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8 of the best facial sunscreens

From protecting against pollution and fading pigmentation to hydrating or mattifying the skin, these SPFs go well beyond the basic job description


Best for coral-friendly SPF: Aethic Sôvée Triple Filter Ecocompatible Sunscreen SPF40

This natural sunscreen is not only safe for the sea, but also our skin, and won’t lose its effectiveness in the water. Its rigorous testing using pro surfers and America’s Cup contenders ensures its efficacy in even the most intense conditions. We love how hydrating this SPF leaves the skin.

Best for fitting into your pre-existing beauty regime: Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF50

Customizable sun care? That’s the premise behind these sun drops from Dr Barbara Sturm, which can be worn undiluted as a serum or added to your daily moisturizer or favorite base for a super-lightweight but protective SPF50. A few drops of this ‘liquid sun umbrella’ go a long way.

BEST FOR OILY SKINS: Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF50 PA+++ Oil Free

This oil-free formula is great if you’re prone to blemishes, or for anyone who likes their SPFs super-lightweight. As well as protecting against UV rays, it contains ellagic acid (from pomegranate extract), which reduces dark spots and helps to fade pigmentation.

BEST FOR PHOTOS: Sisley Super Soin Solaire Facial Youth Protector SPF30

In addition to being water-resistant, this manages to be hydrating without feeling greasy, so won’t ‘melt-off’ in the heat. Best of all, it doesn’t leave skin chalky-looking, so you won’t get that white flashback in your photos.

BEST FOR CITY LIVING: Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF50 Hydrating Shield

Protecting skin from the sun is a given with SPF50, but this clever formula also shields against pollution, which can exacerbate sun damage. The pretty tint evens out skin and blends well when reapplied over your best foundation, but it won’t be a match for dark or very pale skin tones.

BEST FOR THE OFFICE: Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skin Insurance SPF30

This protects against UV as well as the infrared and thermal radiation that ages skin. It evens the complexion in the short-term (with an adaptive tint that will suit most mid-range skin tones) and the long-term (by inhibiting pigment production) and has an ingredient that mimics the benefits of vitamin D to boost healthy cell renewal.

BEST AS A BASE FOR MAKEUP: Tom Ford Beauty Face Protect Broad Spectrum SPF50

This lightweight formula goes on easily and boasts powerful antioxidants and anti-irritants to calm the skin, which all add up to make it a beautiful, even base for makeup.

BEST FOR HYDRATION: La Mer The Broad Spectrum SPF50 UV Protecting Fluid

Don’t let this diminutive bottle fool you – this SPF packs a punch, keeping skin hydrated more than any other we’ve tried, on top of calming sensitive skin. It contains the brand’s signature skin-soothing and hydrating Miracle Broth – keep it in the fridge to cool sensitive skin.

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.