10 best facial sunscreens

Protect your complexion this summer with a specially formulated cream

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The Independent Online

Facial sunscreen isn't just about SPF any more, the new breed offers premium anti-ageing skincare benefits, too

UV is our beauty nemesis and unprotected skin is the fastest way to age. But who wants to spend out on serums and moisturisers, to then slap on a cheap suncream that clogs pores and leaves your face feeling greasy and congested? Facial sunscreen is a beauty minefield, so we've tested sunscreens and daily moisturisers with high SPF to find the best for keeping delicate skin protected but uncongested this summer.

1. This Works In Transit Skin Defence SPF 30: £29 for 40ml, John Lewis

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This is as clean as sunscreen can get – it contains absolutely no nasties like sulphates and parabens - and it comes here in the form of a high-end moisturiser with added SPF. Anti-ageing and hydrating hyaluronic acid combines with calming vitamin E and a raft of antioxidants, making it perfect for sun-sensitive skin prone to heat-related flare-ups and irritation.

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2. Sisley Tinted Sun Care Youth Protector SPF 30: £103 for 40ml, Sisley 

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This is high-tech skincare (and so it should be at this price). It’s sun protection and make-up in one with this multi-tasker that protects cells from ageing UV damage thanks to a whole host of anti-oxidant, free-radical fighting, skin-strengthening and nourishing ingredients. It’s ultra-silky, non-greasy and non-pore-clogging. Choose from four luminous shades - porcelain, natural, golden and amber – and you don't even need to think about your make-up base.

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3. Aveda Daily Light Guard Defense Fluid SPF 30: £34 for 30ml, Aveda 

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There are two types of sunscreen: mineral and chemical. Active mineral ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which reflect and scatter the sun's rays like a mirror, to protect exposed skin – but usually have a thick or chalky-white consistency that's virtually impossible to rub in. This sheer, smooth, 100 per cent mineral-derived sunscreen glides on like a dream and contains a plant-based, anti-oxidant pollution defence to protect against free radicals and strengthen the skin. Make-up can be applied easily on top and it doesn't slide by lunchtime, even on a warm day.

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4. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face SPF 30: £8.50 for 50ml, Boots

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You can't beat Hawaiian Tropic for instantly transporting you to sunny sandy beaches and blue skies. As it's for the face, this has a lighter, more delicate coconut scent than some of the body products. Oil-free and non-greasy, this one punches well above its weight and feels like a premium product, despite its modest price tag. It leaves skin with a really pretty, dewy finish and make-up stays put all day. It’s lightweight, water-resistant and can be used daily as a great base before foundation or tinted moisturiser. Brilliant bang for your buck.

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5. Crystal Clear Protect & Repair SPF 40: £45 for 125ml, Crystal Clear 

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The powerhouse of anti-ageing, Crystal Clear has developed a high-performance anti-ager and sunscreen in one, to reduce fine lines and minimise sun damage. There’s no need to apply moisturiser as well - this feels like a luxury day cream and really nourishes dehydrated, mature skin.

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6. Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face SPF 50: £22 for 30ml, Clinique 

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Brand new this summer, come mineral sunscreens from Clinique and this one for the face has a whopping SPF 50 that's perfect for ultra-pale and sensitive complexions. Giving lightweight-feeling, invisible protection – no chalky-white residue here – it comes in a handy handbag-size tube.

Available 13 May

7. Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45: £25 for 45ml, Benefit Cosmetics

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If you're susceptible to shine in the summer months, then this silky, matte sunscreen that’s oil and fragrance free is for you. It absorbs very quickly, is undetectable on the skin, yet nourishes and protects all at once.

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8. Caudalie Soleil Divin Anti-ageing Face Suncare SPF 50: £20 for 40ml, Caudalie

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This is a rich, nourishing, but non-sticky cream that sits well under make-up. The patented grape polyphenols limit UV damage and therefore skin ageing and it's also available in SPF30. It’s ideal for dehydrated or very mature skin tones. And best of all, it smells like holidays.

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9. Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 45: £76 for 40ml, Space NK

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Antioxidant and soothing cherry blossom, lemon balm and white tea make this rose-scented cream feel more like a luxury anti-ageing moisturiser than a sunscreen. It's oil-free and mattifying and the sun filters block UVA and UVB rays rather than absorbing them. For such a high SPF, it's surprisingly lightweight, and it's also vegan-friendly. A hefty price tag, but you need very little, so it's actually surprisingly cost-effective.

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10. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Tinted Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 50: £18 for 50ml, Boots

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Sensitive skin will love this everyday use sunscreen that absorbs immediately and leaves an ultra-dry finish. It has anti-shine ingredients to keep oily skin in check, is non-pore clogging and paraben-free. You won't need make-up on top either, as it behaves like a tinted moisturiser and gives great coverage.

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Verdict

You can't beat Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration on value for money, or Sisley Tinted Suncare Youth Protector for its anti-ageing benefits and luxury feel. But for sun-sensitive skin that struggles with irritation when the temperature rises, nasties-free, botanical-packed anti-ager, This Works In Transit Skin Defence, is heaven-sent.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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