If you're the sort of person who struggles to keep up a decent skincare routine because you lack the energy, I hear you. In fact, I have to give myself a mental pep talk every night before I shuffle to the bathroom, bleary-eyed, to remove my makeup before I fall asleep. But the good news is that after many years of absorbing skincare information from experts, I have learned that there are shortcuts that can be taken to make your routine less daunting and maintain healthy, glowing skin while you're at it.
Forget 10-step routines. There's little need for any more than two or three steps in your morning and nighttime skincare regimens. These steps are comprised of what I like to call non-negotiables—consider them the core foundations for healthy skin. These non-negotiables are made up of three camps: cleansing, hydration and protection. While cleansing really does require its own step, what you apply to your skin after you cleanse can always be streamlined—particularly when it comes to moisturiser (hydration) and SPF (protection).
But before we go any further, I want you to listen very carefully: Using a moisturise or a foundation that merely lists SPF as an ingredient does not tick that "protection" box. In order to protect your skin from damaging UV rays, it is imperative that you apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This means the product protects skin against skin-ageing UVA rays (this is typically illustrated by a "PA+++" or a star rating) and skin-burning UVB rays (illustrated by an SPF rating). The reason for this serious caveat is that in order to truly give your skin the protection it requires, a product has to contain a hefty amount of those all-important UV-blocking ingredients. Dermatologists recommend applying a half-teaspoon of SPF to the face in order to guarantee the level of protection on the bottle—if you're relying on a tinted moisturiser or foundation for such coverage, I'd bet my hat that you're not applying nearly enough.
What's the best advice a dermatologist ever gave me? Instead of shopping for moisturisers that have SPF credentials, look for SPFs that have moisturising credentials. Trust me—facial SPF formulas have come leaps and bounds in recent years, with most good formulas providing just as much hydration and moisture as your standard day cream. If you want to only apply one product to your face in the morning post-cleanse, can the standard day cream and reach for a moisturising SPF instead. While these products might sit on SPF shelves in stores, trust me when I say they're far closer to truly great moisturisers—and they deliver next-level sun protection while they work. So if you're looking to save some time in the morning, keep scrolling to shop the best moisturisers with actual SPF protection for all skin types.
1. CeraVe A.M. Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF50
Best Budget Moisturiser With SPF
Sadly, most of the best hybrid SPFs I've tried cost a little more than a basic face cream. However, this stuff from CeraVe is probably the best affordable option I've tried. Is it totally weightless? No. But it provides really impressive hydration (more than many luxury face creams do) and super-high sun protection. I'll admit it's thicker than I'd like, but for £12, I'm not complaining.
2. Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF50+
Best Moisturiser With SPF for Dry Skin
This stuff is probably one of the most loved SPF products out there, and for good reason. It's lightweight like a luxurious moisturiser but has high-level SPF50+ coverage, too. Formulated with vitamin C-rich antioxidants, it delivers a glow that's more impressive than some cult serums I know. Ultra Violette calls this "Skinscreen," a hybrid of skincare and sunscreen, and I couldn't agree more. Why do I think it's best for dry skin? Although it's not thick, it has a gorgeous satin finish that lends itself more to dull, dehydrated complexions than it does to oily ones.
3. Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel
Best Moisturiser With SPF for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, finding a good SPF moisturiser isn't easy. The filters used in sunscreens are a little greasy by nature and risk leaving skin shiny—not something you want if you're battling excess oil production. This product, however, has a refreshing water-like gel texture that sinks into skin in seconds and delivers a shine-free finish. Oh, and of course, it's jam-packed with moisturising antioxidants to deliver the hydrating stuff your skin requires to function at its best.
4. U Beauty Multimodal Defender SPF30
Best Luxury Moisturiser With SPF
No one has to spend £160 on an SPF product. However, if you do want to streamline your routine and are already spending £100+ on your day cream, you can get super-luxurious SPF moisturisers like this one from U Beauty. If you like the luxuriously rich texture of La Mer, chances are you'll be head over heels for this stuff. With vitamin C to boost glow and deliver antioxidant protection, hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate, and a plethora of nourishing oils and butters, this stuff is a real all-rounder. However, if you have dark skin, be warned that the SPF filters in this are physical (zinc oxide), so the cream applies a little ashy at first but sinks right in after a few minutes.
5. La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Aquagel SPF30
Best Moisturiser With SPF for a Dewy Finish
If you're dubious about an SPF/moisturiser hybrid, start with this stuff right now. Ideal for summer months when skin requires a little less richness from moisturiser, this gel is full to the brim of plumping hydrators like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. It's like giving your skin a big slurp of dew-boosting moisture while ensuring you're protecting it against the sun's harmful rays. What more can you ask for?!
6. Clé de Peau Beauté UV Protective Cream
Best Moisturiser With SPF for Makeup Application
Another bougie option, this high-protection moisturising cream from Clé de Peau is potentially one of my favourite skincare finds of the year. The sun protection is next-level (against both UVA and UVB rays), and the texture is beyond rich and luxurious without feeling greasy or buttery. It leaves skin feeling so soft and smooth and makes for the ultimate pre-foundation base. My only niggle is that it does sting the eyes a tiny bit if you sweat, so keep that in mind if you're a sweaty gal like me.
7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+ Sun Cream
Best Moisturiser With SPF for Dark Spots
I understand that the reason people feel the need to load up on an abundance of serums in the morning is because they have a number of skin concerns that they want to address. But what if I told you there's a product that tackles it all with equal effect? This SPF from La Roche-Posay (which, by the way, produces some of the best sunscreens around), is specially formulated to reduce the appearance of dark spots (hyperpigmentation) and fine lines while it works. Plus, it's rich enough to use as a daily moisturiser if your skin is particularly dry.
8. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30
Best Moisturiser With SPF for Added Protection
Yes, this product is a broad-spectrum SPF. However, the reason I say it's best for added protection is that I would personally apply an SPF on top of it on particularly sunny days because this is, first and foremost, a moisturiser, and using half a teaspoon of it on your face would simply be too much. Instead, I'd recommend using this as a daily moisturiser and, 20 minutes before you leave the house, applying another lightweight SPF on top. Ideal for those with dull, dry skin, Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 will give skin a next-level glowing plump and help supercharge the protection of any SPF you apply on top.
9. Bliss Block Star SPF30 Invisible Daily Sunscreen
Best Blurring Moisturiser With SPF
This is, without a doubt, my favourite facial SPF of the past year, and it's so moisturising that it's often the only product I use in the morning. While the formula isn't tinted, it relies on slightly pigmented physical filters that give the skin a subtle blurring finish, so I tend to skip foundation altogether when I'm using it. It's ideal for sensitive skin, too. I can't recommend this stuff enough.
10. The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++
Best All-Round Moisturiser With SPF
I've lost count of the number of friends I've gotten onto this product. It is, without debate, a facial moisturiser first. It leaves skin juicy and glowing (thanks to red-algae extract and vitamin C) while delivering what is basically the highest level of sun protection money can buy. If you only want to use one product in the morning after cleansing, make it this stuff, whatever your skin type.
11. Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50
Best Lightweight Moisturiser With SPF
I fell in love with this Korean SPF years ago and only recently rediscovered it. Trust me when I say it's lightweight—almost invisible, in fact. However, with soothing aloe extract, sacha inchi oil, and lotus-flower water to soften skin, it just leaves your skin looking and feeling like its very best self. If you like your moisturiser to leave your skin feeling tacky, this one isn't for you. However, if you want your skincare to be traceless, add this to your basket.
12. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen
Best Glow-Boosting Moisturiser With SPF
My latest moisturising SPF discovery is this stuff from Glow Recipe. I'll admit I have struggled to get on with Glow Recipe's fragranced products in the past. This SPF lotion, however, is a feat. In the bottle, it smells like fresh watermelon, but as soon as you apply it to your skin, the fragrance disappears. It containins powerhouse soothers and hydrators like niacinamide and aloe, and I promise this stuff works harder than most standard moisturisers on the market.