When it comes to morning routines, there are two non-negotiables: Teeth brushing (obvs) and face sunscreen application. Not just in the summer. Not only when you’re going to be intentionally soaking up the sun. Every day, full stop.

For one thing, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV rays, and just five sunburns over the course of your lifetime doubles the risk of melanoma. Convinced yet? If that’s not enough, unprotected sun exposure significantly contributes to premature aging and the development of all kinds of issues like discoloration, inflammation and skin damage.

As a thirty-something woman, I’ll be the first to admit, this was not always my approach. Many summers involved uncomplicated plans of “laying out” (after getting that sweet tanning bed “base” of course 😬 ) and after moving to Vermont which is forsaken by sun and warm weather approximately nine months out of the year, the importance of putting sunscreen on my face took years to register.

The turning point happened several summers ago, in an oddly lit brewery bathroom after a long bike ride. (Again, Vermont.) As I glanced at myself in the mirror, I saw what could only be described as a “dirt ‘stache.” I assumed it was something I’d transferred from my handlebars but it wouldn’t come off even after I scrubbed. I don’t know how I’d missed it up until that point. Years of not protecting my skin from the sun had given me a pretty noticeable case of melasma. Fixing it became an obsession, starting with preventative face sunscreen to keep it from getting worse. I’ve worn it every day since.

I’ve tested tons of them over the years and the best sunscreens for your face offer at least 30 SPF (which protects you from 97% of UVB rays), aren’t greasy or irritating for sensitive skin (after all, the best sunscreen is one you actually want to wear, right?) and work on all skin tones. And whether you wear makeup or not, they should sit evenly on the skin with the ability to layer product on top of it without pilling. (If this is all new to you, apply as the last step in your skincare routine but before makeup application.)

But since all things skincare really come down to personal preference and skin tones and types are all over the spectrum, I asked the rest of Team Motherly to weigh in with their favorites as well.

Check out the best sunscreens for your face below and set them right next to your toothpaste so you don’t forget. Trust me!

Best Face Sunscreen

supergoop unseen sunscreen


Unseen Sunscreen


If you’ve spent even 30 seconds searching for face sunscreen, you’ve most definitely stumbled upon Supergoop. Their uber-popular formulas are a favorite among skincare addicts and novices alike with an ever-expanding lineup of sun-protective products. I’ve tried several, but my absolute favorite is the Unseen Sunscreen. Not only is this my favorite sunscreen, it’s one of my top five beauty products of all time. Like desert island-levels of must-have.

The silky gel-like formula is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered, leaving a velvety finish that is somehow not at all drying. (Sorcery!) It leaves my skin perfectly primed for make-up and doesn’t come back to haunt me with grease or slippage when the temps rise throughout the day. It also blends seamlessly into all skin tones which (though all sunscreens should) is not often the case. I give it an 11 out of 10 and live in fear of it being discontinued. (Supergoop powers that be, DO YOU HEAR ME?)

Sara Goldstein, Commerce Editor

MDSolarSciences MD Mineral BB Creme


MD Mineral BB Crème SPF 50


As a commerce editor and skincare enthusiast, I test an embarrassing amount of products–and very rarely does a brand stand out to me the way MDSolarSciences does. It started with their obsession-worthy kids line and from the instant I tried their dermatologist-developed MD Mineral BB Crème, I was equally hooked. The super silky tinted formula glides on easy and diffuses whatever redness/funkiness my skin has going on, leaving me to decide if I even need to bother with actual makeup. (An infusion of caffeine and niacinamide help minimize discoloration and redness, making it a real multitasker!) Most times, nope. In the event I want more coverage and opt for concealer or foundation, the product doesn’t pill in the least. It’s available in three shades that work for a wide range of skin tones. Also! The formula has a matte finish that I personally adore, but if you’re more into the dewy look, their brand new Gleam + Glow formula has my seal of approval too.

BONUS! Today only (Friday, May 27th) it’s on sale for 30% off with code NOFRY. 

Sara Goldstein, Commerce Editor

Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream


Aloe Soothing Sun Cream


This sunscreen is a must-have! Despite my dry and sensitive skin (and I mean sensitive), it gave me a glowy look and kept me feeling hydrated. It doesn’t feel sticky or uncomfortable and glides on super easily. You can go on hikes, horseback riding (what I did!), and it WILL make sure you don’t get a tan.

Erin Chen, Social Media Audience Strategist

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen


UV Clear Facial Sunscreen


This cult-favorite comes highly recommended by dermatologists and apparently everyone on Amazon. (It’s the giant’s #1 best-selling sunscreen and has over 29K ratings!) It goes on clear with zero white cast and is ideal for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin. It also comes in a tinted version that’s just as lightweight and gentle and both work great under makeup!

Allie Litwak, Business Development Director

cocokind daily spf


Daily SPF


If you’re looking for a zinc oxide-based sunscreen, this is the sunscreen for you! No white cast, no fragrance and no pilling which is pretty impressive for a zinc formula. This is great for sensitive skin, especially if you get breakouts easily since it’s nice and lightweight. It feels more like a moisturizer than anything, honestly, and that’s always what I’m looking for!

Erin Chen, Social Media Audience Strategist

Shiseido ultimate sun protector lotion


Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion


This sunscreen is on the pricier side, but it definitely keeps you from tanning. I used this throughout a swim program (on the HOTTEST days) and didn’t change a single shade. It’s light and goes on well without pilling under make-up (but you definitely have to rub it in). And because it’s formulated to strengthen when exposed to heat and water, it’s a top choice if you’re going to spend any time pool or beachside.

Erin Chen, Social Media Audience Strategist

Skinceuticals daily brightening UV defense sunscreen


Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen


I am an absolute skincare junkie with a passion for Skinceuticals cult favorite, C E Ferulic (my Vitamin C indulgence), so when I learned about their latest sunscreen offering, I needed no convincing. Launched this spring, the Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen had me hooked from the first application. For one thing, it’s formulated with 1% tranexamic acid and 2% niacinamide, two ingredients that work to prevent and reverse hyperpigmentation (one of my top skin battles). The multi-tasking formula goes on super smooth with an almost powdery finish and thanks to subtle, reflective mica it instantly brightens my face without looking greasy or sparkly. (I’m almost forty. Hold the sparkles please.) It’s spendy but given all the extra work it does, it feels worth the investment.

Sara Goldstein, Commerce Editor

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Sunscreen

Fenty Skin

Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30


If you’ve got any melanin at all, it can seem all but impossible to find a sunscreen that doesn’t leave a ghostly cast. Mineral sunscreens are totally not your friend, leaving behind that weird bluish tint that takes legit scrubbing to remove. As a white lady with two biracial kids, I’m kind of ashamed to say I never gave this a thought until slathering them with otherwise high-quality formulas that clearly were not developed with dark skin in mind.

Leave it to Rhianna to come to the rescue. Launched in 2020, her Fenty Skin line is built on the same ethos as Fenty Beauty: simple product for all skin types, all skin tones and all genders. And while I love them all, the Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a real stand-out. The pearly pink formula pulls double duty as a moisturizer and sunscreen and sinks into my pale skin and my kids’ dark skin equally well. It has a subtle citrusy scent that none of us mind but is worth mentioning since not everyone loves scent in their face products. Also, it’s not water-resistant but perfect for everyday use otherwise.

Sara Goldstein, Commerce Editor

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen Lotion


Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen Lotion


This is the first-ever sunscreen that kept its promise of not causing a breakout, even after multiple applications for multiple days. It applies like any moisturizer–not too thick and easily spreadable. I definitely recommend the 50 SPF (30 is never enough). And at less than $12 bucks, it’s hard to beat!

Hayli Craig, Editorial Operations Manager

Supergoop Resetting Spray


(Re)setting Refreshing Mist


Listen. I’m a shameless Supergoop stan and I won’t apologize for it. Their standout products and constant innovation within the space means there’s always something new that I’m excited to try. Most recently, it has been their (Re)setting Refreshing Mist. As religious as I am about sunscreen application in the morning, I’m not that great about reapplying during the day. I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but I also don’t love re-slathering myself with spreadable formulas without washing my face and starting fresh–a routine I don’t always have time for. Enter spray sunscreen! This one is light, fast-drying and doesn’t leave my skin looking greasy or shiny. I also love that it comes in two sizes so you don’t have to spend a ton to figure out if it’s for you.

Sara Goldstein, Commerce Editor

A version of this story was published June 28, 2021. It has been updated.