More categories
More categories

Smart Shopper is reader supported. When you shop our picks, we may receive a commission.

Protect your skin from UV rays with these 7 best sunscreens

A good sunscreen is essential for a day out in the sun as it can minimize the risk of skin cancer. Find one that suits you from our list.

Published Feb 14, 2024
4 min. reading time
Image of three types of sunscreens

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), applying sunscreen daily can aid in preventing skin cancer by protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. It can also prevent signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots.

Whether it’s a sunny day or a cloudy one, adding a reliable sunblock to your daily skincare routine is important. 

That said, how do you know which sunscreen suits you best? Luckily, we’ve listed the best sunscreen brands for you to choose from, so keep reading.

Read more: Shop our top body lotions for soft, hydrated skin

Sunscreen in big white and yellow pump bottle
Best overall
PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract PA++++
$68 at Ulta Beauty
Neutrogena Mineral Ultra Sheer Face and Body Sunscreen Stick
Best sunscreen stick
Neutrogena Mineral Ultra Sheer Face and Body Sunscreen Stick
$14.89 at Target
Banana Boat Sport Ultra 50 SPF Sunscreen Spray in orange cylinder bottle
Best spray-on sunscreen
Banana Boat Sport Ultra 50 SPF Sunscreen Spray
$7.99 at Walmart
Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion in brown bottle
Best tanning lotion
Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion
$7.98 at Amazon
Pros & Cons
  • Large size bottle

  • Cruelty-free

  • Fast-absorbing

  • Higher price point than other brands

  • Not convenient to carry around

If you’re looking for the best sun protection sunscreen to cater to your whole family, get this PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract from Supergoop! This broad-spectrum sunscreen not only protects you from UVA, UVB and IRA rays, but it’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

It’s water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes and it’s formulated with the natural extracts of basil and citrus for a pleasant smell. Plus, at 18 oz., you won’t run out quickly.

Pros & Cons
  • Compact size for travel

  • Fragrance-free

  • Contains vitamin E

  • Needs to be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure

  • May stain some fabrics

This Neutrogena Mineral Ultra Sheer Face and Body Sunscreen Stick is a great option for those who are looking for a compact, non-greasy sunblock for everyday wear. This stick sunscreen contains 21.6% zinc oxide mineral and Vitamin E that helps improve your overall skin’s appearance.

We love that it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes and it’s non-comedogenic so you don’t have to worry about breakouts and clogged pores.

Best spray-on sunscreen

Banana Boat Sport Ultra 50 SPF Sunscreen Spray in orange cylinder bottle
Photo: Walmart
Pros & Cons
  • Non-greasy application

  • Coral reef-safe

  • Reports of some skin reactions

Prefer to spray on your sunscreen instead? Get the Sport Ultra 50 SPF Sunscreen Spray from Banana Boat. This reef-safe sunscreen is both water and sweat-resistant to keep up with your active lifestyle.

Thanks to its lightweight formula, you won’t feel greasy when applying it, making it one of the best sunblocks on our list.

Best tanning lotion

Pros & Cons
  • Free from oxybenzone

  • Biodegradable packaging

  • Only has SPF15

Those who are looking to tan while still protecting their skin from UV light should definitely consider the Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion. This mild sunscreen is free of oxybenzone, octinoxate and other harmful ingredients.

Safe to wear on all skin tones, this sunscreen has a low SPF15, which allows you to get a radiant glow without damaging your skin.

Pros & Cons
  • Two SPF options

  • Coral reef-safe

  • Sweat and water-resistant

  • No white cast

  • Takes longer to rub into skin

Formulated with shea butter, coconut oil, aloe leaf juice and vitamin E, this Oars + Alps 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 50 is a great option for those with acne-prone skin. This oil-free sunscreen absorbs evenly into the skin to avoid any white cast.

We love that it’s water and sweat-resistant. You can also choose between two SPF options, making it one of the best sunscreens that are versatile on our list.

Pros & Cons
  • Fast absorbing

  • High SPF

  • Contains powerful antioxidants

  • No white cast

  • Reports of product sitting heavy on skin

Recommended by dermatologists worldwide, the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Body & Face Sunscreen SPF 60 is formulated with La Roche-Posay thermal spring water with powerful antioxidants to protect your skin from free radicals. 

This sunscreen with high SPF is also fast absorbing and non-greasy, making application a breeze. We also love that it leaves no white cast, no matter your skin tone.

Best scented sunscreen

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion SPF 30 in brown bottle
Photo: Amazon
Pros & Cons
  • Tropical scented

  • Contains vitamins C and E

  • Oil-free formula

  • Some say there are  issues with packaging upon delivery

Be transported to a tropical island with this Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion SPF 30. This oil-free sunscreen contains vitamins C and E that help even out your skin tone while still giving you a radiant glow.

PETA-certified and cruelty-free, you can rest assured that you’re not harming any animals with every purchase. To top it off, this product is also water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What is the healthiest sunscreen to use?

Sunscreens with mineral-active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered the healthiest to use as they are the only two ingredients recognized by the FDA to be safe and effective. 

Mineral sunscreens also offer better protection against UV rays than chemical sunscreens.

How do I choose SPF sunscreen?

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen with an SPF30 or higher. That said, those who prefer to tan normally go for a lower SPF, most typically an SPF15. 

SPF, short for sun protection factor represents the degree of protection provided by the sunscreen against UVB radiation. SPF 30+ filters out about 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50+ about 98%.

Our favorite sunscreens revealed

All of the sunscreen products listed provide effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. If you’re still having trouble choosing one, here are our top two favorites:

Did you like this article? For more great deals and shopping ideas, find us now on your favorite social networks: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Prices updated on 02/14/2024. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

Afina Najib Professional Headshot
Written by
Afina Najib

A journalism graduate from Curtin University, Afina Najib specializes in writing tech, finance, automotive and wellness content. Now residing in Kuala Lumpur, Afina spends her weekends hitting the gym or watching Formula 1 races.

Specialized topics