The Best Unique Sunscreen Products

Zinc Oxide Sunscreen: 15 Products for Adults and Kids

The Best Unique Sunscreen Products |

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Zinc oxide sunscreens work by scattering the sun’s rays, which prevents potentially damaging ultraviolet radiation from getting to the skin. Doctors call sunscreens with zinc oxide “physical” sunscreens because they sit atop the skin and physically block the rays.

The alternative is a chemical sunscreen, which absorbs into the skin, converts the sun’s rays to heat, and releases them from the body.

The following is a round-up of 15 zinc oxide-containing sunscreens selected using American Academy of Dermatology guidelines and other expert recommendations for most sunscreen products.

These include choosing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and choosing water-resistant sunscreens.

Here’s a guide for sunscreen cost ranges:

  • $: up to $10
  • $$: $10 to $30
  • $$$: $30 or more
  • Details: This sunscreen from COOLA contains 3.2 percent titanium dioxide and 7.0 percent zinc oxide. The sunscreen has a sheer application that makes it feel lightweight to the touch.
  • Considerations: It does contain some natural plant oils, which can be moisturizing to most but allergy-inducing to others.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Shop for itonline.
  • Details: This sunscreen contains 10 percent zinc and 5 percent titanium dioxide. It’s also designed for sensitive skin as it contains no parabens or fragrances. The addition of titanium dioxide is excellent for those who have sensitive skin, and it doesn’t have the “sting” that some sunscreens can take on if you happen to get sweat in your eyes.
  • Considerations: This sunscreen provides 40 minutes of water protection — you’ll want to reapply more frequently than you would some other sunscreens.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for itonline.
  • Details: The Skin Cancer Foundation awarded its seal of approval to this facial sunscreen from EltaMD. This sheer sunscreen uses a unique airless pump to maintain the integrity of the ingredients inside. It’s also suitable for oily and acne-prone skin.
  • Considerations: This is a daily sunscreen that’s not water resistant — you’ll need a different sunscreen if you are hitting the beach or pool.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: This budget-friendly facial sunscreen is approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The product has a light texture that makes it easy to apply for everyday use alone or under makeup.
  • Considerations: It has a tropical coconut and mango scent that may not be suited for everyone. Keep in mind that it isn’t water-resistant, so you’ll need a different sunscreen when you’re going to the beach or pool.
  • Cost: $
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: This tinted facial sunscreen contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It’s also a National Eczema Foundation-accepted sunscreen that is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
  • Considerations: It does have a slight tint that may not be suited for all skin tones.
  • Cost: $
  • Shop for itonline.
  • Details: At 3 ounces, this sunscreen is TSA-friendly and ideal for travel. Its fragrance-free formulation makes it well-suited to those with sensitive skin for whom a lot of other sunscreens have proven irritating.
  • Considerations: Since you should apply about 1 ounce of sunscreen with each application for your body, you may have to replace this option a little more frequently.
  • Cost: $
  • Shop for itonline.
  • Details: The clear zinc sunscreen formulation won’t leave the typical white cast that many zinc sunscreens do. It’s also water-resistant and offers broad-spectrum coverage.
  • Considerations: It contains octinoxate (another mineral sun block), so it’s not reef-approved for certain places Hawaii that limit sunscreen types.
  • Cost: $
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: Along with our other selections for babies and children, this sunscreen topped the Environmental Working Group’s list of safe sunscreens for babies. What we about this sunscreen is the manufacturer kept it simple: The sunscreen contains six ingredients that are suitable for baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Considerations: One thing to consider is you must knead the tube before using to make the sunscreen more spreadable.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: Another Environmental Working Group-vetted sunscreen for babies, Neutrogena’s baby sunscreen is a tear-free formula that the National Eczema Association also awarded its Seal of Acceptance.
  • Considerations: The sunscreen is a slightly thinner formulation than many zinc-based sunscreens, but still leaves a white film on the skin.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: This Environmental Working Group-approved sunscreen for babies is also Coral Reef Safe, meaning it’s non-toxic to aquatic plants and animals. It’s water-resistant with a higher SPF of 50, plus it contains skin-softening ingredients grapeseed oil to keep baby’s skin from drying out.
  • Considerations: the Waxhead sunscreen, the product doesn’t contain emulsifiers to mix the ingredients, so you’ll have to knead the tube before using.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for itonline.
  • Details: This clear zinc formulation from Badger is 98 percent certified organic and free of fragrances, dyes, petrolatum, and synthetic ingredients. Biodegradable and cruelty-free, the sunscreen is also reef-safe.
  • Considerations: The sunscreen is water-resistant for 40 minutes, so you may have to reapply slightly more often than some 80-minute water-resistant options.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: This water-resistant sunscreen is fragrance-free. It also contains moisturizers olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter.
  • Considerations: The sunscreen is water-resistant for 80 minutes, and its moisturizing ingredients may be a good option for dry skin.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: This environmentally and budget-friendly sunscreen stick is suitable for adults and children. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends this water-resistant product that is also reef-friendly.
  • Considerations: Stick sunscreens can take a little getting used to applying — be sure to get plenty on your little one’s (or your) face.
  • Cost: $
  • Shop for itonline.
  • Details: This water-resistant sunscreen stick from Waxhead is Environmental Working Group-approved. While it contains only four ingredients, it’s ultra effective and easy to apply with the large stick.
  • Considerations: It does have a light vanilla-coconut scent, so those who prefer fragrance-free may wish to look for other options.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for it online.
  • Details: This sheer zinc spray is a past Redbook’s Most Valuable Product. It also contains non-nano particles, which means the sunscreen spray won’t enter the bloodstream — a concern for many spray sunscreen products.
  • Considerations: This means sometimes the sunscreen can have a clumpy spray. Always shake well before using.
  • Cost: $$
  • Shop for it online.

Most zinc oxide sunscreens will have the word “mineral” in the sunscreen’s title to help you find the sunscreen more easily. Most mineral sunscreens will contain zinc oxide. They may combine with titanium dioxide, which is another physical sunscreen.

Here are some additional considerations the next time you shop for zinc sunscreens:

  • Price: You can get a high-quality zinc sunscreen at a lower price point ( $7 to $10). Some of the pricier sunscreens may contain additional ingredients to nourish skin, but they don’t necessarily protect against sunburn any more effectively.
  • Allergens: Many skincare manufacturers will add various oils or fragrances to their products to enhance their skin benefits. If you have certain skin sensitivities, be sure to read product labels carefully.
  • Environmentally friendly: A 2016 study published in the journal the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology found the mineral sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone was damaging to coral reefs. As a result, many beach areas, including Hawaii’s beaches, outlawed sunscreens containing this ingredient. Currently, there isn’t any research that indicates zinc oxide is harmful to the coral reefs. You’ll ly see many zinc sunscreens labeled “reef safe” as a result.
  • Certifications: There are several organizations that will certify or place a seal of approval on sunscreens. These include the Skin Cancer Foundation, National Eczema Association, and the Environmental Working Group. If you see these symbols on your sunscreen, it’s ly been reviewed by a panel of medical experts to ensure the sunscreen works well.

The last consideration is that sunscreens can expire. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires sunscreens that have ingredients that expire to have an expiration date. If yours doesn’t have one, it ly contains ingredients that don’t expire.

Don’t use sunscreens that have expired. It’s not worth the potential sun damage.

One of the biggest buzzwords in sunscreens is nanoparticles. These are particles that especially may be present in spray sunscreens. When inhaled, they could potentially damage the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

For this reason, the EWG doesn’t recommend using spray particles of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. That’s why our recommendation for sunscreen sprays does not contain nanoparticles.

If you do purchase a spray zinc oxide sunscreen, look for one that says it doesn’t contain nanoparticles, just to stay on the safe side. If you do use spray sunscreens, avoid spraying them on your face or inhaling the spray whenever possible.

Remember that choosing the right sunscreen is half the battle. You must apply enough of it to cover your skin and reapply if you are staying outdoors for a long time.


The 18 Most Innovative SPF Products You Need to Know About

The Best Unique Sunscreen Products |

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Sunscreen isn't what it used to be, and trust us, that's a good thing. We no longer have to pay a price for sun protection. We don't have to put up with greasy lotions, chalky residue, and sullen, gray complexions we did in the past.

No, today's SPF products are effective, lightweight, and barely detectable on the skin. What's more is that they come in almost every form imaginable, from sprays and mists to oils, highlighters, eyeshadows, and beyond.

It's official: the new wave of sunscreen is here, and it's about time.

Keep scrolling to see 18 sunscreen products that go beyond the standard lotion and spray delivery method to revolutionize the way you protect your skin. From SPF-infused eyeshadows to sunscreen drops and highlighter hybrids, these are the most innovative SPF products on the market.

Have you ever been sunburnt on your scalp? It's not pleasant. That's what this product aims to prevent.

It's an 100% mineral sunscreen powder (SPF 45) that you spray onto your scalp, just dry shampoo, and it keeps any exposed skin protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

It also absorbs excess oil (so it really is just a dry shampoo) and volumizes the hair while it's at it. This is one of the only hair products you need to tote to the beach with you.

Here's another scalp-protecting product from Coola. This one protects the scalp and hair from heat, UV rays, and color fading with an antioxidant-rich SPF 30 formula that includes chemical sunscreen blockers as well as pro vitamin B5 and monoi oil. It's vegan, cruelty-free, and 70% organic.

This Phyto spray protects the hair and scalp from damaging sun rays thanks to built-in UV filters and sunflower extracts. These ingredients also create a shield to prevent moisture loss from chlorine, salt water and the sun. To reap all of these benefits, simply spritz it over your hair and scalp before heading out into the sun.

This UV-filtering product is a mix between a hair masque and a styling cream. It protects your hair, and your hair color, from damaging sun rays, while algae-based minerals and proteins smooth and strengthen each strand.

Coola's organic sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB light, as well as HEV (or high energy visible) light. That means it protects the skin from sun damage and electronic light damage. Each morning, add a few drops into your palm, press your hands together, and apply onto the face and neck in upward strokes. It's quick and easy, and your future self will thank you for it.

Dr. Barbara Sturm has created one of team Byrdie's favorite skincare lines. Her namesake Sun Drops are lightweight, hydrating, and provide SPF 50. Use the dropper to deposit a few drops of the lightweight liquid into your palms and press them into the skin. Or, add a few droplets into your favorite moisturizer or foundation.

Here's the problem with traditional SPF. You apply it in the morning and then you apply your makeup.

Once your makeup is on, you don't want to re-apply a wet sunscreen, because it will mess up your makeup. The solution is to use a powdered SPF that you can brush on over the top of your makeup.

It's brilliant, right? This one from Tarte offers full spectrum SPF 30 UVA and UVB protection.

This brush-on powder SPF from Colorescience is something of a cult favorite. It provides protection from UVA and UVB light, pollution, blue light, and infrared radiation, all at once.

This brush-on powder SPF from Paula's Choice is formulated with vitamin A, E, and C, as well as ceramides, and zinc oxide, so it treats the skin while protecting it with SPF 30.

Natural cosmetics brand Ilia also has a brush-on SPF powder, which is cruelty-free and vegan. What makes this one stand apart from the rest is it's micro-fine pearl pigments, which reflect light for a glowy finish.

Imagine a facial oil, a highlighter, and a sunscreen all-in-one. That's exactly what this glow-boosting product is.

It hydrates the skin with a combination of moisturizing oils, it protects the skin with SPF 50, and it imparts a shimmer-free dewiness wherever it's applied.

Seriously, swipe it over your cheekbones before heading out in the sun to achieve the dewiness of your dreams.

If you prefer your highlighter to be less oily, and more shimmery, try this sunscreen-highlighter hybrid product. Swipe it on the high points of your face (including your cheekbones, brow bones, and cupid's bow) for extra radiance and SPF 45 sun protection. We its subtle peppermint scent, which is especially refreshing on meltingly hot summer days.

Yes, SPF-infused eyeshadows are a reality. While they might seem marketing fodder, they're not. In fact, they're extremely useful. Many people forget to apply sunscreen to their eye area, which leaves it vulnerable to sun damage and all of its nasty consequences.

This cream eyeshadow is available in a small range of neutral shades that come in both matte and shimmer finishes. It's crease- and sweat-proof and safe for sensitive skin and contact-wearers.

Another SPF-infused eyeshadow comes courtesy of Supergoop!. This cream eyeshadow comes packaged in a travel-friendly pot and is easy to apply using only your fingers. It awakens the eye area with a sheer wash of color and an illuminating shimmer finish. Thanks to rose, Roman chamomile, jasmine, and sunflower extracts, it also provides the delicate eye area with antioxidant benefits.

An easy way to add an extra layer of sun protection after applying your skincare and makeup products is to finish up with a spritz of an SPF setting spray. This one from Kate Somerville offers SPF 50, as well as a soft-focus matte finish (which makes it perfect for people with oily skin).

This setting mist from Soleil Toujours offers SPF 30 as well. It's formulated with aloe vera, vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea, so it's soothes, smoothes, and brightens the skin, too.

Dr. Kaplan is a dermatologist who practices Beverly Hills. His namesake skincare line is full of noteworthy products, and this SPF lipstick is one of them. Apply one layer for a semi-sheer wash of color, or multiple layers for an opaque finish. We how it feels so creamy and hydrating on the lips, while keeping them protected from the sun.


These 5 Products Will Make You Want to Use Sunscreen

The Best Unique Sunscreen Products |

A high-quality sunscreen is a staple in any skin care routine—we’d even call it the backbone! But if you’re a bit of a non-traditionalist, you’ll be happy to know that there are countless ways to sneak in a little extra SPF. Any of these fun products make a great companion to your everyday lotion, and they’ll help keep skin protected in ways we bet you never even thought of.

Set It and Don’t Forget It

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Most of us are great about applying sunscreen in the morning. It’s the reapplying that we slack on, and it’s usually down to just one big reason: we don’t want to smudge or otherwise blight that gorgeous makeup we worked so hard to achieve. Natural-looking blush application is an art, after all!

We never thought it would be possible to protect our skin and actually set our makeup at the same time, but now it is! Supergoop! has rolled out Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, a 3-in-1 weightless mist that uses a blend of sunscreen ingredients to protect skin and antioxidant-rich rosemary for an extra boost. Now, it couldn’t be easier to reapply every two hours. And did we mention this spray even helps control oil and shine and give you that I-just-got-dolled-up look? Yep!

A Cool Drink of SPF

jane iredale LipDrink SPF 15 Lip Balm

We’ve all been guilty of forgetting to protect our lips when we’re applying sunscreen. But the truth is that the lips have the thinnest skin of anywhere on the body. That’s why lips are pink, even if you have a darker skin tone—the skin here is so thin that you can see the blood vessels underneath!

Needless to say, lips need special sun care. jane iredale LipDrink SPF 15 is a lightweight balm that comes in three sheer hues that can be worn alone or layered over other lip colors.

Carrot seed oil soothes and avocado oil helps protect and moisturize skin.

The balm also offers antioxidant protection with coffee seed, blackberry and green tea extracts, and lemon peel oil helps give it a super refreshing taste.

Protect Every Hair

Rene Furterer SOLAIRE Protective Summer Fluid

Do you find that your hair tends to get dehydrated in the summer? Frequent sun exposure can lead to dry, brittle, frizzy locks, and chlorine and salt water can only make matters worse. If you opt for professional color, you definitely need extra protection since the sun can fade hair dye over time and leave you looking brassy.

Enter Rene Furterer SOLAIRE Protective Summer Fluid.

This nourishing spray is formulated with lightly hydrated sesame and castor oils, plus a KPF protection rating of 90! (KPF to hair is basically what SPF is to skin—a layer of protection that prevents damage.

) As a bonus, this non-greasy fluid smells wonderful, a fruity cocktail, so you won’t mind spritzing and re-spritzing on wet or dry hair throughout the day.

Anti-Aging Upgrade

Revision Skincare Intellishade Tinted Moisturizer SPF 45

We love multitasking beauty items, especially when the weather gets warm. You’re probably used to spotting a little SPF in BB creams and tinted moisturizers, but some brands are upping the ante by adding serious anti-aging ingredients to the mix.

With Revision Skincare Intellishade Tinted Moisturizer SPF 45, you get a formula that’s not just working double, but quadruple.

This 4-in-1 cream features a universal tint for sheer to medium coverage and a blend of chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients for UVA and UVB protection.

Best of all, Intellishade contains peptides, cell-communicating ingredients that encourage aging skin cells to behave younger, healthier cells. The result is a smoother, more even complexion.

Full Circle Sun Care

EltaMD UV Aero Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Continuous Spray

Spray sunscreens are great for body protection, easy to use on kids and perfect for touch-ups when it’s time to reapply. Volia! Your outdoor summer adventures just got a whole lot safer. If you’ve never tried one, now is the time.

EltaMD UV Aero Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Continuous Spray isn’t your typical spray sunscreen. This aerosol can has 360-degree spraying action so you can protect hard-to-reach places the back and shoulders, with 9.3% zinc oxide and 7.5% octinoxate. It’s also fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it a great option for even the most sensitive skin types.

What’s your favorite beauty product with SPF? Let us know on , or Instagram using #LovelySkin!


12 Best Sunscreens for 2020 – New Face and Body SPF Sunscreen

The Best Unique Sunscreen Products |

Katie Buckleitner

If you're not wearing sunscreen all day, every day, then who even are you? Possibly my enemy, because come on; protect yourself—it's 2020, people! Skin cancer and premature aging are very real things, and it's officially time for you to do some intense adulting and sun-proof your face.

But if you're not absolutely sure which SPF to choose, especially if you hate the feeling of sunscreens, or have oily skin, or dry skin, or sweat a lot, or whatever other excuse you can think of, then today is your lucky day.

Because I rounded up the 12 best sunscreens that are so good, you'll forget you're wearing any at all.

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Best Sport Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sport Mineral-Based Sunscreen

I don't go to the beach without this sunscreen in my bag. The sport formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so my skin stays protected whether I'm swimming or sweating. And I love that the lotion is mineral-based—which means it never stings or burns my skin and is reef-safe, too.


Best All-Natural Sunscreen

Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Not a fan of traditional sunscreens? I gotchu. This green and clean SPF 30 from Love Sun Body is made with 100 percent natural ingredients ( vitamin E and coconut oil), plus mineral blockers to protect your face and body from harmful UV damage.


Best Multitasking Sunscreen

Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Multi-Defense UV Fluid SPF 45

This facial sunscreen is the ultimate skin protector (and works on all skin types). Not only does the SPF 45 formula shield your face from UV rays, but it also contains eight different antioxidants ( vitamin C, green tea, and resveratrol) to protect your skin from the harmful effects of pollution, infrared (IR), and blue light.


Best Brightening Sunscreen

Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF 30

Proof that sunscreen doesn't need to look or feel chalky on your face? This sheer, skin-brightening sunscreen from Dermalogica. It uses light-reflecting technology to boost your glow, plus SPF 30 and antioxidants ( vitamin E) to protect your skin from UV damage and free radicals. Use it everyday as the last step in your skin before makeup.


Best Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen SPF 60

Breakouts are no excuse to skip sunscreen—in fact, UV exposure can make acne and acne scars worse. Protect your skin with this lightweight, oil-free, and mattifying SPF 60 from La Roche-Posay. It's perfect for acne-prone skin since it won't clog your pores (even in heat and humidity).


Best Sunscreen for Dry Skin

Supergoop Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 PA+++

Massage a quarter-size scoop of this moisturizing sunscreen into your skin every morning if you want to be very, very nice to your dry, dehydrated face. The whipped- formula contains SPF 40 plus a combo of heavy-hitting moisturizers (glycerin, algae, and safflower extract) to nourish dry, flaky skin.


Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin

Olay Sun Facial Sunscreen SPF 35 + Shine Control

If most sunscreens make your face look and feel insanely greasy, try this mattifying formula from Olay. The lightweight texture feels almost a serum, meaning it absorbs instantly (without any oil slicks), and is infused with micro-fine powders that help keep shine in check throughout the day.


Best Sunscreen for Combination Skin

EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44

This water-resistant sunscreen contains hyaluronic acid (a humectant that draws moisture from the air and pushes it into your skin throughout the day) and absolutely zero oil. So your dry patches stay hydrated and your oily patches remain semi-matte


Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen for Face

Not only does this all-mineral sunscreen protect skin from UV damage with anti-inflammatory zinc oxide, but it's also free of fragrance (a known skin irritant), making it safe for rosacea, psoriasis, or just incredibly sensitive skin. 


Best Sunscreen Powder

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50

All your excuses for not reapplying? Gone. Because this brush-on sunscreen powder is infused with SPF 50, allowing you to dust it over your face throughout the day for a sheer layer of protection. It's easy to stash in your bag, won't mess with your makeup, and comes in four different tints to cover up any breakouts or redness.


Best Sunscreen Stick

Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick

If you're going to be at the beach and in the water all day, you'll need a water-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF to keep your face safe. Neutrogena's Beach Defense checks both boxes—and comes in an easy-to-apply stick that won't leak or spill in your beach bag. 


Best Sunscreen Spray

Banana Boat Dry Balance Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

The stickiness that comes from sweat mixed with multiple layers of SPF is the last thing you want to deal with when doing burpees in the park. Thankfully, this spray sunscreen was created to absorb that extra moisture so you don't feel a swampy mess by the end of your workout. 

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The 10 Best Sunscreens We Tested in 2020

The Best Unique Sunscreen Products |

The sun is no match for these editor-approved winners.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Ask any beauty editor (or dermatologist) about the most important skincare product and you’ll hear three unanimous letters: SPF. Sunscreen is the most crucial step in your skincare routine—not only does it prevent short-term burns and pigmentation, it also helps protect against cancer and ward off the signs of premature aging.

But as necessary as it is, it’s also the product most people are reluctant to put on, due to factors funky smells, tingly chemicals, and unsightly white casts. To make product navigation easier (and there are a lot of them), we tested 50 different formulas and selected the 10 best sunscreens for the face and body that passed all SPF and wearability criteria with flying colors.

These winners are sure to make applying—and reapplying—easy and fun.

RELATED: 7 Mineral Sunscreens That Won’t Turn Your Skin White

Neutrogena’s spray-on mist makes sunscreen reapplication super easy (even over makeup): give your face a quick spritz to mattify pores and protect your skin against harmful sun rays.

To buy: $17,

Supergoop’s oil-free sunscreen goes on completely clear and controls shine, while red algae protects your skin against blue light emitted from electronic devices.

To buy: $34,

Your finicky skin will love this hypoallergenic and mineral-based formula that's formulated specifically with sensitive skin in mind. With a water-light texture that melts into your pores, it works to soothe irritation on impact and protect your skin against environmental aggressors.

To buy: $13,

RELATED: The Facial Sunscreen That Changed My Skincare Routine for Good

Brush On Block’s powder sunscreen goes on translucent and has a self-dispensing brush that you can buff over your face, neck, and scalp throughout the day.

To buy: $32,

Don’t the feeling of rubbing sunscreen on your face? Try this antioxidant-laced formula with an anti-microbial puff. It’s untinted; use alone or as a base for makeup.

To buy: $40;

Suitable for face and body and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, this stick makes sun safety at the beach a breeze.

To buy: $9;

Coral reef-safe, this vegan and hypoallergenic formula absorbs quickly and leaves skin with a matte finish.

To buy: $32;

A derm favorite, it contains physical blockers to shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, as well as hyaluronic acid to moisturize.

To buy: $32;

This serum-sunscreen fusion combines broad spectrum SPF 50 with an antioxidant complex to improve the appearance of dark spots and skin texture over time. 

To buy: $43;

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The Best Sunscreen

The Best Unique Sunscreen Products |

Your guide

  • Shannon Palus

After more than 60 hours of research, and many more wearing sunscreen on our bodies, we’ve determined that the best sunscreen for everyday use is the one you’ll apply liberally and often, so it should be inexpensive but still feel good.

Most people don’t wear nearly enough sunscreen. That’s why we recommend two affordable, widely available formulas that our test panel d wearing best: Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70 and No-Ad Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50.

If you prefer using a dedicated face sunscreen, if you’re looking for a reef-safe formula (which contains only physical UV blockers—no chemical filters), or if you need something that won’t stain white clothes, we have picks for you, too. In addition, although we don’t recommend that most people use a spray sunscreen, we do recognize that it’s the best option for some.

Coppertone Ultra Guard has all the features you need in a sunscreen at a reasonable price and in a compact bottle: Easy to apply and water resistant, it offers broad-spectrum protection, leaves no white cast, and has no added fragrances.

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Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70 has a thin texture for its SPF rating, making it one of the easiest sunscreens to apply of all those we’ve tested. Coppertone says this formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, the maximum amount of time allowed for such a claim per FDA guidelines.

At around a dollar per ounce, it feels and smells as good as sunscreens that cost seven times as much, and it comes in a bottle that’s easy to hold, easy to close, and easy to toss in any bag you might carry every day. Un many sunscreens we considered and some we tried, it won’t make you look a ghost or smell a Bath & Body Works shop.

In fact, our testers found it smells almost nothing.

SPF: 70
Type of protection: chemical
Broad spectrum: yes
Price per ounce (at the time of publication): $1

No-Ad Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 is easy to apply and water resistant, and it offers broad-spectrum protection, leaves no white cast, and has no added fragrance. But it does smell somewhat of sunscreen, and the large bottle isn’t ideal for carrying around.

If you prefer to buy in bulk, consider No-Ad Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. the Coppertone formula, this No-Ad sunscreen is rated to be water resistant for up to 80 minutes, and it has a thin texture and is easy to rub fully in—even for people with significant body hair.

Testers found this formula stickier than the Coppertone lotion, however. It comes only in a comparatively large, 16-ounce bottle, which you may find better for storing at home or toting in a large beach bag versus carrying around on a typical day.

Members of our test panel found that, the Coppertone lotion, the No-Ad formula did not leave a white cast and smelled only faintly of sunscreen.

SPF: 50
Type of protection: chemical
Broad spectrum: yes
Price per ounce (at the time of publication): $0.56

This combination formula is almost totally scent-free but needs to be rubbed in for a bit longer than our other lotion picks and can leave a white cast. It’s also more expensive than the chemical sunscreens we recommend.

We think most people will be happy with the performance, look, feel, and price of a chemical sunscreen the Coppertone or No-Ad lotion.

But whiter zinc oxide and titanium oxide physical sunscreens and combination (physical and chemical) sunscreens are better bets for people who hate the classic smell of sunscreen, prefer a stickier texture, need a formula that won’t stain white clothes, want to be able to see where they’ve applied their sunscreen, or have an allergy to any ingredients commonly found in chemical-only formulas. In these cases, we recommend CVS Health Clear Zinc Sun Lotion SPF 50. It’s a zinc-based combination sunscreen that has all the features of a physical sunscreen while being a little easier to rub in than most physical-only formulas. The company says this formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. It smells absolutely nothing. The drawback: It’s usually about twice as expensive as our main pick.

SPF: 50
Type of protection: physical and chemical
Broad spectrum:
Price per ounce (at the time of publication): $1.75

No spray sunscreen is as easy to apply properly as a lotion, but the Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear UltraMist Sunscreen SPF 100 bottle is the easiest spray to hold and produces the most direct stream.

Spray sunscreens are deceptively difficult to apply adequately and generally cost around twice as much per ounce as comparable lotions. Still, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use, so if you or your kid diss the application or feel of lotion sunscreens, try Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear UltraMist Sunscreen SPF 100.

Of the three sprays we tested with a panel, it was the only one that everyone said they would buy. (Compared with our lotion picks, when applied properly, all the spray sunscreens we’ve tested—including this one—feel slick and greasy.) Banana Boat says the formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

It’s less expensive per ounce than many sprays we considered, and because it produces a more direct stream of mist than others we tried, more of it ends up on your skin if you hold the nozzle close to the surface—assuming you don’t lose much to a breeze.

We found that this Banana Boat bottle was the easiest among sprays to hold, even when our hands were sweaty and slippery, thanks to a groove near the top. The formula smells more sunscreen than the Coppertone or No-Ad lotion (and much more so than the scent-free CVS Health sunscreen).

If you are applying a spray sunscreen correctly, you’ll ly kill a whole bottle in a single beach day just to cover one person. But if it will bridge the gap to proper application, it may be worth the extra cost to you.

SPF: 100
Type of protection: chemical
Broad spectrum: yes
Price per ounce (at the time of publication): $1.34

Although it costs four times as much as Coppertone Ultra Guard, this “reef-safe” lotion was our panelists’ favorite physical sunscreen overall. Compared with our chemical and combination picks, it is more difficult to rub in, and it can leave a white cast.

If you prefer a sunscreen with only physical UV blockers, we recommend readily available SPF 50+ formulas from Thinksport.

Formulated with “reef-safe” non-nano zinc oxide, which provides broad-spectrum protection, these water-resistant lotions performed well with our testers, many of whom have long used sunscreens with zinc oxide as the active ingredient and are therefore no longer fazed by their downsides compared with chemical and combination formulas—notably, that they’re more difficult to rub in and can leave a whitish tinge on skin. In addition to our pick, Thinksport SPF 50+ Sunscreen, Thinksport also sells versions for babies and kids. All three contain the same ingredients, save for different fragrances. Our testers largely preferred the original Thinksport formula, which has a somewhat fruity scent. We found that the baby and kids versions, which are identical apart from their branding, smelled sweeter and more artificial.

SPF: 50+
Type of protection: physical
Broad spectrum: yes
Price per ounce (at the time of publication): $4.33

  • Thinksport SPF 50+ is our favorite “reef-safe” sunscreen. It’s also a great option for people who prefer sunscreens without chemical UV filters.

Coppertone Ultra Guard has all the features you need in a sunscreen at a reasonable price and in a compact bottle: Easy to apply and water resistant, it offers broad-spectrum protection, leaves no white cast, and has no added fragrances.

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No-Ad Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 is easy to apply and water resistant, and it offers broad-spectrum protection, leaves no white cast, and has no added fragrance. But it does smell somewhat of sunscreen, and the large bottle isn’t ideal for carrying around.

This combination formula is almost totally scent-free but needs to be rubbed in for a bit longer than our other lotion picks and can leave a white cast. It’s also more expensive than the chemical sunscreens we recommend.

No spray sunscreen is as easy to apply properly as a lotion, but the Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear UltraMist Sunscreen SPF 100 bottle is the easiest spray to hold and produces the most direct stream.

Although it costs four times as much as Coppertone Ultra Guard, this “reef-safe” lotion was our panelists’ favorite physical sunscreen overall. Compared with our chemical and combination picks, it is more difficult to rub in, and it can leave a white cast.

  • by Shannon Palus

    Thinksport SPF 50+ is our favorite “reef-safe” sunscreen. It’s also a great option for people who prefer sunscreens without chemical UV filters.

  • by Ganda Suthivarakom

    In this week's newsletter: Summer is around the corner, and we have new sunscreen recommendations for soaking up the sun safely.

  • by Shannon Palus

    No matter which formula you prefer, daily sunscreen use is among the most effective forms of skincare.