The fastest way to ruin a perfectly good moisturizer? Add sunscreen. Yeah, we know SPF is a necessity — and trust us, we are religious about applying the stuff a few times a day, every day. But it seems no other category of active skin-care ingredients works so fast to strip the elegance from a fast-absorbing, silky smooth facial lotion and replace those feel-good characteristics with a chalky texture, clinical smell, and greasy or ashy finish on skin. Our dream sunscreen would do more than pull a disappearing act: It wouldn't even register as sunscreen in the first place.
We know that's a big ask, so in the meantime, we've settled for using our favorite luxe moisturizer (you know, for the experience) before dutifully layering on sunscreen for protection. When we stumbled across this oil-free moisturizer, we thought we'd found the perfect pre-sunscreen hydrator. It absorbs quickly, possesses a silky, emollient slip, and leaves skin — and this is very important — looking lit from within. It doesn’t have any tint or cause pilling under makeup. In other words, it’s entirely too elegant to contain sunscreen.
But guess what? Somehow, CircCell founder Maya Crothers has managed to work broad-spectrum SPF 30 into the mix. (Though the formula contains oxybenzone, which has been found to harm coral reefs and was recently banned in Hawaii, the brand tells us it hopes to reformulate the product without the controversial ingredient next year.) We’re not sure what kind of pact Crothers made with the devil to emerge with a SPF-laced moisturizer that hides the less-pleasant side effects of sunscreen altogether, but we’re running with it — and apparently so is everyone else in the know.
CircCell Moisture Shield is currently sold out on the brand’s site and its waitlist is growing, though fans should expect a restock in the next few weeks, according to the brand. To hold us over, we found a few other facial sunscreens that also get points for acting like gorgeous moisturizers, ahead.
1 of 5
Made in Wyoming with special consideration for those in harsh climates, this cruelty-free moisturizer has all the good stuff we like in a plumping skin product — hyaluronic acid, olive-sourced squalene, vitamin E, gluconolactone, and more — plus protective SPF 30.
3 of 5
By the feel of it, you’d never know that this ultra-light sunscreen was made with a whopping 20% zinc oxide. It glides on easily and evenly and absorbs quickly without ashiness, and leaves dry skin types looking especially dewy.