Spray sunscreens certainly make staying sun-safe easier, don't they? Typically less messy, less greasy, and faster to dry, the best spray sunscreens offer a convenient alternative to traditional lotions and creams. Below, you'll find four great options that come highly recommended from Bustle editors and online shoppers alike.
Some pointers first: The key to effective sunscreen-spray application is that you can't just spritz it over your body the same way you would with a fragrance or hydrating mist. In fact, most people use spray-on sunscreens incorrectly, only applying a quarter of the amount that's actually needed for adequate sun protection. Optimally, you'll apply your sunscreen spray for six seconds on each area of your body and then rub it in with your hands (for about 10 seconds) to make sure you don't accidentally miss any spots. For safety reasons, don't spray it directly onto your face (if you're using a sunscreen spray that's deemed safe for facial use, that is). Instead, spray some onto your hands and then carefully apply it to your face, avoiding the areas around your eyes and mouth. If you have kids, that advice remains the same, because kids are too squirmy to stay still. At best, you'll miss too large of an area; at worst, you may inadvertently spray too close to their mouths or noses and they might breathe in the spray, which can be dangerous.
Lastly, be thoughtful about not keeping sunscreen past its effectiveness. If there isn't an expiration date on the bottle, the Mayo Clinic suggests you write the date of purchase on the bottom and toss it after three years.
Now that you're armed with some essential application tips, scroll on to shop five of the best spray-on sunscreens you can buy right now — all for under $15 on Amazon.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
1. The Overall Best Sunscreen Spray
Alba Botanica's Sensitive Sunscreen is a biodegradable, fragrance-free formula that goes on totally clear and has a broad-spectrum SPF of 50 to keep your skin protected from both UVA and UVB rays. It's also Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free, water-resistant up to 80 minutes, and, as its name suggests, safe for use on sensitive skin types. Soothing ingredients like avocado oil, aloe, and chamomile help keep skin moisturized and soft, while the exclusion of oxybenzone and octinoxate make it a relatively reef-safe choice.
2. Runner Up
Choose your desired level of SPF with Sun Bum's Original Sunscreen Spray, which ranges from 15 to 70. (Note that the American Academy of Dermatology suggests wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.) This formula does contain fragrance — which, when it comes to sunscreen, some people love, but others might find irritating; just something to keep in mind depending on your skin type/preferences. Otherwise, the formula is hypoallergenic, free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, and water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
3. Editor's Pick
A Bustle-editor favorite, Australian Gold left out oxybenzone and oil in their botanical sunscreen formula (the latter means this spray doesn't feel greasy or sticky — always a win). Instead, it leaves a powdery finish that feels airy and clean on skin, and has a lovely, citrus-y fragrance. The sunscreen contains antioxidant-rich ingredients like Kakadu Plum, eucalyptus, and red algae, has an SPF of 50, and is water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
4. The Best Sunscreen Spray For Your Face
For a sunscreen that was specifically formulated your face, there's the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Mist Sunscreen Spray. Since it's oil-free and noncomedogenic, it shouldn't clog pores or cause breakouts, while the lightweight formula goes on sheer and blends easily into skin. The oxybenzone-free sunscreen spray has a broad-spectrum SPF of 55 and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
5. The Best Sunscreen Spray & Self-Tanner In One
If you love having that sun-kissed look, but don't want the sun to actually kiss your delicate skin, you can achieve a subtle, natural-looking glow with this Australian Gold Spray Gel Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer. It contains vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum, tea tree oil, and aloe vera, to name a few key ingredients, and smells of coconut, orange, and vanilla. Though the brand says you can use it on both the face and body, I'd caution using it on your face if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.