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The Best SPF and Faux Tan Formulas for Face & Body

If you're searching for the best SPF and faux tan formulas for your face and body, you should know that the protection level depends as much on an even application and how often you re-apply.


Although it's better to use some SPF than none, there are formulas designed specifically for the face. If you didn't know that, don't feel bad. Most people don't even know that SPF is an abbreviation of Sun Protection Factor.


The skin on our face is typically more sensitive and can be more prone to acne, wrinkles and sun damage. SPF formulas for the face often have a lighter and more easily absorbed texture than those for the body, and they're often formulated with antioxidants, moisturizers, and anti-aging ingredients. Still, no matter your age, skin type or gender, a higher SPF is always a smart move. Here is one of my favourite SPF formulas for the face, and it works well for both men and women:


Elta MD UV Clear is the most lightweight formula I've tried and it gives my skin a much smoother appearance.


It is fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and does not leave any shade of skin looking dull, shiny or ashy. It's ideal for daily use and on various skin types, including hyper-sensitive or acne-prone skin.


This broad-spectrum sunscreen contains micronized zinc oxide to protect your skin from damaging UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. 


If you struggle to remember to apply sunscreen, consider working it into your skincare or makeup routine. There are so many products that incorporate SPF into their formulas. They might be lower on the scale, but something is always better than nothing.


I use the Skin Ceuticals mineral-based, tinted sunscreen for medium coverage in addition to sun protection. It knocks out shine and neutralizes the discolouration I get under my eyes and nose. If I'm going somwhere nice I'll wear it under makeup because it works as a primer with a powder-like finish.


I'm pale, and I can still wear this product in winter without a pink, embalmed look that happens when a product oxidizes on your face. If you can see the product, you're doing it wrong.


This formula has an SPF of 50 and it's always in my professional makeup kit.


Actors who hate makeup but need to look their best, love this product.

Francois Arnaud, who I worked with on a French film called "La Switch," wore it for all of his exterior scenes.




I keep this loose powder with SPF 50 in my purse for touch-ups throughout the day.


The ColourScience | Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush On Shield Glow is so convenient, and its packaging was designed to prevent spills.


This isn't a product you should share. The applicator is built in and cannot be sanitized. If your face is sweaty, don't use this until you blot, or that sweat will live in the applicator forever.

This powder is oil-free, vegan and free of dyes and chemicals and it is water/sweat-resistant for 80 minutes.


An SPF of 100 does not mean you are one hundred percent protected from the sun. If you miss or forget spots, it won't matter how high the SPF is; you will still burn. The level of protection between SPF 30 and SPF 100 is only two percent, but why risk your health when only two percent could make all the difference?


A product with SPF 15 will give you the same amount of UV exposure after 15 minutes that you would get after one minute of being outdoors unprotected. You'll get double the sun exposure when you opt for SPF 15 instead of SPF 30. A product with an SPF 30 means you get the same amount of sun exposure after 30 minutes outside if unprotected outdoors for one minute.


Face and body formulas are similar in protecting against harmful UV rays. Still, body SPF formulas may focus more on moisturization and contain ingredients like fragrance, hydrating oils or body butter. They also tend to have higher water and sweat resistance since the body is more likely to come into contact with water or sweat.


I prefer a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 for both face and body. I reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if I'm sweating or swimming. It's common to see a broad spectrum of 46+ on fair skin tones. UVB rays are what penetrate the top layer of your skin and cause redness, peeling and pain that comes with a sunburn.


If you want a tan that looks natural without running the risk of premature aging and cancer, try:



This lightweight body makeup does not streak and can be layered for more coverage. It doesn't contain SPF, but it covers blemishes, veins or bruises, and it's much safer than a real tan. The formula is water and transfer-resistant, and it doesn't smell bad. I use this on set quite a lot.


Lacey Chabert (think Gretchen Weiner/ Mean Girls) enjoys this affordable spray between spray tans. I' applied it on Lacey to create a natural glow and it instantly enhanced the definition of her legs.


These drops are water-based, paraben-free and super refreshing.
James Read H20 Tan Drops

I combine James Read's H2O Tan Drops into any thick body moisturizer to provide a natural glow that develops over time.


These drops are water-based, paraben-free and super refreshing!

I only use three or four drops at a time in the winter. If you're very fair, use less.

In the summer, I'll mix 4-5 drops into body butter or a lotion and wash my hands well afterwards.



Nuda Face Tan Water is buildable self-tanning spray suited for light to medium skin tones. It's made with aloe vera, white tea extract, and vitamins A, C, and E.


It creates a faux tan for those who choose to avoid or protect themselves from harmful rays but still want to look as though they have a tan. It can be used year-round as the results are natural.


Nuda is a Canadian-based company that specializes in providing top-of-the-line spray tans and sunless tanning products that are vegan-friendly and specifically designed to help you achieve a healthy, flawless, and bronzed skin tone all year long.

This product does not contain SPF protection.


I have keratosis pilaris on my arms and legs.

This skin condition can't be cured or prevented, so I use SkinFIX Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub because it contains glycolic and lactic acids that polish, brighten, and smooth my skin, each time I shower.


Keratosis pilaris is caused by the build-up of a skin protein called keratin that blocks hair follicles or pores in the skin, forming tiny, hard bumps.

This scrub is a great way to prep the skin so that a faux tan will develop without streaks!


It's also a great choice for mature skin types that can look crepey if not hydrated and exfoliated regularly.


Yes, these products and services can be costly, but you won't need nearly as many if you take preventative care. The same people who don't use sun protection now will ask how I've Benjamin Buttoned later, and sadly, it could be too late!


Sun damage is preventable, and so you shouldn't risk exposure. Some people refuse to take sun protection seriously, and those people often can't be reasoned with until they or someone they love has skin cancer.


Cosmetic procedures like peels and lasers are not only costly and time-consuming, but they're often uncomfortable... not as painful as looking like a raisin by the time you're fifty... but almost.


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