Here at BEAUTY BAY HQ we’re passionate about the fact that SPF is for life, not just for summer. Alongside UVB rays (which cause the sunburn we experience in the warmer months), there are also UVA rays, which are responsible for the long-term skin damage that accelerates signs of aging and can lead to skin cancer, and they’re present all year round (and can penetrate windows, clothes, and cloud cover).
That’s just one of the reasons why you should wear SPF every single day, and if it hasn’t convinced you of the importance, we don’t know what will. But if your previous experiences of SPFs have been formulas that are sticky, chalky, greasy, and breakout-triggering, you’ll be pleased to know that in 2023 brands are finally upping their game when it comes to creating skin-friendly formulations. These new formulas use the hydrating and repairing ingredients you find in your serums and moisturisers, can be worn under (and over) makeup, and cater to an inclusive range of skin tones.
If you’re already using one, well done. If not, scroll down to discover our favourites.
1. By BEAUTY BAY SPF50 Face Lotion
Proving that affordable formuls can hold their own against luxury ones, this light lotion is gentle enough to use on both face and body. It absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling moisturised but not greasy.
2. Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50+ Hydrating Skinscreen
If you’re looking for an SPF to layer under your makeup, this one provides protection and hydration while also helping to lock your foundation in place and keep it looking fresh all day long. It leaves skin with a satin finish, so it creates a silky smooth base for makeup.
3. Avene Cleanance Very High Protection SPF50+ Cream
For those with dry skin, this cleverly combines protection and hydration thanks to ingredients like thermal spring water, glycerin, and vitamin E.
4. Naked Sundays SPF50 Clear Glow Radiant Sun Serum
Weightless and invisible, this sunscreen delivers protection with the added bonus of being completely undetectable on the skin. Formula-wise, it’s equal parts protecting and hydrating, and leaves skin with a subtle glow.
5. Bondi Sands SPF50+ Fragrance Free Face Sunscreen Lotion
This Aussie-made formula not only adheres to Australia’s super strict sunscreen requirements but also has major fans amongst the online skincare community. Chances are you’ve already spotted it on your Instagram feed or TikTok FYP before now.
6. Supergoop! (Re)Setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF30
For sensitive skin types, experts recommend mineral formulas like this one. Along with SPF30 protection, the silky, loose powder formula imparts a soft, mattifying finish, while setting makeup and reducing shine.
7. Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF30
It may be on the pricier side, but Dermalogica formulate their products with the latest technologies and to the highest standards, so you can apply this lightweight cream confident that you’re getting first class sun protection.
8. Tan-Luxe Super Glow SPF30
Since it has a thin serum-like texture, this is a great option for oily or dehydrated skin as it absorbs quickly and delivers a powerful cocktail of balancing and hydrating ingredients to the skin. It’s basically sun protection with a bonus dose of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.
9. Hello Sunday The One That's A Serum
For acne sufferers, thin serum-like textures are less likely to clog pores than heavy creams – they also tend to absorb quicker and are less likely to leave a white cast. This has a silky-smooth texture that’s gentle on acne and doesn’t make oily skin look or feel greasy.
10. COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50
This SPF is a great multitasker because as well as providing top level sun protection, it contains ingredients like aloe, glycerin, vitamin E, and licorice extract, which will help to improve texture, tone, and hydration at the same time.
11. Ultrasun Face SPF 50+
Ultrasun is beloved for its hardworking formulas that cater to a wide range of skin types. This one is a good all-rounder, offering broad spectrum SPF and blue light protection, and acting as primer, moisturiser, and sun protection simultaneously.
12. NIOD Survival 30
With its subtle tint, soft texture, and blurring finish, this is a great option for applying under or over makeup (top tip: use a sponge). It provides skin with a powerful shield of UVA, UVB, and antioxidant protection but feels completely weightless.
13. Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50+
With a weightless gel texture and hydration-packed formula, this K-beauty staple melts into skin without leaving a white cast or chalky residue – so is a great pick for all skin tones.
14. Zitsticka Megashade SPF50
Since it’s formulated by the people behind your favourite pimple patches, you can trust that this formula won’t contribute to clogged pores or breakouts. Perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin, this SPF also contains soothing aloe vera and bacteria-killing tea tree.
15. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF50
Combining the moisturising and skin barrier-strengthening properties of ceramides with SPF50, this sunscreen is ideal for protecting (and hydrating) dry and sensitive skin types.