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The best sunscreens for your face

The sheerest, most innovative formulas to protect you from the rays

Facial SPF
Alistair BergGetty Images

Remember when even the best sunscreen for face use left thick, goopy streaks across your skin? Or left you looking like a ghost and (un)helpfully allowed your foundation to slide off your face? Those days are now well and truly gone.

From fine, gentle invisible mists you can spray on even after applying makeup (and again throughout the day), to subtly tinted anti-pollution shields with SPF 50 included and make-up primers with sun protection, we've rounded up the best SPF face creams to buy this summer.

The only thing you have to watch out for is that the SPF is the main ingredient, with added benefits. So, for example, a day cream with added SPF won't provide the same protection as an SPF with anti-pollution properties added to it.

It's the essential final step in your daily skincare routine and we like to apply it after all our serums and creams, as it provides a layer of protection to seal in all the other lotions and potions you've applied, without any danger of accidentally rubbing it off.

And unlike the thick formulas of sunscreens past, these little lotions are made for the modern woman. We’ve found the sheerest, most invisible facial SPF formulas that offer brilliant protection and a great base for makeup - sitting comfortably underneath, so you can wear them all day, every day.

Regardless of whether you're lying on a beach somewhere exotic or basking in a heatwave at home, SPF is an absolutely essential item to add to your daily routine and with all these choices, you really haven't got an excuse not to wear one anymore...

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Ultra Light Fluid

£12.40

Models, dermatologists and facialists swear by La Roche-Posay's Anthelios suncare range and so do we. With a super-light texture that's more like a serum than a sunscreen, it blends seamlessly into skin and contains calming French thermal spring water for sensitive skin.

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Vichy
Vichy Ideal Soleil Anti-Blemish Corrective Care SPF 30

£12.38

What do you do if your skin is prone to blemishes? You reach for Vichy's mattifying SPF fluid. The gently yet effective cream leaves skin calm, hydrated and perfectly protected without the greasy feel.

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Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF 50

£60

Use after your day cream as an anti-pollution shield as well as a high SPF. The factor 50 face cream comes in a soft peach tint and offers instant colour correction.

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Saltee facial sunscreen
Saltee
Saltee Daily Protection Formula SPF 50

£29

Available exclusively at Selfridges, just the smell of this facial sunscreen will make you book a holiday. What's so special about it? It's luxurious, offers a barely-there feel and protects from ageing without the grease. It's also sustainably sourced and packaged, containing Venuceane from the Caribbean Sea.

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Bare Minerals Prep Step Mineral Protection Shield

£26

Use this as a mineral-filled, primer/SPF base before adding makeup. This is anti-ageing facial sunscreen fights dehydrated skin, too.

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Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution SPF 50 Day Screen Multi-Protection

£27.62

The 100% mineral filters in this whisper-light fluid give high factor protection that's totally invisible and reassuringly non-greasy (so it's fine for congested complexions). It's packed with anti-oxidant plant extracts to defend skin cells from pollution, too.

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REN
REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30

£30

REN's mineral sunscreen is an all-rounder that's good for your skin and the planet: it's mattifying, won't clog your pores, uses naturally-derived ingredients and even comes in recycled plastic.

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La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50+ Invisible Face Mist

£10.50

Perfect for gently misting over your face at any time of day, even over makeup. It's light and non-sticky - a great one to throw in your beach bag.

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Creme De La Mer The SPF 50 Protecting Fluid

£85

If you love luxe-y products, you’ll adore this sunscreen. It’s packed with Crème de la Mer’s proprietary seaweed extracts to help with anti-ageing, as well as microscopic gemstones to give summery skin an amazing glow. Protection and skin perfection in one!

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Lancome SPF 30 Soleil Bronzer Smoothing Protective Cream

£22.50

With a good dose of antioxidant vitamin E and hydrating oils, as well as a creamy, moisturising texture, Lancome's facial SPF is perfect if your skin needs a little extra nourishment. It also smells like holidays – and who doesn’t want that?

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Dermalogica SPF 30 Oil Free Matte

£46.50

For those of us with oily, congested or acne-prone skin types, the daily need to slather on an SPF in the summer can cause our pores to object in the worst possible way (hello breakouts). Cue this oil-free, pore-perfecting product that mattifies, soothes and delivers great protection.

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Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF 50+

£9.90

With a tint that evens complexions and a formula that’s kind to sensitive skin, this is a fabulous daily SPF if you find layering on lots of products in the summer leaves your face bumpy and irritated.

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