The Best Sunscreens For Everyday
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There are a few non-negotiables when it comes to choosing a daily sunscreen. It should have an SPF of at least 30 and offer broad-spectrum sun protection, but to find the absolute best sunscreens for everyday use, you can rely on the recommendations of dermatologists and other skin care professionals, like the eight who shared their picks with Bustle for this article.
Choosing an everyday sunscreen shouldn’t be complicated, double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Amir Karam tells Bustle. He suggests looking for lightweight, noncomedogenic, broad-spectrum sunscreens with a minimum of SPF 30 (though the expert thinks SPF 40 to 50 is even better). Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Marcus tells Bustle that she, like Dr. Karam, prefers mineral (aka physical) sunscreens, because they’re made with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which “provide the broadest spectrum of UV protection,” and are generally better for people with sensitive skin as they’re less likely to cause irritation. Still, she says that the most important thing is to find a sunscreen that you like and will be happy wearing daily, year-round, be it a mineral or chemical formula (and across the board, this seems to be the general consensus among derms when it comes to choosing a daily sunscreen).
To shop the best mineral, chemical, and hybrid sunscreens for everyday use, according to experts, keep scrolling.
1. Best Sunscreen Serum
Supergoop!’s City Serum sunscreen is great for daily use for multiple reasons, dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp says. “It [has] SPF 30, and the AAD recommends an SPF of 30 minimum. It contains antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the skin from free radicals. The PA+++ labeling means protection grade UVA, meaning it protects your skin from both UVA and UVB radiation,” he explains. Best of all, this chemical sunscreen is super lightweight and airy, and sinks in right away upon application (which is far less common among mineral sunscreens, and a reason many people prefer chemical formulas instead). All in all, it’s a great option for all skin types and skin tones.
2. Best Calming Sunscreen
Dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara tells Bustle that she generally prefers mineral sunscreens, “as they tend to be less reactive than chemical ones.” Her top sunscreen for everyday use is Avène’s Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+. “I love [it] because it’s an ultra-lightweight, 100% mineral sunscreen that protects against UV, pollution, and blue light, but also contains skin-soothing ingredients like bisabolol, allantoin and niacinamide,” she says. Though it’s safe for all skin types, Dr. Gohara says this sunscreen’s calming properties make it “a wonderful option for sensitive or reactive skin.” It’s also fragrance-free and water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
3. Best Nourishing Sunscreen
Aesthetic nurse practitioner Tam Lamarre tells Bustle that she’s fan of SkinMedica’s Essential Defense Mineral Shield for facial use. “It is beautifully formulated to feel like a moisturizer. Very often, a physical sunscreen can be drying and leaves a white cast on the skin, but SkinMedica has succeeded in formulating a physical sunscreen containing 5% titanium dioxide and 6% zinc oxide that feels more like a light moisturizer and melts right into the skin.” This product is free of both fragrance and oil, and has an SPF of 35.
4. Best For Hyperpigmentation
“ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen is a wide spectrum, mineral-based SPF that absorbs really well without leaving a white residue,” dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi tells Bustle. “It also layers well with other skin care products and makeup. It’s lightly scented, so [use with] caution in those with really sensitive skin, particularly to fragrance.”
This is a favorite of Dr. Marcus’s, too, who says that it’s a “super cool zinc oxide sunscreen with a thin, liquid texture. It is unique in that it contains an enzyme called photolyase, which is activated by UV light to repair DNA damage caused by past UV radiation. So, in addition to protecting skin, it even repairs damage that was done in the past.”
5. Best Sport Sunscreen
Dr. Karam is a big fan of all EltaMD sunscreens, both for himself and his patients, because they’re mineral based (including some that are hybrid mineral/chemical sunscreens), well-tolerated by people with sensitive skin, and come in a range of tinted and non-tinted versions. He likes that they’re also reasonably priced for medical-grade products, and they good offer water resistance, too. The brand’s active sunscreen offers 80 minutes of water resistance, which is the maximum number you’ll see on labels. “It’s very important for sunscreen to have some water resistance,” Dr. Karam explains, so they won’t come off in hot weather, during physical activity, and will even provide some protection when swimming, though all sunscreens require reapplication after two hours, if not more frequently.
6. Best Tinted Sunscreen
ColorScience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield is another favorite of Lamarre’s. “This formulation contains 12% zinc oxide to offer broad-spectrum SPF 50 coverage that finishes like a mattifying makeup primer. It also come in Bronze which is a beautiful golden shade that blends beautifully with brown skin. It is formulated to provide some coverage and a hint of golden shimmer. I personally feel this could substitute a foundation when light coverage is needed,” she says. There are also two other shades available, and all three options are noncomedogenic, fragrance-free, oil-free, and water resistant up to 40 minutes.
7. Another Expert-Approved Tinted Sunscreen
Dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling says that CoTZ Flawless Complexion Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 is “great for everyday. It’s a creamy, tinted cream that works as sunscreen, coverup, and bronzer in one.” This zinc oxide sunscreen is noncomedogenic, free of both fragrance and oil, and has a pleasant, hydrating finish. CōTZ was founded by a plastic surgeon, and all their sunscreens are mineral. In fact, the name actually stands for “Contains Only Titanium & Zinc.”
8. Best From An Indie Brand
“My favorite daily sunscreen is Jaxon Lane Rain Or Shine,” dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar tells Bustle. “Not only is it lightweight, fragrance-free, and non-greasy, it doesn't leave a white cast on your skin. It also contains vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, green tea, licorice root, and ginseng, which are all natural antioxidants.” Aguilar says she only recommends this SPF for daily, city life, rather than a beach vacation, as it contains one ingredient that should not be used in the ocean, as it can be harmful to coral reefs.
9. Best Body Sunscreen
For the body, Dr. Marcus says that her “top pick” is Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. “I use [it] myself and on my young children. Blue Lizard is an Australian brand of sunscreen, and this contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as its active ingredients. I particularly love the texture of this product; it is easy to spread and does not leave a white residue.” The fragrance-free sunscreen offers SPF 50 protection and 80 minutes of water resistance, and its cleverly designed bottle is sensitive to UV light, meaning it turns blue to tell you when you need to apply sunscreen.
10. Writer’s Pick: Best Sunscreen Spray
“Though sunscreen sprays are convenient, many feel sticky and tacky against my skin, which is why Australian Gold’s Botanical Sunscreen Natural Spray is such an unexpectedly delightful product (and a family favorite in my household). The chemical sunscreen spray has an SPF of 50 and a water-resistant rating of 80 minutes. It dries down quickly to a matte, powdery finish, with a formula that contains Australian botanical ingredients like kakadu plum, eucalyptus and red algae, so it doesn’t feel drying. Its scent is subtle, not overpowering.” — Andrea Pyros, Bustle beauty writer
11. Editor’s Pick: Best Sunscreen Serum
“I’ve always hated the feel of any thick products on my face, which made it really hard for me to find my perfect everyday sunscreen. Luckily, I stumbled upon this sunscreen serum from La Roche-Posay, which feels like nothing on my skin once it’s absorbed (a process that takes a mere three seconds). I also love that it gives me my daily antioxidant protection — and it wears so nicely under makeup.”
— Adeline Duff, Bustle beauty editor
12. Editor’s Pick: Best Tinted Sunscreen
“No exaggeration, everything about Drunk Elephant’s tinted sunscreen is perfect. Like all DE products, the fragrance-free formula is beneficial for sensitive skin like mine — making it the rare sunscreen that doesn’t make my skin itchy — and its moisturizing and skin-softening benefits last all day long. The tint is subtle, but effective, with some blurring and glow-boosting effects that I prefer to a tinted moisturizer. (Literally, think ‘your skin but better.’) And I can’t get enough of the delicious, whipped texture that blends like a dream.” — Caroline Goldstein, Bustle editor
Natalie Aguilar, R.N., dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician
Dr. Brendan Camp, double board-certified dermatologist, MDCS Dermatology
Dr. Mona Gahara, board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Amir Karam, double board-certified plastic surgeon
Tam Lamarre, B.S.N., R.N., aesthetic nurse practitioner
Dr. Rebecca Marcus, board-certified dermatologist, North Dallas Dermatology Associates
Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Shari Sperling, D.O., board-certified dermatologist , Sperling Dermatology