SPF Drops: What They Are & How They Work

SPF drops are making big waves in the beauty world right now – with nourishing formulas full of hydrating ingredients, their serum-like consistency offers high levels of protection without SPF’s usual greasiness or white cast. Plus, they can be mixed into your moisturiser and make-up for a more tailored approach. Here’s everything you need to know and the brands that get our vote.

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Apply The Right Amount

There’s a common misconception that you only need a few drops. In reality, experts say that in order to maintain their efficacy you need to apply a dessert spoon-sized amount to your face. Make sure you fully massage them in too, focusing on areas like your hairline which is often prone to sunburn.

Mix Them With Caution

The fact that they are drops is hugely beneficial – not least for convenience, but also because they can, on occasion, be mixed with other formulas like your foundation and certain day creams. Just avoid mixing them with oil-based products which can break down the integrity of the SPF. Likewise, check the ingredients inside your drops carefully. Some contain vitamin C, so you won’t want to mix them with a retinol moisturiser – combining the two can cause irritation.

Take A Customised Approach

While you should mix SPF drops carefully, it’s no secret their customisable approach is a huge bonus. Ideal for those looking for an extra dose of moisture, the thin, lightweight fluid coats skin evenly and consistently for complete hydrating protection. Likewise, they’re great for oilier skin tones that need a thinner formula that does it all – you’ll find them as nourishing as your usual day cream. Just don’t rely on them for a full day of sunbathing where your skin is directly exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.


Our Favourites For Mature Skin…

Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF50, £53 | Dr Brandt

Best For: 360 Protection 

Why They’re Popular: With SPF50, these lightweight drops offer optimum protection against UVA and UVB rays, but also blue light – the anti-ageing kind that’s emitted from our digital devices. Use a generous amount – up to five or six drops – either neat or mixed in with your serum or cream. Don’t forget to run any excess down your chest and neck, too. Zinc oxide, fruit oils and shea butter are included for extra skin hydration and to ensure skin stays protected over time. These key ingredients also fend off further discolouration and age spots within the skin, so be sure to stay topped up daily.

Available at DrBrandtSkincare.uk

Daily Dose Hydra-Ceramide Boost + SPF 40, £40 | Supergoop!

Best For: Long-Lasting Hydration

Why They’re Popular: Ceramides, fatty acids and prebiotics combine in these SPF drops – which have an oil consistency – to soothe, soften and deeply hydrate mature skin. Each ingredient also prevents moisture from seeping out, so you can expect your complexion to feel supple long after you’ve applied the drops. Add this to the benefit of SPF40, and these drops tick all the right boxes. Working for dry, combination, normal and oily skin types, they never feel too heavy or suffocating on the skin. In fact, they absorb fast and work well with all other formulas. Free of fragrance and silicones, they don’t clog pores either, or cause any sensitivity that some SPFs are known to. For optimum protection, reapply these at least every two hours.

Available at FreePeople.com


Laboratories Protect Shield Ampoule SPF30 Sunscreen, £35 | SVR

Best For: City Dwellers 

Why They’re Popular: These SPF drops take into account that UV radiation makes up 90% of all environmental factors which cause skin ageing. Using key ingredients – vitamin E, watercress extracts and antioxidants – the silky formula tackles these issues, protecting against UVA/UVB rays while strengthening the skin for a plumper, firmer appearance. Ideal for those out and about in the city, it creates a thin, imperceptible veil of protection that blocks things like exhaust fumes, smoke and other daily pollutants. Plus, the more you use it, the more the ingredients work to boost dull, lacklustre skin and provide it with renewed luminosity, as well as a smoother and even tone. An anti-ageing staple.

Available at LookFantastic.com


Sun Silk Drops SPF30, £44 | COOLA

Best For: Minimising Ashy Residue 

Why They’re Popular: With no ashy cast and a non-oily texture, these drops won’t feel heavy or occlusive on your skin. They offer SPF 30 protection and the formula includes organic ingredients – think nourishing oils, aloe and antioxidants – to shield skin from damaging issues like pollution, UV and blue light. The best bit is the luminous sheen it leaves on the skin – either wear it alone if you feel your skin has enough glow or layer it with oil-free creams for extra moisture. Don’t forget to run a little down your neck and on your hands too for further anti-ageing protection.

Available at CultBeauty.co.uk

Sun Drops SPF50, £110 | Dr Barbara Sturm

Best For: Using With Other Formulas

Why They’re Popular: As we’ve mentioned, not all SPF drops should be mixed with other creams, but these from Barbara Sturm were designed to be customisable. Use them alone, five minutes after applying your regular cream, or mix them in with your chosen cream – providing it’s not full of oil. The important thing is to make sure you reapply these drops regularly. As well as high levels of protection, vitamin E and beta-glucan also work to rebuild damaged skin cells for better glow. An investment, but worth it.

Available at HarveyNichols.com

SPF 50+ Queen Screen Lightweight Skinscreen, £36 | Ultra Violette

Best For: Very Dry Skin Types

Why They’re Popular: The formulas on offer from Australian brand Ultra Violette don’t disappoint – in fact, we’d say they’re worth all the buzz, especially these drops. Designed with a lightweight feel in mind, they absorb into the skin fast and never cause piling with other textures or your make-up. Brimming with vitamin C, they brighten dull skin to give it a bouncy, fresher look. Just be aware they shouldn’t be applied with any anti-ageing retinol-based creams, as the two ingredients could cause inflammation when used in tandem. Apply neat or wear under make-up for extra glow and protection.

Available at SpaceNK.com


SPF50 Drops, £55 | Rodial

Best For: Skin Soothing Ingredients

Why They’re Popular: Rodial’s drops are incredibly sheer, but don’t equate that with less hydration. On the contrary, the formula is just as rich in nourishing ingredients – from hyaluronic acid to vitamin E and niacinamide, they work well to hydrate and strengthen the skin, with the latter working to reduce redness and inflammation. Not only do they protect against UVA and UVB rays, they will also protect you from blue light. Use them with a cream, though dry skin types will find they’re usually enough on their own.

Available at LookFantastic.com

The One That’s A Serum Face Drops SPF45, £20 | Hello Sunday

Best For: Wearing With Make-Up

Why They’re Popular: This affordable brand has become hugely popular since launching in the UK. A milky-white fluid that’s gentle and easy to massage into the skin, you’ll find you can take these drops right up to the eye area without irritation. The dry down is also transparent, so they work well for all skin tones. We love how smooth they feel, with zero sticky or tacky residue, meaning they work well on top of or underneath make-up to protect the skin throughout the day. Just make sure that if you combine them with other products you reapply every two to three hours. You can also wear them on their own – thanks to hyaluronic acid and gluconolactoine, they give skin a subtle glow, while delivering intense moisture at the same time.

Available at Boots.com

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