My Favourite SPF Products for the Face

SPF Face Edit

Do you wear sunscreen on your face every day?

I feel like it’s the standard beauty tip that celebrities give in magazine interviews: “My skincare secret? I wear SPF every day!” But I’ve always wondered how many of them actually live by this rule (I’ve also always wondered if celebrities really eat the burgers and fries that they consistently order during print interviews to appear “totally normal”).

Up until fairly recently I did not wear an SPF daily. Although I tried to be as consistent as possible – especially during the summer months. But, let’s face it, sunscreen is an annoying, extra step in any skincare routine. And it’s often a complete pain in the ass to apply makeup on top of. So I totally understand why people forgo daily SPF application.

However, sun protection is super important. And especially so if you’re using results-driven skincare (think AHAs, peels, retinols, vitamin C treatments, etc).

I’ve recently got into the habit of wearing sunscreen every day, without fail (round of applause for me, please). And here are 3 of my favourite face SPF products…

Face SPF Edit

1. Elemis Daily Defence Shield SPF 30

This is my daily go-to. It’s a broad protection sunscreen that defends against UVA rays, pollution and blue light. The formula is light, gets absorbed into the skin quickly, and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy. It’s also a great base for makeup. The perfect all-rounder!

2. Ultrasun SPF 50 Face Fluid

For very bright days, or occasions where I’m going to be outside for a long time, I switch to Ultrasun’s SPF 50 Face Fluid. It offers very high UVA and UVB protection, and also boasts anti-pollution properties.

Again, it’s a really light, non-greasy formula. And it’s also never caused any issues for me with my makeup. It does feel more like an SPF than a luxury skincare product – but that’s because it’s proper, proper sunscreen. It’s definitely the product I have the most faith in!

3. Lumene Instant Glow UV Primer SPF 30

This isn’t a product that I would use day-to-day, as there are definitely more powerful sunscreens on this list. However, Lumene’s Instant Glow UV Primer SPF 30 is a great shout for no makeup days, when you just need a bit of coverage to protect you whilst you run a quick errand or two.

The pearlescent formula gives the skin a pretty, luminous glow. So if you’re searching for sun protection that also provides the complexion with a little bit of va va voom, this is the product to go for!

Best Sunscreens for the Face

And, a special bonus listing…

4. Olay Total Effects SPF 30

I prefer to apply an SPF on top of my daily moisturiser, to maximise sun protection. But if for whatever reason you don’t want to add an additional step to your skincare routine, Olay Total Effects SPF 30 is my favourite moisturiser containing sun protection. I’ve worn it since I was 13, and after working with Olay last year and seeing all of the science behind it I feel confident in its UVA and UVB coverage.

(Through my work with Olay I also learnt that foundations containing SPF do not provide adequate sun protection. Apparently you’d have to wear one tablespoon of foundation in order to get the stated dose of SPF. So if you’re not going to wear a standalone sunscreen, be sure to chose a moisturiser with an SPF 30 or higher.)

Which if your favourite sunscreen for the face? Comment below to share your recommendations…

Style Notes: T-shirt by Le Mot (gifted) | Hairclip by Accessorize | Pink wall print by Desenio (I purchased this print, but do work with the brand)

Photos by Chloe Ely


  1. Marta says:

    I have to say I don’t use SPF. As you said, I don’t think anyone likes another step in their routine and I definitely don’t. And the thing with SPF is that you’d have to keep reapplying it and that would be hard to do when you already have a full face of makeup haha to me, the only SPF that makes sense for the face is 50 because it’s the one that lasts longer and usually it’s the one that looks the worst underneath makeup so I’m definitely gonna check out that Ultrason one you mentioned, it seems great.

    • Ella Gregory says:

      I have applied the Ultrasun SPF above makeup before, and it actually didn’t disrupt my makeup. I was very gentle about it though, and then did a little touchup of powder on top afterwards. The reapplication it hard though, so I try to at least start the day off right haha

  2. M says:

    Biore Watery Essence 50+++++ It is my holy grail sunscreen I love it so much. I use it pretty much daily in the warmer months but where I am in Canada you really don’t need it in Winter.

  3. Estranged says:

    My biggest issue with face products is that anything even remotely oil-based causes my skin to break out. I only recently managed to find a moisturiser which doesn’t have that effect (The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factors + HA) but I haven’t yet come across an affordable, oil-free SPF product – so please let me know if you have any recommendations!

  4. LOL! YES, there are people who actually do not skip the SPF step in their daily skincare routine ‍♀️

    My two favourites are the Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defence SPF 50 and Bobbi Brown SPF 50 (the new version is Bobbi Brown Primer plus Protection 50).

    Azura | theflairsophy |

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Hi Azura. I haven’t tried either of these before, but they both sound great, so I’ll give them a try when I next need to purchase an SPF. Thanks for the suggestions.

  5. Mesoskinline says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I feel good after reading your reviews and opinions. But sometimes it depends that your face skin is reacted with that product. It may be useful to others. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Carla says:

    I also try to wear spf daily buy you are right, it’s really annoying to wear it under makeup and it’s hard to find a good one that’s light, doesn’t break you out and doesn’t leave a white cast. My fave one at the moment is the glossier one, it has a light gel consistency and it’s completely transparent! It work very well under makeup


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