Sunscreen is probably the single most important product that you can add to a skincare routine to help slow down the signs of skin aging. (Ask pretty much any derm, and they’ll likely agree.) The sun hitting your skin can feel glorious, but what it’s doing to an unprotected face isn’t pretty. “The sun induces metalloproteinases that destroy collagen and create oxidative stress that kills the cells,” says Dr. Maritza Perez, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Medical Center. We’re not trying to terrify you, but when it comes to skin health, the importance of SPF protection is serious business.
There are two types of sunscreen, and they work differently to prevent damage. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and work by changing ultraviolet radiation into heat. When determining if your SPF falls into this category, look for ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Physical sunscreens, which will have terms on the bottle such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, act as a shield to reflect ultraviolet radiation from the surface of the skin. Both are effective means of SPF; however, chemical versions can potentially cause irritation, particularly on sensitive skin. (Learn more about these two types of sunscreen formulas here.)
Whichever type of SPF type you choose, the most important factor is that you actually wear it. “Make it a part of your daily routine, regardless of season,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology GroupTM in NYC. If daily SPF sounds like a hassle, she suggests choosing a moisturizer containing (at least) SPF 30. With a two-in-one formula, you’ll never have to think about applying SPF as a separate layer.
“After you wash your face in the morning, apply your [SPF-infused] moisturizer, and you’ll have coverage year-round,” Nazarian notes. Her suggestion is to find a product that you love — either the way it moisturizes or the way it feels — and you’ll be more motivated to apply it. We’re making that even simpler by selecting the very best of Sephora’s® top-rated sunscreens: you just might find your new favorite in the batch below.
Best sunscreen at sephora
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA+++
- vitamins A, C and E neutralize free radicals and condition the complexion
- Potent antioxidant power plus Vitamin A, C, and E helps prevent skin damage. Allantoin and Panthenol soften and moisturize for healthy looking, radiant skin. Ideal for balanced, oily, combination & dry skin types.
Murad City Skin® Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA+++ ($68) takes home high marks for being a 100-percent mineral (physical) sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white hue on darker skin tones. Plus, it’s lightweight enough that it won’t congest oily and acne-prone skin.
Obagi Clinical Vitamin C Suncare Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
- NON-COMEDOGENIC 8-HOUR MOISTURIZER - provides instant and long-lasting hydration day or night. Clinically shown to improve the moisture content of the skin and provide hydration for up to eight hours. Designed for a variety of skin types to help enhance skin smoothness.
- VITAMIN C 20% - Highest concentrated serum with antioxidant L-ascorbic Acid, best suited for normal to oily skin. Uniquely formulated to help reduce the appearance of skin aging and leave skin feeling silky soft.Daily use helps to fortify skin and safeguard your youthful appearance. Formulated with pure L-ascorbic acid to optimize efficacy, permeability, and stability. Obagi Professional-C Serum 20% is the highest concentrated serum with antioxidant L-ascorbic Acid, best suited for normal to oil
If you prefer a chemical sunscreen, try the Obagi Clinical Vitamin C Suncare Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($58). The formula also contains vitamin C to help brighten up dull and uneven skin tones.
Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Protective Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen
- Protects skin from up rays, dryness, and oxidation
- It provides long-lasting moisture and assists with smooth, flawless makeup application.Non-comedogenic
Before you dismiss the Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Protective Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen ($265) for its hefty price tag, just know this luxe cream is more than just a sunscreen. It’s packed with skin-pampering ingredients like antioxidant green tea and a blend of anti-pollutants to help fight wrinkles and smooth texture.
The Kiehl’s Since 1851 Facial Fuel Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15
The Kiehl’s Since 1851 Facial Fuel Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($35) protects skin with vitamin-packed, non-greasy moisture and UV blockers. It even contains caffeine to help wake up tired-looking complexions
Moroccanoil SunTM Face Lotion SPF 30
- LUXURIOUS MOISTURE FOR DRY SKIN: This nourishing body butter with a soft, whipped texture melts into skin for decadent, silky hydration with a non-greasy feel
- BUTTER FOR BETTER BODY: Perfect for all-over hydration, moisturization and nourishment after a bath or shower. Smooth on and allow to melt into skin.
Moroccanoil SunTM Face Lotion SPF 30 ($38) is a lightweight and fast-absorbing SPF that can even be used on oily skin as a daily moisturizer. It contains the brand’s signature ingredient, argan oil, to help hydrate.
Supergoop! Perfect DayTM 2-in-1 Everywear Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50 + Mini Condition Lip Shield
- [ BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN FOR BODY ] 100% Mineral-based sunscreen, also known as a physical sunscreen, reflects UVA/UVB rays to help protect the skin. Developed with dermatologists by CeraVe Skincare.
- [ MINERAL SUNSCREEN APPLICATION ] Physical sunscreens often leave a white cast when applied in thick layers. For best results, apply sunscreen evenly to the entire body in thin layers and thoroughly massage into skin. Suitable sunscreen for kids & adults.
There’s literally no excuse to leave any part of your face unprotected with the Supergoop! Perfect DayTM 2-in-1 Everywear Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50 + Mini Condition Lip Shield ($19). The tube comes with a face and lip sunscreen in one, complete with a tiny mirror for easy application. It’s also water-resistant and enriched with antioxidants, making it a must-pack for your beach bag.
“Miracle Broth” in La Mer The Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid
The mysterious “Miracle Broth” in La Mer The Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid ($95) is enough to spark our interest in this formula. What it actually does is help boost cell turnover, while a blend of gemstones and seaweed blocks harmful environmental stressors, all as it protects with SPF 50. Bonus: The silky, lightweight formula mixes beautifully with foundation.