Now that we’re in the dog days of summer (are you tired of hearing that phrase yet?), there’s never been a better time to learn how to protect your skin from the sun. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control warns that, “Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to serious health issues, including cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.”
- Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours (not gonna happen).
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs (that’s also a no).
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck (ummm…maybe if it’s a cool one).
- Wear wraparound sunglasses (Grandpa? Is that you?).
No, the solution we use is one of the best sunscreens and face lotions with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, that covers both UVA and UVB protection. The problem is, so many sunscreens have to be spackled on, leaving the wearer wandering around the beach, ballpark, or BBQ looking like a Night Walker. We want you to remain protected and burn-free this summer, so we’ve assembled a group of sunscreens that are not-greasy and with a high SPF. And we didn’t discriminate on medium either — from lotions to sprays to sticks, we included them all. Save the burning for the s’mores.
Coppertone Sport Clear Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Coppertone is a summer classic like the Beach Boys, flip-flops, and hot dogs, but the 65-year-old brand isn’t ready for retirement just yet. This updated formula goes on, as one user described it, “like hand-sanitizer,” giving a cooling sensation when applied, while offering either 30 or 50-plus SPF, all while resisting heat, sweat, and water for up to 80 minutes.
Cardon Daily SPF and Moisturizer
Looking for a multitasking grooming product? We suggest this SPF moisturizer from Cardon, a relatively new grooming line that that doesn’t clog pores thanks to a water-based formula that also doesn’t leave a white cast. Plus, it’s super hydrating, so you can use it come wintertime as well.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face + Body Stick
We are so ready to try out this one for the summer. Offering the easy-to-apply convenience of a stick deodorant, this sunscreen has broad spectrum protection and an SPF of 70! Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer is oil-free, gliding on easily for hands-free, no-mess application that feels weightless while leaving a non-shiny finish. It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes, PABA free, lightweight, and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores.
Coconut Joe’s Zinc Oxide Exotic Coconut Sunscreen
Coconut Joe’s goes the all-natural, reef-safe route for its line of “chemical-free” non-greasy sunscreens. At only 12 bucks for an 8 oz. bottle, its a pretty affordable choice, too. It provides protection against both UVA & UVB rays, and features an “exotic coconut” fragrance. (Also available in SPF 15 or 50.) Follow up with Coconut Joe’s Real Aloe Vera Gel or After Sun Lotion to maintain those tanning gains.
Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen Spray Twinpack SPF 50
Banana Boat’s twin pack of sprays are doubleplusgood for summer fun in the sun. Powerful protection is packed into a lightweight, clear spray that absorbs quickly and won’t run into your eyes — perfect for sports enthusiasts and other active folks. Its non-greasy formulation stays on through ocean, wind, pool, sun, sweat, heat and sand; and it is water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes. It’s also reef safe and made without oxybenzone or octinoxate.
Bare Republic Coco Mango Mineral Spray
Bare Republic offers this non-greasy, non-nano (materials measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter, to increase clarity and SPF) zinc oxide spray that features plant-derived ingredients. It’s also paraben free, non-GMO, and vegan. It sprays on white, but dries sheer on all skin tones and offers 80 minutes of water resistance. The natural coconut and mango scent smells pretty good … although it had us hankering for a daiquiri. With an SPF of 30, the spray provides a layer of physical protection, enhanced with antioxidant-rich skincare boosters including grape, raspberry and carrot seed oils. If you’re feeling especially festive, Bare Republic also offers several glitter effect sunscreens, as well as neon sticks for a serious 1980s vibe.
Sun Bum SPF 50 Lotion
Sun Bum describes itself as “a brand, with a little edge … a small company with a big dream of becoming the most recognized and trusted sun care brand in the world.” If its raving fans on product reviews are any indication, it’s well on its way to realizing the goal. Sun Bum’s moisturizing sunscreen formula (SPF 50) protects your skin from UVA/UVB, while enriching skin with Vitamin E to neutralize free radicals and fight the signs of aging.
Jack Black Sun Guard Very Water Resistant Sunscreen
At a rather precise SPF of 45, Jack Black Sun Guard offers an oil-free lotion with broad-spectrum protection that absorbs quickly without any greasy, heavy residue. It’s protective barrier lasts through intense physical activity without running or dripping into your eyes, which is great for your next triathlon or for sprinting across the hot sand to get those burning tootsies into the surf. It’s also enriched with Vitamin C for its antioxidant and free radical fighting properties, as well as with calendula to calm and soothe irritated skin. Bundle it as part of Jack Black’s Tattoo Care Kit or complement with a selection of protective lip balms.
Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Water-Light Lotion for Face & Body
Kiehl’s brings a cooling, water-like texture to its sunscreen so it feels light going on both the face and body, but don’t be confused; it’s not a lightweight product. Packing “Sun-Filter Technology” broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30) to protect from both UVA and UVB rays, not to mention anti-oxidant protection, the sunscreen is non-comedogenic and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum
Look, if you hide inside the moment the sun comes out over Memorial Day Weekend, waiting for the summer solstice to make it all go away, maybe the 2.4 ounce tube ($19) of this non-greasy formula will work for you. But if you’re like us and are out in the sun from Memorial Day to Labor Day, stock up with this handy 18-ounce pump. The water-resistant formula is fast-absorbing and lightweight, protecting from not only UVA and UVB, but also IRA rays (that’s infrared, not something from the Sinn Féin), as well as “photo-aging” and dehydration. Natural extracts in its ingredients include citrus, basil and bois de rose, for a unique, refreshing fragrance. Added sunflower extract helps protect skin from environmental elements, while rosemary leaf extract has a calming effect on the skin and is rich in antioxidants.
If you’re heading to a tropical locale this summer and want to stay as environmentally friendly as possible, here are a few of the best reef-safe sunscreens.
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