The 18 Best Face Sunscreens of 2022

Our best overall pick is La Roche-Posay's Anthelios Melt-In Milk

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen

Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

There's no debating the importance of applying SPF every morning—especially on your face. Everyday application is necessary to reap the benefits of SPF, as dermatologist Diane Madfes, MD, explains. "We are exposed to ultraviolet and infrared light every day that produces free radicals in our skin," she tells Byrdie. "These free radicals inhibit collagen production and decrease our elastin. This leads to premature aging, wrinkling, brown spots, and sagging."

Byrdie Tested & Approved

Our top pick for facial SPF is La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Melt-In Milk, the oil-free and non-irritating formula with SPF 60 protection. For a budget-friendly option, consider CeraVe’s Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen which has ceramides and niacinamides to replenish the skin barrier.

We conducted hours of research on the best face sunscreens, with our testers taking a few fan-favorites out for a spin. They rated how well each kept them protected during a day out in the sun, and evaluated each formula's texture, feel, and finish. Our team then combined these results with expert recommendations and our own extensive research to put together this roundup of the best in show.

 Ahead, find the best face sunscreens to apply everyday.

Best Overall

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60

4.8
La Roche-posay Anthelios Melt-in Sunscreen Milk SPF 60

Amazon

What We Like
  • Dermatologist-recommended

  • SPF 60 offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don’t Like
  • No physical SPF

Who else recommends it? Runner's World and ELLE both picked the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60.

What do buyers say? 90% of 8,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Board-certified dermatologist Martha H. Viera, MD, FAAD, recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios for all skin types, and we're here for it. The award-winning formula provides SPF 60 protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

A favorite of the French pharmacy, this formula glides on and is oil-free, non-irritating, fragrance-free, and water-resistant for 80 minutes. It goes on sheer, absorbs quickly, and delivers a velvety finish. In addition to being a dermatologist-approved product, Anthelios Melt-In Milk has the stamp of approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation and boasts the highest score from Consumer Reports.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, and Octocrylene 7% | SPF: 60 | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Free Of: Parabens, fragrance, oil, oxybenzone | Water-Resistant: 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $36

Best Budget

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Clear Zinc

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Clear Sunscreen with Zinc

Amazon

What We Like
  • SPF 50 with hybrid chemical and physical formula

  • No white cast

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don’t Like
  • Unhygienic container

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Sun Bum makes some excellent budget-friendly formulas. Clear 50 is a hybrid sunscreen, meaning it combines chemical protection with the immediate physical blockers of mineral SPF.

Type: Chemical/mineral hybrid | Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, Octocrylene 6.00%, and Zinc Oxide 7.00% | SPF: 50 | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Free Of: Oxybenzone, parabens, oil, gluten, PABA | Water-Resistant: 80 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $10

Best Drugstore

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

4.2
CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

Amazon

What We Like
  • Non-comedogenic

  • Ceramides replenish the skin barrier

  • Budget-friendly

What We Don’t Like
  • Leaves a white cast

From the pharmacy aisle, we're big fans of CeraVe. In addition to providing SPF 30 mineral protection, this face lotion calls on ceramides and niacinamide (vitamin B3) to replenish the skin barrier.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6% and Zinc Oxide 5% | SPF: 30 | Size: 2.5 fluid ounces | Free Of: Oil, parabens, fragrance | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $18

Best Luxury

Dr. Brandt Skincare Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Dr. Brandt Skincare Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Sephora

What We Like
  • Antioxidant-rich plankton extract boosts radiance

  • Lightweight and non-irritating

What We Don’t Like
  • Thick and gooey

  • Strong scent

Dr. Brandt's Liquid Sun Shield promises gentle yet effective mineral protection with non-nano zinc oxide, but it doesn't stop there. This top-shelf tincture softens with shea butter and boosts radiance with antioxidant-rich plankton extract.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 17% | SPF: 50 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free Of: Fragrance, parabens | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Price at time of publish: $65

Best Splurge

Priori Adaptive Skincare Tetra fx251 Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55

Priori Adaptive Skincare Tetra fx251 Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55

Amazon

What We Like
  • Proprietary Infrared Protection Complex & DNA repair enzymes

  • Antioxidant formula offers free radical protection

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

If you're gonna splurge on sunscreen, go with Priori, a nourishing formula that helps skin repair while protecting it from sun damage. The formula works great for those dealing with texture issues and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 8.0% and Zinc Oxide 8.5% | SPF: 35 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Water-Resistant: 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $95

What Our Testers Say

"I love this product, as it does triple-action sun protection, hydration, and DNA repair. It helps our skin to heal from the free radicals as well as protect."—Diane Madfes, MD

Best for Sensitive Skin

Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 36

Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36

Sephora 

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Lightweight

  • Green tea extract and botanical oils help soothe skin

What We Don’t Like
  • No physical SPF

If you have sensitive skin, consider Innisfree. This supremely lightweight sunscreen contains cica (centella asiatica), green tea, and plant-derived oils to soothe and nourish stressed skin while protecting it from the sun's rays.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.5%, Homosalate 7%, and Octisalate 4.3% | SPF: 36 | Size: 1.69 fluid ounces | Free Of: Parabens, synthetic colors, mineral oil, animal products, synthetic fragrance, imidazolidinyl urea, sulfate surfactant, triethanolamine, silicone, silicone oil, polyacrylamide, coal tar colors, talc, PEG, artificial colors | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $15

Best for Dry Skin

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench SPF 45 Hyaluronic Cloud Moisturizer

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench SPF 45 Hyaluronic Cloud Moisturizer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Hyaluronic acid and ceramides promote hydration

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Peter Thomas Roth Drench Cloud Moisturizer contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and Pentavitin for intense moisturizing properties. The water-resistant sunscreen starts as a cream, absorbs immediately, and leaves no trace other than hydrated, dewy skin for up to 72 hours.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 5%, Octisalate 5%, and Octocrylene 10% | SPF: 45 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free Of: Fragrance, oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Yes, time not specified | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $55

Best for Oily Skin

Supergoop! Mineral Mattescreen SPF 40 100% Mineral Sunscreen

5
Supergoop Mattescreen 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

Sephora

What We Like
  • No greasy residue

  • Lightweight

  • Mattifying

What We Don’t Like
  • Leaves a white cast

If you're battling a greasy complexion, your best bet is Supergoop! Matte Screen. The mineral formula is lightweight, not at all sticky, and offers a mattifying effect that minimizes the appearance of pores.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide | SPF: 40 | Size: 1.5 ounces | Free Of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, petrochemicals, mineral oil, silicone, talc, synthetic fragrances | Water-Resistant: 40 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $70

Best for Combination Skin

Fenty Beauty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

5
Fenty Beauty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

Sephora

What We Like
  • Niacinamide targets hyperpigmentation

  • Refillable container

  • Has an invisible finish

What We Don’t Like
  • Possibly not ideal for acne-prone skin

If your complexion can't decide whether it's oily, dry, or just having a rough day, consider Hydra Vizor to target combination skin. This non-comedogenic sunscreen moisturizes thirsty skin without any oil and targets hyperpigmentation and dullness with niacinamide.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 9%, and Octisalate 4.5% | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free Of: Gluten, oil | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Price at time of publish: $38

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

5
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Dermstore

What We Like
  • Non-comedogenic

  • Dermatologist-recommended

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

EltaMD UV Clear is a non-comedogenic lightweight lotion formulated without any oils that can trigger acne-prone skin. The formula absorbs quickly and offers an invisible finish.

Type: Chemical/mineral hybrid | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide, octinoxate, niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, tocopheryl acetate | SPF: 46 | Size: 1.7 ounces | Free Of: Oil, fragrance, parabens | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $39

What Our Testers Say

"This is the only sunscreen I've ever used that hasn't caused breakouts on my extremely acne-prone skin. I swear by it. I've used the clear and the tinted, and both work equally as well. I'll opt for the tinted one if I'm in a hurry and don't want to put additional makeup on, I find that it helps calm down some of the redness in my face." Kelly Gallagher, Former Senior Social Media Editor

Best for Dark Skin Tones

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

5
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Ulta

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Absorbs quickly

  • No white cast

What We Don’t Like
  • No physical SPF

Made by a woman of color for people of color, this wallet-friendly moisturizing lotion is ideal for dark skin tones. The zinc-free formula absorbs quickly without a white cast, plays well under makeup, and provides SPF 30 protection from the sun's harmful rays.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone: 3%, Homosalate: 10%, Octisalate: 5%, Octocrylene: 2.75% | SPF: 30 | Size: 3 fluid ounces | Free Of: Parabens, fragrance, oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Price at time of publish: $16

Best Tinted

Unsun Cosmetics Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Unsun Cosmetics Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Amazon

What We Like
  • Clean, natural mineral-based formula

  • Infused with vitamin E, coconut oil, and fruit extracts

  • Subtle tint evens out texture and tone

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly heavy feel

We’re loving this pick from Unsun, which is available in two different shades that blend in seamlessly with a wide range of skin tones. It uses mineral superstars zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection from the sun, while ingredients like shea butter, vitamin E, coconut oil, and fruit extracts keep the skin hydrated and healthy.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, shea butter, vitamin E, coconut oil, fruit extracts | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free Of: Animal byproducts, parabens, phthalates, nanoparticles, PABA, propylene glycol, oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, formaldehyde releasers, synthetic sunscreens, fragrance | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Price at time of publish: $29

Best for Mature Skin

Algenist Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Fluid

Algenist Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Fluid

Amazon

What We Like
  • Patented alguronic acid Smooths fine lines

  • Antioxidant formula offers free radical protection

  • Full of antioxidants

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Algenist Sublime Defense offers super-sheer SPF 50 protection while minimizing the appearance of fine lines with the brand's patented alguronic acid. The antioxidant-rich hybrid formula also boosts radiance and protects the skin against free radical damage.

Type: Chemical/mineral hybrid | Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 2%, Zinc Oxide 17.1% | SPF: 50 | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Free Of: Oil | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $28

Best for All Skin Types

Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35

4.8
glossier-invisible-shield-spf-35

Amazon

What We Like
  • Serum formula has lightweight feel

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-sticky

What We Don’t Like
  • Must replace frequently

Flaunting a fabulously lightweight water-gel formula, Glossier's Invisible Shield absorbs instantly and works well under makeup. Created for those who dread applying sunscreen, it goes on like a serum, absorbs instantly, and won't leave you feeling greasy or sticky.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 6%, and Octisalate 5% | SPF: 35 | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Price at time of publish: $25

Best for Teens

Every Day Human Resting Beach Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Serum

4
Everyday humans
What We Like
  • Hyaluronic acid adds hydration to formula

  • No white cast

  • Works well under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Strong chemical scent

Everyday Humans Resting Beach Face is a great intro-to-sunscreen pick for teens, formulated with hyaluronic acid for a silky feel. The lightweight serum absorbs quickly without a white cast and leaves all skin tones with a lit-from-within glow.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 4%, Avobenzone 3%, and Octocrylene 2% | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free Of: Parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, animal-derived ingredients, alcohol, PABA, oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $24

Best Hybrid

Sunday Riley Light Hearted Sunscreen SPF 30

Sunday Riley Light Hearted Sunscreen SPF 30

Ulta

What We Like
  • Antioxidant formula is lightweight

  • Suitable for all skin types

  • Works fine under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly runny

Containing both mineral blockers and chemical protection, this hybrid sunscreen by Sunday Riley covers all the bases to safeguard your skin from photoaging. The antioxidant-infused formula is incredibly lightweight, offering a comfortable feel and a velvety finish.

Type: Chemical/mineral hybrid | Active Ingredients: Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 3.5%, and Zinc Oxide 16.3% | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.5 fluid ounces | Free Of: Oil, sulfates, parabens, gluten, soy, phthalates, fragrance | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $35

Best K-Beauty

COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++

4.9
COSRx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50 PA+++

Courtesy of COSRx  

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Aloe extract provides creamy consistency

  • Works well under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

CosRx Soothing Sun Cream is everything we love in Korean sunscreen. The creamy, dreamy formula offers high-level protection from UVA and UVB rays, works great under makeup, and comes at a very agreeable price point.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract | SPF: 50 | Size: 1.69 fluid ounces | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Price at time of publish: $16

Best Serum

ZitSticka MegaShade Sunscreen Serum SPF 50

ZitSticka MegaShade Sunscreen Serum SPF 50

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Non-comedogenic

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Works well under makeup

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

MegaShade is a serum-style sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection from zinc oxide and skin-safe chemical compounds. The hybrid formula absorbs in a flash, dries clear, and primes your skin for makeup without clogging your pores in the process.

Type: Chemical/mineral hybrid | Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid, Niacinamide, Tea Tree Oil, Ceramide, and Hyaluronic Acid | SPF: 50 | Size: 1.69 fluid ounces | Free Of: Animal byproducts, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, gluten, fragrance | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Price at time of publish: $40

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk, an oil-free, dermatologist-approved formula offering SPF 60 protection and won't irritate the skin or cause breakouts. For something more affordable, you can't go wrong with CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen, a drugstore mainstay that hydrates and protects with SPF 30. Open to spending a little more? Dr. Brandt Skincare Liquid Sun Shield won't let you down.

Meet the Expert

  • Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist in NYC specializing in the detection and treatment of skin cancers, facial rejuvenation, chemical peels, and general skin care.
  • Azza Halim, MD, is a board-certified anesthesiologist/aesthetics/functional medicine physician based in Florida with locations in California and Chicago.

What to Look For in a Face Sunscreen

SPF Protection Between 30 and 50

When it comes to SPF, which indicates how much protection a product offers against UVB rays (note: not UVA rays), it’s best to look for a formula that offers SPF 30 or higher. “An SPF of 15 filters about 93% of UVB rays, while an SPF of 30 filters out approximately 97%,” explains Halim. On the other hand, an SPF of 50 filters out approximately 98%, though a recent study by EWG claims that SPF products above 50 aren’t necessarily any more effective. That said, choosing a sunscreen with an SPF in the 30 to 50 range is best.

Broad-Spectrum Protection

As mentioned above, SPF doesn’t protect against UVA rays, which can be just as dangerous as UVB rays. “UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply—even without causing any sunburn—and they result in sun damage and aging,” says Halim. It's important to note that both types of ultraviolet rays can also lead to skin cancer. With that in mind, it’s crucial to find a product that offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it will absorb or deflect both UVA and UVB rays.

Halim mentions a few key ingredients to look out for that will indicate broad-spectrum protection: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both mineral ingredients, and avobenzone, a chemical sunscreen. “In regards to avobenzone, it breaks down quickly when it’s on its own, therefore it needs to be combined with other ingredients,” she says. “Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide enhance avobenzone’s effects while stabilizing it. Any other additives should be avoided."

The Right Formula for Your Skin Type

As you would with any type of facial skin care product, Halim stresses the importance of choosing a formula based on your skin type. If you’re oily or prone to blemishes, look for mattifying formulas that are non-comedogenic and non-greasy, ensuring they’ll keep shine under control and won’t clog your pores. Drier skin types should look for products that provide hydrating benefits while still being lightweight in texture (nobody likes a heavy sunscreen!). Those with more sensitive skin should avoid anything with potential irritants like added fragrance or dyes.

FAQ
  • What are the benefits of face sunscreens?

    According to Madfes, daily exposure to UV (ultraviolet) light causes your skin to produce free radicals, which can inhibit collagen production. In essence, wearing face sunscreen every day helps prevent loss of elasticity, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging. And aside from pulling the brakes on photoaging, there's the benefit of preventing skin cancer.

  • How often should you apply face sunscreen?

    "Wear sunscreen daily!" says Madfes. In addition to slathering it on every morning as part of your normal skincare routine, you're wise to continue applying it throughout the day. Why? Most formulas only guarantee coverage for 80 minutes—sometimes less if you're sweating or swimming. If you're already wearing makeup, spritz on a sunscreen spray or dust on a mineral SPF powder.

  • At what point in your skincare routine should you apply a face sunscreen?

    Generally speaking, sunscreen should go on last—after eye cream, serum, moisturizer, and anything else you apply during your morning skincare routine. However, if you're wearing makeup, you can apply it after your sunscreen. But if possible, wait a few minutes for it to absorb completely before reaching for your foundation.

How We Researched & Tested

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a commerce writer specializing in lifestyle and cosmetics. She considered dozens of sunscreens for the face for this roundup, evaluating each on active ingredients, texture and skin-feel of formula, and finish. Additional input was provided by Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC specializing in the detection and treatment of skin cancers, facial rejuvenation, chemical peels, and general skin care. and Azza Halim, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist/aesthetics/functional medicine physician based in Florida with locations in California and Chicago.

Updated by Jill Di Donato
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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