What’s the biggest skin-care trick we have up our sleeves? The best sunscreens — formulated with broad-spectrum protection of SPF 30 or higher — that we’ve incorporated into our routines, of course. We don’t just write about wearing it; we actually wear it every single day. (Yes, even when it’s raining cats and dogs or if we’re spending the day cozied up inside.)
But don’t simply take our word for it. Every dermatologist in the world will wax poetic about the importance of wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful, damage-causing UVA and UVB rays that result in long-lasting sun damage like sun spots, skin sagging, fine lines and wrinkles, and so on.
As a reminder in regards to efficacy, SPF 30 guards against 97 percent of UVB rays, and SPF 50 is about 98 percent, and so forth. (SPF 15 only protects against 93 percent, which is why most dermatologists — and the Allure team — recommend at least 30.) The evidence is crystal-clear so do yourself a favor, slather up, and consistently reapply facial sunscreen every few hours to prevent the aforementioned effects — which, at their worst, can culminate in a skin cancer diagnosis.
Now that we’ve gotten the facts out of the way, we want to acknowledge that finding the right sunscreen for your skin tone and type can be tricky. Like any other skin-care product, personal preferences run the gamut. Those with sensitive skin may prefer mineral or physical sunscreens, which are always formulated with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide and “reflect UV rays off of them before the rays penetrate into skin cells,” as Loretta Ciraldo, MD, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist, previously explained.
On the other hand, those who prefer their SPF to feel more like a lightweight serum or moisturizer (that’s also more likely to induce zero white/grey cast) will turn to chemical sunscreens, which “use chemicals that absorb damaging UV rays and convert them to non-damaging heat,” Sejal Shah, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist told Allure. And FYI: Common chemical UV filters include avobenzone, homosalate, octocrylene, octisalate, and ensulizole. (Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two other chemical filters that are banned in Hawaii, and therefore many companies have followed suit to keep them out of their ingredient lists.)
Nevertheless, to help you out on your daily sunscreen-wearing journey, we’ve rounded up 23 of the best face sunscreens, as recommended by Allure editors and board-certified dermatologists. These formulas glide on like a dream, never disrupt makeup, work well on all skin types, and most importantly, prevent sunburns and UV-induced damage with proper application.