Despite the importance of sunscreen, there’s no denying that finding your own SPF—which feels weightless under your makeup and doesn’t cause buildup—can feel like a never-ending task. To help make things easier, Elite Daily consulted with several experts to find the perfect pick for every skin type. Simply put, the best sunscreens for under makeup are the ones you’ll actually be wearing, according to dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Libby. “Tell the patients this Which The sunscreens they use that meet SPF 30 standards or higher, broad spectrum coverage against UVA and UVB rays, and are water-resistant, she says. However, when trying to find is yours An ideal sunscreen, you’ll also want to consider specific skin concerns such as acne, dryness, oiliness, or sensitivity. Additionally, you’ll want to narrow down whether you want a sunscreen that uses mineral or chemical filters (more on that in a minute).
Dr. Tiffany Libby, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist with Brown Dermatology in Rhode Island. She is also Mohs’ Director of Microsurgery and Dermatology. Dr. Libby has dual certifications in Microsurgery, Dermatological Oncology and Dermatological Plastic Surgery.
Clarissa Luna is a New York City-based makeup artist with over a decade of professional experience. She has worked with celebrities like Megan Fox, Lana Condor, Tinashe, and Camila Cabello on everything from red carpets and music videos to magazine photo shoots and fashion campaigns.
Mineral vs chemical sunscreens
Mineral (or physical) sunscreen filters are placed on the surface of the skin, and act as a shield to block UV rays. For this reason, people with sensitive skin usually tolerate them, but often leave behind a noticeable white layer. Then there are chemical filters that absorb ultraviolet rays. Chemical sunscreens tend to blend into the skin inconspicuously, and thus are a better option for darker skin tones, but they Could you It poses a risk of irritation, especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.
“I prefer mineral-based sunscreens and often end up using ones that also have chemical sunscreen filters in them because they tend to rub off easily and blend better with my skin type,” Dr. Libby shares in her personal preference. You’ll usually find these filters listed under the “Active Ingredients” section on the back of the bottle:
- Mineral sunscreen filters: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
- Chemical sunscreen filters: Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octinoxate
How to put sunscreen under makeup
Dr. Libby explains that you should apply your sunscreen as the last step in your skincare routine and right before you apply makeup. “You should apply a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen to the face, which is about two fingers long,” she says, adding that since no sunscreen is 100% effective, it’s important to apply the correct amount and reapply often.
Dr. Libby says about powders (like Superjob (Re) Mineral Powder) and mists (like Sun Bum’s Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Spray and COOLA’s Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30). You can also apply a foundation or CC cream with an SPF to your face with sunscreen for added protection (Dr. Libby loves IT Cosmetics CC + Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation + Glow Serum With SPF 40).
Shop the best sunscreens for under makeup
In a hurry? Here are the best sunscreens to wear under makeup:
1. Best drugstore sunscreen for sensitive skin: Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
2. Best drugstore sunscreen for acne-prone skin: Neutrogena Fluid Breakout Free Face Lotion SPF 50
3. Best drugstore sunscreen for dry skin: Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen SPF 60
4. Best Luxury Mineral Sunscreen: SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen
5. Best French Drugstore Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen
6. Best Water Gel Sunscreen: ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Water Sun Gel SPF 50+
7. Best Skin Sunscreen: Tula Mineral Magic Sunscreen SPF 30
1. Dermatologist’s Choice: Best drugstore sunscreen for sensitive skin
“This is a pure mineral face sunscreen that’s lightweight and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores,” says Dr. Libby. “It’s also approved by the National Eczema Association, so it’s ideal for sensitive skin types,” she adds. The liquid sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, gives skin a matte look, and contains soothing ingredients like niacinamide, allantoin, and bisabolol to protect sensitive skin.
SPF level: 50 sunscreen type: mineral Main components: Allantoin, Bisabolol, Niacinamide, Vitamin E measuring: 1.7 oz. Cruelty Free: no
2. Make-up artist’s pick: Best drugstore sunscreen for acne-prone skin
“I’ve used this for years and can say it’s really a breakout-free formula that’s safe to use on sensitive and acne-prone skin,” says Luna of Neutrogena’s Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 50. The sunscreen works on my sensitive and acne-prone skin, and this formula works for everyone. Not only does it protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but the lightweight texture makes it perfect for wearing under makeup,” she says. It’s oil-free and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and contains oil-absorbing ingredients like silica and aluminum starch to absorb excess shine.
SPF level: 50 sunscreen type: Chemicals Main components: Bisabolol, purslane extract measuring: 3 oz. Cruelty Free: no
3. Make-up artist’s pick: The best drugstore sunscreen for hydration
If you prefer something that has a little moisture and doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy either, Luna swears by Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen. “Oatmeal probiotic gives you all-day hydration,” she says of the combination of oat oil, oat extract, and oatmeal. “The oil-free formula means your makeup won’t slide off (not even during exercise, my dear),” adds Luna. Like the first sunscreen on this list, this one is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and priced under $15 on Amazon.
SPF level: 60 sunscreen type: Chemicals Main components: oat kernel extract measuring: 3 oz. Cruelty Free: no
4. Author’s Choice: Best Premium Mineral Sunscreen
I’ve tried plenty of face sunscreens over the years, thanks to my acne-prone skin, sensitivity to irritation, and dryness with something as simple as a change in weather (I’m lucky, I know). None of them came close to SkinMedica’s Essential Defense. It’s allergen-free and fragrance-free mineral formula, so you don’t have to worry about a rash. It is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it does not contribute to acne breakouts either. Even better, it’s actually a pleasure to use it. There is no white or odor, and it blends in with my skin without any trace of grease or stickiness. This smooth texture means it doesn’t interfere with makeup, and I swear it makes my foundation last longer (perhaps because it includes many of the same silicone ingredients you’ll find in prime cosmetics).
SPF level: 35 sunscreen type: mineral Main components: Green tea leaf extract, caffeine measuring: 1.85 oz. Cruelty Free: yes
5. Editor’s Pick: The best French drugstore sunscreen
“I’ve polished hair around with this sunscreen countless times—and because it’s one of the best I’ve ever tried for wearing under makeup, I had to recommend it in this article,” Elite Daily beauty editor Adeline Duff said. “It’s cleverly formulated like a serum, so even though it’s creamy, it’s really lightweight, and there’s barely a feel. Just give it a few seconds to dip in and you’ll forget you’re wearing any SPF at all,” she adds.
Made by a popular French drugstore brand, this oil-free sunscreen contains vitamins C and E to help promote more even skin tone, and it comes in a handy bottle to keep the formula fresh. It’s the perfect single-use product for layering under your foundation or concealer in the morning.
SPF level: 50 sunscreen type: Chemicals Main components: Vitamin C and Vitamin E measuring: 1 oz. Cruelty Free: no
6. Editor’s Pick: Best Water Gel Sunscreen
Duff of explains is one of her favorite Korean sunscreens. “Impressively, it’s made with eight different types of hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated, as well as skin emollients like Centella asiatica extract and niacinamide. This means you get both right away. And Long term benefits by wearing this sunscreen daily; Being a dewy finish without white mold (plus SPF 50 protection); And healthy, hydrated and even-looking skin in the long run.”
SPF level: 50 sunscreen type: Chemicals Main components: Niacinamide, Centella Asiatica, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Fig Fruit Extract, Astaxanthin measuring: 1.69 oz. Cruelty Free: yes
7. Editor’s Pick: Best Skin Perfecting Sunscreen
This is the sunscreen I use to wear no makeup, since it has blurring effects, reducing redness, and enhancing glow,” Elite Daily editor Carolyn Goldstein says of TULA’s Mineral Magic Sunscreen. But it’s incredibly lightweight, hydrating, and doesn’t blend into anything (it really feels like lotion), so it works great under makeup too. As a bonus, the mineral formula never irritates my skin, which tends to be sensitive to chemical sunscreens.”
SPF level: 30 sunscreen type: mineral Main components: Peach Extract, Red Algae, Coconut Fruit Extract, Aloe Vera Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, Beet Root Extract, Vitamin E measuring: 1.7 oz. Cruelty Free: yes
Dr.. Tiffany Libby, MD, board-certified dermatologist
Clarissa Luna, celebrity makeup artist