10 of the Best Facial Sunscreens

And why it's important to wear them all year round

Words by Emma Tiernan
May 10th, 2018

With summer fast approaching it is time to stock up on all those summer essentials. Sunscreen is something we think of buying before we jet off to warmer climates, however, even the cloudiest of days can have a harmful effect on your skin. We all know that we should be wearing SPF on our faces at all times but when it comes to the Irish climate we couldn’t possibly think that the sun could be causing damage to our skin, especially when we don’t even see the sun some days!

Sun exposure causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our face. “Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibres in the skin called elastin. When these fibres break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching.” All of this makes us appear older, quicker. Too much exposure can also lead to a higher risk of developing skin cancer, this, of course, goes for your whole body, not just the face. Protecting your face from the sun can help reduce these effects and slow down the ageing process. Not only do the products mentioned help protect your skin from the sun but some of the products also shields your face from other harmful elements in our environment, such as pollution.

So how can we be more protective of our skin, and not sacrifice our makeup routines? It’s as simple as adding one more step to your morning skincare routine. But before we look at the best SPF products, we should explain what exactly SPF is.

Explained by experts at Mayo Clinic, “SPF (sun protection factor), is a measure of how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays. (UVA protection isn’t rated.) Manufacturers calculate SPF based on how long it takes to sunburn skin that’s been treated with the sunscreen as compared to skin with no sunscreen.” For example, if it takes you 20 minutes to burn in the sun and you apply SPF 20 it protects you for 15 times longer in the sun, so for approximately five hours. Wearing a higher SPF does protect you for longer but doesn’t give you more protection than a lower SPF. Again the experts explain that “sunscreen is often not applied thoroughly or thickly enough, and it can be washed off during swimming or sweating. As a result, even the best sunscreen might be less effective than the SPF number suggests.” So the best way to make sure you are protected in the sun is to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially during the summer months.


Shop the story


Cover FX Clear Cover Invisible Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 30

A gel-like serum, the product melts into skin easily, creating a smooth, non-greasy effect which provides the perfect canvas for makeup. It moisturises, brightens and nourishes as it provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection, helping to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UVB rays, and other environmental factors your skin faces.


IMAGE Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser SPF 32+

Image has created an oil-free sunscreen that delivers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen has a rich antioxidant base which makes it perfect for oily and acne-prone skin. It also doubles as a protective primer to create a healthy glow before makeup application.


BIODERMA Hydrabio Eau de Sion SPF 30  

Hydrabio Eau de Sion SPF 30 is the first antioxidant and moisturising water mist to be introduced into the French market. The spray intensely hydrates dehydrated skin while also offering optimum UV protection with SPF 30. This product is the perfect last step in your makeup routine as it also doubles as an excellent setting spray, making it very easy to apply and reapply SPF throughout the day.


NIOD Survival 30

Survival 30 helps protect the skin not only from the sun but everyday exposures such as pollution, Smog, stress, infrared and blue light. It also provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.


La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 50+ Sunscreen

This product is perfect if you are looking for an oil-free sunscreen that doesn’t cause you to break out. It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means if you get sweaty or are swimming this still offers you full protection.


Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF 50

Another waterproof SPF, Protection 50 Sport’s lightweight formula helps neutralise damage and bind moisture to skin without that greasy after-feel. It helps defend against prolonged skin damage from UV light and other environmental assaults your skin might face on a daily basis.


Sonya Dakar Daily Shield SPF 30

With fans like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sonya Dakar is the go-to skin guru for the A-list. Her Daily Shield SPF is the perfect product to include as the last step in your morning skincare routine. The product is lightweight and non-greasy which means it will not affect how your makeup sits on your face. The product helps protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays and is free from potentially irritating ingredients meaning it won’t break you out if you have sensitive skin.


Clinique SPF 40 Face Cream

This product is both water and sweat resistant. It protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. This would be a perfect product for those who have an active summer. The cream is also oil and fragrance-free, meaning it won’t make you break out.


Shiseido Essential Energy Day Cream SPF 20

A hydrating moisturiser that offers daily protection of SPF 20, it helps protect the skin from UV rays and pollution, while also counteracting dullness and dryness. Perfect to use all year round.


Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30

For an everyday moisturiser, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer helps moisturise skin and includes SPF 30 broad-spectrum protection. It helps to hydrate while defending against skin-damaging UVA and UVB rays. Another product that is perfect to use all year round.