Despite its undeniable importance, sunscreen is viewed by many as a necessary evil. Sure, it prevents sunburn, but it's also synonymous with making your skin feel sticky and essentially a magnet for sand at the beach. Over the years, though, more and more brands have developed non-greasy sunscreens that still offer serious sun protection, but absorb much better into skin. And though traditional facial sunscreens are often associated with heavy formulas that provoke breakouts and clogged pores, many of the best non-sticky sunscreens are designed to be lightweight, oil-free, and even suitable for acne-prone skin.
Whether choosing sunscreen for your body or face, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher 30 minutes before going outdoors (and reapplying every two hours). With that rule in place, you can choose from a number of non-greasy sunscreens that target other preferences and concerns.
When looking for a non-sticky face sunscreen, you can choose a general lightweight option, or something more specific to oily and acne-prone skin. These formulas should be lightweight, oil-free and non-comedogenic, and may even include oil-absorbing ingredients like silica that prevent skin from greasing up throughout the day.
To keep you fully covered from head-to-toe, whether you're headed to the beach or only seeing the sun on your lunch break, here are five of the best non-greasy sunscreens out there.
1. Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen For Your Face
La Roche-Posay's cult-favorite Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen SPF 60 was designed with acne-prone skin in mind — but of course, everyone can benefit from this non-sticky sunscreen. After all, who wants their face to feel greasy, even if your skin can handle it? With a noncomedogenic formula that's oil-free, fragrance-free, and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, it's a great choice for even the most sensitive skin types. While the brand's Cell-Ox Shield technology provides broad spectrum sun protection and antioxidants, La Roche-Posay also included oil-absorbing ingredients like silica in the formula to avoid a greasy finish and help combat shine.
"We live at the beach, so we use a lot of sunscreen products," writes one reviewer. "This one is the best yet - it's a 'dry' lotion, so it isn't at all greasy or oily, it blends in very quickly and leaves your skin with a nice matte finish." Another says, "[I] have the oily T-zone of a teen and can't stand the greasy feeling of most sunblocks after half a day of wear. This sunblock, however, still feels like nothing after a whole day. I don't even notice it's there."
2. Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen For Your Body
Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer line was the first non-sticky sunscreen I remember using growing up, and it's still one of my go-tos. The line comes in a variety of formulas and SPF levels, but the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 100+ makes this list because it offers superior sun protection. Plus, with nearly 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and a lightweight formula that blends gorgeously into skin, you really can't beat it for the price.
One reviewer notes, "This product is surprisingly easy to apply and not greasy at all. By the time you apply it, after the skin absorbs it, you hardly know it is there."
3. Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen For Your Face & Body
Formulated to be used on both your body and face, Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 60 Sunscreen is a great choice for every skin type — including sensitive. The oil- and fragrance-free formula includes ingredients like vitamin E and grape fruit extract to neutralize free radicals and further protect the skin while also leaving it soft and smooth. It's also water-resistant, fast-absorbing, and leaves a dry finish that never feels sticky or greasy on skin.
One Amazon reviewer writes, "Here on Maui sunscreen is a fact of life year round. Over the years I have tried every brand and formula imaginable ... Vichy is by far the best. Applies like a lotion and vanishes into your skin, yet still provides superior protection. Does not clog pores or annoy with terrible fragrance." Another user adds, "This lotion goes on quickly and smoothly, and dries without stickiness."
4. Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen For Dark Skin
Darker skin tones don't just have the usual scent and sticky film to contend with when it comes to finding a good sunscreen. Choosing something that doesn't leave skin covered in a white tint is perhaps even a greater concern. That's why Palmer's created their Eventone skin care line. The Palmer's Eventone Suncare Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 provides UVA/UVB protection in a water-resistant formula that also blends seamlessly into skin without a white cast. In addition to moisturizing and skin-protecting ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil, the Eventone range also includes the brand's trademarked CocoaPlex technology to help prevent dark spots, which tends to affect black skin more because of the increased levels of melanin.
"I have dark skin, and it doesn't leave it ashy looking," writes one reviewer, who adds that "It goes on so smoothly." Another fan of Palmer's raves, "I use it every day on arms and legs to help keep my skin moisturized, and [I] love the fact that I am protected from the sun as well. It has no typical sunscreen smell and no stickiness to remind you that you are wearing sunscreen."
5. Best Non-Sticky CC Cream With SPF
I'm fully convinced that there's no greater face SPF product than the IT Cosmetics CC cream line. The IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination With SPF 50+ is perfect for your day-to-day sun protection because it combines a lightweight, full-coverage CC cream with a broad spectrum SPF of 50 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Not only does the sunscreen apply completely free of any sticky residue, but it also evens out your skin tone and adds a radiant finish that has gotten me more compliments about my skin than any other foundation I've used. Ingredients like collagen, peptides, and niacin help give your skin a smoother and firmer appearance while also reducing redness and hyperpigmentation. Though the color range certainly needs improving, it's currently available in 11 different shades, from fair to deep.
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