The best sunscreens to wear under your makeup
Yes, they really do exist!
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / September 17 2020
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.
But they are out there, and in fact, we’ve hunted down 11 good ones.
These are the best sunscreens to wear under makeup.
#12 / 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 new fluid SPF yet. Dermatologically tested for sensitive skin (and eyes) this little guy layers perfectly under makeup without the risk of irritation.
The review: “When applied the sunscreen does not leave any oily residue or shine, nor does it whiten the skin. It sits well under make-up; it does not pill either under make-up or worn alone.” Peta, REVIEWcrew® Member
#11 / 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.
The review: “Great texture, lovely scent, lightweight, doesn’t clog pores and works great with primers and foundations.” Anita, SUPERcrew member
#10 / Invisible Zinc 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.
The review: “I have been searching for years for the perfect sunscreen to wear under makeup and so far I think that Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Facial Moisturiser is the best one. This is because it seems to improve my skin with the amount of zinc it contains, it makes my foundation adhere well to my face all day, and stops me from getting shiny. I love that it’s a physical sunblock instead of a chemical one, too. The only downside is sometimes if gives me a slight white cast but I counteract this by wearing a darker foundation.” Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#9 / 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 beach days.
The review: “No fragrance and with zinc oxide, aloe vera and vitamin E, this has been great for my sensitive skin (no more stinging eyes!). I often use this as a primer as it isn't super oily and makeup sits well without smudging or running. This is my go-to sunscreen as it feels gentle on skin, great price, and the Cancer Council is a very trusted brand.” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
#8 / 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.
The review: “Natio SPF 50+ is the best sunscreen for everyday use. It sits well under makeup, over moisturiser, and best of all, it doesn’t leave a white cast. It doesn’t clog my pores or make my forehead shinier than it already looks. It’s the best all-rounder and is perfect for all skin types.” Anne, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Neogen Day-Light Protection
This broad-spectrum sunscreen comes with moisturising benefits, too. The mineral formula contains non-comedogenic titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for sun protection, as well as hydrating rose and raspberry extracts. The ultra-lightweight texture sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave a white cast or greasy feel on the skin’s surface. It has a delicate scent, too, so you really won’t feel like you’re wearing actual sunscreen.
The review: “I have dry, sensitive skin and this broad-spectrum SPF50+ sunscreen ticks all the boxes for me. It’s ultra-lightweight (honestly, my daily moisturiser is heavier than this guy) without skimping on the hydration – the formula contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It’s packed full of antioxidants from rose, honey and raspberry extracts that help to keep my skin free from pollutants. Plus, it’s specifically formulated for those with sensitive skin and it doesn’t leave a white cast.” Briar Clark, Beauty Crew’s Coordinator
#6 / 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.
The review: “This is the very last step of my skin care routine, and I *try* my best to never leave the house without slathering it on my face. It’s light enough to use every day, sits perfectly under makeup (doesn’t pill or make you look like a ghost), and is free from nasties like synthetic colours and artificial fragrances. It not only protects my skin, but keeps it feeling hydrated and comfortable all day.” Erin Docherty, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#5 / 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, non-whitening and has a hydrating matte finish.
The review: “It blurs the 'imperfections', protects, and it is so lightweight. Leaves no shine behind. Does not burn the eyes or even irritate my skin when it is sensitive from skin care actives. Makeup on top glides perfectly, no matter what one wears. Most days I wear it just on its own with just a bit of eye and lip colour and a highlight. It is enough, no foundation needed.” Jovanka, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion
This oil-free sunscreen provides SPF 50 broad-spectrum sun protection, but feels (and looks) invisible on the skin. It is shine-free and great in humid climates, and it creates a smooth layer over skin that actually makes your makeup easier to apply.
The review: “The ‘Dry Touch’ feeling of this sunscreen is what makes all the difference. It feels like a primer - it smooths the surface, stays put, and leaves a matte finish that isn’t dulling on the skin. Definitely no greasy finish and it feels weightless so you’ll completely forget it’s even on.” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#3 / La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen
Recently, our Review Crew® team have put a number of the La Roche-Posay sunscreens through their paces and have raved about each of them, so it’s hard to pick the best out of a great bunch. What we especially love about this face sunscreen though, is how well it wears under makeup. It doesn’t flake or pill, it won’t interfere with the wear of your makeup, it is non-greasy and mattifying, and it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin types.
The review: “Would have to be La Roche-Posay XL Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen. Love it. It’s not thick or oily and absorbs into skin beautifully so it’s perfect for under make-up and it’s also easy to reapply over the top of makeup too!” Pru, SUPERcrew member
#2 / Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+
Ultra Violette is a fairly new Australian sunscreen brand that is already gaining a cult following. “It has a beautiful, lightweight feel that goes on like a dream, adds a lovely glow to your skin (a slight shimmer that is like a walking filter) AND plays extremely well under makeup,” says SUPERcrew member Jacqui about the serum-like Queen Screen SPF 50+. We’re also big fans of Ultra Violette’s Supreme Screen under makeup. It’s ultra-hydrating and claims to do the job of your moisturiser, primer and sunscreen in one, which we are all for. It’s also the UVA, UVB and blue-light protection it provides, along with the velvety texture that glides over skin and creates a beautiful base for makeup that has us head over heels for this organic sunscreen.
The review: “The hype over this brand is REAL, and while I haven’t put the already-cult Ultra Violette Queen Screen to the test yet, I can say that the Supreme Screen is ticking all the boxes for me. To really put the hydration claim to the test, I skipped my usual moisturising step and went straight for Supreme Screen and my skin just never reached that dry, tight stage it has previously if I jumped to sunscreening without moisturising. And even better, it absorbed quickly, and sat beautifully under my makeup – no pilling, no heavy or sticky feeling. A real winner for me.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
#1 / Rationale Beautiful Skin Superfluid SPF50
Providing broad-spectrum protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays is just the first thing you’ll love about this sunscreen. It contains sunscreen actives zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxide, as well as amino acids and ceramides to hydrate and strengthen the skin’s barrier function. Then there’s the subtle tint, which gives your complexion a luminous glow. The water-light texture feels invisible on skin and leaves behind a natural skin finish.
The reviews: “I’ve never really been a fan of oils but this one has changed my life. It’s really quick-absorbing (that alone, is what makes it a winner in my eyes), and it’s also lightly pigmented, making it a real multitasker. On the weekend, I like to wear this on its own – it comforts me to know that it can protect me from the sun, but also even out my skin tone even without layering foundation over it.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
“Rationale Beautiful Skin Superfluid SPF50 is a glow-boosting tinted base that offers the top level of sun protection with a barely-there feel.” Alex Noonan, Beauty Crew’s Content Director
Cost: $88 (30mL)
What’s your favourite sunscreen to wear under makeup? Share your sunscreen reviews with us below - we’d love to hear your recommendations!
Main image credit: @jennadewan
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.