Because SPF is a must, seven days a week, 365 days per year
So you’re looking for one of the best SPF moisturisers. Well, you’ve definitely come to the right place.
The sun is one of the biggest contributing factors to skin ageing. Why? Because the sun damages your skin and causes inflammation (we’re not just talking about sunburn). As Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice explains, ‘Inflammation destroys the structure of our skin.’
So, if we want healthy, and youthful-looking skin, then we really must protect it from the sun every-single-day. (Yes, even in Winter; even while working from home.)
We know that incorporating a decent daily sun protection regimen can be tricky, but by adding an essential SPF to one of the best moisturisers, you’ll be protecting your skin everyday, without having to worry too much about it.
SPF moisturisers vs facial sunscreen
First things first though, we need to address a common confusion: the difference between an SPF moisturiser and a facial sunscreen.
In short, an SPF moisturiser is great as a basic level of defence against sun-related damage. Protecting against the sun isn’t its only job, it’s also doing the job of a moisturiser too. Think soothing dryness, fighting discolouration in the same vein as a brilliant hyperpigmentation treatment, and diffusing the appearance of wrinkles.
A facial sunscreen, on the other hand, has only one job: protect the skin on your face from the sun’s rays.
SPF moisturisers are ideal in the autumn and winter months when the sun isn’t as strong. You should wear an SPF every day, even if it’s cloudy and overcast, as UVA rays can still permeate cloudy skies and windows. So good luck coming up with excuses as to why you’re skipping it.
Come summer, and holidays of course, an SPF moisturiser isn’t enough protection and you will need to double up. This is when you need to get your hands on the best facial sunscreens.
‘Many people believe that having an SPF in their moisturiser will suffice,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. ‘But according to the British Association of Dermatologists, moisturiser with an SPF will only help protect you against small amounts of UV exposure – for example, when you walk to the car.’
But what it won’t do, is provide the same degree of sun protection as the best facial sunscreens. Especially for longer, more deliberate UV exposure.
It’s true, SPF in a moisturiser is tested the same way as SPF in sunscreen. So technically speaking, an SPF30 moisturiser should provide an SPF of 30.
‘But to achieve the SPF on the label, you would have to apply at least half a teaspoon to the face, which people rarely do,’ says Kluk. ‘What’s more, SPF moisturisers are less likely to be rub-resistant and water-resistant. For these reasons they won’t offer the same level of protection as the best sun creams.’
Black Friday 2021
It’s also worth noting that moisturisers containing an SPF don’t always contain protection against UVA rays, either. ‘As a result, they will not protect against UV ageing in the same way as a broad-spectrum sunscreen would,’ adds Kluk.
However, having an SPF in your daily moisturiser is such a good idea. Because on those days when you’re working from home or it’s cloudy out, that added bit of daily defence is needed. Here’s our pick of some of the best…
The stronger your skin’s barrier, the less sun damage you’re likely to accrue. So this moisturiser is a must-have on account of its ceramides, hyaluronic acid, SPF and purse-friendly price point. This is hands down one of the best moisturisers, with or without an SPF.
Antioxidant-rich ginkgo biloba and algae are still the prized firming ingredients in this matte-textured cream. But it’s the addition of an SPF30 to the formula that is making our skin sing.
It still includes everything we love about the original Magic Cream – which was like a blanket for dry skin – but with a host of welcome extras. This all-new lightweight formula is not only the answer to hydrating oily skin but is supercharged with wrinkle-smoothing peptides, SPF20 and pollution defence technology.
Everyone's favourite moisturiser, but with the added bonus of an SPF. Huzzah! Squalene restores natural moisture while the lack of scent appeals to both sexes and all skin types. To put it simply, this is a bloody good moisturiser that just got better.
Its antioxidants are a bonus and its energising ingredients (including carnitine) like an espresso shot for weary skin. But it’s the not-insignificant promise of being sweat and humidity resistant that grabbed our attention. In short, it ensures the sunscreen actives stand a better chance of actually getting to work.
Who said moisturiser had to be thick and gloopy? Here the whipped texture transforms from a cream to liquid as soon as it hits your skin, ensuring the anti-ageing ingredients instantly absorb while the SPF doesn’t leave behind any telltale chalkiness.
Elizabeth Arden's Prevage range is almost as iconic as its Eight-Hour line. All Prevage products are made with its antioxidant technology, which makes this SPF moisturiser an absolute must. It's the perfect choice if you are concerned with signs of ageing and like a rich formula.
Avène is the brand you go to if your skin is having a 'moment'. They are incredibly well-versed in sensitive skin. So much so, that they recently launched their range specifically for rosacea-sufferers. This everyday SPF moisturiser is slightly green-tinted to counteract redness and super simple and gentle so as not to further irritate the skin. It's completely brilliant.
Dry-skinned friends, say hello to this little beauty. It's described as a serum, but we recommend applying your existing serum first then layering this on top. Even though it's a gel, it's richer than you'd imagine, so we don't think it needs a moisturiser on top - this should do the job.
If you have oily skin and you're prone to blemishes, chances are you've avoided SPFs in your lifetime for fear they will wreak more havoc. Well not when Paula's Choice is involved. Known for its no-nonsense, transparent messaging, this products promises to protect your skin, all the while balancing and mattifying. We believe it and so should you.
There's a high chance that you've seen this SPF moisturiser on your Instagram feed. Caroline Hirons is a huge fan, she says, 'The lightweight formula sinks into the skin. With no pilling and no white cast it’s a great choice.' If you won't take her word for it, how about the fact that there are three different versions depending on your needs - hydrating, mattifying and sensitive.
If you were concerned that using an SPF moisturiser would mean forgoing your anti-ageing plan of attack, then think again. This rich cream that sinks in really quickly, works at improving your skin's elasticity and reducing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles. All the while protecting you from the sun.
We've been so intrigued by this SPF brand from the moment it landed on our desks. And apparently we aren't alone as Cult Beauty is struggling to keep its SPFs in stock. This everyday moisturiser protects from UVA, UVB and blue light. They also do an SPF serum, primer, body cream and lip balm. All bases covered.
We recently spoke with a dermatologist, who told us that if you suffer from pigmentation then a tinted SPF is best. That's because they are made using iron oxide, meaning they physically block out light. Add in the colour and you get even more protection. We like this new one from Liz Earle, but if you're particularly sensitive to the sun you might want to opt for one with a higher SPF.