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By Marissa DeSantis
As amazing (and essential) as sunscreen is in protecting against skin cancer and preventing visible signs of aging like fine lines, sagging, and uneven skin tone, it isn’t always the most pleasant product to use. Among top complaints like the white cast it can leave behind or the distinct scent that it carries, sunscreen has been known to have a less than desirable texture.
Chemical sunscreens, which include active ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate, get absorbed into your skin and can leave it feeling greasy (plus, they’re damaging to coral reefs). Then, there are the mineral sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, that sit on top of the skin and can make it feel (and look) chalky.
Because giving up on sunscreen altogether isn’t an option…
We made a list of some of our favorite non-greasy, moisturizing SPF products that protect against UVA and UVB waves (the first is responsible for skin aging and the latter causes skin burning). From a mess-free mist for your face to a shimmering body lotion that adds an all-over glow, you’ll find that many of the skin-smoothing sunscreens ahead solve multiple SPF gripes.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF 30 Moisturizer + Hyaluronic Acid is the latest sunscreen launch from the brand, and it’s quickly become my favorite SPF for face. The moisturizing cream uses a combination of mineral SPFs titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which blend into the skin with minimal effort, leaving the lightest trace of a white cast that I’ve ever come across from a mineral sunscreen.
The oil-free and non-greasy formula wears like a traditional moisturizer, thanks to hydrating and skin conditioning ingredients hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and panthenol.
For those who like a higher sun protection factor, Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50 will be your new go-to. The chemical sunscreen doesn’t leave behind any white residue, but it’s lightweight enough that skin doesn’t feel greasy or oily either. Not only does it protect your skin from the sun, but it’s also formulated with a blend of hydrating, soothing, and brightening antioxidants like shea butter, oat extract, aloe extract, and niacinamide to further protect while improving the skin’s appearance with every use.
EltaMD’s UV Clear moisturizer is a cult-favorite in the beauty world, and now the brand is introducing an all-mineral option, EltaMD UV Glow Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 36. Because it uses zinc oxide to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin, the moisturizer’s tinted option helps to counteract any white cast (and helps perfect skin without concealer or foundation).
Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and coconut fruit extract help bind moisture to the skin and prevent water loss, and you’ll notice a luminous effect because of brightening and redness-reducing ingredients mica, ergothioneine, and niacinamide.
Remembering to reapply sunscreen to your face is easy, but actually doing it two hours after applying a full face of makeup is where the challenge comes in. Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Sunscreen SPF 30 is a chemical sunscreen formula that comes in a travel-size dispenser that’s easy to keep in your bag. Even more appealing is the fact that it can be sprayed directly onto your skin, so there’s no risk of disturbing your makeup like there is with rubbing in conventional sunscreen lotions.
This genius launch from European Wax Center combines broad-spectrum protection with the plant extract narcissus bulb, which slows the growth of hair (aka less time spent waxing or shaving). The European Wax Center Slow Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 is a chemical sunscreen formula that also contains soybean oil to help skin retain moisture, plus aloe leaf juice and cucumber extract that protect and soothe the skin while you’re out in the sun.
If you have extremely sensitive skin, you’ve probably already learned that mineral-based sunscreens are best. Sun Bum’s Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 takes skin sensitivities to the next level with a zinc oxide formula that’s hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and pediatrician-tested.
What you will find on the ingredient list are gentle moisturizers like coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, which is major if you’ll be swimming (or sweating) while you’re outdoors.
To give your skin a glowing boost, try applying this Supergoop! Glowscreen Body SPF 40 before you head outside. The golden shimmer adds a luminous sheen to the skin with a mix of chemical sunscreens that defend against sun damage. The lotion itself is a whipped texture that absorbs quickly (and is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes), and it leaves skin feeling silky because of ingredients like coconut alkanes.
Argan oil is the hero ingredient for all of the products in model-turned-beauty brand founder Josie Maran’s skincare line. Her Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil SPF 45 Body Butter is a rich lotion that combines mineral SPFs titanium dioxide and zinc oxide with multi-beneficial argan oil. The antioxidant ingredient helps to further protect the skin against sun damage, but it’s also rich in fatty acids that are moisturizing and anti-inflammatory without being greasy or blocking pores.
For more moisturizing and soothing benefits, the body sunscreen contains ingredients like glycerin, shea butter, aloe leaf juice, and tea leaf extract, too.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, applying sunscreen to your whole body every day can add up. Eucerin Daily Hydration Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a more affordable sunscreen option that’s still moisturizing and free of any strong sunscreen scent. This body lotion uses chemical sunscreens to protect your skin, and glycerin and hydrogenated coco-glycerides to keep it moisturized for 24 hours (though you’ll still want to reapply every two hours as long as you’re out in the sun).