The best SPF moisturisers for year-round skin protection

Because they're a must-have seven days a week, 365 days a year

Having one of the best SPF moisturisers to hand is a much bigger deal than you might think. Applying it everyday should become second nature, a bit like cleansing.

While the best sun cream is a no-brainer for hot holidays, ultraviolet rays can be damaging on even the cloudiest of days and so a moisturiser with an SPF is in fact a year-round beauty bag essential.

It may not seem like it in gloomy Great Britain, but even in the winter months you need to be slathering on some level of sun protection to stop your skin from getting damaged. If there’s daylight, wear an SPF. With this in mind, we grilled the experts for the need-to-knows and what to look for when SPF shopping.

Is SPF in your moisturiser enough protection?

Some people believe that an SPF moisturiser doens’t offer the same protection as a full-blown sun cream, but the truth is a bit more complicated than that; it’s not the product, but how you apply it.

‘SPF in your moisturiser is tested the same way as SPF in sunscreen, so an SPF 30 moisturiser should provide an SPF of 30,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. ‘The main issue is that these formulas are less likely to be rub-resistant and water resistant and may be applied a lot more thinly than sunscreen. For these reasons they may not offer the same level of protection.

‘The British Association of Dermatologists says that moisturiser with an SPF will help protect you against small amounts of UV exposure, such as when you walk to the car or pop outside to hang out the washing, but sunscreen is better suited for longer, more deliberate UV exposure, such as spending your lunch hour outside.

She continues: ‘It’s also worth noting that moisturisers containing an SPF may not contain any UVA protection and as a result will not protect against UV ageing.’

How much SPF should you apply, and how often?

‘In order to actually get the SPF promised by the product we need to apply at least half a teaspoon to face, neck and ears,’ explains Dr Kluk.

‘Ideally, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently after swimming or heavy perspiration,’ adds facial aesthetics specialist Dr Pamela Benito. ‘Also remember that for adequate protection, the SPF should be 30 or higher for extended time spent outdoors.

As for what to look for on the label? ‘Make sure your sunscreen says “broad spectrum” on the label, which means the product protects against UVA and UVB rays,’ she continues. ‘When used as directed with other sun protection measures, sunscreen decreases the risk of skin cancer and early signs of skin ageing caused by sun damage.’

The best face sunscreen

Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF50, £33, Lookfantastic

best spf moisturiser paulas choice

Buy now

Skinceuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF50, £41, Lookfantastic

best spf moisturiser skinceuticals

Or if you’re 100% dedicated to your current moisturiser, which doesn’t have an SPF, then you could invest in a UV shield, like this Skinceuticals one. A UV defender goes on top of your moisturiser as the last product before make-up. Yes it’s an extra step in your skincare routine, but if you find a good one it won’t feel like a chore.

Buy now

Keeping you protected from the moment you step out the door is so important and one of the best ways to fight the signs of ageing. On our list you’ll find Glossier’s famous Invisible Shield, and Dr Lancer’s Sun Shield Fluid, which Victoria Beckham recently revealed is her go-to SPF and many others.

Check out our favourite SPF moisturisers and UV shields hand-picked for sun protection and anti-ageing properties, and find your favourite…

Reading now

Popular beauty stories