The Best Non-Sticky Sunscreens

5 residue-free formulas your skin will love.

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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 is essentially a magnet for sand at the beach). Over the years, though, more and more brands have developed sunscreens that offer serious sun protection, but don’t leave your skin coated with a greasy residue. And though traditional facial sunscreens are often associated with heavy formulas that can provoke breakouts and clogged pores, the best non-sticky sunscreens are designed to be lightweight and comfortable on all skin types.

Whether you’re shopping for a sunscreen for your body or face, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends choosing a sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher. With that rule in place, you can choose from a number of non-sticky sunscreens that target other, more specific concerns. For example, if you’re looking for something that’s particularly suitable for oily and acne-prone skin, you may want to opt for a sunscreen that’s oil-free and noncomedogenic, and formulated with oil-absorbing ingredients like silica to prevent your skin from greasing up throughout the day. If you’re more concerned about the texture of the sunscreen — if you’re reading this article, you probably don’t love the feel of heavy, greasy lotions and creams — try a sunscreen serum or gel sunscreen (sometimes referred to as water gels) instead.

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.

Shop The Best Non-Sticky Sunscreens

In a hurry? These are the best non-sticky sunscreens:

  1. Best Non-Sticky French Sunscreen Lotion For Your Face: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen
  2. Best Non-Sticky Korean Sunscreen Lotion For Your Face: ETUDE HOUSE Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk
  3. Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen Lotion For Your Body: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
  4. Best Non-Sticky Water-Gel Sunscreen For Your Face & Body: NIVEA Sun Water Gel
  5. Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen Serum For Your Face: SKIN1004 Hyalu-CICA Water-fit Sun Serum


Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen Lotion For Your Face: French Pharmacy Edition

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-sspectrum sun protection and boosted protection from antioxidants, La Roche-Posay also included oil-absorbing ingredients like silica in the formula to avoid a greasy finish and help combat shine.

SPF Level: 60 | Size: 1.7 oz. | Fragrance-Free? Yes

Relevant Review: “I love this sunscreen. First truly non-sticky, non-greasy sunscreen without heavy silicones mixed in. There is no scent. It seems moisturizing and then dries down to a matte but slightly dewy feel and finish. Does not break me out or cause any trouble to my combination, hyper sensitive skin.”


Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen Lotion For Your Face: K-Beauty Edition

ETUDE HOUSE’s Mild Airy Finish sunscreen is a cult favorite among K-beauty circles for its ultra-light, non-sticky formula that — true to its name — feels comfortable and airy on all skin types, despite being a lotion. It’s hydrating but not greasy, offers SPF 50+ protection, and is formulated with plenty of good-for-skin botanicals (like centella asiatica, aloe vera, and acerola cherry) to promote strong, healthy skin.

SPF Level: 50 | Size: 1.85 oz. | Fragrance-Free? No

Relevant Review: “This sunscreen is unlike any I have ever used before. It has a milky texture, goes on without any stickiness or tackiness, and dries with an airy, light finish. It’s the first time that I have ever enjoyed using a sunscreen on my face. It does have a light scent to it, but it is a pleasant scent- more fresh smelling than floral or spicy.”


Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen Lotion 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 70 made this list because it offers superior sun protection. Plus, with over 10,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and a lightweight formula that dries down to an airy finish within minutes, you really can't beat it for the price.

SPF Level: 70 | Size: 3 oz. | Fragrance-Free? YNo

Relevant Review: “The best sunscreen I have ever had! I have tried a number of brands but none is as comfortable to use as this one. It's really dry and won't leave a sticky feeling on your skin. In fact, you won't even feel it on you after a couple of seconds.”


Best Non-Sticky Water-Gel Sunscreen For Your Face & Body

Another Asian beauty favorite, NIVEA’s Sun Water Gel is one of the most popular sunscreens from Japan because of its refreshing, lotion/gel texture that dries down instantly without leaving any sort of sticky, greasy, or white residue behind. Completely clear and suitable for both the face and body, it comes in a handy pump-top bottle for a less messy application process, and feels refreshing as it’s applied to your skin. Zero shine, zero oily feeling, and dries down in less than a minute. What’s not to love?

SPF Level: 35 | Size: 5 oz. | Fragrance-Free? Yes

Relevant Review: “No sticky residue, it just sinks right into my skin with no white casts or shine. Skin is left velvety matte and protected. Wears great under makeup. Holy grail for me!”


Best Non-Sticky Sunscreen Serum For Your Face

For the most lightweight option, opt for a sunscreen serum like this SKIN1004 Hyalu-CICA Water-fit Sun Serum. With an SPF of 50+, it’s packed with beneficial active ingredients (like hyaluronic acid and cica) to restore hydration to your skin, but its texture is nearly as light as water — and you won’t experience any stickiness or greasiness at all. Plus, there’s no white cast, so it’s suitable for darker skin tones (and sensitive skin, thanks to its soothing and hydrating formula).

SPF Level: 50 | Size: 1.69 oz. | Fragrance-Free? Yes

Relevant Review: “It’s a super lightweight sunscreen which is great for people that don’t like heavy or sticky creams! It’s so easy to blend in, doesn’t have a white cast! For me I have dry skin so i wear moisturizer before putting this on and it’s amazing.”

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