SPF comes in all forms — spray-on sunscreens, solid sticks, oils… even powders for your face. But nothing beats a classic lotion formula that hydrates and moisturizes your skin while it protects it from the sun. Of course, there are tons of options to choose from, so to truly narrow down a list of the best lotions with SPF, I reviewed and compared dozens of formulas — the winners of which you’ll find ahead.
And what truly makes a lotion with SPF better than any other? The first thing to keep in mind is hydration. In my opinion, there’s no point in applying lotion all over your body if it’s not going to keep it moisturized. But you also don’t want a formula that’s going to be too thick, or too greasy — especially since you’ll likely be using this sun-protecting product in the summer, when you only need something lightweight (during winter, you’ll want to use a richer lotion, but unless you live somewhere that’s sunny all-year-round, you probably don’t need to be covered in head-to-toe SPF anyway).
Convenience is another factor — a pump bottle is the easiest, least messy way to apply body lotion of any kind. Only one product on this list doesn’t come in a pump bottle.
Of course — and this is more important in maximum sun exposure situations — the higher the SPF, the better. Unfortunately, many of the best sunscreen lotions only have an SPF of 15. If you plan on lying out at the pool or on the beach, you’ll want to reach for something with an SPF of at least 30 or add an extra layer of sunblock.
I took all of these factors into consideration, and the products ahead combine many of these key features in one pretty, as-big-as-I-could-find bottle — one pick even comes in a budget-friendly three pack! So without further ado, find the best body lotions with SPF, ahead.
1Best: A Moisturizing Gel Formula With SPF 50 That Feels Like Nothing On Your Skin
If you’re someone who typically hates the feeling of sunscreen — or even lotion at all — you’ll love this non-greasy, non-goopy formula. Straight from Japan, it’s my personal favorite, and it has a growing cult-following for its unique water-gel texture that feels and absorbs like, well, water on your skin. With a transparent finish and barely-there scent, this lotion has a high SPF of 50 — and it’s moisturizing to boot. It’s also incredibly affordable — especially considering it comes in a big pump bottle — and unlike most other sunscreen lotions on the market, you can use this one on your face, too.
2Runner Up: A Slightly Creamier Lotion That Ticks All The Boxes (But Is More Expensive)
Another wonderful, albeit much more expensive option, EltaMD’s sunscreen has more of a traditional, lotion-like texture. But that doesn’t mean it’s heavy or thick. It’s actually incredibly lightweight and non-greasy, and it absorbs into your skin instantly. It’s also quite moisturizing, and uses zinc oxide to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Though it appears to be white, it goes on completely clear — so like the option above, it’s great for all skin tones. Whether you’ve got dry, oily, or even sensitive skin, this non-comedogenic, paraben- and chemical-free formula should work just fine. In addition to being slightly pricier than the Nivea option, it also has a lower SPF of 30 (which, according to the American Academy Of Dermatology, is adequate — but still — not as high as 50).
3For Body Acne: A Lotion With Glycolic Acid To Exfoliate And Resurface Dead Skin
If you’ve got body acne, an all-over exfoliating lotion could be just what’s missing from your skin care regimen. This one combines glycolic acid with an SPF, which, based on my research, is nearly impossible to find. The only downside is that this lotion has an SPF 15, which is much too low if you plan on spending the day directly in the sun. If you’ll mostly be indoors or not exposed to the sun’s rays when they’re at their strongest (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), this should be adequate. In addition to exfoliating and resurfacing bumpy or blemish-prone skin, it also keeps it smooth, soft, and hydrated, thanks to a hearty dose of nourishing shea butter and glycerin. And though the $54 price tag may seem hefty, keep in mind this huge pump bottle contains a whopping 12 ounces of product.
4For Extra Sensitive Skin: The Gentlest, & An All-Around Solid, SPF Lotion That Can Be Customized
Designed specifically for sensitive skin, this hypoallergenic, paraben-free sunscreen lotion is gentle, but effective. What I really love most about this product is that you can customize the level of SPF you want, and the size of the bottle, too. Choose from 3, 6, or 8 ounces and an SPF of 15, 30, 50, or 70. This formula incorporates vitamin E to keep your skin moisturized and protected against free radicals. The one flaw is that this is the only option on this list that doesn’t come in a pump bottle, which is slightly annoying. It also has a relatively strong coconut scent, which, depending on your preferences, could be a good or bad thing.
5Best Value: A Good, Hydrating SPF Lotion At A Great Price
For less than $30, you can get a three pack of this classic sunscreen lotion from Eucerin — with each bottle containing 17 ounces of product — making it our top pick for the best value. However, it only has an SPF of 15, which, as you know by now, isn’t ideal for situations with maximum sun exposure. If you’re looking for a no-frills formula to keep your and your loved ones’ skin protected and hydrated without breaking the bank, this is a good choice. If you plan on spending the day at the beach, just be sure to layer on some extra product with a higher SPF. It’s non-greasy and fast-absorbing, and it has zero fragrance.
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