In deciding the 3 Best facial moisturizers with SPF, I used these key considerations to focus my research:
- Trustworthiness – Does the moisturizer protect against both UVA and UVB exposure? What other ingredients does the moisturizer contain to protect the skin?
- Usability – What does the moisturizer feel like on the skin? Is it oil-free? Does it have fragrance or not?
- Pricing – Does the moisturizer deliver at an affordable price?
- Performance - Does the Product Get the Desired Results?
While there were some other tangible factors in the selection process, and included in the discussion below, these four attributes illustrate the most important factors in the decision making process.
La Roche Posay Anthelios SX SPF 15
La Roche Posay Anthelios SX SPF 15 is far and away the best of the three SPF facial moisturizers, with high-quality active ingredients, official endorsement from The Skin Cancer Foundation, and widespread praise across community skin care forums. La Roche Posay Anthelios SX SPF 15 moisturizer provides broad-spectrum UV protection – meaning, it protects from both UVA and UVB rays – by using three of the most effective UV-filtering active ingredients available: mexoryl and avobenzone for UVA as well as octocrylene for UVB. Granted the Skin Cancer Foundation's Recommendation Seal, it has been approved by the organization as effective in protecting the skin from UV damage. The moisturizer is oil-free and fragrance-free, so it won't irritate acne-prone or sensitive skin, and has been praised across several skin care and cosmetic forums for its lightweight feel but effective sun protection. At approximately $30 a tube (3.4 oz) La Roche Posay Anthelios SX is the most expensive of the 3 Best, but is also arguably the most effective.
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
For the second best SPF facial moisturizer I chose Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. Like the La Roche Posay moisturizer, Aveeno's is oil-free, non-comodogenic, and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. However, what makes this moisturizer unique is its use of natural ingredient Feverfew, a plant related to Chamomile. Traditionally cultivated as a medicinal plant, this ingredient is meant to soothe the skin and combat skin redness associated with dryness and/or rosacea (hence, the “Ultra-Calming” branding). The only drawback of this moisturizer is its use of fragrance, which may be a deterrent for those with sensitive skin or allergies, or for men who may wish to use the product. At $26 a bottle (4 oz.) Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer is a fairly affordable and decent product, praised on skin care forums for the soothing effect it has on skin redness.
Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion SPF 15
For the third best SPF facial moisturizer I chose the Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion SPF 15, another great option for providing one's face protection from the sun – but only if you have normal skin and don't mind the Olay fragrance. Again, this moisturizer provides broad-spectrum against UV rays, and its unique ingredient is Olay's amino peptide complex, designed to prevent skin from losing water content and to stimulate circulation in the skin. However, Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion is not oil free, and it does contain a heavy fragrance, both of which might deter those with acne-prone or sensitive skin – or for people who simply don't want the fragrance at all. At $23 a bottle (2.5 oz.) it's the least expensive of the three, but also not as cost effective as the Aveeno moisturizer (which provides more product per dollar spent).
To recap, I chose the La Roche Posay Anthelios SX moisturizer for its high-quality ingredients, endorsement by the Skin Cancer Foundation, for being both oil and fragrance-free, and for its wide praise across expert sites and community skin care and beauty forums. The Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer took second place for being oil-free, for providing broad-spectrum protection and for its unique ingredient Feverfew to combat skin redness – however, the fragrance may deter some. Finally the Olay Regenerist Moisturizer took third place for its broad-spectrum protection and unique amino peptide complex to promote skin water retention and circulation, even if its use of oil and fragrance may be no-no's for those with acne-prone or sensitive skin.