Sensitive Skin-Approved Facial Sunscreens to Wear Under Your Makeup

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – just because your cosmetics have SPF protection doesn’t mean that you are completely covered. Ask any dermatologist and they will tell you the same. We don’t put on cosmetics the same way that we put on sunscreen. We put on sunscreen for protection, but we put on cosmetics for beauty. That is the way it should stay, too. Instead of relying on the hit-or-miss SPF protection in your cosmetics, the simple answer is to invest in a sunscreen that you can wear under your makeup.

What to Look for in a Sunscreen You Can Wear Under Makeup?

When most people think of sunscreen, they don’t paint a pretty picture in their head. We think of that thick, greasy stuff that our mothers slathered on us before a day at the beach and made us reek of coconut. However, that is fine for a day at the beach (if it doesn’t irritate your skin), but for your face, you should demand something a little better, and there are options out there that can deliver.

What to look for in a facial sunscreen:

  • Fast Absorbing – On the average weekday morning, you don’t have the time to wait for a sunscreen to absorb.
  • Non-Greasy – Particularly for oily skin, you don’t need any more grease. For any skin type, this also makes it less likely that your foundation will not slide right off.
  • Fragrance-Free – No one wants to smell like a pina colada all day.
  • Non-Chemical – The chemical sunscreens may not leave behind that white residue like the natural options of iron oxide or titanium dioxide do, but they are more likely to irritate. You know what though? If you are putting on even just a light powder foundation over it, the white residue will be hidden, thus completely fine.

Our Top Facial Sunscreen Picks

Where to Buy
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Broad Spectrum SPF 60
CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50
Juicy Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30
Missha Sun Milk SPF 50
Innisfree Eco Safety Sunblock SPF 50

There are a lot of facial sunscreens out there, but not all of them are great. Many of them are just body sunscreens that are repackaged and marketed for your face. I have found that a good rule of thumb is that good facial sunscreens come from companies that also have cosmetic lines. That way you can be assured of a certain level of quality when used with cosmetics. After that, all you have to do is decide if it will irritate your skin.

1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Broad Spectrum SPF 60

Free of fragrance and parabens, this water-resistant SPF is probably a little stronger than you need it to be but is also incredibly light. Made from minerals, it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin and its antioxidant-packed formula is excellent for sensitive skin. Furthermore, because it has a matte finish, it is great for layering makeup on top of.

2. CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50

CosRX is a whole line dedicated to making cleansers and face creams for people with sensitive skin, so it is not completely unexpected that they too would have a sunscreen. Of course, they call it a sun “cream,” and for good reason too. It doesn’t feel like sunscreen in the slightest. It goes on like your morning moisturizer and it absorbs just as fast like it was never even there. Of course, being as it is also infused with aloe, it can also help any morning irritation that might be bothering you as well.

3. Juicy Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30

Tinted moisturizers are all the rage these days. Since you have to put them on your face in the same way as a moisturizer or a sunscreen, this is the only cosmetic that is an acceptable replacement for a true sunscreen. If you need a reasonably strong SPF that also functions as a great tinted moisturizer, this is the way to go. It absorbs quickly and is packed with antioxidants like grape, pomegranate, and aloe. As it provides a hint of color as well, be sure to go easy on other foundations.

4. Missha Sun Milk SPF 50

This is by far one of the most fun products I’ve ever tried ever. From Korea, sun milk goes on like a lightweight powdery fluid and when it goes on, it dries almost instantly. Furthermore, it makes your skin look matte and feel fresh, almost like you don’t need makeup. Since it is made with a combination of powders, it soaks up oil and sweat so it doesn’t ruin the rest of your makeup. Honestly, even if you didn’t need the SPF, if it is humid, hot, or if you have excess oil, this makes a great primer as well.

5. Innisfree Eco Safety Sunblock SPF 50

This is another sunblock from Korea, and just as wonderful as the sun milk, but with a much less impressive non-powdery texture. The major boon of this sunblock, aside from Innisfree being one of the great Korean brands for sensitive skin, is how fast it absorbs. It mattifies oily skin while absorbing to give your skin a soft feeling that I was legitimately sad to put makeup on top of. The soft feeling doesn’t last all day though, but it does help your makeup stay on well. Made with green tea and sunflower oil, this sunblock also nourishes as it provides protection.