Selecting the perfect sunscreen can be a daunting task. Sure, we’ve come a long way from the heavy, greasy formulas that leave skin looking ashy of decades past, but with more formulas on the market comes more confusion. Today’s crop of sun care products come in a variety of finishes and textures, all catering to different needs. Whether you’re looking for an SPF that has a weightless finish, will last through a workout or has an ocean-safe ingredient list, an option exists. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best sunscreens that you’ll love to use – every single day.
Best For: All-Over Protection
The best type of SPF is one that you’ll want to re-apply. Bioderma Photoderm Spray SPF 40 ($30) ticks off all the boxes: it’s lightweight, non-oily, non-irritating and works for face and body. Its non-aerosol spray packaging makes it ideal for quick and targeted reapplication: you get all the convenience of a mist, without the fear of losing half your product to the wind. Keep an eye out for the limited edition 400 mL size (that’s almost half a litre of SPF!) available at drugstores.
Best For: Swimmers
For the athletically inclined, Vichy Ideal Soleil Dry Touch Body SPF 30 ($30) is the ideal companion for outdoor physical activity. The non-comedogenic formula melts into skin effortlessly and dries down to a matte finish in a matter of seconds – no need to wait 20 minutes before heading outdoors. It’s also water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes so you can exercise in the sun safely.
Best For: Easy Application
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist ($46) offers a continuous, air-powered mist of mineral SPF protection. It’s perfect for sensitive skin types as the primary protective ingredient – non-nano zinc oxide – sits atop the skin, forming a reflective barrier against UVA and UVB rays. If you’re self-applying, it’s a perfect option: and it sprays on white (but blends in easily) so you’ll never miss a spot.
Best For: An Outdoor Occasion
If you’re partaking in socially distanced gatherings and seek to add a touch of glamour to your SPF routine, try Coppertone Glow Sunscreen Lotion With Shimmer ($9). Available in SPF 15, 30 and 50, the budget-friendly formula contains ultra-fine minerals to impart an eye-catching shimmer. Apply generously to legs, shoulders and décolletage and take your summer fits out for a spin.
Best For: Hard-to-Reach Areas
For mini touch-ups throughout the day, Canadian-made LASPA SPF 50 Ultra Sun Protection Stick ($18) comes in clutch. Apply the pocket-sized mineral SPF stick on easy-to-forget areas where sweat or fabric may rub sunscreen off, like right on the edge of your bathing suit, the bridge of your nose where your glasses sit, and the tips of your ears. It also makes a great travel sidekick those who ski and snowboard: you’ll never suffer a goggle-shaped burn again.
Best For: Frequent Hand Washing
It’s a common scenario: we slather our body in protective lotions and and rub what’s left into our hands, rarely giving them the attention they need and deserve. With increased hand-washing, this haphazard manner of sun-proofing our hands just won’t cut it. New to Detox Market, Unsun Cosmetics Protect $ Smooth Emollient Rich Hand Cream SPF 15 ($27) is a no-frills mineral SPF formula that contains aloe and shea to protect your hands from sun damage while keeping them hydrated and supple.
Best For: A Truly Invisible Finish
A soon-to-be cult favourite SPF (take our word for it), Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30 ($77) is weightless, ultra-sheer, mattifying (but not drying) and produces zero white cast. The zinc oxide also protects against “digital aging” – the result of continuous exposure to blue light. It also contains green tea extract and a “bioactive mushroom complex” for skin-soothing antioxidant protection. Sold yet?
Best For: Lightweight Protection
Revered by skincare gurus and beauty editors alike, La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Fluid Face Lotion SPF 50 ($29) has earned its status as a top performing SPF over the years. Now newly reformulated, the watery broad-spectrum SPF relies on “intemiler technology” to emulsify the product so that it evenly and weightlessly coats your skin, sans the greasy finish. Bonus: the new formula hardly budges, so you never have to worry about sweat-mingled SPF travelling into your eyes.
Best For: Serum Fanatics
Coola Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 ($62) works splendidly on its own or blended into your daily moisturizer or makeup primer. This reef-safe formula contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin as it shields against UVA, UVB rays and blue light. Apply liberally, and often.
Best For: Makeup-Safe Touch-Ups
Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 45 ($40) will ward off sun damage without muddying your makeup. It’s translucent formula is suitable for all skin tones, and the dual-ended vessel is markedly travel-friendly. It also blends out creased and caked-up complexion products in a pinch.
Best For: Multitaskers
For an added boost of sun protection, swap out your AM moisturizer with Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Light ($125). The lightweight counterpart to the beloved British cream includes SPF 30 and a blend of peptides to protect against damage accumulated from continued exposure to various forms of light and pollution.
Best For: Swapping Out Foundation
If you tend to skip foundation in warmer months but still crave coverage, we got you. AlumierMD Moisture Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($46) contains colour-encapsulated beads that blend effortlessly into the skin, evening out complexion while offering mineral-based SPF protection. Despite containing zinc (often the culprit behind the dreaded white cast), the shades (ranging from fair to deep tones) impart a subtle-looking tint that doesn’t look chalky.
Best For: The Ultra-Sensitive
Although unfortunately limited to two shades, titanium-dioxide based Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 ($34.50) is a creamy, lightly-tinted sunscreen that is specifically formulated for highly sensitive or allergic skin. It also comes with a handy mirror and sponge so you can apply evenly all over, or use it to cover up imperfections.
Best For: Lips
PSA: Your lips need sun protection too. Water-resistant and ultra-soothing, Sun Bum SPF 30 Lip Balm ($5) comes in a variety of fun scents and promises to keep chapping and flakiness at bay.
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