For all the evidence supporting the fact that one must absolutely wear sunscreen both on the beach and off, it took the SPF industry a little while longer to catch up—at least as far as facial formulas are concerned. There’s a special anxiety reserved for the act of slathering on sunscreen with full knowledge of what could await you on the other side, which is clogged pores; breakouts; a slick, oily sheen; and some crossed wires that make your usually reliable makeup suddenly think staying on all day is a hilarious joke.
Yes, sunscreen is a necessity, and, yes, like most necessities in this life it isn’t always thrilling. But things are getting better all the time, and the best facial sunscreens now are leaps and bounds ahead of the ones that used to give you a telltale crest of whiteheads where your sunglass frames happened to rest. These 10 formulas are nothing like the greasy lotions of yore—in fact, they’re so good, you’ll actually want to wear them every day. Which you have to, BTW.
Illuminating is usually nothing but a euphemism for oily, but this moisturizing cream, which doubles as a primer, has a light-refracting quality that helps to brighten and soothe while also diminishing the appearance of imperfections. Plus, no mineral oil means no potential for clogged pores, even on acne-prone skin.
Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Illuminating Sunscreen SPF 36, $34
As good for the earth as it is for your skin, this eco-minded formula uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide broad-spectrum protection and plant-derived antioxidants to keep skin on track. The lightweight feel is ideal for wearing under makeup, and because it's made without chemical actives, synthetic fragrances, and parabens, even those with super-sensitive skin can reach for it on the daily.
Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $14.99
This sunscreen doesn't just want to protect skin from sun damage—it also wants to stop aging before it starts by defending your complexion against pollution, too. The environmental stressors we're all exposed to daily (unless you live on a grassy knoll in Switzerland or something) don't stand a chance against the smart blend of antioxidants, photoprotectants, and natural titanium dioxide in this water-resistant formula.
Elemis Liquid Layer Sunscreen SPF 30, $41.50
One need not necessarily spend almost $200 on a sunscreen to ensure the best protection and most skin-friendly formula, but, hey, the heart wants what the heart wants. SPF 50 goes above and beyond to provide protection against UVA, UVB, and environmental exposure, and the satiny, lightweight finish is perfect for oily skin types—so if you're desperately looking for a way to justify the price, there's your answer.
La Prairie Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $185
The Anthelios line of sunscreen is legendary for a reason: Nongreasy, easy to wear under makeup, and available at most drugstores, it's the gold standard of high-end SPF formulas that won't leave you searching for coins in between the couch cushions. This tone-correcting primer in particular is genius, since the universal tint helps to blend away the look of pores and dark spots as it protects.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Daily Tone Correcting Primer, $39.99
There's nothing not to like about this water-resistant SPF 50 sunscreen, which combines such skin-care ingredients as shea butter, echinacea, glycerin, and jojoba with four—four!—proven sun protectants. It's also a safe choice for vegans and anyone else who had no idea there were ever any animal products in sunscreen but now feel concerned about it.
Nature's Gata Aqua Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen, $8.59
Using sunscreen on your face is especially daunting if you're perpetually on the brink of a breakout, but this weightless, easily absorbed SPF 55 has got you covered on both the sun protection and the acne-fighting fronts. It has a liquidy, incredibly lightweight feel and a finish that provides a smooth matte finish, with an ingredients list that leaves oil, fragrance, and potential pore-cloggers behind.
Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55, $9.99
There's really no excuse for not wearing sunscreen now that you can toss this tiny twist-up stick into not only your beach bag but also your tiniest purse. Skin-safe zinc oxide is the key ingredient that defends skin against damage, and this 100-percent natural, paraben- and fragrance-free, derm-approved formula is indispensable for all skin types.
Promise Organic SPF 30 Coconut Sunscreen Stick, $9.99
More for all-day-every-day wear than summer-specific, this oil-free, ultra-light formula is dedicated to a pore-free, shine-free finish while protecting skin from UV rays, environmental oxidation, and breakout-causing, makeup-melting sebum overproduction. Basically, it's a lifesaver.
Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42, $32