The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (2023)

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Protecting your skin from the sun is important year round, but as we head into summer it's even more vital. Using the best SPF moisturiser on a daily basis is such an important step in your skincare routine.

As well as the well-known risks of skin cancer, the sun is also one of the biggest contributing factors to skin ageing. Think UVB = burning and UVA = ageing. Because UVA rays have a longer wavelength they can penetrate the skin further causing DNA damage. Both UVA and UVB rays leads to sun damage, which in turn can cause hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and a loss of elastin.

So, if we want healthy and youthful-looking skin, then we really must protect it from the sun. Every. Single. Day. (Yes, even in winter!)

Incorporating a decent daily sun protection regimen can be tricky, but by adding this essential SPF to one of the best moisturisersyou'll be protecting your skin every day, without having to worry too much about it.

SPF moisturiser vs facial sunscreen: what's the difference?

First things first, let's address a common confusion: the difference between SPF moisturisers and a separate facial sunscreen.

In short, an SPF moisturiser is great for a very basic level of defence against sun-related damage. Protecting against the sun isn't its only function, as it's also doing the job of moisturising, too. So you'll be able to find one that protects you from the sun, whilst also being one of the best moisturisers for dry skin. Think soothing dryness, fighting discolouration, in the same vein as a brilliant hyperpigmentation treatment, and diffusing the appearance of wrinkles. If you're feeling a little lazy, travelling and trying to keep products to a minimum or just one of those people who fails to remember to apply your SPF, then these are a good option.

A facial sunscreen, on the other hand, only has one job: protect the skin on your face from the sun's rays without worrying about whether it's too moisturiser. Having said that, many sunscreen formulas now are so elegant, it's difficult to know the difference.

Come the summer (and of course any holidays to sunnier climes outside of that time), an SPF moisturiser isn't enough protection and you will need to double up. This is when you need to get your hands on the best facial sunscreens. You'll also need to wear one of the best sun creams on top of your SPF moisturiser if you are sunbathing or outside for prolonged periods of time.

"Many people believe that having an SPF in their moisturiser will suffice," says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. "But, according to the British Association of Dermatologists, moisturiser with an SPF will only help protect you against small amounts of UV exposure, for example, walking to the car."

What these moisturisers won’t do is provide the same degree of sun protection as the best facial sunscreens, especially for longer periods of UV exposure. It's true that SPF in a moisturiser is tested the same way as SPF in sunscreen, so technically speaking, an SPF 30 moisturiser formula will offer the same level of protection as a facial sun cream with an SPF of 30. However, it all comes down to the application.

"To achieve the SPF on the label, you would have to apply at least half a teaspoon to the face, which people rarely do," says Kluk. Think about the way that you apply your usual moisturiser; you don't slather on a thick layer that thoroughly covers your face and neck in the same way you would do sun cream before heading to the beach.

"What’s more, SPF moisturisers are less likely to be rub-resistant and water-resistant. For these reasons, they won’t offer the same level of protection as the best sun creams," the doctor adds.

It's also worth noting that moisturisers containing an SPF don’t always contain protection against UVA rays, either. "As a result, they will not protect against UV ageing in the same way as a broad-spectrum sunscreen would," stresses Kluk.

Another essential suncare step is reapplication. So once you have applied either your moisturiser with an SPF or a facial sunscreen, the British Skin Foundation recommends that you top up every two hours. That's tricky if you've got a full face of make-up, which is where the best spf to apply over make-up comes in.

However, having an SPF in your daily moisturiser is never a bad idea. Because on those days when you're working from home or it's cloudy out, that added bit of daily defence is needed.

Here's our pick of some of the best SPF moisturisers...

We've tested so many SPF moisturisers over the years, and we've rounded up our top picks below. For more information on how we test the products that make it into our edits, check out our in-depth guide. Keep on scrolling to shop...

1. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF50

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (1)

(Image credit: CeraVe)

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF50

Best affordable moisturiser

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

Moisturising

+

SPF50

Reasons to avoid

-

Doesn't feel luxurious

We previously featured the SPF30 version of this, as it was the highest factor it went. But now, the skincare gods answered our prayers and gave us SPF50. The stronger your skin’s barrier, the less sun damage you’re likely to accrue. So this moisturiser is a must-have on account of its ceramides, hyaluronic acid, SPF and purse-friendly price point. This is hands down one of the best moisturisers, with or without an SPF.

2. Avène Antirougeurs Day Cream SPF30

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (2)

(Image credit: Avène)

Avène Antirougeurs Day Cream SPF30

Best for sensitive skin

Reasons to buy

+

Has a green tint to counteract redness

+

Gentle on the skin

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the prettiest packaging

Avène is the brand you go to if your skin is having a 'moment'. They are incredibly well-versed in sensitive skin. So much so, that they recently launched their range specifically for rosacea-sufferers. This everyday SPF moisturiser is slightly green-tinted to counteract redness and super simple and gentle so as not to further irritate the skin. It's completely brilliant.

3.Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF50+

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (3)

(Image credit: Ultra Violette)

There's a high chance that you've seen this SPF moisturiser on your Instagram feed. Caroline Hirons is a huge fan, she says, "The lightweight formula sinks into the skin. With no pilling and no white cast it’s a great choice." If you won't take her word for it, how about the fact that there are three different versions depending on your needs - hydrating, mattifying and sensitive.

4. The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (4)

(Image credit: The Body Shop)

The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++

Best non-greasy moisturiser

Reasons to buy

+

Lightweight

+

Contains Vitamin C

+

SPF 50 PA+++

Reasons to avoid

-

Regularly out of stock

"As someone with PCOS who occasionally deals with hormonal breakouts, I have to be careful with what I products I use on my skin. I've been picky about which facial SPF moisturisers I've used for fear of breakouts or irritation but was pleasantly surprised by this Body Shop product. A reformulation of their raved-about Skin Defence Essence product, I found the moisturiser easier to put on than regular SPF (and simpler to remember to apply, too). It's super lightweight, non-greasy, and leaves your skin feeling moisturised. Plus one of the ingredients is Vitamin C, which is said to increase the effectiveness of sunscreen and boost your skin's protection from UV rays." Ally Head, Health Editor

5. La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Aquagel SPF30

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (5)

(Image credit: La Roche-Posay)

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Aquagel SPF30

Best hydrating buy

Reasons to buy

+

Very hydrating

+

Sleek packaging

Reasons to avoid

-

A little more expensive

Dry-skinned friends, say hello to this little beauty. It's described as a serum, but we recommend applying your existing serum first then layering this on top. Even though it's a gel, it's richer than you'd imagine, so we don't think it needs a moisturiser on top—this should do the job.

6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (6)

(Image credit: La Roche-Posay)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+

Best for anti-ageing

Reasons to buy

+

SPF50+

+

Reduces the appearance of dark spots and fine lines

Reasons to avoid

-

Bulky packaging

If you were concerned that using an SPF moisturiser would mean forgoing your anti-ageing plan of attack, then think again. This rich cream that sinks in really quickly, works at improving your skin's elasticity and reducing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles. All the while protecting you from the sun.

7. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skin Insurance Tinted SPF30

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (7)

(Image credit: Sarah Chapman)

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skin Insurance Tinted SPF30

Best high-end buy

Reasons to buy

+

Protects against UVA, UVB, thermal and infrared radiation

+

Tinted formula

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Could have higher SPF protection

All hail Sarah Chapman. Formulated with Light Diffusing LipoLight® and antioxidant Buddleja Davidii plant, the treatment protects against UVA, UVB, thermal and infrared radiation. Not only that, but smart light scattering powders and optical blurring technology help to give a brighter, glowing complexion. It's worth noting that this product is best applied after your regular morning moisturiser.

8. Eve Lom Daily Protection + SPF50

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (8)

(Image credit: Eve Lom)

Eve Lom Daily Protection + SPF50

Best for radiant skin

Reasons to buy

+

Pretty packaging

+

SPF50

+

Works well under make-up

Reasons to avoid

-

Very expensive

"This SPF moisturiser sat so well under my make-up, and gave me a subtle glow throughout the day. The fast-absorbing formula is designed to firm, brighten, hydrate and lift the skin thanks to Vitamin C, Lactic acid and Niacinamide, and it certainly delivers." Grace Lindsay, Beauty Writer

9. Elizabeth Arden Prevage City-Smart SPF50

(Image credit: Elizabeth Arden)

Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF50

Best for mature skin

Reasons to buy

+

Luxury packaging

+

Silky texture and formula

+

Contains antioxidant protection

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Not a super-rich cream

Elizabeth Arden's Prevage range is almost as iconic as its Eight-Hour line. All Prevage products are made with its antioxidant technology, which makes this lightweight SPF an absolute must. It's the perfect choice if you are concerned with signs of ageing and like an easy-to-use and wearable formula.

10. Revive Moisturising Renewal Day Cream SPF30 Broad Spectrum (UVA/UVB) Sunscreen PA+++

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (10)

(Image credit: Revive)

Revive Moisturising Renewal Day Cream SPF30 Broad Spectrum (UVA/UVB) Sunscreen PA+++

Best luxury moisturiser

Reasons to buy

+

Minimises the appearance of fine lines

Reasons to avoid

-

Very expensive

-

Could have higher SPF protection

"This product is definitely an investment, but if you're looking for a little bit of luxury, I couldn't recommend it enough. The moisturising skincare treatment features Revive's signature bio-renewal protein, and works to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and protect against signs of premature ageing. My skin felt so soft afterwards, and my make-up went on so easily. " Grace Lindsay, Beauty Writer

11. Byoma Moisturising Gel-Cream SPF30

(Image credit: Byoma)

Byoma Moisturising Gel-Cream SPF30

Best gel formula

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

Hydrating

Reasons to avoid

-

It's particularly rich (so dry skin types might need something more moisturising)

This new SPF moisturiser from Byoma is seriously impressive. It's deeply hydrating, sinks into the skin nicely and offers protection from from UVA and UVB rays. Not to mention we love the colourful packaging. Such a fun choice for spring and summer (alongside your facial sunscreen, of course).

12. Hello Sunday The Everyday One Face Moisturiser

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

Hello Sunday The Everyday One Face Moisturiser

Best lightweight moisturiser

Reasons to buy

+

Really thin consistency

+

Wears well under make-up

Reasons to avoid

-

Not a huge size

This is one for people who hate traditional SPF formulas thanks to it's incredibly lightweight texture. It sinks in like a dream and doesn't feel heavy or pore-clogging. This texture, plus its hydrating properties, is what makes it wonderful under make-up, too.

13. e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (13)

(Image credit: Boots)

e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

Best hydrating moisturiser

Reasons to buy

+

Hydrating

+

Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-

Might be tempted to not use enough

Holy hydration, indeed. Leave it to e.l.f to create an SPF that is genuinely a joy to use. And it's really affordable too. This only thing with this consistency is that if this is your only SPF, you likely won't be using enough for adequate protection. I'd recommend putting on two layers of this if you want to be properly covered.

14. Dr David Jack All Day Long Daily Moisturiser SPF 50

(Image credit: Dr David Jack)

Dr David Jack All Day Long Daily Moisturiser SPF 50

Best expert-led moisturiser

Reasons to buy

+

Fragrance-free

+

Vegan formula

Reasons to avoid

-

Doesn't work for all skin tones

-

Very expensive

The texture of this is like none nothing, it's incredibly elegant and feels incredibly luxurious on the skin. Thanks to its smart fragrance-free formula, it works for all skin types and is non-irritating for most. Sadly, this doesn't work for all skin tones so is something to bear in mind when choosing.

"This is up there with my favourite SPFs (for my skin tone and type—white, oily) of all time. It's almost impossibly lightweight and just makes me skin feel happy," - Shannon Lawlor, Acting Senior Beauty Editor.

15. Paula's Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50

The 15 best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection (15)

(Image credit: Space NK)

Paula's Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50

Best fluid texture

Reasons to buy

+

Sweet scent

+

Great under make-up

+

No white cast

Reasons to avoid

-

Might cause dreaded eye sting

It's non-greasy and dries down to a really nice semi-matte finish that looks slightly dewy. This fluid texture and finish makes it a really nice primer before make-up. For some people, it might be difficult to work with this fluid texture but it's worth getting used to. Finally, it smells like marzipan so you decide whether that's a good thing or downside!

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