9 beauty editor approved facial sunscreens that will convert even the pickiest people.


I am the wrong person to tell if you hate sunscreen.

I will probably ask how come, not-so-subtly grill you on which brands you’ve tried, and then finish with a preachy lecture on sun safety.

I will definitely force you to listen to my product recommendations. But given the fact one person dies from melanoma every five hours in Australia, maybe I’m actually the right person to tell. Because I’m the gal that can help you find a match.

In my former job as a beauty editor, I heard every excuse for not wearing SPF out there. From “It makes my makeup slide off” to “It clogs my pores,” I’m well versed in the reasons most people have for hating on sunscreen, especially facial sunscreen. These reasons are not invalid.

It’s not realistic to expect someone to continue using a product they loathe, no matter how crucial to their health it may be. But the good news is there is definitely a sunscreen match out there for you. And that’s where I come in.

Take a peek inside Leigh Campbell’s beauty bag. Just get your shopping list ready.

Video by MMC

Ahead, you’ll find tried and tested facial sunscreens across all price brackets, and for every skin type. Each sunscreen is SPF30+ or above – because SPF15 won’t cut it friends – and is matched up with a common SPF woe. Can I solve your sunscreen problems? Let’s find out!


Keep reading to find your ideal sunscreen companion.

Your SPF woe: That weird white cast it can cause in photos

This doesn’t happen as often as you’d think, but when it does it’s generally associated with physical sunscreen ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. (FYI the latter gives a stronger white cast.) For this reason I could basically recommend any “chemical” sunscreen here (quotation marks because despite common usage of this term, all sunscreens are actually chemical), but I’ll go you one better.

Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF50+ ($40) from Mecca’s house brand is tinted a soft pink to add extra radiance to the skin. It’s hydrating, care of hyaluronic acid, but dries to a velvety matte finish that creates a smooth base for makeup. I know people who use it at night as a primer so I’m confident it won’t ruin your Instagram uploads from the club (or anywhere else). #Cute


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Your SPF woe: Sunscreen makes your skin breakout

If this is your deal, I feel for you. It wasn’t so long ago that using high-protection SPF daily bought you a one-way ticket to Zit City. Happily, things are changing. While still not-super common, clever brands are launching formulas that directly address the needs of oily and combo complexions.

Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF50+ Mattifying ($79) is a bit spendy, but in my opinion it’s worth every dime. Made with a cocktail of moisturising ingredients like shea butter and sodium hyaluronate (that’s a supercharged form of hyaluronic acid to you and me), it doesn’t clog pores and has a shine-free finish. How? Magic! (OK, not really, but it’s still very impressive.)

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Clear Face Lotion SPF30 ($16.99) is Priceline’s answer to the pick above. The UV protection is a little less, but if the lightweight, non-shiny formula means you’ll wear it every single day, I’m good with that. If you have acne, you might want to try this – I’ve recommended it to many friends who had avoided SPF for fear of making spots worse, and not one of them broke out.

Your SPF woe: You straight-up hate the feel of it

Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ Lightweight Sun Serum ($47) is basically invisible. In fact, it’s maybe the lightest sunscreen I’ve tried. Like a milky serum, it sinks in so fast you won’t have time to worry about it. Perfect for anyone after a little extra moisture but not keen on that sticky finish SPF products can sometimes leave you with, it co-exists happily with all other skincare and makeup.



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La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light SPF50+ ($29.95) is one I bet you’ve heard of. You’ll find it in the beauty bags of every beauty editor, ever. (And on every list of “the best sunscreens”, ever.) The texture is quite watery which means it feels relatively sheer once it’s absorbed. Sensitive types can find it a bit strong when applied around the eyes, so give it a miss if this sounds like you.


Your SPF woe: It’s just another skincare step to do

It’s true – skincare routines have gone too far. What with essences and ampoules and eye gels and sheet masks, it’s a wonder anyone ever leaves the house. Still! Sunscreen should always be a priority. It protects against UV rays, and those jerks cause everything from cancer to wrinkles.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF50 ($16.99) is such a bargain – the formula is pretty sophisticated for a supermarket sunscreen. Packed with hyaluronic acid for extra hydration, it’s not greasy in the slightest but it will give you a bit more nourishment than other products. If your skin is normal or combination you can trade in your day moisturiser and use this guy in place of both.

Dermalogica AGE Smart Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 ($106). Yes, it’s spendy but it’s bloody good. Think of this one as an overachiever – it provides UV protection, long-lasting hydration and helps to control triggers (like free radicals caused by exposure to the sun) that lead to skin ageing. Again, it absorbs into the skin quickly and is hydrating enough to take the place of your morning moisturiser.

No more excuses. Your future face will thank you for it. Image: Getty

Your SPF woe: You’ve got sensitive or reactive skin

This one can be difficult to remedy since what works for one skin can aggravate another. Many people with reactive complexions prefer to opt for mineral sunscreens, but you may then have to grapple with super-thick formulas or the “white cast” issue. (Ultra Violette Clean Screen SPF30 Mattifying Mineral Sunscreen, $42, is one notable exception to this.) Baby sunscreens can be a good fix since they’re generally quite gentle, but anything marked “sensitive” is a safe bet, too.

Feel Good Inc. Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+ ($27.95) could change your SPF game if regular “chemical” sunscreens sting your skin. Fragrance-free (great if you hate the smell of sunscreen), it’s so mild it can be used on kiddos. It’s easy to rub in and delivers a matte, slightly primer-like finish. The bottle is a pretty good size, since it’s meant for both face and body, so it’ll last you a while.

Lisa is a self-described beauty know-it-all who never met a dry shampoo she didn't like. She likes expensive body wash, oversized shirts, Maltesers, obscure disco music and hanging out with her son and husband.