11 Of The Best Facial SPFs To Wear All Year Round

Hydrating, nourishing and sun protecting, these sunscreens go the extra mile

best SPF

by Grazia |

It's time to read up on the best SPFs to shop now. Do you wear a face SPF30 or above every single day? If yes, please accept a virtual pat on the back for investing in the future of your face. The best face SPFs protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can contribute up to 80% of signs of visible premature ageing (think fine lines and sagging skin).

Not solely reserved for the summer months, facial SPFs should be worn all year round - not least because research shows that wearing a daily SPF reduces the risk of skin cancer by 50%. If you've been put off in the past by chalky textures and formulas that clog pores, it’s time to get acquainted with the latest and greatest sunscreens on the block. From fading pigmentation to hydrating and mattifying, these new best in show face SPFs do so much more than protecting skin.

To hone your skills in the art of protecting from harmful UV rays and sun damage, read on for Dr Adam Friedmann's, Consultant Dermatologist at Stratum Dermatology Clinics, best application tips and discover team Grazia’s curated edit of the best face SPFs for all skin types below.

What To Look Out For Before You Buy

Should I use a chemical SPF or a mineral SPF?

Chemical sunscreens are quick and easy to apply, and the clear filter they create gives invisible protection. However, chemical sunscreens aren't a good idea for particularly sensitive skin, and can irritate rosacea and melasma, so be sure to check for the coverage and formulation that will work for you.

Mineral formula sunscreens often contain contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and work by creating a protective barrier on the skin's surface. They are ideal for the face as they can be layered over your other skincare or make-up products, but have historically had a bad rap for leaving a white cast on darker skin tones.

What's the difference between UVA And UVB rays?

Here's a speedy lesson: UVA and UVB refer to the 'invisible' and 'visible' rays from the sun. The former is what ages the skin over time (think A for ageing); the latter being what causes you to burn (think B for burning). Some sunscreens only offer UVB protection, meaning you won't burn, but you're not completely protected either.

Look for something 'broad spectrum' or marked with a PA+ rating, which indicates its UVA protection. Then, there's photostability. This is what stops the product breaking down when it comes into contact with sunlight, so for maximum protection, check that your chosen product is photostable.

How often should we reapply SPF?

Once the sun is out, you need to think about relying on more than the SPF that's mixed in with your foundation. Apply a blob of sunscreen slightly larger than a 10p piece to your fingertips, rub together and dab over your make-up. Or, opt for an SPF powder (it'll also soak up any signs of oiliness). If you’re outside all day long, be sure to re-apply every 2-3 hours.

Dr Friedmann says, ‘the efficacy of any SPF is strictly two hours, and after that it must be reapplied. The SPF number represents the degree of sun protection a cream provides to the skin compared with bare skin. For instance, after SPF60 application, the skin gets the equivalent to one minute of sun exposure for every 60 minutes spent in the sun.’

Is SPF still essential if you're staying indoors?

‘UVA rays can penetrate glass, so if you’re sitting indoors all day by a sunny window or driving then you need some protection. Although UVA rays don’t cause burning, they do contribute to the risk of developing skin cancer,’ explains Dr Friedmann.

‘If you’re heading outside to enjoy the midday sun, then sun damage will start immediately. The fairer you are the more at risk you are of photo ageing and burning, and this can begin to happen in as little as a couple of minutes.’

READ MORE: The Glow-Giving Products That Will Make You Feel Like You’ve Been On Holiday

Is the UK sun strong enough to warrant SPF?

‘The theory that the sun isn't as strong in the UK is a common misconception,’ says Dr Friedmann. ‘A lesser percentage of UV penetrates cloud, but often this is still enough to cause sun damage and burning, especially in the peak summer months.’

‘The UK has the same number of cases of skin cancer cases as Australia, but people tend not to realise this. Our population is much larger than Australia’s, thus the prevalence of skin cancer in the UK is actually lower than that in Australia (prevalence is the rate per 100,000 people).’

Shop: The Best Facial SPFs For Summer 2022


Best Face SPF 2022 - Grazia

Murad Correct and Protect SPF45, £68
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Forget everything you think you know about mineral SPFs: this one will change the game. Milky, fast absorbing and serum-like, applying such a high SPF has never felt more enjoyable.

Best Face SPF 2022
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Fans of Caudalie's hydrating grape based formulas will love their SPF. The invisible, non greasy lotion is enriched with Vitamin E, and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. Milky and lightweight, it melts into the skin with real ease.

Best Face SPF 2022
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The latest offering from Malin + Goetz is a reformulated, mineral sunscreen with a lightweight gel texture that is easily absorbed into skin (and doesn't leave a white cast on dark skin tones). Looking for the next generation of skincare meets SPF? You found it. It also contains niacinamide to brighten and smooth skin, and works just as well under make-up as it does on a fresh face.

Best Face SPF 2022
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This SPF has a barely-there finish that leaves skin looking that little bit more 'so.' The perfect addition to your skincare routine, apply after moisturiser for effective daily protection so lightweight you'll forget you're even wearing it.

Best Face SPF 2022
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The innovative idea behind Shiseido's latest sunscreen is UV protection that strengthens after application and when it's exposed to heat, sweat or water. Lightweight and water resistant, expect the same vitamin enriched, effective skincare as Shiseido's mainline moisturisers.

SHOP: Best Face SPF 2022 - Grazia
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Catch this sell out sunscreen-meets-primer while you can (it has already sold out once on Cult Beauty). Aiming to make sunscreen an everyday part of your skin care routine, this make-up base not only protects against UVA and B, but also behaves well foundation.

Skingredients Skin Shield Moisturising and Priming SPF50, from £46
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With a subtle peachy tint, this SPF delicately evens out tone and lends glow (in buckets). It's SPF50, refillable, and a more hydrating option for those with drier skin.

Best SPF for face
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Supergoop! have fast established themselves as an SPF authority. You can count on their textures to be light as air, melting into skin with real ease. They also offer brilliant top-up options, too.

Best SPF for face
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It's ok if you're hooked on La Roche-Posay's Anthelios (we are too). Oily skin types, though, will love this gel texture. It's packed full of hydrators to keep skin happy, but doesn't overwhelm oily skin with richness, so skin still feels balanced.

Best SPF for face
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A multi-tasking gem, this lightweight mattifying mist protects skin from harmful UV rays and sets make-up - a must-have summer staple.

Garnier  Ambre Solaire Super UV Anti-Dryness Protection Cream SPF50+, £6.50
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One of the most sophisticated SPF formulas on the high street. The gel-cream texture is best suited for normal to dry skin, for the way it quenches any dry patches and supplies hydration. Hurrah for brilliantly priced, excellent SPFs!

READ MORE: The Very Best Body SPFs: It's Time To Find Your Perfect Sun Lotion

Dr Adam Friedmann’s top sun protection tips:

  1. 'Wearing cotton and linen clothing offers the same protection as SPF80. The colour doesn’t make a difference as it’s the fibre doing the work of cutting out the UV.'

  2. 'Sunscreen becomes weaker and weaker throughout the day as it rubs off via clothes or sweat, so remember to reapply. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.'

  3. 'Go high in the first place by opting for a SPF50 so that your sunscreen is still giving a good level of protection as it fades.'

  4. 'If a dermatologist is out in the sun, you can bet that they'll be wearing a hat. Also, wearing a hat and shades will stop you from squinting and help prevent wrinkles around the eyes, (wrinkles are mainly caused by chronic sun damage).'

  5. 'People often worry about Vitamin D levels and don’t apply sunscreen as a result. My advice would be that it’s not worth the risk and to take a Vitamin D supplement if this is a cause for concern.'

  6. 'Be savvy on how to spot the signs of skin cancer. Skin cancer usually presents itself as a mole or mark on the skin and can be dismissed because people don’t notice it or don’t want to bother their GP. Be on mole watch this summer and remember our motto; “a change needs a check”.'

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