It’s important to wear SPF year-round, but in the summer—when you’re spending more time outdoors than indoors—protection is a must. Choosing an SPF for your face is tricky business, though. There are so many factors (zing!) to consider. What sunscreen is most effective under makeup? Does makeup with SPF really work? And is there one miracle cosmetic that tackles overly shiny skin and still protects? I found 11 products that will give the illusion of perfect skin and shield you from the blazing sun.
Do you have an SPF-free foundation that you don’t want to part with? That’s fine. I have two options you can pair with it:
Apply Retexturizing Face Primer SPF 20 ($26 at Model Launcher) over your regular day cream, and not only do you get SPF 20, but you also get smoother-looking skin that is primed for foundation. I like this primer for normal-to-dry skin because it has a subtle dewy finish and anti-aging ingredients like vitamins A and E and salicylic acid.
If you’re prone to shine like I am, try MD Complete Anti-Aging Youthful Skin Sun Shield SPF 50 ($24.99 at Target). It’s truly “complete” because it takes the place of a face cream and provides SPF with a matte finish. Your makeup will apply very nicely over it, too.
Or kill two birds with one stone courtesy of a product that provides coverage and SPF:
The Juice Beauty CC Cream SPF 30 ($39 at DermStore) has a refreshing scent and moisturizing benefits thanks to organic aloe and coconut oil. The formula feels very lightweight when applied, so this is a perfect cream for the sticky summer heat. It’s available in six shades that don’t go on too dark.
For darker skin tones, try the Ambi Even and Clear CC+ Cream Even Tone and Environmental Shield($8.99 at Drugstore.com), which is available in two deep shades and contains shea butter and argan oil to nourish the skin. Both CC creams have sheer coverage and are packaged in plastic tubes perfect for your purse, gym bag or travel tote.
For fuller coverage, I recommend the Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin Foundation SPF 15($38.50 at Macy’s), which is available in 13 shades, from light to deep. It has a very emollient consistency and long-lasting wear but doesn’t feel heavy or oily on the skin. This is packaged in a glass bottle with a pump, so it should stay at home.
It’s pretty rare to find a powder with SPF that won’t feel like a thick mask on your face. But I did find two that I like a lot:
To set makeup in the morning, try the Setting Pretty Translucent Loose Powder SPF 15 ($38 at Arbonne). This weightless loose powder comes packaged in a jar and lends a luminescent effect to the skin. What makes it even better is that it has a little cup that fits down over the sifter, so the powder won’t fly all over the place. Why every loose powder doesn’t have one of these is a mystery to me!
For powdering on the go, there’s the Susan Posnick Colorflo ($68 for foundation and $29 for refill at Susan Posnick Cosmetics). This natural mineral powder is available in 17 shades, including a shimmer and a bronzer, and it comes in its own self-dispensing brush. Mineral powders provide a physical barrier (kind of like clothing) against the sun, and this particular product offers SPF 26.
If your makeup tends to move or fade during the day, I have your solution:
Try a setting spray, such as the Coola SPF 30 Organic Matte Makeup Setting Spray ($36 at Ulta). This certified-organic product not only ensures that your makeup will stay put in the heat, but it also provides a matte finish, SPF 30 and cooling ingredients like cucumber and aloe vera.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need something specific for your eyes! Your eye area requires a product that’s specifically designed for that delicate and thin skin.
The CC+ Eye Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream SPF 50+ ($29 at Ulta) is a rich concealer you apply via a cool metal tip found on the end of the tube. It’s available in five shades and contains nourishing and refreshing ingredients like lime, orange and grapefruit oils. Despite these ingredients, the scent of this product is negligible.
Lips need SPF, too!
If you’re a gloss girl, the Resist Anti-Aging Lip Gloss SPF 40 ($18 at Paula’s Choice) is a moisturizing, antioxidant-packed gloss that stays put nicely. It’s available in sheer pink, which is a pretty and universal tone, and clear, which is, well, clear.
If you prefer a lipstick, the Lip Sheer SPF 15 ($24 at Nordstrom) is a creamy, transparent lipstick in a slim tube. Available in 10 juicy shades, this will become your summer staple. Remember to reapply your lip SPF often, especially if you are a lip biter!