The best sunscreen for your face is one you will use every day. You can also apply body sunscreen to your face, although facial-specific formulas may be more comfortable to apply.
To find facial sunscreens that work for a variety of skin types, tones, and sensitivities, we reviewed dozens of options and conducted confidential brand-by-brand testing with a panel of 24 people. Testers with different skin tones. . Some of our recommendations are more hydrating, some don’t contain chemical UV filters, and others work better on darker skin or under makeup.
Banana Boat Light as Air Face SPF 50+ rubs in really easily, blends well on a range of skin to nes, and has a nice, breezy scent—one tester likened the smell to a “mild cantaloupe” while applying but found that the scent disappeared after it fully dried down.
We also liked how this sunscreen doesn’t take much effort to spread on the skin and that it stays in place, meaning no stinging eyes from a runny formula. One tester said it immediately melted into their skin and gave their face a “soft, slightly powdery texture,” which they liked.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: While none of our testers seemed to mind, this sunscreen does have a noticeable scent that might bother some. Also, a couple of testers noted a slight burning or tingling sensation on their skin right when they applied this sunscreen. One tester specifically said it made their skin tingle for about 60 seconds before it stopped.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ applied easily, can be fully rubbed in immediately, and leaves zero white cast. It has the highest possible protection grade of UVA (PA) rating. (Sunscreens okayed for sale in the US have SPF but not PA ratings, which appear on some sunscreens approved for sale elsewhere in the world.)
Many testers thought this sunscreen was a hit: The gel/cream consistency feels almost cool against the skin, and it rubs in especially quickly and easily. One tester said it made their skin feel “soft, slightly moist, with a bit of a dewy sheen but no oily shininess.” We like how it’s clear straight out of the bottle, and lightweight while still providing a bit of moisture and plenty of sun protection at the same time.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: One tester wasn’t a huge fan of its “liquidy” texture and thought it left their skin a bit more oily than they would have liked. “It’s okay but not my favorite,” they said—the only negative feedback we received on this sunscreen.
While it is available for purchase from US-based retailers, Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ is an imported sunscreen that can be harder to buy. We recommend choosing a trusted retailer (such as Stylevana or YesStyle). Expect longer shipping times.
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 has a nice, full texture to it (one tester compared it to Greek yogurt). It smells faintly of classic sunscreen—the kind you catch a whiff of at the beach as kids breeze by—but it isn’t overpowering. Upon application, this sunscreen does not immediately meld into the skin; it takes a little elbow grease to fully blend in the white formula. And it leaves a dewy finish that most of our testers appreciated, although some thought it made them look greasy.
We like this sunscreen’s creamy texture, which testers said felt weightless on their skin. “It feels nicely hydrating … with a pleasant dewiness,” one tester said. Because this sunscreen feels so hydrating, a tester who normally wears a separate moisturizer said they were able to skip it.
Despite its name, this sunscreen will appeal to a wide array of people. If your skin is prone to dryness, this one may be a good fit for you.