SPFs: The best facial sunscreens for every budget

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We've done the hard work for you. Photo credit: Photo illustration - Newshub; Imagery - Supplied

As the weather finally warms up, many of us will be looking to upgrade our skincare routine for the summer months: of course, we should all be using SPF every single day, but if you've been procrastinating on sun protection, now's the time to break old habits.  

However, finding the best SPF for your face can be rocky terrain: from choosing between chemical and mineral options, picking your desired formula, navigating a wide range of price-points and avoiding the dreaded white cast, SPF can make or break your skincare routine (and your bank balance).   

With that being said, there are plenty of affordable but effective SPFs on the market, many of which sit beautifully under makeup - an important criterion for us full-face-girlies - and don't pill on top of other products. Of course, other criteria should always include broad-spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) and a SPF of 30 or higher.  

But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's quickly touch on the differences between chemical and mineral formulas. First up, chemical sunscreens: these work a bit like a sponge to absorb the sun's rays and contain one or more active ingredients. These formulations tend to be easier to rub into the skin without leaving a white cast.  

On the other hand, mineral - or physical - sunscreens work like a shield: they typically sit on the surface of the skin and reflect, rather than absorb, the sun's rays. Physical sunscreens will contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide and are typically recommended for those with more sensitive skin.  

When it comes to formulations, take your pick: there are creams, gels, sticks, and sprays to choose from. The general rule of thumb is that creams are better suited for dry skin and facial application, while gels are better for oily complexions.  

According to the experts, the best type of sunscreen (SPF30+) is the one you will use again and again, as long as it has the aforementioned UVA and UVB protection. In a nutshell, sunlight consists of two types of rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVA (or ageing rays) can prematurely age the skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can penetrate through windows. UVB (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by windows. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer.  

Whether you're after bougie or budget skincare, there is a facial sunscreen out there for everyone; and we've done the research, so you don't have to. Here's a selection of Newshub Lifestyle's favourite facial sunscreens, broken down into different price-points: so, no excuses for not wearing your SPF. 

The best SPFs for every budget 


  • Avène Sunscreen Face Emulsion SPF50+, RRP$37.99  
  • Bondi Sands SPF50+ Fragrance Free Tinted Face Fluid, RRP$20.99
  • Bondi Sands SPF50+ Zinc Mineral Face Fluid, RRP$25.95
  • Go-To Nifty Fifty SPF50, RRP$25-$50
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50+, RRP$36.99
  • Mecca Max Screen Saver SPF30 Broad Spectrum Facial Sunscreen, RRP$28
  • Naked Sundays SPF 50+ Collagen Glow 100% Mineral Perfecting Priming Lotion, RRP$42.50.
Composite of sunscreens against sand background
Photo credit: Supplied


  • Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily Moisturiser SPF 50+ with Pomegranate Seed Oil, RRP$$52.95-$73.95
  • Clinique Superdefense City Block SPF30 Daily Energy + Face Protector, RRP$59
  • Dermalogica Clearing Defense SPF30, RRP$59
  • Jeuneora FullStop SPF50 Daily Glow Screen, RRP$57
  • Kiehls Ultra Light Daily UV Defence SPF50, RRP$74
  • People4Ocean SPF50+ Tinted Mineral Bioactive Shield, RRP$65.
Composite of sunscreens against sand background
Photo credit: Supplied


  • Emma Lewisham Skin Shield SPF30, RRP$98.
Composite of sunscreens against sand background
Photo credit: Supplied


  • Dermalogica Porescreen Mineral Sunscreen SPF40, RRP$110  
  • Raaie Sun Milk Drops Tinted SPF50, RRP$115.
Composite of sunscreens against sand background
Photo credit: Supplied

The above products have been independently selected by Newshub Lifestyle. In some cases Newshub Lifestyle has been supplied with samples to review.