Let's debunk some myths right away... Myth No.1: You only need to wear sunscreen in the summer. That's false. There are two types of harmful rays: UVB and UVA. While UVB rays are lessened by the clouds in the winter, UVA rays are equally strong year-round.
Myth No.2: You only need sunscreen when you're going to be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Also false. Even in the short walk from your car to your office, you are exposing your skin to harmful rays that can cause wrinkles and skin damage in the long run.
Myth No.3: Only people with fair skin are at risk for skin cancer. That is — you guessed it — incorrect again. While people with darker skin do have more melanin, that only protects skin to an extent, and people with darker skin can certainly still get sunburned and develop skin cancer.
So what's a concerned-with-her-skin gal to do? Thankfully, the answer is not slathering yourself in smelly Banana Boat sunscreen on a daily basis. As more and more people become concerned with damage prevention, more and more beauty brands are incorporating SPF into their already wonderful product lines. So, it's easier than ever to incorporate high levels of SPF into your daily beauty routine — without even going near greasy, stinky formulas.
Ahead, check out our tried and true favorites in the SPF department, selected for a variety of needs and skincare concerns.
Best for weightless feel:
If you hate that thick, sticky sunscreen feel, prepare to meet your new SPF BFF. The lightest product we found, Alegenist’s oil-free sheer formula even delivers a silky smooth finish to leave your skin feeling extra soft after application. Packed with protecting and regenerating Alguronic Acid, the product helps give you smoother and more radiant skin, all while shielding from UVA/UVB with SPF 50. It’s designed to apply smoothly on top of your other skincare products — wear it over your moisturizer and under makeup, or on its own.
If you're like me, then you love a product that does it all. Enter It Cosmetics' Bye Bye Foundation, which is a full-coverage foundation, a hydrating moisturizer, and an SPF 50 lotion all packed into one amazing product. I personally like to apply this product with It Cosmetics' Airbrush Full Coverage Complexion Brush for a flawless finish, but it applies just as well with your fingers, which is always a plus in my book. This product stays put all day long, so it's perfect for anything from a regular day at the office, to a long day at the beach, to a night out dancing.
Best to vanish pores:
You already know that everything Tatcha makes is heaven for your skin — so when the brand launched a pore-perfecting sunscreen, we couldn't wait to bathe in it. This sunscreen is like liquid velvet in a tube: Though it's lightweight, it leaves your face feeling unbelievably silky. In fact, a common side-effect is being unable to resist touching your super soft face all. day. long.
Best for a hint of glow:
I have a love-hate relationship with glowtions. While I'm always down for a hint of shimmer in my lotion to give me that all-over highlight look, I find that many glowtions have way too much shine and quickly make you look greasy or like you covered yourself in sparkles (#notcute). Anyway, Drunk Elephant's SPF 30 formula has mastered the perfect balance to smooth out your skin and add just a bit of glow without going over-board.
Best for all-day adventures:
When adventure calls, you need sun protection that can keep up. Enter Bare Republic's Tinted Sport Sticks, your new hike and beach day BFF. Water resistant for 80 minutes, the stick is tiny enough to slip in your back pocket or beach bag for easy reapplication throughout the day. Packed with Shea butter, it keeps skin soft and nourished. Oh, and did I mention the heavenly coconut vanilla scent?
Best for dry skin:
If your skin tends to get parched in the summer, this hydrating lotion will replenish it with the moisture it craves — without the heavy, greasy feeling. The medical-grade skincare product has SPF 30 to keep your skin protected, all while providing healing and anti-aging benefits. It also acts as the perfect primer for your makeup.
Best for mature skin:
Minor imperfections are no match for this color-adjusting cream packed with hydrating aloe and hyaluronic acid. The tinted SPF 30 formula has a matte finish, and no heavy feeling.
Best for sensitive skin:
NARS' much-loved tinted formula is perfect for finicky skin that needs a bit of reviving. The oil-free, buildable product masks imperfections, while also reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots over time. That's a win-win if you ask me!
Best for over makeup:
Did you know that even if you're slathered up with SPF 50, you should definitely be re-applying throughout the day if you plan on staying out in the sun? And that can put you in a bit of a pickle if you've already applied your makeup. That's where this genius product comes in: Colorescience's brush-on sunscreen is a loose powder loaded into the handle of a brush that you can sweep on top of your makeup throughout the day without messing it up. Brilliant!
If you prefer a pressed powder to a loose powder, you'll love Jane Iredale's SPF 20 compact. Use this sheer matte powder, which you can pop into a refillable gold compact, as your foundation or on top of your makeup. It's water-resistant for up to 40 minutes!
Best for diverse skintones:
Created by The Real Housewives of Potomac's Gizelle Bryant, EveryHue Beauty aims to bring top-quality products to women and men of all skintones. The brand's hero product: a luminous, tinted satin-finish moisturizer. It's infused with vitamins A, C, and E, and SPF 25.
Best for oily skin:
This oil-free tinted moisturizer blends into skin without clogging pores. Chamomile and vitamins A, C, and E hydrate and brighten — all while offering SPF 20 protection.
At $3 a pop (and some shades are on sale for $1.20!) you simply cannot beat the price of e.l.f.'s SPF 20 tinted moisturizer. Although the silky product is inexpensive, the cucumber and aloe-infused cream is anything but cheap.
Best for sunless tan:
Contrary to popular belief, having a sunless tan does not protect against sunburn. That's why Supergoop!'s sunless tanner with SPF 40 is so genius. The moisturizing spray goes on streak-free, transfer-free, and scent-free — and it's water-resistant for 80 minutes.
What if you're obsessed with your daily moisturizer, but it doesn't have SPF in it and you don't want to layer a sunscreen on top of your moisturizer? Coola has a solution in the form of sun silk drops (doesn't that sound amazing already?). The organic SPF 30 formula comes in a dropper, and you can just mix a few drops in with your moisturizer to add sun protection. It comes in the most gorgeous bottle that looks nothing like a sunscreen. Drop it in your bag and you can re-apply over your moisturizer throughout the day.
Best for scalp:
Ever spend the day at the beach and, though you avoided a sunburn on your body thanks to your sunscreen, you return home to find your hair part a fiery, itchy shade of red? Yes, ladies, scalp sunburns are a think and, to put it frankly, they suck. (Don't even get me started on when it starts flaking and peeling.) Enter Coola's organic scalp mist — spritz this SPF 30 product on any spots where your scalp is visible and you're all set!
Best for lips:
Ohh, yes, your lips can definitely get sunburned, too. And trust me, if you've ever gotten a sunburn on your lips, you won't make that mistake again. Good thing everyone's drugstore favorite lip balm comes in an SPF 30 version.
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