Best Facial Sunscreen Under $20 for 2021

With summer quickly approaching, it seems like a good time to do another OzBargain poll for the best face sunscreen under $20.

Last year we had the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ as the winner even though it's one of the most expensive options. That product actually underwent a formula change recently. Will it still take the crown this year?

I've started the poll with some of the popular options from last year as well as a few new options. The product requirements for this poll will be the same as last year's poll:

  • Under $20 (those that are under $20 only when on sale are ok)
  • Suitable to be used on the face (but not necessarily for the face only)
  • SPF 30 or more
  • Available for purchase in Australia

Some considerations when choosing a sunscreen:

  • Sun Protection factor
  • Whether it is broad spectrum
  • Types of filters - chemical (organic) vs physical (inorganic)
  • Texture and finish - the less comfortable it is, the less likely you will want to use it every day, or put on the required amount
  • Any white cast?
  • Does it irritate or sting the eyes?
  • Water-resistance for those who want a multi-purpose product.
  • Does it interfere with make-up application?

The results are in: we have the same winners as in 2020. Thank you for voting!

First place: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+
Second place: Cancer Council SPF 50+ Day Wear Face Matte Invisible
Third place: Neutrogena SPF 50+ Ultra Sheer Fluid

Poll Options expired

  • 4
    Kao Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++
    Suggested by Phlume on 03/11/2021 - 18:42
  • 1
    Bondi Sands Daily Moisturising Face SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion Fragrance Free
    Suggested by Tames71 on 13/11/2021 - 18:34
  • 10
    Cancer Council SPF 50+ Day Wear Face Matte Invisible
  • 1
    Cancer Council SPF 50+ Fluid Matte Invisible (new)
  • 5
    Hamilton SPF 50+ Everyday Face Cream
  • 16
    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50+
  • 5
    Natio Daily Defence Face Moisturiser SPF 50+
  • 1
    Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 50
    Suggested by jackary on 03/11/2021 - 17:23
  • 6
    Neutrogena SPF 50 Ultra Sheer Fluid
  • 4
    Nivea Sun SPF 50 UV Face Shine Control
  • 1
    Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion Sensitive SPF 30
  • 1
    Ombra Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+

Comments

  • +6

    As a side note, you can search for any sunscreen registered with the ARTG on the TGA website, where you can obtain a full list of ingredients. Turns out that these four sunscreens are almost identical in formula - reddit source

    • Cancer Council SPF 50+ Day Wear Face Matte Invisible
    • Hamilton SPF 50+ Everyday Face Cream
    • Natio Daily Defence Face Moisturiser SPF 50+
    • Aldi Ombra Daily Defence Light Feel Sunscreen SPF50+ (once a year special buy)
    • +3

      My pick this year is the Hamilton everyday face cream because it's light and non-greasy, leaves a demi matte finish that's not sticky. It is a bit pink out of the tube but blends out, and has no added fragrance. It also doesn't sting my eyes. Natio daily defence was my pick last year but Hamilton is ever so slightly cheaper/100ml.

      Edit: Hamilton has kaolin the formula, which would make it more matte/oil-absorbing. It also has iron oxides which adds protection from blue light.

    • +3

      You must be Ozbargain's nominated Beauty Advisor!

    • +1

      Did you mean jingle, or is it giving you some kind of enjoyable involuntary spasm?

      :P

      • Thats the cancer kicking in

  • We discovered La Roche last year. It is so so so much more enjoyable to use than most. We couldn't be happier

    • LRP is our pick for face sunscreen, too. Comfortable enough to use daily

    • It is so so so much more enjoyable to use than most

      Are we talking sunscreen or lubricant here?

      • Sunscreen

    • Where can I get it for under $20?

  • I've never had any problems with the supermarket house brands for general use. Get a large pack (one litre?) at the start of the swim season, leave it outside for people to use over summer and bin whatever's left at the end of the season.

    More specialist preparations may be preferred for more specific scenarios, but for general purpose I've always found this more than adequate.

    • +2

      It sounds like you're using yours for outdoor activites, and not everyday face use? There's certainly nothing wrong with using all over sunscreen on the face in terms of sun protection. I guess this poll is more useful for those looking for everyday use on the face which needs to be comfortable - doesn't leave it sticky etc

      Noticed that you said leaving the sunscreen outside - do make sure that your sunscreen is not getting hot as they are meant to be stored in a cool, dark place.

      • your sunscreen is not getting hot as they are meant to be stored in a cool, dark place.

        So having a bottle of sunscreen in the car is not a good idea?

        • Nope

  • +2

    Ah it's a good thing this person deleted their account!

    • Ran out of layers to peel from sun exposure.

    • Probably doesn't need OzB any more as he clearly cornered the market on tinfoil hats.

    • "SKIN CANCER IS CAUSED BY POOR DIET!"
      "IT'S A SCAM"
      "BUY MY NATUROPATHY PRODUCTS BECAUSE THEY CURE CANCER"

  • +2

    I'm sure La Roche Posay is the bees knees and all, but at that price they're having a laugh.

    Cancer Council SPF 50+ Day Wear Face Matte Invisible (the pink one, NOT the shite blue/water resistant one) takes it for me.

  • I heard that sunscreen is a scam, from a very reputable source.

  • Can I suggest two sunscreens?
    1. Biore Wattery Essence - $16 from Amazon
    2. Nivea UV Face shine control - $7.69 from Amazon

    I have had great success with both. Good SPF50 protection and both doesn't leave a greasy white sheen after application.

    • Sure! Nivea Sun SPF 50+ UV Face Shine Control is already an option. You will need to follow the instructions in the post for suggesting a poll option for the Biore sunscreen, please use the full name as they have gone through many reformulations every couple of years.

      • Apologies for not setting up the poll properly to allow suggestions earlier, it's now been done. I can't actually add your suggestion so please add a comment and fill in the full product name of the Biore sunscreen. Thanks.

    • I assume you mean 'Kao - Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++'. It's been added.

    • I second this. Been using Biore for years. It has a gel-like consistency and absorbs into the skin. Feels more like a serum than a sunscreen, and it doesn't leave a residue or white cast. It's broad spectrum thus protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays, and is PA++++ (Extremely high UVA protection).

  • I'm still sold on the Mecca SPF 50 as it leaves no white cast. Doesn't fit into your price range though.

    • Apologies for not setting up the poll properly to allow suggestions earlier, it's now been done. I can't actually add your suggestion so please add a comment and fill in the full product name of 'Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion Sensitive SPF 30'. Thanks.

  • Thsnjs for putting this forum up.

    Was using La Roche Posay, but am trying to use cosmetics which aren't tested on animals. Natio is local and cruelty-free, but a bit heavier than LRP.

    This article is quite helpful explaining the difference between the chemical and physical types. Natio calls them 'traditional' and physical.

    https://www.laroche-posay.com.au/article/chemical-vs-physica...

    • All sunscreens are tested on humans, does that count :)?

  • Looking forward to hearing everyone's vote for their favourite sunscreen

  • Suggested Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion Sensitive SPF 30

    Does this add the suggestion to the poll?

    • Yes it worked, thanks, approved now. Please add your vote :)

  • Suggested Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 50

    Hey OP, the Ultra Sheer Fluid is only SPF 50, not 50+. The Ultra Sheer range is a bit
    confusing so it may be worth adding them each individually? Have also suggested my go-to Hydro Boost. :)

    Edit: The Nivea is only SPF 50 too!

    • Thanks for picking up on that, I've fixed up the SPF and approved your suggestion.

      We won't be adding every Ultra Sheer product, only if someone wants to suggest it. The Ultra Sheer Fluid was the one that had some votes last year.

      • I think the issue with not listing them individually is that the average layperson is upvoting the fluid when they in fact use a different product. Anyway… agree to disagree :)

  • Suggested Ombra Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+

    Aldi sunscreen (sensitive only). It's one of the very few that doesn't burn my skin and it's great for lips too.

    • Can you confirm if it is this one? i.e. "Ombra Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+"?

      • That's the one

  • My kids has highly sensitive skin, any contact with Nickel based metal will cause reactions. Also with many other sunscreens, I tried various brands at Chemist warehouse and they cause redness and beehives. La Roche-Posay and Ceptaphil is the only two brands that does not cause allergic reaction. Hope this helps.

  • I'm going to vote on what I've used but keen to try Hamilton!

  • Suggested Bondi Sands Daily Moisturising Face SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion Fragrance Free

    I liked this sunscreen, it's fragrance free and no white-cast which is a huge plus IMO. It is however a bit thick and I can personally still feel it on my face even hours later, it also leaves a dewy finish.

    • Probably helps if you tell us which one you’re referring to?

      • I'm referring to the Bondi Sands SPF 50+ sunscreen.

    • +1

      My vote goes here too
      White cast is a huge factor for me.
      This brand being readily available and on special often enough gets my vote

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