterpart. It feels lightweight, has a matte finish, and wears well under makeup.

If I’m going to be out in the sun, I like Neutrogena’s Pure and Free Liquid Sunscreen SPF50. Very thin and blends pretty easily.

Gillian Avatar

I love La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Dry Touch Gel-Cream. This stuff has great protection and is suitable for oily/combination skin. They do other facial sunscreens for different skin types if your skin isn’t oily, I only have experience with this one though.

It has a matte finish and works great under makeup, so I skip using a primer. It doesn’t lighten my skin visibly but it might do so if you have a darker skin tone, I’m not sure.

I just love that you get great protection because, being really, really fair, I need it! I use sunscreen all year round but in the better weather I swear by this particular one. ?

Mary Avatar

I’ve used Citrix Vitamin C Antioxidant Broad Spectrum SPF 40 for about two years and I love it. It is a physical sunscreen and covers my face perfectly. It is white when first applied but after about 1 minute it is clear. I have a lot of steps in my morning skincare routine and this is the step right before my primer and my foundation. It does not burn my eyes which is a huge plus for me.

Maggie Avatar

I have used this for the past two years as well. It is not completely mineral but I have never had a reaction and my face has remained the same color since I started using (but to be fair, I do not spend a lot of time in the sun).

Tam Avatar

The best facial sunscreen I’ve found so far is Elta MD UV Clear. I really like that it’s geared for oily, acneic skin like mine. It treats acne and hyperpigmentation with the niacinamide it contains. It also imparts a matte finish which is hard to find in facial sunscreens. I have to apply lightly though because it causes a white cast on my brown skin if too much is applied.

Ade Avatar

For my EXTREMELY oily skin, Japanese-brand sunscreens are my lifesaver! I’ve been a devoted fan of “Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++” for years but their recent formulation has more visible white-cast on my tan skin (still quite forgiving if you’re NC30 or lighter, though).
Now my HG sunscreen will be “Kanebo Allie Extra UV Protector Perfect Alpha S SPF50+ PA++++” and “Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Aqua Booster SPF50+ PA++++”. Compared to Bioré, both are more expensive and not as mattifying (both has great oil control, it just sometimes Bioré can be too drying especially post-exfoliation), but both are quite traceless on my tan complexion.

june Avatar

they’re widely available with free shipping on both amazon and ebay. my biore came from japan in about a week from the seller i got it from (and i’m in australia, where everything takes ages to arrive)

Hildegard Avatar

Nuxe Melting Cream High Protection SPF 50. It’s the first facial sunscreen I’ve tried that hasn’t made me break out like I have the plague, make me sweat like crazy under the sunscreen and also protects my skin. Works like a charm.

Katherine T. Avatar

SuperGoop City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 – it’s hideously expensive at $42 a bottle, but having a great sunscreen is totally worth it. I stock up during sales -one bottle lasts me about 6 months, and I use generously on my face. It’s won some Alllura Best of Beauty awards. It absorbs well, feels light, but is hydrating enough for my drier skin, has no fragrance, no bad alcohols, and wears well under makeup. I’ve tried so many, but this is the best I’ve found by far, have been wearing for 3-5 yrs now.

Katherine T. Avatar

Good for you! I can only wear the Every Day one on my body, not face, as it’s too heavy for my face. Wish I could, as it’s a lot cheaper than the City Serum one. Glad you found a great deal at Costco -stock up!

Soleil Avatar

Same here! I’ve tried so many sunscreens already including Clinique, Biore and Dr Hauschka (before it was discontinued). I must say that the Supergoop Sunscreen Serum is my favorite so far. It’s light-weight and has improved my skin a lot.

fuji Avatar

Biore Aqua Watery Essence works great on me. I’m not super sensitive to the alcohol it might contain. It doesn’t leave white streaks, either. Also it holds a layer of pressed powder very well.

Algenist Sublime SPF50 is also a great one, 30ml at $42, typical physical sunscreen. No breakouts after using it continuously for weeks. It does contains TiO2 so I usually spend extra seconds to blend it out on my face to avoid the white powdery look it might put on me.

Giorgio Armani’s new Maestro sunscreen primer is so light. I’m a bit skeptical about it since you can’t put too much on your face. But generally, sunscreen product needs to be applied at certain amount/thickness to create an efficient barrier between your skin and the UV. But it’s nice to have it since I won’t forget using it on a daily base.

BTW I live in the gloomy PNW. So I can’t really speak for how effective those products perform as in protecting me from being tanned/sunburnt under high temperature and long, direct exposure of sunshine.

Wednesday Avatar

I’ve been wanting to try both the Biore and also the GA Maestro. I use a physical sunscreen on my face, neck and decolletage by TiZO and it is stupid expensive (recommended by my dermatologist) and while it doesn’t seem to make me excessively greasy, applying what I consider to be enough for protection renders the rest of my makeup too thick and quite disgusting actually. So, I tend to use it in smaller amounts and then apply a BB or CC cream (also with sunscreen) on top. Still far from ideal IMO and just waaay too much product. But…I usually just suck it up. I have to. I am outdoors in the summer for many hours at a stretch. I have MCTD (mixed connective tissue disease with severe RA and moderate Lupus). I absolutely must wear sun protection and a hat. I wear waterproof chemical sunscreen on my body in high SPF. I wish there were better options for my face. Based on some of the feedback here, I’ve just ordered the Biore on amazon. The alcohol content certainly doesn’t appeal, but I do not have sensitivity.

Mariella Avatar

La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60. It feels so matte and velvety and offers a nice, high level of protection. For winter time, I like Clinique’s Super Defense SPF 20 (I think it used to be SPF25 but it’s been reformulated or re-evaluated over the many years I’ve been using it). I use the dry skin formula. I also really like Ole Henriksen’s face cream (forget the name) with SPF but as these things are time sensitive, I’ve not bought it as I’ve a full new jar of Clinique.

Kalli Avatar

Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock

I’ve been using this for at least the past four or five years and I love it! It’s liquidy, fast absorbing, light and doesn’t have a heavy sunscreen scent. It’s very similar to a Skinceuticals product I used to use back when I worked at a day spa and could buy it at cost. Anyway, it’s perfect for day-to-day under-makeup wear. But not the Pure & Free version, that one has a weird gritty texture I couldn’t get past.

Anne Avatar

My foundation: Dr Jart Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45*
Moisturizer: Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47*
New: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50 (Haven’t tried yet.)

* Great for dry skin.

CatG Avatar

I can’t find a sunscreen that doesn’t break me out!! Right now I wear the moisturizer with the spf from the Simple Brand and it’s pretty friendly to my skin but my skin still clears up more once I don’t wear it 🙁

Anne Avatar

Are you removing it with oil, and then a normal cleanse? If not, sunscreen will clog pores and cause break outs. Plus, do you ever touch your face? Can’t do that —

Eileen Avatar

I cannot tolerate chemical sunscreen and only use a physical mineral sunscreen on my face. A cosmetically elegant one that comes in regular (works for me as I’m NC15) or tinted is made by Tizo. Both contain micronized titanium dioxide and micronized zinc oxide in a non-drying formula that acts as a silky primer. Unfortunately, it is available primarily through dermatologists so it can be hard to find. Another good physical sunscreen that is much more readily available is made by MDSolarSciences. Like Tizo, it comes in tinted and untinted formulas that are cosmetically elegant and won’t pill under makeup. It’s also micronized.

By the way, your target for SPF should be at the very least SPF 30 and preferably closer to SPF 50. Also remember to apply enough. One teaspoon will do your face, ears, neck (front and back) and chest. With physical mineral sunscreens, you don’t have to worry about them breaking down due to sun exposure the way chemical sunscreens do, but you do have to be aware that they can rub off.

SusanG Avatar

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water-Light Daily Facial Sunscreen, SPF 60 is my staple. Spreads easily and thoroughly, no white cast, reasonable cost. I wear it every day, even in winter.

Nell Avatar

I need an all mineral facial sunscreen – on that has Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide, even though most leave a white cast. The chemical sunscreens are too irritating for me.

Favorites are:
La Roche Posay Anthelios broad spectrum
Cerave broad spectrum
One by Neutrogena
And getting ready to try one by Exuviance

thirteen Avatar

I’ve been using the Neutrogena Dry Touch in SPF 45 for years. I’ve tried some fancier stuff but honestly I can’t figure out why they’re worth more money. It doesn’t break me out so that’s nice.

However, recently I fell down a rabbithole of reading about sunblock at r/skincareaddiction which caused me to worry that it isn’t strong enough. I ended up buying the Biore Watery Essence and I’m looking forward to trying it when I’m done with my current Neutrogena. (I did use it when I went on vacation to SE Asia last month and it seemed to work pretty well – I did get a bit burned on one day but considering the intense sun exposure/how much I was sweating in 105 degree weather I felt pretty good overall about it, since I’m fair and prone to burns. It could have been a LOT worse.)

Chelsea Avatar

Burnout Eco Sensitive SPF 35 sunscreen! All physical sunscreen, high percentage of zinc oxide, antioxidants, not too bad of a white cast, and doesn’t pill or dry out my skin (although I wear a moisturizer underneath because I’m dry). I’d been using a Derma E sunscreen, but no matter what products I used or didn’t use with it, it would pill.

Tracy Avatar

I really like the Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30. It’s lightweight, hydrating and has really great coverage for day when I’m out an about. And the biggest thing, it doesn’t irritate my acne-prone skin.

I do recommend letting it sink in for a few minutes before applying primer or foundation as it doesn’t always play nice with other liquids and pilling is never fun. Five minutes is about all the time it needs to set properly.

Holly Avatar

I have oily/combination skin and the Tarte Tartguard SPF 30 never breaks me out. It wears beautifully under makeup. I layer it over Josie Maran Argan Oil Light in the summer for the perfect amount of moisture. I apply foundation and then set everything with Pur Minerals 4-in-One Powder Foundation.

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