SPF solutions for the girlies who hate suncreen

Truth: Sunscreen is a necessity. Another truth: SPF is hardly anyone's fave ("why is it so thick/goopy/sticky/uncomfortable/stinky/annoying/weird-feeling," said just about everyone). But the biggest truth of all? There is zero question about that big yellow ball in the sky's damaging effects on your skin, so your GRWM *needs* sunscreen (yep, every day). Have no fear, haters, it is possible to find the perfect product... and we're here to be your SPFairy godmothers.

The Sunscreen Lowdown


We're going to give it to you straight: "Protecting our skin from sun exposure makes the single most dramatic difference in how it ages over time," reveals dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. Essentially, by wearing SPF now, you'll avoid developing fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and sagging later on.

Most importantly? You'll lessen your chance of skin cancer significantly. "Regular use of SPF 15 [30 is even better] sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40%—and lower your melanoma risk by 50%," explains Dr. King.

"The teen years are the perfect time to start wearing SPF daily," says Supergoop! founder Holly Thaggard, whose mission is to create sunscreen that you actually enjoy wearing. "Your skin will thank you."

Know What You Like (and Dislike)

With so many products on the shelf, how do you pick the perfect one? Thaggard suggests looking at your current skincare and makeup lineup, then starting your sunscreen search with those properties in mind. Constantly reaching for blush but hate full-coverage foundation? That's a sign you might like a powder product. Love glowy skin even more than Hailey Bieber? There's an SPF for that, too. (Look below for options.)

Pick Your Protection


There are a couple of non-negotiables when it comes to your sunscreen. For starters, reach for SPF 30. And be sure that your pick provides "broad spectrum coverage, meaning it protects from UVA and UVB rays," says dermatologist Dr. Carolyn Stull.

And even if you've heard this a million times before, it bears repeating: Wear sunscreen every day of the year, even when it's cloudy out. Apply about an ounce (think: the full length of three of your fingers) to your body, then a nickel-sized dollop to your face. Remember to touch up every two hours—especially if you're sweating or swimming. And don't miss those sneaky spots like the tops of your ears, your scalp (especially where your hair parts), eyelids and lips (though we do love a dedicated SPF gloss).

Finally, keep an eye on the expiration—most sunscreens will have a date on the bottom. Past that? Time to toss it. See ya on the beach, babe!

We Found Your Perfect Sunscreen

We hit the beach and tested out dozens of bottles to pick the cream of the crop.

If you love a matte look...

Have oily skin? Love a shine-free finish? Powder sunscreen is your SPF BFF: "It absorbs excess oil and serves a dual purpose as a finishing powder, extending the life of your makeup," says Dr. King.

Brush on Block SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen, $34 | Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Skin Nourishing Sunscreen Powder Brush SPF 30, $20

If you're prone to breakouts...

Look for oil-free, "non-comedogenic" (aka won't clog pores) formulas. Some even contain blemish-bursting ingredients like niacinamide or willow bark extract (a natural salicylic acid).

Coola Clear Skin Oil-Free Moisturizer SPF 30, $48 | Dermalogica Clearing Defense SPF 30, $30

If you want an undetectable formula...

Nothing to see here... literally. Look for keywords like "clear," "transparent" and "gel." These invisible, weightless, scentless formulas are amazing for daily use and won't interfere with makeup. And they're suitable for all skin tones—a total bonus for those with more melanated skin.

Bask Daily Invisible Gel Sunscreen SPF 30, $28Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, $34

If you want a li'l glow...

Get the (sun safe!) dewy, glass skin of your dreams with glow-boosting sunscreen lotions and creams. Look for tubes labeled "radiant," "illuminating" or "glow" (obvi).

Kinfield Sunglow SPF 35, $28 | Naked Sundays Hydrating Glow Mist SPF 50, $30

If you're a sensitive sweetie...

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the top ingredients in mineral sunscreens, "are less likely to irritate sensitive skin," explains Dr. King. But they're *also* likely to leave a white cast on your skin, so look for formulations that are tinted or contain micronized zinc oxide to avoid looking ghostly.

Seaweed Bath Co. Invisible Mineral SPF 50, $30 | Neutrogena Purescreen+ Mineral UV Tint Face Liquid Sunscreen, $19

If you want something fun and different...

Need to apply fast? Go for a mousse texture. Want to bring some bling to the beach? Try a shimmer-infused oil or glitter lotion. The bottom line: Just like perfume, build a solid sunscreen stash so that whatever mood you're in, you have a fabulous SPF to match.

Vacation Classic Whip SPF 30, $22 | Kopari Sunglaze Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 42, $39 | Unicorn Snot Glitter Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $20

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our June/July 2024 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Keep reading for more summer beauty content:
☀️ The best K-beauty sunscreens you *need* to try
🐬 Effortless no-heat hair hacks for summer
🌻 Your ultimate guide to Sabrina Carpenter's "Espresso" look

Slider image: @mel.amartinez
Top image: @supergoop


by Lisa DeSantis | 6/3/2024