Best Drugstore Face Moisturizer with SPF

July 29, 2022

Finding the absolute best face SPF has been a mission of ours, but sometimes you have to forgo THE BEST for the most accessible. Enter the best drugstore face moisturizer with SPF picks below. Because sometimes you need an affordable face SPF like, yesterday.

a woman with her hair in bun looks down while standing on the beach

By: Nicolle Mackinnon

IN THIS POST:

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Preventing sun damage and protecting your skin from free radicals and UVA / UVB rays not only help you avoid things like skin cancer, but it also can help slow down the skin’s aging process.

So, whether you’re an avid sunscreen user or you pick it up occasionally, a mineral sun blocker is one of the most powerful tools in your skincare arsenal. And while we spent months testing and retesting alllllll the best natural face moisturizer with SPF (which you can find here), sometimes you need to scoot to the closest Target or Walgreens and snag the best drugstore face moisturizer with SPF.

I mean, I can’t be the only one who’s run out of SPF on a trip, right? Right.

We have a whole list of things we look for in SPF, including some key notes about skin sensitivity, but the most important one to point out here is that we only tested mineral sunscreens, meaning the active ingredient that blocks UVA and UVB is either zinc and / or titanium dioxide. We do not promote the use of chemical sunscreen barriers like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate. You can learn more about how to read sunscreen labels here.

So let’s get to it! Here are the best affordable face moisturizers with SPF.

RELATED: 10 natural face moisturizers with SPF compared (plus out top picks for THE BEST).


Best drugstore face moisturizer with SPF

cocokind Daily SPF 32 | $25

A fragrance free, easy choice for daily or beach wear. This came in as our top budget pick in our extensive SPF testing, which means you know it’s good. It’s a great fit for someone who wants to pick up a no-frills, mineral sunscreen on the go.

Where to find it: Target, Whole Foods, Ulta

What we like: 

  • The price 
  • Not drying 
  • Not greasy
  • A hardy formula that feels like it is actually protecting my skin
  • Might be able to double as a moisturizer for some people
  • Finishes dewey (could be a pro or a con)
  • Fragrance free

What we didn’t: 

  • A little heavier than we’d prefer for everyday wear IMO
  • Not many ingredients to help treat skin

Native Unscented Mineral Face Lotion – SPF 30 | $15.99

Another Target special, the Native brand has been the subject of online chatter ever since they were bought by P&G in 2017. They started with deos and expanded into body and skincare, and their ingredients generally avoid our NO THANKS ingredients—except for their undisclosed fragrance. Hence why we’re recommending their fragrance-free option.

Where to find it: Target 

What we like: 

  • The price! 
  • Not drying 
  • Not greasy
  • Gives a satin finish
  • Rubs in pretty clear
  • A hardy formula that feels like it is actually protecting skin
  • Might be able to double as a moisturizer for some people
  • Fragrance free

What we didn’t: 

  • Feels a little tacky on skin, but soaks in well
  • Not many ingredients to help treat skin, outside of the protective SPF

RELATED: The best mineral body SPFs for the WHOLE family.


How to shop for the best affordable face moisturizer with SPF

For a deep dive on this topic, start here. But if you’re in a rush, use these TWO fast tips to help you choose a drugstore face moisturizer with SPF on your way to the beach.

Look for zinc oxide in the active ingredients

The best way to vet a sunscreen is to first look at the active ingredients. Here, you really only want to see one thing: zinc oxide. This is considered a mineral-based, broad-spectrum, nontoxic barrier—and it’s the best at what it does. 

Some brands will also use titanium dioxide as a mineral barrier, but titanium dioxide does not provide as much broad-spectrum protection as zinc oxide does so you either want to see zinc oxide alone OR zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in tandem for the best protection (1-4). Read more about the specifics around these FDA-approved ingredients here.

Skip traditional chemical SPF blockers like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate

We do not promote the use of chemical sunscreen barriers like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate. Why? Two main reasons: These chemical filters often break down when they absorb radiation, AND several of these chemicals have been identified as health risks.

Clearly it’s not the perfect vetting system, but looking at the active ingredients WILL get you halfway across the finish line. If you want more info on vetting the inactive ingredients in sunscreen, head here.


The best drugstore face moisturizer with SPF FAQ

What is the best drugstore SPF?

Here are the best affordable face moisturizers with SPF.

What is one of the most important products to use on your skin?

A mineral sun blocker is one of the most powerful tools in your skincare arsenal. Learn which drugstore face moisturizers with SPF are best here.

What to look for in a face moisturizer with SPF?

We have a whole list of things we look for in SPF, including some key notes about skin sensitivity, but the most important one to point out here is that we only tested mineral sunscreens, meaning the active ingredient that blocks UVA and UVB is either zinc and / or titanium dioxide. We do not promote the use of chemical sunscreen barriers like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate. You can learn more about how to read sunscreen labels here.

Where to buy a drugstore face moisturizer with spf

Target, Walmart, CVS, Whole Foods and Walgreens are all good options. Learn more about which SPFs to buy here.


So, what’s your go-to drugstore SPF?

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TOG Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TOG uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TOG stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.


REFERENCES:

  1. Beasley DG, Meyer TA. Characterization of the UVA protection provided by avobenzone, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide in broad-spectrum sunscreen products. American journal of clinical dermatology. 2010 Dec 1;11(6):413-21.
  2. Pinnell SR, Fairhurst D, Gillies R, Mitchnick MA, Kollias N. Microfine zinc oxide is a superior sunscreen ingredient to microfine titanium dioxide. Dermatologic surgery. 2000 Apr;26(4):309-14.
  3. Hojerová J, Medovcíková A, Mikula M. Photoprotective efficacy and photostability of fifteen sunscreen products having the same label SPF subjected to natural sunlight. International journal of pharmaceutics. 2011 Apr 15;408(1-2):27-38.
  4. Mitchnick MA, Fairhurst D, Pinnell SR. Microfine zinc oxide (Z-cote) as a photostable UVA/UVB sunblock agent. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1999 Jan 1;40(1):85-90.

By Nicolle Mackinnon

Nicolle Mackinnon is TOG's content manager. She has a penchant for vegan lip color, cold-brew coffee and helping women feel empowered to make informed choices about their health by opening them up to new information and trends. Better, clean beauty is just one outlet to changing the way we shop and live.

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