The 11 best facial sunscreens to keep you radiant and protected

These editor-tested favorites are lightweight and non-greasy to keep UV rays out and let your inner glow shine.

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@hellomikee/Twenty20

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!


Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop-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

$34

COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50

COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50

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

$20

Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen SPF 30

bliss-block-star-invisible-daily-sunscreen

This sunscreen is on the higher end of what I'd normally pay for skincare, but since skincare YouTubers have drilled it into my head a million times that sunscreen is the most crucial piece of your daily routine, I figured I'd pay what I had to. And it RULES! I put it on after my moisturizer and spot treatment in the morning before I put on makeup, and it's just incredibly lightweight and effective. I spent longer than I should have in the sun this past weekend and my face looked like I'd stayed inside (my shoulders, which I neglected, not so much -- ouch). I'd recommend this to anyone.

Becca Brink, Assistant Editor

$19.99

SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30

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

$54

Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Mist SPF 50

Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Mist

While I love my bliss Block Star, I know that especially when I'm going to be outside a lot, I should be reapplying sunscreen. And while I don't wear that much makeup, I definitely don't want to re-do it every few hours. So instead, I use this Neutrogena spray sunscreen for reapplications over my makeup during the day. It fits in my purse, it works like a charm, and my makeup stays put!

Becca Brink, Assistant Editor

$12.97

Fenty Beauty Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Fenty Beauty 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 last summer, 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

$35

Cocokind Daily SPF Facial Sunscreen Lotion SPF 32

cocokind-daily-spf-facial-sunscree-lotion

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

$24.99

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion for Face and Body SPF 50

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion for Face and Body

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

$49

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense

I'm 36 and pregnant. When detoxing my skincare routine I wanted a tinted physical sunscreen (as opposed to a chemical formula) that was clean and would give me a glow. It also needed to contain zinc oxide to prevent and protect my melasma. I landed on Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense and I love it so far! It's super lightweight and not greasy at all. I can also layer my other makeup on it without it feeling like a sunscreen. The protection is also great!

Brittney Nespola, Business Development Director

$36

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46

Elta-MD-UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum

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 20K 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

$37

Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Moisturizing Face Sunscreen SPF 30

Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Moisturizing Face Sunscreen

Nothing like a good multi-tasker! This sunscreen is also my fave tinted face moisturizer. It's a clean brand so I don't have to worry about harmful ingredients, and it doesn't break out my sensitive skin. It's also incredibly lightweight and not greasy at all. It comes in four different shades that offer super light coverage to simply even out skin tone (though notably, none are all that dark which is kind of a bummer). It also doesn't have a funky smell like most of the other clean products I've tried.

Isabella Spitz, Director of Commerce + Merchandising

$45

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