The Best & Worst SPF Foundations/BB Creams For Sun-Soaked Days

The Best & Worst SPF Foundations/BB Creams For Sun-Soaked Days

The beautiful summer weather invites us to enjoy carefree outdoor activities like having beach days, camping—or glamping, if that suits you more—or even having a good ol’ BBQ.

But something completely not fun is getting sunburnt. Not only is it painful, flaky and super un-cute—exposing your skin to harmful UV rays and getting sunburnt may triple your risk of developing melanoma skin cancer down the line, according to Cancer Research UK

If you’re like me, you hate applying sunscreen to your face. The pungent smell, the fear of clogged pores—it’s a mess. This is why I’ve opted to always use a foundation or BB cream with SPF protection during the day.  

Here are the top (and not-so-hot) picks I’ve found.

1. Clinique Acne Solutions BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40


Skin Type: Oily, Combination

As someone with acne-prone combination skin, I swear by this BB cream. It’s a multitasking cream that covers and mattifies, as well as offering protection from the sun. The downside of this product is that it still smells a bit like sunscreen /salicylic acid, but is for the most part masked by a perfume-like scent. The BB cream is buildable and good for day use, but I wouldn’t depend on it if you were looking for concentrated full coverage. It definitely won’t last you from day to night, but it will carry you through your beach day. Stay in the shade and wear a large-brimmed hat too though.

2. NARS Cosmetics Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Skin Type: Dry, Normal, Sensitive

This stuff is really creamy! As a fan of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, I really wanted to try a foundation/BB cream from NARS too. The pros are it is quite velvety, lush and pigmented.

However, I would recommend this only for more dry/normal skin tones, as it is too way too thick and a bit hard to spread evenly. If I had to compare the sensation, I would say it’s like trying to spread butter on your bread but the butter isn’t warm enough. It was also really difficult to find a shade that matched my skin accurately.

3. bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

Skin Type: All, Sensitive

This was my go-to product for a long, long time. Light coverage, a variety of shades, good for sensitive skin and create a radiant glow. It’s one of the few products I had continued to keep buying. The reason I stopped? Like the Clinque BB Cream, it’s good for only a few hours and is very light coverage. I would say that the Clinique BB Cream is more buildable and has fuller coverage, but the bareMinerals leaves you feeling much more fresh and dewy.

4. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF 30

Skin Type: Normal

I can’t even begin to express how much I hated this particular product. BB Water? I thought it sounded ingenious, light and natural. However, this stuff did NOT want to stay on my skin. It sank down my cheeks in streaks, wouldn’t blend, came out patchy with non-existent coverage like the cracked orange floor of a SoCal desert. Ended up returning immediately.  

I hope after reading this that you’re inspired to protect your skin (looking fabulous while doing so, of course). Tweet us and let us know which product worked the best for you.

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