Ah, winter. It’s the time of year when you can binge-watch all weekend and not feel bad (or as bad ) about it. It’s the time of year when the days get shorter and layers get heavier. It’s the time of year you think you can skip your sunscreen routine — but you’re wrong. No matter the time of year, the sun’s rays still have the same harmful effects. With winter’s canned heat and brisk winds, your face is in need of some serious hydration. This means you will need to protect against UV damage while also moisturizing every day.
The best way to combine moisture and SPF is to use a hydrating face lotion with an SPF of 30 and, ideally, a combination of both mineral and chemical sunscreens to protect as thoroughly as possible. Mineral sunscreens (most commonly zinc oxide, but also titanium dioxide) block the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin. Chemical sunscreens absorb and diffuse the rays, rendering them powerless. You should try to avoid oxybenzone, as it’s been found to be very harmful to coral reefs and other marine wildlife when washed off into the water supply, but you probably won’t have that problem during winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
Below is a selection the five best sunscreens for winter. These provide superior moisture, an SPF of at least 30, and they won’t make your face shiny or chalky.
One of our absolute favorite wintertime sunscreens, the Double Repair Moisturizer from La Roche-Posay Toleriane utilizes prebiotic thermal water to actively hydrate the skin. An added dash of glycerin helps to draw even more moisture from the air to the skin’s surface, ensuring a warm, healthy glow even as the frigid winds blow.
Billed as a “barely there” broad spectrum sunscreen (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays), this miracle cream from MDSolar Sciences goes on smooth and blends quickly, leaving behind a subtle matte finish. Apply to skin 15 minutes before heading out into the sun and reapply every two hours for best results.
Made with naturally-sourced zinc oxide and special Dry-Touch technology, this sunscreen from Neutrogena is built to defend against the winter sun’s harshest UV rays. Paraben and fragrance free, it makes a great everyday lotion that’s gentle on your skin and won’t leave behind any goopy white residue.
The Super Fluid Daily Defense sunscreen from Kiehl’s is formulated with advanced UVA/UVB technology and pollution protection, helping to safeguard your precious epidermis from any and all irritants. Simply apply the lightweight concoction in the morning before you head off to work and you’ll be good to go for the rest of the day.
Designed specifically to counteract wintertime dryness, the Day Rescue Defense lotion from Sephora really packs a punch. Composed of natural plant extracts and the brand’s Hydra-Endure technology, the cream goes on easy and dissipates almost instantaneously, working to moisturize skin without leaving a noticeable trace.
Article updated by Cody Gohl on November 26, 2018.