The best sunscreens to wear under your makeup
Yes, they really do exist!
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / November 30 2023
We all know we should wear sunscreen every single day, even in winter, but finding one that actually feels nice on our skin (read: non-greasy and not heavy) is no easy feat. Let alone trying to find one that wears nicely under makeup; in fact, that territory is perhaps the trickiest of all.
What goes into that department? A lot. The major players, however, are these: no white cast, no oily residue, and a formula that smoothes and primes the complexion but doesn't leave makeup looking like it's sitting on top rather than seamlessly blending in with skin.
Sounds like a lot to ask of any one sunscreen, we know. But they are out there, and we’ve hunted down 10 standouts. Here are the best sunscreens to wear under makeup...
MECCA MAX SCREEN SAVER SPF30 Broad Spectrum Facial Sunscreen
Scared your SPF is going to mess with your makeup? This sunscreen’s invisible matte finish should put your mind at ease. The silky smooth texture glides onto skin and absorbs quickly, while aloe vera, goji berry extract, chamomile and vitamin E soothe and hydrate the skin too.
$25 at MECCA
tbh skin shady 50+
This vitamin E and glycerin-infused moisturiser is designed to do more than just hydrate your skin. It’s also backed with 50+ SPF and crafted by the people who know problem skin, meaning that the oil-free formula is suitable for breakout-prone skin types. Always make sure you’re reading the instructions for use, covering up and staying out of the sun where possible.
$39.95 at tbh Skincare
Naked Sundays SPF50 Clear Glow Radiant Sun Serum
When it comes to makeup and SPF, usually the two don’t get along all that well. But this new sun serum from Naked Sundays has been specially formulated to mend their relationship. The unique, completely clear gel serum is a triple threat, working as an SPF, antioxidant-rich serum and makeup primer too. The matte-finish formula has been infused with squalane, watermelon extract, tomato extract, and jojoba to help hydrate skin, boost collagen production, and protect against free radicals and blue light pollution.
$49.95 at Naked Sundays
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+
If an ultra-light, non-shiny, non-greasy sunscreen with an invisible finish AND very high UVA/UVB protection sounds too good to be true, you just haven’t met La Roche Posay’s superstar fluid SPF yet. Dermatologically tested for sensitive skin (and eyes) this little guy layers perfectly under makeup without the risk of irritation.
$35.99 at Priceline
NIVEA Sun UV Face Shine Control SPF 50
Delivering high broad-spectrum sun protection but at an affordable price, this facial sunscreen for oily skin helps mattify and control oil while also hydrating skin. The lightweight texture and non-greasy and non-sticky feel makes this sunscreen a winner under makeup.
$13.45 at Healthy Life
Invisible Zinc SPF50+ Sheer Defence Facial Moisturiser
This mineral sunscreen is vegan, cruelty-free and sensitive skin-approved. It has a fragrance-free formula that contains zinc oxide, which acts as a barrier from UV rays, and its texture is lightweight and easily absorbed. This formula also comes in a tinted version (available in Light and Medium), if you’re after natural coverage on top of excellent sun protection.
$20.39 at Priceline
Cancer Council SPF 50+ Sensitive
Another sunscreen that sensitive skin will love, besides the fact that every purchase of one of these sunscreens goes towards cancer research and services (approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, so this is a BIG deal), the formula contains skin-nourishing aloe vera and vitamin E which dry skin types will appreciate. Also good to know is it’s water-resistant for up to four hours, so it’s also a winner for BB cream beach days.
$13.99 at Chemist Warehouse
Natio Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50+
This Australian sunscreen delivers a high level of protection from sun exposure, and it also cares for your skin in the process. It ticks all the boxes that you look for in an under-makeup sunscreen: zero white cast, no greasy residue and absorbs well – plus, it’s suitable for all skin types and has a hydrating formula.
$12.95 at Natio
Medik8 Physical Sunscreen Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 30
You don’t just get great protection from sun damage with this physical sunscreen; it also shields skin from daily pollution, infrared damage and signs of ageing. The hydrating layer it leaves on skin creates a smooth surface for makeup to adhere to, and the lightweight formula is non-chalky, too.
$74 at Adore Beauty
Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+
The SPF 30 version of this chemical sunscreen has been a best-seller at MECCA pretty much since it first launched. This iteration has a higher SPF, but the same lightweight, hydrating and non-greasy formula that earned the OG its cult following. The formula is non-oily, blends seamlessly on all skin tones, and has a hydrating matte finish.
$42 at MECCA
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion
This oil-free sunscreen is a long-time pharmacy fave; it provides SPF 50 broad-spectrum sun protection, but feels (and looks) invisible on the skin. It's also shine-free and great in humid climates, and it creates a smooth layer over skin that actually makes your makeup easier to apply.
$15.49 at Chemist Warehouse
Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen
We're big fans of this silky sunscreen under makeup. It’s ultra-hydrating and promises to do the job of your moisturiser, primer and sunscreen in one, which we are all for. We're also here for the UVA, UVB and blue light protection it provides, along with the velvety texture that glides over skin and creates a beautiful base for whatever actual base you're going in with.
$49 at Adore Beauty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.