Best face sunscreen in Australia
Our expert team has put in months of testing and assessment to choose the best face sunscreens in Australia for all kinds of skin types and budgets.
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The best face sunscreen in Australia
- Best overall: Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50+ Hydrating Sunscreen
- Best affordable option: Bondi Sands Daily Moisturising Face SPF50+
- Best high-end option: Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF30 Mattifying
- Best physical sunscreen: Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF50+ Sunscreen
- Best for dry skin: Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen
- Best for oily skin: Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Moisturiser SPF50+
- Best for sensitive skin: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Fluid Sunscreen SPF50
How did we pick this list?
Alongside extensive research, our editorial team have tried and tested each of these products, and then some. For each category, we considered things like skin type and budget to identify the best face sunscreens in Australia.
Best overall: Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50+ Hydrating Sunscreen
Why we chose it
Our pick for the best overall face sunscreen is the Supreme Screen SPF 50+ from Ultra Violette. It's a combination of a moisturiser, primer and SPF, and it's formulated with ingredients like Australian Kakadu plum, Pentavitin and Dragosine Plus.
The formulation is designed to provide your skin with a cocktail of powerful antioxidants, anti-ageing properties and ultimate hydration.
Once I apply it, it feels super lightweight on the skin. I don't look or feel oily, and my skin feels balanced and hydrated. The colour of the product has got a nude tint, meaning that there's no sign of a white cast.
Ultra Violette's Supreme Screen is so good that it got its own review, which you can check out here.
Best affordable option: Bondi Sands Daily Moisturising Face SPF50+
Why we chose it
The Bondi Sands Daily Moisturising Face SPF 50+ is our best affordable pick on the list. Coming in at just under $15, this sunscreen provides you with the necessary UVA and UVB protection against the Aussie sun.
I love the consistency of this water-resistant formula – it's not thick and oily, and it feels just like a normal moisturiser. This sunscreen provides 72 hours of hydration, and that's all thanks to the added aloe vera and vitamin E.
The formula is gentle and fast-absorbing, with an invisible finish.
Best high-end option: Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF30 Mattifying
- It's a non whitening formula
- There's a hydrating version available
- The SPF level could be higher as it is only 30
- May not be suitable for dry skin
Price (RRP): $84Buy at David Jones
Why we chose it
Our choice for the best high-end option is the Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF30 Mattifying. This two-in-one product offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 and ultimate hydration.
It's formulated with vitamin E, shea butter, glycerine and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate the skin. Another ingredient included is silica which acts as a mattifier to absorb excess oil and keep you looking matte and balanced all day long.
After application, my skin looks and feels moisturised. I love the lightweight texture and there's no sticky feeling left behind.
Best physical sunscreen: Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF50+ Sunscreen
Why we chose it
Our pick for the best physical sunscreen is the Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF50+. This mineral sunscreen has been designed for sensitive skin types. It's formulated with zinc oxide, which works by creating a shield and filtering out harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Lean Screen offers a mattifying yet lightweight formula. Mineral pigments are used to create a sheer beige tint, while ingredients such as Pentavitin and Kakadu plum promise to completely hydrate and nourish the skin.
For more details, you can check out our review of it here.
Best for dry skin: Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen
- It's been designed with makeup wearers in mind
- Some reviews say this formulation can cause irritation
- Contains fragrance
Price (RRP): $40
Why we chose it
Our choice for those with dry skin is the Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+.
This lightweight sunscreen is formulated with vitamin E, pycnogenol and sodium PCA. While your skin is getting protected, these ingredients work together to hydrate and deliver a bunch of skin-loving antioxidants.
Mecca Cosmetica's To Save Face is non-greasy and can easily be worn alone or under makeup. It also doesn't leave you with that dreaded white cast, and instead has a luminous beige tint.
Best for oily skin: Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Invisible Moisturiser SPF50+
Why we chose it
If you've got oily skin, we recommend the Cancer Council Face Day Wear Matte Invisible Moisturiser SPF50+.
This fragrance free formula is lightweight, easy to apply and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy, in fact, it works to control oil. It's packed with aloe vera and vitamin E to moisturise and nourish your skin.
Our favourite is the invisible option, but it does come in various colour tints if you prefer.
Best for sensitive skin: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Fluid Sunscreen SPF50
Why we chose it
Is your skin sensitive? Our top pick for you is the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Fluid Sunscreen SPF50. This brand offers a wide range of sunscreen products, but this one truly does it all.
It's formulated with Neutrogena's HELIOPLEX technology and this provides superior broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. As the name suggests, it has a water-like consistency (it's oil free) and applying is effortless.
It's great for everyday use and can be easily re-applied throughout the day if you're not wearing makeup. If you are wearing makeup, it layers invisibly and doesn't disrupt a thing.
What is the best SPF for sunscreen?
In Australia, the regulations around labels and sun protection factor (SPF) recently changed. The highest number that could be offered on a label was SPF 30+. Now things are different, and it can go all the way up to 50+. However, if it is labelled as SPF 50+, it doesn't mean it's 50 – it could be 60, 70 or 80.
Finder spoke to dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald and we discussed how UVA light is just as bad as UVB and unfortunately, SPF only counts the UVB protection.
"UVA can cause more damage to the deeper layers of the skin, so it's more responsible for pigmentation, premature ageing and skin cancers. At an SPF of 30, you don't usually have adequate UVA protection… so you really want to be hitting that 50+ mark. SPF 30 will stop you from getting burnt; however, SPF 50 will help you better in the long run."
What's the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen?
Both types effectively work to prevent sunburn and skin damage, so what's the difference?
Chemical sunscreen uses synthetic compounds to absorb UV light before it gets a chance to reach the skin. The formula usually feels lightweight, and it can be combined with other ingredients to nourish and/or hydrate the skin.
Alternatively, physical sunscreen contains tiny minerals that act as a shield to bounce the sun's rays off your skin. It's usually made from titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, so the formula is generally thicker. However, it does have a longer shelf life.
For more, you can check out our detailed comparison here.
Best products chosen
- Our editorial team have experience in beauty testing and have tried over 20 facial sunscreens from 17 different brands.
- We excluded some brands that aren't widely available across Australia.
- The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships
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