Sun protection is vital, not only for avoiding the visible signs of premature ageing (caused by long-wave UVA rays), but also for preventing skin cancer (caused by short-wave UVB rays, which also cause sunburn).
In an ideal world, we’d all wear a separate SPF as the final step in our skincare routine, and for days spent outside we’d definitely favour it, but for those lazy working-from-home days, when you need to pack light, or if you fail to remember to apply SPF, a moisturiser with SPF can be a good option.
Note that you’ll need to apply it more liberally than you perhaps normally would a moisturiser in order to get the protection you need.
When choosing a moisturiser with SPF, the same rules apply as for sun protection alone. The SPF number relates to how well it protects from UVB rays (the higher the better), and the star PA rating to how well it protects from UVA.
You’ll find both mineral and synthetic SPFs in moisturisers, but white cast is generally less of an issue with the former than it can be with SPF alone; we have noted one that’s particularly good for darker tones, though.
Of course, with a moisturiser there are further factors to consider, such as weight and texture, how well it conditions your skin and any other skincare benefits included in the ingredients list. We’ve looked for all these while testing our favourites.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best moisturisers with SPF for 2021 are:
Best overall – Kiehl’s ultra facial cream SPF30: £28, Kiehls.co.uk
Best for mature skin – Perricone MD vitamin C ester photo-brightening moisturiser SPF30: £59, Johnlewis.com
Best budget buy – CeraVe facial moisturising lotion SPF25: £13, Lookfantastic.com
Best for lightweight hydration – La Roche-Posay hyalu B5 aquagel SPF30: £28.87, Laroche-posay.co.uk
Best for darker skin tones – Fenty Skin hydra vizor invisible moisturiser SPF30: £32, Harveynichols.com
Best pollution protection – Clarins UV plus anti-pollution multi-protection SPF50 moisturising fluid rose: £33, Clarins.co.uk
Best classic with an SPF twist – Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream sun defence SPF50: £26, Lookfantastic.com
Best for sensitive skin – Avène hydrance rich-UV hydrating cream SPF30: £16.50, Boots.com
Kiehl’s ultra facial cream SPF30
Ultra cream is a long-time favourite of ours for irritated or dehydrated skin, and the SPF version has all the moisturising benefits of the original, plus SPF30. It combines glycerin, water and glycerin with a glycoprotein derived from glaciers that thrives in extreme climates, for skin defence and deep hydration. The SPF formula feels a little thicker than the original, but it quickly melts into skin and delivers the same, unfussy hydration we love.
Buy now £28.00, Kiehls.co.uk
Perricone MD vitamin C ester photo-brightening moisturiser SPF30
Best: For mature skin
This is a brilliant luxury moisturiser that we’d recommend for its smoothing and plumping effects, sun protection or no, so it’s a bonus that it’s SPF30. An ester of vitamin C brightens skin, reduces discolouration and helps improve texture with repeated use, and alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant enzyme, helps protect skin from environmental damage. Combined with sun protection, it’s a powerhouse of prevention and repair, ideal for more mature skin.
Buy now £59.00, Johnlewis.com
CeraVe facial moisturising lotion SPF25
Best: Budget buy
CeraVe is one of our most recommended affordable brands, as its results easily compete with those of luxury lines. This SPF lotion is great for dry skin types, and melts into skin really quickly and easily, leaving it feeling soothed and springy, and looking brighter. For SPF on a budget, it’s hard to find better.
Buy now £13.00, Lookfantastic.com
La Roche-Posay hyalu B5 aquagel SPF30
Best: Lightweight hydration
We highly recommend the La Roche-Posay hyalu B5 range to anyone looking for a mid-price hit of hyaluronic acid hydration – its aquagel combines deeply hydrating and plumping hyaluronic acid with SPF30. It has a gel texture that glides across and melts into the skin easily and quickly, leaving it soft, cooled and nourished.
Buy now £25.87, Laroche-posay.co.uk
Fenty Skin hydra vizor invisible moisturiser SPF30
Best: For darker skin tones
Fenty’s skincare range is underappreciated compared to its make-up, but there are some truly brilliant products in there. Hydra vizor is one of our favourites, a lovely, lightweight lotion that gives skin a natural, dewy glow, plumps out fine lines and has SPF30. You’ll also find zero ashy cast on darker skins. We love the slick packaging too, which has a twist-up lid.
Buy now £32.00, Harveynichols.com
Clarins UV plus anti-pollution multi-protection SPF50 moisturising fluid rose
Best: For pollution protection
Perfect for city dwellers, Clarins’ UV plus lotion is a brilliant SPF50 and PA+++ that contains soothing, healing ingredients such as white horehound and antioxidants such as dock-cress, to protect the skin against environmental aggressors including pollution. We rarely leave the flat without a tube in our handbag these days. The rose version is a light pink that imparts a subtle glow, but there’s also a translucent version (£33, Clarins.co.uk) if you’d prefer.
Buy now £33.00, Clarins.co.uk
Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream sun defence SPF50
Best: Classic with an SPF twist
We have relied on the cult eight hour cream to deal with everything from flaky dry patches to parched, sunburned lips, and the SPF cream version is just as brilliant. It’s lightweight and non-greasy, and leaves skin soft and smooth with no sheen or stickiness – the perfect finish for applying make-up on top.
Buy now £19.50, Lookfantastic.com
Avène hydrance rich-UV hydrating cream SPF30
Best: For sensitive skin
This is a great choice for those with dry, sensitive skin who need relief from dehydration and irritation as well as sun protection (those with greasy skin will likely find it too oily). Its hydrating effects last for a long time – cheeks that are usually papery by midday still feel plump and bouncy in the late afternoon – and it doesn’t sting on patches of broken or flaky skin.
Buy now £16.50, Boots.com
The verdict: Moisturisers with SPF
We recommend Kiehl’s ultra cream to pretty much everyone, regardless of their skin concerns, and the same goes for its SPF version.
For the latest discounts on skincare and beauty buys, try the links below:
Pair your new moisturiser with our best SPF lip balms, that are hydrating, non-sticky and comfortable to wear