13 Top-Rated Sunscreens (& Where To Score Them On Sale)

The sun has set on days of slathering our bods in baby oil to get that I'm-a-bronzed-goddess glow. It's 2020 and we know damn well that using SPF is an essential practice in healthy-skincare, especially when damaging UV rays are part of the equation. With the arrival of the spending-time-outside season (aka summer), sun-exposure is tough to avoid. This is why we crafted a shopping guide to the top-reviewed and safest sunscreens available — along with all the deals you can currently score on them, too.

Refinery29's SPF-coverage is all-encompassing: from best-for-your-skin type to situational exposure levels, general explainers, new product releases, and more. Here, we're specifically targeting a batch of customer-approved sunscreens and where you can snag them on discount (every dollar counts because that sweet-summer-skin elixir is pricey, people). We hunted through a sea of product reviews to find the best SPFs around, according to the healthy-skin humans who use them IRL. These protective goods aren't only top-rated buys but they're also all sensitive-skin friendly, provide long-lasting coverage, and are either completely paraben or oxybenzone-free (a.k.a. reef-safe).

Scroll on to lotion-up with the savviest, most sustainable, and (where applicable) slashed-price SPF.

Welcome to Hype Machine, our hit-list of the top reviewed products across the web — according to a crowd of die-hard shoppers. Call this your 4-star & up only club, with entry granted by our devoted-to-the-goods shop editors.

We’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. 

Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Best: Overall Sunscreen
Infused with wrinkle-combatting vitamin E, this beachy-scented sunscreen is not only water and sweat-resistant but it also comes tested and approved by The Skin Cancer Foundation (a public and medical educational leader in skin cancer prevention).

The Hype: 4.8 out of 5 stars and 160 reviews on Ulta

Reviewers Say: "I've repurchased this sunscreen for years. It works great especially compared to other clean sunscreens I've tried. It has a nice beachy scent, but nothing too overwhelming. It also doesn't leave a white cast like some sunscreens. Plus it's very moisturizing and not sticky!!"

Deals: All Sun Bum products currently buy one, get one 40% off on Ulta

Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, $, available at Ulta Beauty

eltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Best: Sensitive-Skin Sunscreen
EltaMD's oil-free and mineral-based formula comes dermatologist-recommended for both calming and protecting sensitive skin that is prone to acne, rosacea, and/or discoloration.

The Hype: 4.9 out of 5 stars and 126 reviews on BeautifiedYou.com

Reviewers Say: "I’m absolutely obsessed with this SPF. It works so well for my skin that I’ve now entered it into my skincare daily line up, and it’s an integral part of my line up. I have really bad rosacea, and when I went to a new dermatologist she told me that I needed to use something less oily than the banana boat I was slathering on if I wanted my ease the effects of my rosacea. The EltaMD is so good at protecting my skin from the sun that it doesn’t get dried out at all, and it doesn’t burn like it used to. Also, generally speaking, my skin is so much better than it was a month ago and I’m hoping the improvements will just keep going. I definitely recommend this SPF to anyone who’s looking for a lightweight protectant against the sun that won’t clog their pores or cause them to break out."

Deals: Currently 22% off on BeautifiedYou.com as part of its Summer Sale (using code "SUMMER22")

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $, available at BeautifiedYou.com

CoTZ Face Prime & Protect SPF 40

Best: Tinted Sunscreen
This broad-spectrum sunscreen is oil and fragrance-free and infused with micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for a texture that dries with a silky-matte finish.

The Hype: 4.6 out of 5 stars and 397 reviews on Ulta

Reviewers Say: "I can't live without this product during the summer. My favorite thing about this is that its thicker primer texture makes it totally effortless to apply with fingers. Especially in hot weather, I don't want to fuss with a whole heavy-feeling foundation process when it's likely to melt off in the heat anyway. I take a very small amount and just spread it around my face. It smooths my pores and lines, stays in place, blurs flaws on my skin, and does a great job staying matte. It has light-medium coverage but just enough for warmer weather. Some people have complained that the coloring is too dark, which I would agree with except that when you apply it, it sheers out nicely, and a light dusting of setting powder tones down the color a lot and makes it look more light and even. It also doesn't oxidize at all so it won't get any darker. By the time I spread it out and apply some setting powder over it it's not too dark at all (and I have pale Irish skin). If you want more coverage, the finish of this is perfect for a light layer of powder foundation over it, which is super easy and fast. So, you can achieve excellent coverage in like 90 seconds without putting a whole heavy layer of makeup over this. It's fantastic and I hope they PLEASE never discontinue it."

Deals: All CoTZ products currently buy one, get one 40% off on Ulta

CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40, $, available at Ulta

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Best: Under-Makeup Sunscreen
A cruelty-free, water-resistant, and all-natural formula that's fast-absorbing and ultra-moisturizing for sun-protection that lasts all day — and is also lightweight enough to wear underneath makeup.

The Hype: 4.4 out of 5 stars and 137 reviews on Supergoop!

Reviewers Say: "The best! I have been searching high and low for a daily face sunscreen and this is it. I love the consistency (like a primer), the fact that it is clear, and the way my skin looks with it on. It does not break me out and I love knowing my skin is protected with a high SPF. Other moisturizers with only SPF 15 are a waste of time. Try this one...you will not be disappointed."

Deals: Score 10% off from Verishop using code "HIGHSUMMER"

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, $, available at Verishop

Australian Gold Botanical Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Best: Mattifying Sunscreen
An eco-conscious formula that is completely free of oxybenzone, parabens, phthalate, petrolatum, sulfates, dyes, and oils — Australian Gold's botanical SPF uses a blend of minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to provide powder-like matte-finish protection with a hint-of-citrus scent.

The Hype: 4.4 out of 5 stars and 5,210 reviews on Amazon

Reviewers Say: "It’s super easy to blend in, doesn’t clog my pores or feel greasy, doesn’t have that sunscreen smell. My skin hasn’t had any breakouts from it and it’s cruelty-free! It’s kind of mystifying, so if you have dry skin either try something else or make sure you’ve prepped your skin well with hydrating products — I’m combination/oily so it worked fine for me. It’s also a tad on the thick side, so it might not be the best for wearing underneath makeup. More for a no-makeup day in my opinion!"

Deals: Save 13% off on Amazon

Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotion, SPF 30, $, available at Amazon

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Gel Lotion SPF 30

Best: Gel Sunscreen
This gel-formula sunscreen is not only revered for its eco-friendly ingredients and reef-safe pledge, but it's also a light-weight skin hydration star that goes on smooth leaving no traces of white-residue behind.

The Hype: 4.3 out of 5 stars and 518 reviews on Ulta

Reviewers Say: "The best thing about this gel formula is that it's not at all sticky. I can wear it under makeup because it feels like nothing. The application has been super smooth due to the gel form. Literally no stickiness at all. I love that part the most. It's super lightweight too."

Deals: Currently buy one, get one 50% off at Ulta

Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Gel Lotion SPF 30, $, available at Ulta

Blue Lizard Active Mineral-Based SPF 30+

Best: Eco Sunscreen
This Australian-born sunscreen brand is proudly mineral-based and completely oxybenzone and octinoxate-free with a rich vitamin-E and hyaluronic-acid infused formula that provides broad-spectrum and water-resistant coverage for up to 80 minutes.

The Hype: 4.5 out of 5 stars and 309 reviews on Amazon

Reviewers Say: "After using during a trip to sail and snorkel in the FL Keys, I was quite pleased with this sunscreen. I did a lot of research because I wanted a product that was safe for the reefs but was also effective. The physical blocks in Blue Lizard are more recommended than chemical blocks of other products that claim to be safe for reefs. The sunscreen is thick and very white but I was pleasantly surprised at how thoroughly it rubbed it -— no white zinc oxide remnants! It was also very water-resistant. I reapplied periodically but not obsessively and did not get any burn after a week of sun exposure on my very fair complexion. Two of us used the bottle every day and we had plenty for the week. The color-changing bottle was a fun bonus because I could demonstrate to the kids that even when it was overcast, we still needed sunscreen!"

Deals: Select Blue Lizard products are up to 25% off on Amazon

Blue Lizard Active Mineral-Based SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection, 8.75 o, $, available at Amazon

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen Face & Body SPF 60

Best: Moisturizing Sunscreen
Both dermatologist-recommended and sensitive-skin tested, this antioxidant-rich and paraben-free formula provides fast-absorbing and water-resistant coverage that protects against broad spectrum UV-exposure.

The Hype: 4.6 out of 5 stars and 265 reviews on La Roche-Posay

Reviewers Say: "Love this lotion! Creamy texture and doesn't dry out my skin. No weird feel to it like some SPF lotions. I have very dry skin. I can use on face and body."

Deals: Get $10 off on a bundled Anthelious Face & Body Set at La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Face & Body Sunscreen Set, $, available at La Roche-Posay

Jack Black Sun Guard Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 45

Best: Body & Face-Safe Sunscreen
Vitamin-packed and oil-free with a fast-absorbing formula that leaves no trace, Jack Black's Sun Guard is a body-and-face-safe SPF option beloved by sensitive-skin types.

The Hype: 5 out of 5 stars and 3 reviews on Dermstore

Reviewers Say: "I have sensitive fair skin and this is the only sport sunscreen I can use on both my face and my body with no reaction or white cast."

Deals: Currently 20% off at Dermstore

Jack Black Sun Guard Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 45 (1.5 fl. oz.), $, available at DermStore

SHISEIDO Clear Stick UV Protector WetForce Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Best: Stick Sunscreen
This dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested stick is crafted from a paraben-free formula that provides 80 minutes of water-resistant coverage and can be easily applied under OR over makeup.

The Hype: 4.8 out of 5 stars and 43 reviews on Nordstrom

Reviewers Say: "This is my favorite sunscreen so far! This is a clear stick SPF 50 plus that does wonders for my skin! No breakouts, no mess! I simply just glide it on my face and leave the house. Doesn't take more than a minute and you're fully covered! I couldn't be happier with this product — and, although it looks small for the price, it is very concentrated so a little bit goes a long way!"

Deals: Get 22% off bundled Protect & Play The Active Sun Set at SHISEIDO

Shiseido Protect & Play The Active Sun Set, $, available at Shiseido

Thrive Natural Care Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30

Best: Face Sunscreen
This under-the-radar, reef-safe sunscreen is crafted right here in the U.S. from all-natural and vegan-friendly ingredients. The lightweight yet hydrating formula (a blend of zinc and revitalizing antioxidants) provides daily SPF protection while also working to reduce skin irritation and redness. Plus, proceeds from every purchase go towards supporting farms in Costa Rica that help to grow many of the nutrient-rich ingredients.

The Hype: 4.9 out of 5 stars and 9 reviews on Walmart

Reviewers Say: "I was never a fan of SPF moisturizers until I found Thrive's Daily Defense Sunscreen Balm and now I wear it every day! I love the light feel that's not greasy, smells great and protects my skin while keeping it moisturized. Works as a great primer under makeup too!"

Deals: Save an extra 22% off at Walmart

Thrive Natural Care Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30, 2 Oz, $, available at Walmart

COOLA Organic Body Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

Best: Body-Spray Sunscreen
Gluten, oxybenzone, and aerosol-free, this tropical-scented spray is also water-resistant and boasts anti-aging benefits with its antioxidant-rich formula (including everything from organic cucumber to algae, strawberry, and raspberry extracts and oils).

The Hype: 4.4 out of 5 stars and 73 reviews on Amazon

Reviewers Say: "This sunscreen smells amazing, feels great, and seems to cover very well. I especially love using it when I am out all day somewhere because of the delicious smell and the fact that it feels like it really stays put — all while being super lightweight and silky on your skin."

Deals: Select COOLA products are up to 30% off on Amazon

Coola Organic Sunscreen Body Spray SPF 50, $, available at Amazon

Salt & Stone SPF 30 Lip Balm

Best: Lip Sunscreen
This sustainable lip-balm favorite from the L.A.-based beauty brand is crafted from a water-resistant blend of non-nano zinc oxide that delivers hydrating, clear, and reef-safe broad-spectrum protection.

The Hype: 4.6 out of 5 stars and 609 reviews on Google Shopping

Reviewers Say: "This is my favorite lip balm. It's one of the only things that actually hydrates my lips (and I always have very DRY and CRACKED lips). It's organic and I love the formula. It's not made out of chemicals that just dry your lips out even more like most name brand chaos ticks (eos and baby lips, etc). Actually, it's very similar to a Chapstick I make myself with minimal, natural ingredients. I love it. Definitely try it if you can get your hands on it, as I know it's not everywhere. I actually got this product free from a Zero Waste conference in New Hampshire so I'm not sure how widespread it is."

Deals: Get 15% off first-time orders with email signup at Design Milk or 10% off with code "HIGHSUMMER" at Verishop

Salt & Stone SPF 30 Lip Balm, $, available at design milk

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Best: No-Residue Sunscreen
Not only does this natural sunscreen check off all the 5-star boxes (cruelty-free! vegan! reef safe!), it also dries completely clear so it’s perfect to use on its own or even under your usual makeup products.

The Hype: 4.8 out of 5 stars and 118 reviews on Target

Reviewers Say: "This sunscreen is amazing! I was a little hesitant to put this on my face, other brands can sometimes leave a blue ashy sheen behind. I was shocked when the formula blended flawlessly into my skin with no oily residue. The formula is not too heavy and I have worn this under makeup before with no problem or change to how my make up looks. It has a light fragrance to it (not perfume-y). I loved this so much I purchased the kids one as well."

Black Girl Sunscreen Black Girl Sunscreen, $, available at Target

from refinery29
13 Top-Rated Sunscreens (& Where To Score Them On Sale) 13 Top-Rated Sunscreens (& Where To Score Them On Sale) Reviewed by streakoggi on July 19, 2020 Rating: 5
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