Skin Secrets
Woman wearing sunscreen under makeup looking into the sun with rainbows on her face
The Best Sunscreens To Apply Underneath Your Makeup This Spring Break

Don’t leave home without ‘em.

Melvin John Vito / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

The best sunscreens to apply under makeup need to do more than your standard beach vacay sunblock. SPF that works under a full beat is different than the SPF you’d wear for a day on the beach because in order to work under makeup, sunscreen should be sheer, blendable, and leave zero white cast behind.

Aside from protecting your skin from sun damage and not causing irritation, sunscreen that functions under makeup needs to work with, not against, it. Thankfully, there are a number of skin care brands that have caught on to this and are making sunscreens that smooth out skin texture, work like primers, and melt down to a velvet-y finish. If you’re looking for the right sunscreen to bring with you on spring break, here’s what you need to know.

“I always say the best sunscreen is the one that you're actually going to wear,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, who recommends you stick to whatever brand or style of sunscreen you’ll use everyday, whether that’s chemical or physical, with a few caveats. “If someone is just starting sunscreen or they just want a suggestion, I do lean more towards mineral because sometimes chemical sunscreens can be a little bit irritating for people with sensitive skin.”

If you’re new to the sunscreen game — no shade, we all start somewhere — mineral sunscreens might be the way to go. Mineral sunscreen “creates a physical barrier on the skin,” says Ugonabo, while chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, converts UV rays into heat. If you’re trying to figure out which is which, try using the active ingredient method, as recommended by Ugonabo. “Every sunscreen you look at is going to have an active ingredients list. “If the active ingredients are a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, then it's a mineral sunscreen. If it has other active ingredients like oxybenzone or octinoxate, a lot of them start with O, then it's a chemical sunscreen.”

Below are 12 sunscreens — chemical, mineral, or a combination of the two — that won’t mess up your makeup, period. That means no pilling, smearing, or sticky patches. Let’s get into it.

We at Elite Daily only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


Best Powder Sunscreen: Colorescience Brush-On Sunscreen Mineral Powder

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell loves this “very portable, long-lasting water and sweat resistant” sunscreen. “It is packaged fashionably, sleek, and handy. The face powder brush makes it accessible to reapply anytime and anywhere throughout the day,” she says.

Mitchell also points out that the non-greasy, easily spreadable, and light finish makes it a standout. And the best part? According to Mitchell, it works well as a base for makeup or foundation.


Best Sunscreen For Combination Skin: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF 50

The latest drop from cult-favorite Glow Recipe is a lightweight blend of chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients with some extra skin care goodness packed in: niacinamide, aloe, and hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid delivers a huge hydration boost, aloe soothes, and niacinamide helps reduce hyperpigmentation. Basically, whatever your skin is dealing with, this sunscreen can help while also sheering out once applied for a gorgeous, barely there finish.


Best Tinted Sunscreen: TIZO3 Facial Primer Tinted SPF 40

Full disclosure: I am obsessed with this sunscreen and so are several dermatologists. “I like Tizo’s sunscreen primer,” says Ugonabo. “It has a nice matte to it so it's perfect if you're going to put something on top.”

When I want my skin to look like I’m wearing an Instagram filter, I start with this sunscreen. It plays nice with other skin care products, blends with zero white cast, and most importantly, really feels and functions like a primer. It blurs out texture and pores, creating a beautiful base for full coverage makeup.


Best Sunscreen For Dry Skin: Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

My go-to sunscreen for when my face is its driest and flakiest, this mineral sunscreen from Drunk Elephant makes my skin look bouncy and hydrated. Its primary ingredient is zinc, which makes it a great choice for sensitive skin and it dries down to a gorgeous dewy finish that creates a healthy looking glow under foundation.


Best Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin: Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35

This sunscreen from Versed is oil-free, which makes it ideal for anyone with acne-prone skin, especially those dealing with breakouts, dry patches, and flakiness. It’s also fragrance-free, which is great news if you’re trying to limit the ingredients you apply to your sensitive skin.

The reviews from folks with cystic acne and combination dry *and* acne-prone skin are also stellar, although some reviewers with sensitive skin claimed to have had adverse reactions. Moral of the story: Everyone, please patch test your products.


Best Drugstore Sunscreen: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

This is another one of Mitchell’s favorites, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s 100% mineral, dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog pores.

It’s also unique, according to Mitchell, on account of two of its star ingredients, Feverfew and nourishing oat, “which are clinically tested and proven as an effective anti-irritant and antioxidant.” In other words, your skin is protected and calmed by this one product. It’s also incredibly lightweight and fragrance-free, which make it a win for sensitive skin.


Best Sunscreen For Hyperpigmentation: Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Rihanna can have my money whenever she wants because she’s an icon who makes incredible skin care products for everyone, and this sunscreen is no exception. It hydrates, soothes skin with aloe, and targets dark spots with niacinamide, all while leaving zero white cast. Reviewers rave about the “lit from within” glow they get from this particular sunscreen, which is exactly what you’d expect Queen RiRi to deliver.


Best Mineral Sunscreen: ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

This is another product favored by dermatologists. Ugonabo loves this tinted mineral sunscreen from ISDIN. “It’s very nice and I think it blends well,” she says.

Reviewers, many of whom got hooked on this tinted sunscreen at the recommendation of their dermatologists, report “zero white cast,” and a base on which their makeup stays put “for at least six to seven hours.”


Best Sunscreen Primer: Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Protection SPF 50

This product straddles the line between sunscreen and primer, but clocks in at an admirable 50 SPF and does an incredible job at smoothing out texture and making complexion makeup really pop. It goes on clear and dries down really well, considering the SPF it’s packing. Plus, reviewers report zero white cast. What’s most loved about this primer though is it’s ability to make even a full face of makeup last all day.


Best “No White Cast” Sunscreen: Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

The creators behind Black Girl Sunscreen were filling a major need in the sunscreen market when they created a product that wouldn’t leave folks with melanin-rich skin with that ghostly shadow known as white cast on their faces.

This sunscreen dries down clear and makes a smooth base for makeup application. Reviewers report that it’s definitely cast-free (yay!) and is also very moisturizing, thanks to jojoba and avocado oils.


Best Sweat Resistant Sunscreen: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop, another cult favorite, formulated this sunscreen to work like a primer and to withstand even the sweatiest of beach getaways. The finish is described by the product’s many devoted reviewers as velvet-y, leaning towards matte, cast-free, and phenomenal under makeup. Users also rave about its weightlessness and the fact that it blends beautifully.


Best Oil-Free Sunscreen: All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

If you’re looking for a sunscreen that works on sensitive skin and leave you with the most matte finish out there, then congrats, you’ve found your new favorite product.

This physical sunscreen is packed with vitamins C & E, courtesy of Lingonberry, both of which work to heal skin damage and even out skin tone. I’ve found this sunscreen to leave the least amount of shine on my skin, so if you’re trying to steer clear of excess oil, I’d highly recommend it.


Dr. Hope Mitchell, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, M.D., board-certified dermatologist