The 10 Best Sunscreens To Wear Under Makeup

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by Lisa Fogarty
Originally Published: 

You know you need it every day, and (hopefully) you're applying it that often. But there's one challenge that even the most practiced sunscreen experts still face on the daily: finding a sunscreen that also pairs well with their foundation, concealer, and powder. The best sunscreens to wear under makeup for a slide-proof face have an SPF level of 30 or higher to protect skin from UV rays, but are also lightweight and designed with ingredients (and often less oil) that work for your skin type and provide a matte base for makeup.

Sunscreens have a not-so-great reputation for being sticky, greasy, absorbing at a snail's pace (if at all), leaving a ghostly white residue behind, and making your makeup slide right off your face by mid-day. All of this is fine and dandy if you're applying SPF to your arms or legs, but when it comes to your face — especially on a hectic work morning where you don't have a minute to waste — you need a sunscreen formula that works like a charm under BB cream, foundation, and powder.

The best facial sunscreens that work hand in hand with makeup include physical broad spectrum formulas made from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — chemical formulas are often too irritating for sensitive skin types and can cause reactions. It helps if your sunscreen is non-comedogenic and contains mattifying ingredients like silica, which absorbs oils and keeps skin fresh no matter what the temperature is outside. Look for a lightweight formula, as well, especially if you want a face sunscreen you can mix with foundation. Beyond that, you'll want to opt for a formula that's designed specifically for your skin type — and luckily, there are a lot of great options out there.

Keep scrolling, the best sunscreens for under makeup are gathered up below.


The Best Sunscreen For Most People

This water-resistant broad spectrum SPF 60 is free of fragrances and parabens, ideal for sensitive skin, and is an incredibly light mineral sunscreen fluid that doesn't feel heavy or greasy. It contains antioxidants, is oil-free, and leaves a matte finish for the perfect base under makeup.

According to one reviewer: "Excellent, I have fair skin [...] I am always looking or improved sunscreen options, so I try a lot of different products. This is the best I have found so far. The screen works very well. I can be out for hours and not worry about getting burned. There are a number of good spf options out there, but what sets this apart is how it feels. This is the least greasy product that I have used. So if it feels “less bad” you use it more.”


The Best Sunscreen For Dry Skin

Described as a "feather light" sunscreen cream that delivers broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection, this formula is especially effective for dry skin types, as it's incredibly moisturizing (and not free of oils). You can use it on both your face and body and one reviewer says her makeup goes on better after this cream leaves her face feeling silky and smooth.

According to one reviewer: "It leaves my skin very silky and smooth after application. I used to use the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream and Lotion but my make-up stays on better and my skin feels smoother with the Urban Environment UV Protection. Highly recommend for everyday protection."


The Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin

It's oil-free, non-comedogenic, and rich in antioxidants that repair, rejuvenate, and hydrate skin — and it certainly doesn't hurt that this sunscreen contains SPF 30 for good UVA/UVB protection. It pretty much sinks into skin upon contact and won't get in the way of makeup. Sensitive skin types will love that it's formulated without parabens, oxybenzone, or fragrances and even contains sunflower extract to protect skin from environmental damage.

According to one reviewer: "Love this! A daily moisturizer I can also use on my face that doesn’t clog pores! Creamy and light!”


The Best Sunscreen For Oily And/Or Sensitive Skin

Formulated specifically for sensitive and/or acne-prone skin (hence its name), La Roche Posay's Clear Skin Sunscreen is a longtime favorite of anyone looking for maximum sun protection that won't break them out. The fragrance-, paraben-, and oil-free formula is water resistant up to 80 minutes, so it's great for swimming in the pool or days at the beach, and it's non-comedogenic, which means it won't clog your pores. Protecting from both UVA and UVB rays, this dermatologist-tested moisturizer leaves a matte finish, thanks to its unique oil-absorbing complex that anyone who hates feeling (or looking) greasy will love. Again, this formula, being oil-free, won't encourage your makeup to melt off, making it an all-around champion for all-day wear.

According to one reviewer: "It doesn’t leave the skin shiny at all so it’s perfect to use under makeup. Also, the protection from the sun is really good. I love it!"


The Best Sunscreen For Redness And/Or Irritated Skin

Have skin that is sensitive to chemicals and tends to get red and easily irritated? This sun cream with SPF 50 will sooth your complexion with aloe leaf extract and other botanicals that help retain moisture in the skin while protecting it against UV rays. This sunscreen is a light, creamy texture that absorbs quickly and without a trace.

According to one reviewer: "Love the smell and texture of this. it's not greasy of heavy and sits nicely under makeup. I am biracial so I do have a medium skin tone and this leaves no white behind!"


The Best Korean Sunscreen For Combination Skin

Water, sweat, and even humidity are no match for this cult-favorite Korean sun milk with broad-spectrum SPF 50. It goes on like a lightweight powdery fluid and dries instantly, making skin look and feel fresh and more even in tone. If you have oily or combination skin, this formula will go a long way in sapping excess oils to prep skin for makeup application.

According to one reviewer: "This sunscreen is light and can be used a primer under makeup without making an oil slick. It feels like it just soaks right in and a little goes a long way."


The Best Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin

This best-selling sunscreen was made for acne-prone skin, so it's an excellent option for anyone prone to breakouts or irritation. Thanks to calming niacinamide and moisturizing hyaluronic acid, it'll help keep irritable skin healthy — and it's great for treating rosacea and discoloration, too. Though it appears to be white, it blends in totally clear, and it even has lactic acid — a mild exfoliant that helps keep breakouts under control. The formula is fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic, and has been recommended by everyone from beauty bloggers to dermatologists. Check out its near-perfect rating — and almost 20,000 reviews — if you're still skeptical about this seemingly too-good-to-be-true face sunscreen.

According to one reviewer: "This sunscreen is light and can be used a primer under makeup without making an oil slick. It feels like it just soaks right in and a little goes a long way."


The Best Everyday Sunscreen For Anyone On A Budget

If you're looking for an affordable daily moisturizer with SPF that wears well under makeup, you'll love this lightweight formula from CeraVe. Since it's oil-free, it won't cause your makeup to slide off throughout the day; instead, it has a hyaluronic acid base, so it'll moisturize your skin as well as protect it from the sun's harmful rays. The non-comedogenic formula is suitable for all skin types and at less than $15, is a great option for anyone looking to keep their skin healthy and hydrated without breaking the bank.

According to one reviewer: "Goes on smoothly without a white cast. Works very well under makeup. Really helps to protect the skin while moisturizing it as well. I'll continue to use this for years to come."


The Best Organic Sunscreen (That's Also Tinted!)

When you want full-coverage makeup, start with this 4-in-1 tinted mineral moisturizer with SPF 30, which has antioxidants like grape, pomegranate, and aloe. A light application of this sunscreen moisturizer, which is available in three shades, tones your complexion and makes it even more radiant and ready for foundation or BB cream. You can even wear it alone on days when you want light coverage, sun protection, and a hint of color.

According to one reviewer: "You can wear this with or without makeup. On days you want to just wear moisturizer after washing your face in the morning, this is perfect!!!"


The Best Sunscreen For The Highest Level Of Sun Protection

When only the driest of dry sunscreen formulas will do (and especially when temperatures and humidity levels are sky high), this water-resistant broad-spectrum SPF 100+ provides the most protection possible with zero grease and shine to ruin your makeup look. For a heavy dose of SPF, it's exceptionally light and reviewers say it blends into skin without leaving a grey or white film behind.

According to one reviewer: "I use this sunscreen daily, under my makeup and it works well! I typically have oily skin and it holds up. It's my new go-to facial sunscreen!"

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