Here's what you likely know about sunscreen: you should definitely be wearing it, but you don't want a lot of crap chemicals in it. And it's a good idea to put it on 15 minutes before you head outside. But here's what you may not know: that you can, in fact, get a quality tan while wearing sunscreen. Or that the bottle that's been sitting in your bathroom since last summer isn't as effective anymore. To keep your skin looking and feeling healthy (and prevent a dreaded sunburn), you need to use protection. Thankfully, there is a wide range of SPF-packed products, offering broad-spectrum coverage that prevent signs of aging and even shield you from the threat of future skin cancer.
The Best Stick Formula
This easy-to-apply stick features all-natural, plant-based ingredients. It smooths on your face, neck and chest quickly—no greasy shine or white residue. It's also deeply hydrating and calms red, irritated skin with an anti-inflammatory blend of natural herbal extracts. Meaning it provides good protection, but also works to help heal skin if you forgot to apply too.
$18 by Salt & Stone
For Ultimate Sweat-Resistance
This brand, launched by Kobe Bryant, was developed by and for athletes. It offers some of the strongest and most reliable water- and sweat-resistance on the market. It rubs in and absorbs quickly (even on already sweaty skin), and stays put—meaning it won't run into your eyes or make your hands feel slippery or greasy. Plus, the protection lasts for a full 80 minutes.
$13.95 by Art of Sport
The Best Daily SPF Moisturizer
One of our favorite SPF moisturizers, this is great for daily use to ward off sun damage and keep skin in peak condition. Instead of nasty chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone, natural zinc oxide offers broad-spectrum UV protection without feeling heavy or leaving behind a greasy or chalky residue. It's great for summer too, since it's packed with potent ocean-derived and antioxidant-rich microalgae that calm skin while defending it from environmental stressors.
$38 by Port Products
For Sensitive Skin
If the chemicals from most sunblocks irritate your skin, look for an all-natural formula that blocks ultraviolet rays with zinc. This one is a popular choice because it's lightweight and non-greasy, but offers broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays. Plus, it's hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and reef friendly. The cocoa butter, coconut oil and shea butter also leave your skin feeling smooth and hydrated, even after a long day out in the sun.
$14.99 by Sun Bum
The Sunblock That Doesn't Feel Like Lotion
Instead of thick, greasy creams, this featherlight serum absorbs quickly into the skin so it looks and feels like you've got nothing on at all. The multitasking formula not only conditions and protects skin, it helps fight signs of aging with antioxidants like Vitamin E and B5 that keep skin smooth and hydrated.
$42 by Supergoop
The Best for
Body and Face
If you're looking for one lotion to protect you from head to toe, we haven't found one better than this one. The mineral-based formula works on both wet and dry skin and is effective at protecting your face as it is your whole body. It contains no artificial fragrances or dyes, it's paraben-free and won't clog pores, but stands up to sweat and water for up to 80 minutes.
$25 by EltaMD
The Rules of Application
The right amount to cover your entire body is a golfball-size dollop.
Watch your blind spots.
The back of the knees, lips and behind the ears are often neglected.
Reapply after two hours.
Even the most waterproof or sweat-proof formulas need another coat after a few hours of heavy activity.
We know the promise of those spray sunblocks are appealing. But are they really more convenient? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the only way to get proper coverage with a spray is to saturate the skin, then rub it in with your hands. Plus, it's so wasteful. Have you ever watched someone spray themselves down and seen the cloud of sunscreen mist getting lost to the wind?