The best SPFs for under make-up

Some sun protection creams will act like a primer, others won’t interfere with your foundation

At this time of year, my inbox starts filling up with questions about SPF, namely how to find one that doesn’t interfere with make-up or make it look worse. Make-up wearers want to protect their skin, preferably without looking and feeling as though they just finished a 14-hour shift working the fryer in a chip shop.

SPF has improved enormously even over the past five years. There are formulas available that don’t even feel like sun protection and it is entirely possible to find one that will be on its very best behaviour underneath your make-up all day.

Fragrance-free and deceptively lightweight, Caudalie Vinosun SPF50+ Very High Protection Lightweight Cream (€20 at is best for someone who would like an SPF which has minimal impact on make-up. While it certainly won't interfere with your foundation, it isn't one of those SPFs that also acts like a primer, helping to achieve a certain foundation finish, like glassy, or matte. This cream does its job with quiet dignity, offering high protection against both UVA radiation (the type that burns skin) and UVB (the kind that causes deep damage, pigmentation and premature aging).

If you like a matte finish to your foundation or find yourself irked by breakthrough shine as the day progresses, Skinceuticals Oil Shield UV Defense Sunscreen (€46 at is excellent. The brand makes some of the best quality SPFs you can buy, but they are also very good at making products that tailor to skin issues. This one should work for you if you are prone to congestion and struggle to find an SPF that won't contribute to breakouts.


Dr Sam's Flawless Gossamer Untinted SPF50 (€40 at offers broad spectrum protection and comes in both tinted and untinted versions. It is perfect for those who want an SPF/primer hybrid as it creates a glowing, hydrating base for make-up that will complement rather than impede a foundation with a glassy or radiant finish. As a mineral sunscreen, it also works perfectly for those who are worried about congestion.

To amp up the glow even further, opt for Image Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturiser SPF 50 (€50 at It is more of a moisturising SPF than a moisturiser with SPF – the latter generally does not contain enough SPF to adequately protect your face, neck and ears. This SPF has a buttery texture and glossy – though not smothering – finish which plays beautifully with make-up.

Product of the week

This week, I don't have a product for you, but a piece of news. The beauty editor's go-to manicurist, Julia Diogo (@paintedbyjools_) will be in Dublin from April 21st-23rd at BT Dundrum, the Brown Thomas Beauty Lounge and Arnotts. To get your hands on one of Diogo's famously perfect skincare manicures (micro-French for spring or an impossibly pristine block colour are her signatures), search "Brown Thomas" at