7 Best Sunscreens

7 Best Sunscreens

14
Hours
Researched
82
Products
Evaluated

After 14 hours of research evaluating 82 products, we picked La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen Fluid as our top choice.

The benefits of sunscreen are simply immeasurable. The best sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays which can cause sunburn, wrinkles, brown spots and skin discoloration, and, in extreme cases, even cancer.

So the use of sunscreen will protect your skin, keeping it looking young and fresh. And who doesn’t want that?

Now:

It may seem easy and convenient to just grab the cheapest bottle of sunscreen you can find at your local drug store, but we caution against that.

Why? Because many sunscreens do not live up to the claims made on the label. In fact, Consumer Reports recently tested and rated more than 60 sunscreens and found that 28 of them didn't meet the claimed SPF.

What’s the bottom line?

In order to help you find a sunscreen that’s both safe and effective we have researched sunscreens, tested products, and read hundreds of reviews to bring you a list of the best sunscreens on the market today.

Whether you live in a warm climate where sunscreen is a daily necessity or just need to have a tube on hand for summer or that vacation, our list has got you covered. 

Why trust us: Faveable has spent thousands of hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing products to come up with carefully selected lists trusted by millions of consumers since 2013.

7 Best Sunscreens

  • 7. Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Tint
  • 6. Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense SPF 50+ Sunscreen
  • 5. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Sunscreen Stick
  • 4. Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion (3 Ounce)
  • 3. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children SPF 50
  • 2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55
  • 1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen Fluid

Best Mineral Sunscreen

#7

Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Tint

Best Mineral Sunscreen: Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Tint
76 % Editor Score
80 % User Score
89 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Lightly tinted
  • Preservative-free
  • Water resistant

This award winning sunscreen will give your skin an immediate line-smoothing matte finish, while effectively fighting signs of aging and protecting from sun damage.

The price. Yikes.

Details: This farm to face sunscreen is rich in antioxidants and will protect skin from harmful UV rays, while also fighting signs of aging. It's lightly tinted, preservative free, water resistant, and provides a natural, particle-free finish. This stuff is formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.

Ingredients: Coola is unscented and lightly tinted. It's made with natural Rose Hip Oil, rich in Vitamin C. It also features naturally calming Primrose and Flax Seed Oils, which deliver abundant Omega-3 and Gamma-linoleic acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural Shea Butter smoothes and hydrates while the Phyto-protector Plankton Extract rejuvenates skin. 

Price: At $22 for a 1.7-ounce bottle, this stuff comes out to nearly $13 an ounce. Ouch. However, if you're looking for a mineral sunscreen that will protect against sun damage and make skin look younger, it's well worth the investment.

Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Acne Prone Skin

#6

Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense SPF 50+ Sunscreen

Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Acne Prone Skin: Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense SPF 50+ Sunscreen
76 % Editor Score
82 % User Score
101 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Sheer and lightweight
  • Tinted to enhance the natural skin tone
  • 100% mineral based

Not only is this product 100% mineral based, but it also features a gentle, lightweight formula that sensitive and acne-prone skin will find non-irritating and comfortable. But don't just take our word for it Refinery29 rated this one of the best facial sunscreens available.

At $38 for this 1.7 ounce bottle, this stuff is pretty pricey. Even for our list.

Details: This sheer, lightly tinted sunscreen delivers powerful UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection that helps prevent sunburn and decreases the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging caused by the sun (wrinkles, sagging, dark spots). And it’s gently formulated for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Ingredients: The number one ingredient in this 100% mineral based sunscreen is Titanium Dioxide, which is a naturally occurring mineral with a high refractive index to physically block UV rays. It's much gentler than other UV absorbing chemical sunscreens, making it most appropriate for sensitive and acne-prone skin. This sunscreen is also infused with antioxidant-powered Vitamin E, which helps fight the effects of damaging UV rays. As an added bonus its fragrance free, paraben free, chemical filter free, and includes a universal tint which has been chemically tested and safe for sensitive skin.

Price: At $38 for a 1.7 ounce bottle, this is one of the most expensive sunscreens on our list, though definitely worth it for anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Best Stick Sunscreen

#5

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Sunscreen Stick

Best Stick Sunscreen: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Sunscreen Stick
80 % Editor Score
85 % User Score
92 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Perfect for face, lips, and ears
  • No white residue left behind
  • Contains soothing cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil

Regardless of what you're doing outdoors, you can easily fit this teeny sunscreen stick in your pocket to have at the ready. Everyone loves this sunscreen stick, not only because it effectively protects against UV rays, but it also keeps skin feeling smooth and moisturized all day long.

Can really only be used on the face, lips, and ears. Though, at under $10, we're totally okay with that.

Details: Don’t let the small size of this sunscreen stick fool you, it's packed with hydrating ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil, plus it goes on clear and leaves skin soft and dry. The stick design is perfect for face, lips, and ears and it won't leave hands feeling gross and oily. As an added bonus, this sunscreen stick also helps to prevent dark spots, uneven skin tone, and premature aging. What more could you ask for!

Ingredients: The key ingredients in this sunscreen include: cocoa butter which acts as a natural moisturizer, leaving skin soft and silky while also combating premature aging; shea butter which deeply moisturizers and soothes dry skin while acting as a moisture barrier to keep skin hydrated; and coconut oil which is rich in lauric acid, as well as poly and mono saturated fats to hydrate deeply and leave skin with a natural glow.

Price: At just under $9, this is one of the cheapest sunscreens on our list. In our opinion, this sunscreen is a serious steal.

Best Sunscreen for Kids and Babies

#4

Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion (3 Ounce)

Best Sunscreen for Kids and Babies: Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion (3 Ounce)
87 % Editor Score
88 % User Score
94 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Pediatrician recommended
  • Won't sting or irritate little eyes
  • Keeps your little one's skin fully moisturized 

We here at Faveable understand and appreciate the importance of your child's well-being is, so we spent a little extra time looking for the best sunscreen for children and babies. Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 is not only affordable and easy to find at any local CVS or Walgreens, but it is proven to provide water resistant protection for up to 80 minutes.

Not as water resistant and moisturizing as the label claims.

Details: Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion is the #1 pediatrician recommended brand and has been praised by both Consumer Reports and Allure magazine for living up to its SPF claims and providing unrivaled UV protection for children and babies. Its tear free, dermatologist and ophthalmologist approved, and the moisturizing formula is created with aloe to help prevent dryness and provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

Ingredients: Features a hypoallergenic and ultra-gentle formula with zinc oxide that's free of fragrance, oil, and dye - perfectly gentle for your little one. The active ingredients include Octinoxate, Octisalate, and Zinc Oxide, so we can't say this formula is totally natural. Sorry. However, if you're looking for something that provides strong and effective UV protection, we strongly recommend going with a chemical based formula. 

Price: At just over $3 for a 3 ounce bottle, this is one of the most inexpensive sunscreens on our list. 

Best Sunscreen for Face

#3

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children SPF 50

Best Sunscreen for Face: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children SPF 50
81 % Editor Score
91 % User Score
375 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Hydrates and moisturizes
  • Stays on skin all day, no matter the elements
  • Perfect for any and all outdoor activities

We seriously love Shisido's Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion, but don't just take our word for it - Cosmopolitan and Total Beauty both agree. This SPF 50+ sunscreen features a proprietary WetForce technology that forms a water-repellant film on your skin to keep you protected, even when wet. Plus, it won't irritate sensitive skin, so it's safe for you and your kids all day long. 

Some users report it's very thick and may take some time to rub in. Also, make sure you buy directly from Amazon to ensure you're purchasing an authentic product. 

Details: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+ WetForce is water resistant up to 80 minutes and features a nourishing cream formula which will defend the skin against powerful UVA/UVB rays. It prevents from sunburn, dryness, premature signs of aging, cell damage, and fine lines. It's not sticky and goes on invisible, and, as an added bonus, it hydrates and maintains optimal moisture to ensure softness. A sunscreen that both moisturizes and protects from harmful UV rays? Now who can say no to that!

Ingredients: The primary ingredients in this mineral based and chemical-free formula are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Features a WetForce technology with Ionic Mineral Sensor, providing continual protection when exposed to water or sweat. Also includes Aloe Extract which provides a soothing effect and the SuperVeil-UV 360 creates a thin veil of even coverage. 

Price: Although the cost of this product on Amazon is $31.50, that's for a 3.3 ounce bottle. So this isn't even close to the most expensive sunscreen on our list. Plus, given that this product is mineral based and chemical-free, we think this stuff is well worth the price.

Most Comfortable Sunscreen

#2

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55

Most Comfortable Sunscreen: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55
77 % Editor Score
94 % User Score
410 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Dry to the touch
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Ultra-light, shine-free finish

Well, to begin with, Neutrogena is the #1 dermatologist-recommended suncare brand, so you know their products have got to be good. What we love most about Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is that it's non-greasy and absorbs instantly, while effectively protecting against sun damage.

Some users report quality control issues, so just be sure you're getting an authentic product if you order from Amazon. Additionally, some reviewers weren't crazy about the small.

Best Sunscreen Overall

#1

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen Fluid

Best Sunscreen Overall: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen Fluid
98 % Editor Score
97 % User Score
317 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Fast-absorbing
  • Ultra-light texture with a matte finish
  • Water resistant

La Roche-Posay is currently one of the industry leaders when it comes to sunscreen, so we really struggled to narrow down which La Roche-Posay product to include on our list. However, when our research led us to the Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen time and time again, we simply had to give it a try. And, boy, are we glad we did. This product not only provides skin superior protection from UV rays, but it's also super light-weight and non-greasy. Really, what more could you ask for in a sunscreen?

If you're looking for something natural, this product is definitely not that. And some users report that this sunscreen may stain clothes yellow, so beware.

Details: Named one of the best sunscreen brands by Consumer Reports, La Roche-Posay is a leader in UVA protection research, so you know this stuff has got to be good. This fast absorbing sunscreen features a weightless texture, matte finish, and broad spectrum SPF 60 advanced protection. It's suitable for all skin types and recommended by 25,000 dermatologists worldwide. So if you're looking for a sunscreen approved for daily wear and safe enough for even the most sensitive skin, you have got to give this stuff a try.

Ingredients: Formulated with Cell-Ox Shield XL antioxidant technology. It's also tested on sensitive skin, paraben free, and fragrance free. However, this stuff does contain a number of chemical ingredients including Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Oxybenzone. So if you're looking for something natural, this is not the product for you.

Price: At just over $22 for 1.7 ounces, this stuff is not cheap. However, if you're looking for something safe enough for daily use, even on the most sensitive of skin, this sunscreen is well worth the investment.

Sunscreen Buying Guide and Expert Tips

Whether you like it or not, sunscreen should be an essential part of your daily routine. It’s one of your best weapons against sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer.
 
If you’re like most people, you probably hate the feeling of sunscreen on your skin. After all, we’re all so used to the idea that sunscreens are thick, heavy, and uncomfortably-sticky.
 
But you should know that the beauty industry has come far enough that lightweight and cosmetically-elegant sun protection products now exist—and this industry continues to improve day by day.
 
In this guide, we’ll help you find the best product to suit your needs and preferences. We are firm believers of the wonders of sunscreen, and we know that there’s something out there that you’ll not only tolerate, but actually enjoy.
 
After all, as the American Academy of Dermatology puts it, “The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again.

Sunscreen Basics: UVA, UVB, SPF, and Broad Spectrum

Many people think that sunscreen shopping is nothing more than choosing an SPF rating. But this can’t be farther from the truth.
 
If you’re serious about choosing the absolute best sun protection product for your skin, knowing at least the basics is crucial. A product’s SPF is just a small part of the sunscreen equation. How so? Let us break it down for you.

UVA and UVB rays: What’s the difference?

Humans are exposed to two types of UV rays from the sun: UVA and UVB. A third kind—called UVC—exists. However, UVC rays are already blocked by the atmosphere before they even get the chance to reach the ground.
 
 
Now, UVA and UVB rays are the same, but different. They both damage the skin, but the type of damage they cause differ from one another. UVA rays age the skin, which leads to fine lines, sagging skin, and wrinkles. Meanwhile, UVB rays burn the skin, causing it to become inflamed, red, or dark.
 
So, why is this important? Well, it’s because the SPF ratings you see on sunscreen labels are concerned only with UVB protection. That’s right—they don’t tell you anything about UVA protection. Yikes!

SPF and Broad Spectrum Labels

You already know that sun exposure plays a major role in skin aging. But if the only basis you use when picking a sunscreen is its SPF, you’re missing out.
 
What’s a smart shopper gotta do, then? Two words: broad spectrum.
 
Broad spectrum sunscreens protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Now, you may ask, “Are all broad spectrum sunscreens the same?” While earning that label equates to effectiveness against both UV types, some products are still better than others.
 
This is the simplest way to test a sunscreen’s potency:
  • To check how well a product protects against UVB rays, check its SPF rating. The higher the number, the better it is.
  • To check how well it protects against UVA rays, check its star rating. Star ratings range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most protective.
Some labels will contain an illustration indicating the star rating. On other sunscreens, the star rating is indicated using the “PA +++++” format, with each + corresponding to one star.
 

Physical VS. Chemical Sunscreens: Which Kind is Better?

There are two types of sunscreen filters: physical (also called inorganic) and chemical (organic). Each category has its own pros and cons—and you should consider these when picking out a sunscreen for yourself.
 
Note that there are products with purely physical filters, products with only chemical filters, and products with a combination of both.
 
Let’s take a closer look.

Physical/Inorganic Sunscreens

Physical filters work in two ways: absorption and reflection. A physical sunscreen will absorb most of the UV rays and convert them into heat. A small fraction of these rays, however, will be reflected and scattered away from your skin.
 
Physical sunscreens use the following ingredients for sun protection:
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide
Pros of Physical Sunscreens:
  • Non-allergenic and better for sensitive skin (including baby skin)
  • Widely-available
Cons of Physical Sunscreens:
  • Generally heavier in texture
  • Lower UVA protection
  • Tends to leave a white cast, which could discourage people from using an adequate amount of it

Chemical/Organic Sunscreens

Chemical or organic sunscreens purely work by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat before they can harm your skin. Popular ingredients used by chemical sunscreens include:
  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Tinosorb S/M
  • Homosalate
  • Uvinul T 150
Pros of Chemical Sunscreens:
  • Better at protecting against UVA rays compared to physical sunscreens
  • Nicer, more elegant texture
  • No visible white cast
Cons of Chemical Sunscreens:
  • May cause allergies and irritation on sensitive skin
  • Some chemical sunscreens are difficult to get in the US

How Much Sunscreen Should You Actually Wear?

Sunscreens are tested in a laboratory to determine their SPF rating. On these tests, 2 milligrams of sunscreen is applied per square centimeter of skin. This means that in order to get the full coverage advertised by a product, you have to apply a similar amount of sunscreen on your face: 2 mg per sq. cm.
 
This is roughly equal to a ¼ teaspoon for the face, or a shotglass-full for the body.

Sunscreen Application 101: Foolproof Coverage

All sunscreens—whether organic or inorganic—need to form an even film on the skin to work well. And thanks to science, they’re designed to automatically form this even layer on clean, bare skin.
 
But what if you happen to wear lots of other products along with sunscreen, especially on your face?
 
This is where the proper layering technique comes in. The key here is to adopt techniques that will let your sunscreen form an even film—all while minimizing disturbances on the sunscreen layer. And, without further ado, here’s how you can achieve that foolproof coverage against the sun’s rays:
  1. Start off with a clean, dry face.
  2. Stick to easily-absorbed skincare products. Skincare products that are designed to stay on top of the skin (as opposed to being absorbed) can interfere with how well the sunscreen film will form.
  3. Wait for a few minutes to let your skin absorb your skincare completely before proceeding to sunscreen application.
  4. Apply your sunscreen of choice, using the recommended amount of about a quarter teaspoon. Spreadly the product gently, making sure to cover your face, neck, and ears.
  5. Wait for at least eight minutes to let your sunscreen dry down completely before going in with your makeup. This will let the sunscreen form an even film without being disturbed.
  6. Apply your makeup with gentle patting motions rather than smearing it around. This means using cushions and sponges to tap makeup onto your face is preferable to using brushes.
In a nutshell, the best application order is skincare first, sunscreen second, and makeup last.
 

Should You Layer Two Different Sunscreens for Added Protection?

Short answer: it depends.
 
If you’re always making a conscious effort to apply the recommended amount of sunscreen, layering two products won’t do much.
 
However, most people use less than the prescribed amount. It may be because of cluelessness, or they hate the feeling of anything that’s more than a teeny-tiny layer.
 
Either way, layering two sunscreens in this scenario will be beneficial. SPF will stack as you apply more sunscreen ingredients on your face.
 
On a final note, know that some sunscreen ingredients are incompatible with each other. When combining different sunscreen products, watch out for ingredients that may destabilize each other. A good example of this is avobenzone, which is incompatible with titanium oxide, zinc dioxide, and octinoxate.

Sunscreen Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Be extra diligent with sunscreen application if you use photo-sensitizing skincare ingredients. Such ingredients include retinoid, alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs), and physical exfoliants.
  • Avoid using oil-based products with your sunscreen. Sunscreens can dissolve in oil. That said, avoid using oil-based foundations, primers, and moisturizers if you want the best protection.
  • Use sunscreen with a higher SPF than you think you need. This step takes into account the fact that most people never really apply enough. Going for a product that has a higher SPF than you need will offset the effects of imperfect application.
  • Use a rub-resistant and water-resistant product if possible. This isn’t a strict rule, but you’d want to safeguard your skin by using a durable product that can withstand water, sweat, and anything that could rub it off—especially if you live in a warmer climate.
  • Use a Vitamin C serum in the morning. Vitamin C serums are known to boost the effectiveness of sunscreen. Pairing the two in the morning will give you added UV protection.

Don’t:

  • Apply less than the recommended amount. The amount you apply will determine the SPF you’ll get. In fact, their relationship is generally linear. This means using half of the recommended amount of an SPF 30 sunscreen will give you a measly SPF 15.
  • Rely on makeup for SPF. We appreciate makeup products that offer sun protection. However, you shouldn’t solely rely on makeup to get your daily dose of SPF.
  • Apply moisturizer on top of your sunscreen. Doing so can decrease the protection you’ll get. Keep in mind that moisturizer should always be applied before sunscreen.
  • Forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. As the day progresses, your sunscreen becomes less effective at absorbing UV radiation. Reapplying regularly will ensure that you're protected all day long.

Common Sunscreen Myths

Myth #1: You don’t need sunscreen if your moisturizer already has an SPF.

All SPF-containing products undergo the same testing procedures to determine their SPF ratings. In other words, an SPF of 15 in a sunscreen product is the same as an SPF of 15 in a moisturizer.
 
However, the problem with this is that people almost never apply enough moisturizer to actually get its full SPF. Also, not many moisturizers are broad spectrum. This means they do have SPF for UVB rays, but they don’t protect against UVA.
 
 
Lastly, sunscreens are designed to be a lot more durable than moisturizers. The latter won’t hold up against sweat and water as well as a standalone sunscreen product. So if you sweat a lot throughout the day, you’re better off using a separate sunscreen.

Myth #2: You don’t have to apply sunscreen if you’re indoors most of the time.

If you’re serious about preventing skin cancer and skin aging, applying sunscreen daily is a must. You might be under the sun for only a few minutes at a time, but over time, their effects do add up. Not to mention, you could still get exposed to UV rays even if you’re indoors—especially if your office desk is situated near a window.
 

Myth #3: Sunscreen is unnecessary during cloudy days.

Thick clouds can reduce UV radiation by at least 80%, but that doesn’t necessarily mean using a sunscreen is not needed. Know that different surfaces—such as snow, sea foam, sand, concrete, and even grass—reflect UV rays. This means you can end up being exposed to twice the amount of UV rays even on cloudy days: direct UV rays from the atmosphere and reflected UV rays from the ground.
 

Myth #4: SPF dictates how much longer you can stay in the sun.

Fact: A sunscreen’s SPF rating is determined by how many times more UV your skin can handle before it burns while using it compared to having no protection at all. In theory, the SPF should tell you how much longer you can stay in the sun. However, this interpretation isn’t accurate.
 
This is because the amount of UV rays that you’re exposed to varies throughout the day. When testing sunscreens, a lamp that emits a constant amount of UV is used. But in real life, you’ll obviously get more sun at around noontime than, say, early in the morning.
 
For example, your sunscreen may protect you for four hours if you’re out at 7 am, but if you’re using it at noon, protection could wear off in as fast as an hour—depending on where you live and the SPF you’re using.
 

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Article Staff

Jenna is an Iowa native and former Chicago resident who is currently living her best life in the Tampa Bay area with her husband and fur baby. She has a BS in Political Science from the University of Iowa, as well a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Jenna has a passion for running, brunching, home decor and, of course, her beloved Iowa Hawkeyes. When she isn’t writing, Jenna loves to read just about anything she can get her hands on.

Jenna covers everything from health and beauty to home and lifestyle, you name the product, she’s likely tried it. So if you’re looking for ways to beef up your beauty regimen or enhance your humble abode, Jenna is your go to girl.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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