Combo skin can be a bit of a diva at times, can’t it? So the best sunscreens for combination skin must not only provide your skin with adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays, but also help to balance a complexion that’s prone to both excess oil and dryness.
Choosing the best facial sunscreens to appease this finicky skin type might not strike you as the easiest task, but there are several clever formulas that will cater to various combination skin needs. You’ll want some level of moisture, depending on your level of dryness, without worsening oiliness. Advanced cosmetic doctor Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme recommends: “Look for sunscreen that is labeled as ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic,’ as this can help prevent clogging of pores and breakouts. Choose a sunscreen with a lightweight texture, that won't feel heavy or greasy on the skin.”
In our thorough guide, our contributing beauty expert has shared detailed reviews of five of the best sunscreens for combination skin to help you find your perfect fit—whether your skin leans more towards oily, dry, or sits somewhere in the middle.
Meet the experts on sunscreen for combination skin
- Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme is a medical consultant, skin expert, and founder of Adonia Medical Clinic. Here she has explained how to choose SPF for combination skin, as well as the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreen.
- Dr. Alexis Granite is a board-certified consultant dermatologist and ambassador for Garnier. Ahead she breaks down exactly how much sunscreen should be applied for adequate protection.
How we tested the best sunscreens for combination skin
Our beauty expert chose a range of different sunscreen options to test with formulas that would suit different types of combination skin, ensuring that all budgets were suited. Each formula was worn for at least one full day and, during the testing process, our tester took note of all of the following factors.
- SPF rating(s) available
- Texture and consistency
- Whether the formula is mineral or chemical
- Ease of application
- How it looked straight after applying
- How it wore with time
Meet the tester
Meet the tester
My skin would probably be classed as oily-combination as, although it's oily most of the time, it does experience some dryness from time to time. It's also very prone to dehydration. As for what I look for in a sunscreen, I don't like it to feel very greasy or sticky when first applied but, more importantly, it has to comfortably on the skin and not make it feel greasy as the day progresses. I also like formulas to rub in easily, feel comfortable on the skin, and not leave a noticeable white cast. As I'm often testing makeup for my job, I take note of how well a formula sits underneath makeup, too.
The best sunscreens for combination skin as reviewed by a beauty expert
1. Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++
Best sunscreen for dry combination skin
RRP : $28 for 1.69fl oz (50ml)
Key features: African walnut oil, hyaluronic acid, bamboo water, hollyhock extract, Aloe Vera
Reasons to buy
+ Excellent for dehydrated skin Not at all greasy; won't exacerbate oil
Excellent for dehydrated skin+
Not at all greasy; won't exacerbate oil
No white cast+
Plays well with makeup
Reasons to avoid
- More affordable options are available
More affordable options are available
Thank You Farmer is a brilliant K-beauty brand with a lot of loyal fans around the world, and I can totally see why this is one of its most popular products. The texture is a dream—very silky—and it sinks into the skin for the most comfortable wear, also making a beautiful base for makeup. It’s great for dehydration in all skin types, containing hero hydrator hyaluronic acid, and the moisturizing formula is a particularly good match for those combination skins who experience dryness.
That said, because it’s so lightweight and hydrating, it does also work well on my skin, which leans towards the oily end of the scale. I had no issues with repeated use, but it’s worth mentioning that the formula does include walnut oil, which, while not highly comedogenic, may not suit those who are very prone to congestion and breakouts. Other than that, I can't really fault it.
2. Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50+
Best sunscreen for oily combination skin
RRP : $38 for 1.7fl oz (50ml)
Key ingredients : Kakadu plum, dragosine plus
Reasons to buy
+ Oil-free No white cast Formulated in Australia—"the toughest place to get sunscreen approved"
No white cast+
Formulated in Australia—"the toughest place to get sunscreen approved"
Reasons to avoid
- Contains some fragrance
Contains some fragrance
Ultra Violette is one of those brands that gets people excited about applying their daily SPF, so, naturally, beauty experts love it. It hails from Australia where they take sunscreen very seriously and which, in the brand’s own words, is “the toughest place to get sunscreen approved”—so you know their formulas are top-notch.
Being oil-free, Supreme Screen is a great option for those whose skin is on the oily side, but the formula is moisturizing enough to smooth over any dry patches. It’s also got a formula that appeals to the skincare enthusiast, with vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum and dragosine for additional antioxidant protection. As for how it wears? I found it blended in easily and was very comfortable on the skin, and it worked nicely when worn with the best foundations for oily skin. An excellent choice that I'll use again and again.
3. Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50
Best sunscreen for combination skin for good value
RRP : $22 for 2.4fl oz (71ml)
Key ingredients: Glycerin, sunflower extract
Reasons to buy
+ No white cast Rubs in easily Makes a great makeup base
No white cast+
Rubs in easily+
Makes a great makeup base
Reasons to avoid
- Contains some natural fragrance
Contains some natural fragrance
Another sunscreen-only brand that makes applying the stuff fun, Supergoop really bangs the drum for wearing sunscreen all-year-round, and many of its formulas have (rightly) achieved cult status. Their primer-style formulas are great, but it’s this all-rounder that is my favorite from the brand. It’s moisturizing without overdoing it and feeling greasy, it layers brilliantly over other products as the last step in your skincare routine, and feels lovely on the skin, with a high level of broad-spectrum protection to boot.
Although it’s a thick-ish white lotion, it didn’t take long to disappear into my skin. It also smells like a sunshine-filled holiday—though do note that the Play formula contains some natural fragrance, which may be a reason to avoid if you know your skin is sensitive to these ingredients. Otherwise, it's a lovely lotion, whether worn alone or with makeup, and will make a great addition to your everyday routine.
Read our full Supergoop review for a more in-depth guide to more of the brand’s sunscreens
4. Garnier Ambre Solaire Anti-Dark Spots & Anti-Pollution Super UV SPF 50+
Best sunscreen for sensitive combination skin
RRP : £12 (UK only)
Key ingredients : Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid
Reasons to buy
+ Non-comedogenic Fragrance-free No white cast Protects against oxidative stress caused by pollution
No white cast+
Protects against oxidative stress caused by pollution
Reasons to avoid
- Very runny formula
Very runny formula
Garnier is one of those trusted names for SPF, and this little bottle is many skincare experts’ affordable go-to. It’s very reasonably priced, making it a great choice for those who want to spend as little as possible on a good facial sunscreen, and has been designed with sensitive skin in mind—no fragrance or stinging eyes here. Although it’s very runny—which means you have to be quick in your application—it soon soaks into the skin and doesn’t leave mine looking excessively shiny.
Enriched with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, it's also a great option for city-dwellers or commuters as it protects the skin from oxidative stress brought on by pollution. At 40ml, the bottle is a little smaller than standard, so it won't last a particularly long time with that all-important daily use (if you're wondering does sunscreen expire, the answer is a definite yes).
Read our full Garnier SPF 50 sunscreen review for a detailed analysis of this fan-favorite
5. Vichy Capital Soleil UV-Age Daily SPF 50+
Best lightweight sunscreen for combination skin
RRP : £22 for 40ml (US equivalent $35.99 for 1.69fl oz)
Key ingredients : Vitamin E, niacinamide, peptide complex, Vichy volcanic mineralizing water and probiotic fractions
Reasons to buy
+ Lightweight Doesn't feel at all greasy or heavy on skin Great makeup base
Doesn't feel at all greasy or heavy on skin+
Great makeup base
Reasons to avoid
- Quite runny
Vichy is another trusted skincare name that has the backing of dermatologists around the world. Capital Soleil UV-Age is another runny number with a cocktail of great skincare ingredients—namely vitamin E, niacinamide, and peptides. What I particularly liked about this formula was not just how well it sinks into my skin, but that you can’t really feel it to the touch once it’s done so. It’s a dream to apply makeup over the top on with absolutely no sunscreen pilling.
Like the Garnier option above, the bottle is on the smaller size but comes with a higher price tag, so it’s not especially good value. The pump mechanism doesn’t lend itself well to the “two finger” application method recommended by dermatologists, but it will be easy to unscrew and shake out the last drops when I come to the end of it.
How much sunscreen should you apply to the face and neck?
"To actually achieve the SPF that the sunscreen promises, you should be applying approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square of skin. That's the equivalent of about two tablespoons for the body," says Dr. Alexis Granite. "For the face, I like to use the two-finger rule—the amount to cover the face and neck should be equal to the lengths of your second and third fingers. Make it the last step in your daily skincare routine and don’t forget to cover the ears and neck, too!
"If you’re using a chemical sunscreen, you need to apply it 30 minutes before going outdoors to ensure it’s properly absorbed into the skin," she adds.
What's the difference between chemical and mineral SPF?
"Mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens are the two main types of sunscreens," says Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme. "Mineral sunscreens contain physical filters, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain chemical filters such as avobenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene."
- Supergoop! ...
- FIRST AID BEAUTY 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30.
- CoTZ Flawless Complexion SPF 50 - Tinted.
- Paula's Choice PC4MEN Daytime Protect.
- Paula's Choice Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30.
- Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion SPF 20.
- Olay Regenerist Regenerating Face Lotion with SPF 50.
- The Derma Co 1% Hyaluronic Sunscreen Aqua Ultra Light Gel - Check Amazon Offer. ...
- Mamaearth Ultra Light Indian Sunscreen. ...
- Biotique Morning Nectar Sun Protect Moisturizer. ...
- Neutrogena Ultra sheer Sunscreen.
Consider a mineral-based sunscreen
If you are concerned about health effects, the safest choice is a so-called “mineral” or “physical” sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, dermatologists say. Those are the only sunscreen ingredients that the FDA says are “generally recognized as safe and effective.”
People with combination skin types typically do better with oil-free, non-comedogenic and lightweight formulas such as this gel-cream variant. The fact that this sunscreen doesn't contain any chemical filters gives it an advantage of preventing future acne breakouts too.Which sunscreen is best for combination skin gel or cream? ›
Gel based sunscreen for combination skin is a blessing! Gel based sunscreen for combination skin have a lightweight and non-greasy texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, making them ideal for daily use. They do not leave a white cast or clog pores, which can be a concern for those with oily or acne-prone skin.Which sunscreen is best for combination skin in winter? ›
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Sunscreen.
- Black Girl Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF.
- Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion.
- Apostrophe 'Screen SPF.
- innisfree Daily UV Defense SPF.
- Avène Solaire UV Multi-Defense Tinted Sunscreen.
- Paula's Choice Resist Skin Restoring Moisturizer SPF.
Avoid shine on your face by opting for La Roche-Posay's Anthelios XL Anti-Shine SPF 50+ dry-touch gel-cream, which comes in tinted, non-tinted and fragranced versions.Which moisturizer is best for combination skin? ›
- Nivea Soft Aloe Hydration Cream.
- Ponds Super Light Gel.
- Plum Green Tea Renewed Clarity Night Gel (50 ml)
- Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid.
- Biotique Bio Morning Nectar Visibly Flawless Skin Moisturizer.
- Simple Kind to Skin Light Moisturizer.
For day-to-day use, pick a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. If you spend time outdoors, choose a product with SPF 60 or greater. In reality, most people do not use as much sunscreen as they should, and this higher SPF helps compensate for the reduced application.Is Cerave sunblock safe? ›
Recommended by both the Skin Cancer Foundation and National Eczema Association as an effective, broad spectrum sunscreen. Received the Skin Cancer Foundation's 'Daily Use' Seal of Recommendation.
“Studies have shown that using sunscreen with Vitamin C protects the skin from further photo damage caused by ultra-violet rays,” Chang said. “This information is important because most people don't know that you can protect your skin even further than just sunscreen.”What does combination skin look like? ›
Typically, the combination skin type is characterized by dry, flaking skin on the cheeks, while excessive oil and shine appears on other areas of the face. Those with combination skin are in a constant battle with their T-Zone, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin.Is Neutrogena sunscreen safe? ›
Not only do many Neutrogena sunscreens contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and methylisothiazolinone – we'll get to those later – but their advertised SPF levels of over 70 have been debunked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the federal department, SPF levels max out at about 50.Which serum is best for combination skin? ›
- Tropic Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum. ...
- Allies of Skin Prebiotics and Niacinamide Pore Refining Booster. ...
- Emma Hardie Midas Touch Super Serum. ...
- Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum. ...
- Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster. ...
- Kora Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum. ...
- Biossance Squalane and Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum.
You don't have to put on moisturizer before sunscreen, however, you really should if you care about the over health of your skin and keeping signs of aging at bay. If you are going to use both moisturizer and sunscreen in your skincare routine, putting it on before your mineral sunscreen is best.Which moisturizer is best for combination skin in summer? ›
|1.||Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturiser||₹ 799|
|2.||Dot & Key 72 HR HYDRATING GEL + PROBIOTICS 60 ml||₹ 476|
|3.||Mamaearth Aqua Glow Gel Face Moisturiser||₹ 593|
|4.||Aqualogica Radiance+ Jello Moisturiser||₹ 434|
Skin type: all skin types, including sensitive skin; Main benefits: protects the skin from sun and pollutants exposure, helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots at the same time, helps to hydrate and plump the skin, prevents photo-aging, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic; Formulated without: alcohol.What skin type is La Roche-Posay for? ›
La Roche-Posay offers skincare for normal & combination facial skin to keep an ideal balance between oil and hydration levels without clogging pores. Explore our best cleansers, moisturizers, eye creams and sunscreens formulated for normal & combination skin.Do you put La Roche-Posay sunscreen over or under moisturizer? ›
Physical sunscreens (also known as mineral sunscreen), like the Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ create a barrier between you and UV rays by sitting on top of your skin. So, they need to be applied as the last step in your skincare routine, after moisturiser.Which cosmetic brand is best for combination skin? ›
- Day cream. L'Oreal Paris Hydrafresh Genius Multi-Active Essence Cream. ...
- Night cream. Lotus Professional Phyto-Rx Skin Renewal Anti-Ageing Night Crème. ...
- Moisturizer. The Body Shop Vitamin E Gel Moisture Cream. ...
- Serum. The Moms Co. ...
- Day cream. ...
- Night cream. ...
- Moisturizer. ...
So the best way to deal with the two different skin types in a combination skin is using two separate moisturizers. Look for barrier-repair moisturizers as they repair the broken skin barrier and lock-in moisture, keeping your skin hydrated and preventing the overproduction of sebum.Which is the number 1 sunscreen for oily skin? ›
|5 Best sunscreens for Oily skin||Amazon Price||Ratings|
|Lotus Herbal Tinted Sunscreen SPF 40||Rs. 260||4.2/5|
|Dot & Key Sunscreen With SPF 50||Rs. 275||4/5|
|Aqualogica Glow + Dewy Sunscreen SPF 50||Rs. 339||4.3/5|
|WOW Skin Science Matte Finish||Rs. 359||4/5|
As a rule of thumb, you should apply sunscreen as the final step in your skin care routine. Since products with SPF are specifically formulated with certain protective ingredients, layering one on after your moisturizer will help block out any harsh rays. So, in other words, SPF goes on after moisturizer.Is SPF 30 or 50 better for oily skin? ›
SPF 50 is especially beneficial for oily skin. A truly must-have product to keep the skin hydrated yet with a powerful oil-control formula for a matte skin finish.What is the best face sunscreen to buy? ›
- Best Overall: EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $30.
- Best Drugstore: Sun Bum Face 50, $13.
- Best for Everyday: Avène Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50+, $34.
- Best Antiaging: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Face Sunscreen SPF 50, $37.
Cetaphil brand comes highly recommended by dermatologists the world over, for its high performance and suitability for most skin types. CHOSEN store carries two variants of Cetaphil sunscreens – the Cetaphil Light Gel and the Cetaphil Sun kids – both at 30 SPF protection.What happens to your skin when you use sunscreen everyday? ›
Not only is protecting your skin from the sun key to helping to fade post-acne marks, but it's also one of the best ways to save your skin from signs of premature aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, rough texture, dark spots—oh, and skin cancer, of course!Who should not use CeraVe? ›
You should not use CeraVe SA Renewing if you are allergic to it. Using this medicine in a child or teenager with flu symptoms or chickenpox can cause a serious or fatal condition called Reye's syndrome.What CeraVe sunscreen do dermatologists recommend? ›
For the ultimate hybrid sunscreen option, we recommend CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen SPF 30 for Face & Body. Developed with dermatologists, our first-ever hybrid formula with SPF 30 combines mineral (zinc oxide) and chemical sun filters to help effectively reflect and absorb the sun's damaging rays.Is CeraVe good or bad for your skin? ›
Is CeraVe good for your face? Yes! Its namesake ceramides are an essential ingredient for repairing compromised skin barriers, notes Dr. Li.
Vitamin C is effectively an acid (it's sometimes known as ascorbic acid), so layering it with AHAs and BHAs like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids is a big no-no.Do you put vitamin C under or over sunscreen? ›
"I usually recommend applying vitamin C serum in the morning under moisturizer and sunscreen, as it can then work to combat exposure to free radicals and ultraviolet light throughout the day," advises Dr.Should you put vitamin C or SPF first? ›
Why Is Vitamin C So Important For Skin Protection? Studies have shown that using an antioxidant vitamin C serum prior to sunscreen can optimize your SPF, addressing damage from the sun and pollutants by neutralizing free radicals before exposure.What should combination skin avoid? ›
Avoid products with excessive fragrance or other irritants
Any product that includes harsh ingredients like fragrance or alcohol can irritate both dry and oily skin. Dry areas may become drier, while oily parts may produce more oil, potentially leading to breakouts.
When talking about combination skin, it means we have at least two different types of facial skin and may need to adjust our skincare habits accordingly. The main variations of combination skin are typically: Either oily or normal skin around the T-Zone area of the face. This includes the nose, forehead and chin.Which Neutrogena sunscreen is best? ›
Best overall sunscreen
Yadav and Harth both recommend Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch because of its lightweight, mattifying feel that won't clog your pores. In addition to a liquid version, it also comes in a stick and spray-on format, which Sapna Palep, founder of Spring Street Dermatology, prefers.
Daily exposure to benzene in these sunscreen products at the levels detected in internal testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific sunscreen aerosol products.Why is there a lawsuit against Neutrogena sunscreen? ›
Sunscreen lawsuits are legal claims against sunscreen manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena, Aveeno and others for making products that contain the toxic chemical benzene. Exposure to high levels of benzene may cause leukemia and other cancers in humans.Is SPF 30 or 50 better for face? ›
You will often find SPF 15 in makeup and skin care products. However, in sunscreens, the industry standard, and the SPF recommended by Dermatologists is generally SPF 30 and above. A sunscreen with SPF 30 will protect you from around 96.7% of UVB rays, whereas an SPF of 50 means protection from about 98% of UVB rays.What is difference between SPF 30 and 50? ›
SPF30 versus SPF50
The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of a sunscreen is a measure of how well it protects the skin from sunburn. SPF30 sunscreen admits 1/30th of the ambient UV (ultraviolet) radiation, SPF50 admits 1/50th and so on.
Sunscreen helps in even the skin tone of the face. It is common to have an uneven skin tone. So if you want spotless skin, then use sunscreen daily. If you are using low SPF, leave that and shift to 50 SPF, ideal for the human skin.Is SPF 50 too much for face? ›
Experts say sunscreens with an SPF higher than 50 aren't worth buying. They only offer marginally better protection. They might also encourage you to stay out in the sun longer. Instead, choose an SPF between 15 and 50, apply liberally, and reapply often.What happens if we use SPF 50 on face? ›
Dr. Berson: An SPF 50 offers a high level of protection and is best for those with a history of skin cancer or those that are fair skinned or at higher risk for skin cancer. An SPF 15 covers 93% of UVB rays and an SPF 30 covers 97% of UVB rays.Is SPF 30 enough to prevent aging? ›
According to Yale Medicine, one way to prevent wrinkles and other symptoms of photoaging—when your skin prematurely ages due to increased sun exposure—is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.What happens if you mix SPF 30 and 50? ›
"But suffice it to say that if you mix sunscreen, the maximum SPF you'll get is the higher of the two you started with," she said. "And you'll likely end up diluting it instead." In fact, if the two sunscreens use different active ingredients to protect you from the sun, they could end up compromising one another.Can you mix SPF 30 and 50? ›
So, what's the verdict? Avoid mixing your sunscreens if possible, especially if those products contain chemical ingredients. It's the only way to ensure you're maintaining the careful chemical balance inside each bottle and getting the level of protection that the manufacturer promises.Is SPF 30 or 50 better for dark skin? ›
What SPF is best for dark skin? The dermatologists we consulted recommend a minimum of SPF 30 — as does the American Academy of Dermatology. However, Henry recommends you apply SPF 50 if you're outside for more than an hour.Which goes on first moisturizer or sunscreen? ›
If you're using a chemical sunscreen, it needs to be applied first. This is because chemical sunscreen needs to penetrate the skin in order to provide protection. However, if you're using a physical sunscreen (also known as mineral sunscreen), sunscreen should be applied after moisturizer.What do you put on first moisturizer or sunscreen? ›
Physical sunscreen should be applied after your moisturiser as it merely sits on the surface of your skin. And you can step out immediately after application. A cosmetic product that prevents dryness in the skin. Sunscreen is another skincare product that protects the skin from the harmful rays of the sun.Can I skip moisturizer and use sunscreen? ›
Yes, you can skip moisturizer and use sunscreen. Sunscreens are simply moisturizers that chemists have added UV filters to for additional sun protection. They still provide moisturizing benefits just like a regular moisturizer.