It’s that time of year when you should be slathering on the sunscreen unless you live in a sunny clime in which case you should be wearing it year ’round. That means it’s also time for our annual roundup of the best sunscreens, which the beauty editors here have all diligently tested (Damn! Another day at the beach?) Need to be scared into practicing good sun habits? (That’s the only way my hubby will wear sun protection!)
- More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.2
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
Tip #1 : Throw out last year’s sunscreen. Figure that it sat in the hot sun all last summer so it’s lost its efficacy. Don’t risk a burn by trying to get that last dribble out of your fave lotion.
Tip #2 : If you can, put on sunscreen BEFORE you head to the beach/pool/ Volleyball game. It needs time to sink in before you start sweating in the sun.
Tip #3 : Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen which protects against BOTH UVA and UVB rays. If you’re swimming, make sure it has an SPF of at least 30 and is also water resistant.
Tip #4: Re-apply! Most of us are guilty of not reapplying every two hours and if you’re active in the sun, then it’s not going to stay on all day. (And if you’re playing a VB tournament, up the SPF of 50 or more.)
Tip #5 : You’ve heard that the state of Hawaii has passed a bill to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals found in the vast majority of nonmineral sunscreen products? Studies show that these two chemicals have damaged Hawaii’s marine environment, causing coral bleaching which leads to and even coral death. We’ve included a couple of sunblocks that work well and will protect the environment. Because …the earth.
Now that you’re in the market for new sunscreen, here are our favorites, which we ranked on application, absorption rate, whether you can wear it over makeup, and how it lasts. (Ones that stain we automatically eliminated.)
For the THIRD year in a row, the Anthelios sunscreen received a perfect score from Consumer Reports. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk, $36, Amazon.
One of all the editor’s faves, it combines UVA/UVB filters to deliver broad spectrum SPF 60 PLUS contains antioxidants to protect skin from free radicals. We like that it has an ultra-light texture, is fast absorbing and lasts and lasts. (Recommended: re-apply after two hours.)
Our #1 favorite for wearing with makeup: Kate Somerville’s Uncomplikated Soft Focus sunscreen, SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen. While protecting us from skin-aging UV rays, this wonder product instantly sets makeup, reduces shine, and provides a matte finish for a soft-focus effect. $38. (Pssst, we even use it at night to set our makeup!)
What’s not to love about Ursa Major Force Field DAILY DEFENSE LOTION with SPF 18 ? $54. It’s lightweight, unscented and moisturizes your skin with essential vitamins while providing year-round, broad-spectrum sun protection. Love a sunscreen that can multi-task.
We’ve been a fan of Shiseido’s sun products for years and their new (improved!) lotion formula turns invisible on any skin tone. Features something they call ‘WetForce’ technology, which provides the skin with a protective veil that becomes stronger as it comes into contact with water or perspiration.No, really! We tried it in the Ocean. Still, gotta reapply throughout the day. Ideal for outdoor activities and sports. Throw the handy stick — the ClearStick SPF 50+ — in your purse for when you suddenly find yourself in the sun.
Leave it to the Australians who know something about the sun to create Blue Lizard, with a Zinc Oxide formula, a natural mineral that provides broad-spectrum protection from UV rays. The dermatologist-recommended brand doesn’t absorb into the skin but provides a layer on top of the epidermis. Still, it applies easily but takes a little rubbing to completely disappear. And get this — the bottle changes color in harmful UV rays to remind you to reapply! Safe for snorkeling around reefs, if you should be so lucky. $29.99 at Amazon.