Best Sunscreens 2024

Best Sunscreens 2024

Protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun is essential, but finding the right sunscreen formulas can be challenging. The best sunscreens are the ones you’re willing to apply—and re-apply as needed—regularly. Experts recommend using versions with SPF 30 at minimum and that provide broad-spectrum protection (topped off with protective clothing and accessories as well). We’ve tested dozens of sunscreens, including mineral and chemical options, formulas for the face, versions designed for babies or those with sensitive skin, and many more. Some of our top picks are from Supergoop, Coola and MDSolarSciences.

The best sunscreen for you depends on a variety of factors, like skin type and preference.


Sunscreens come in a variety of formulas, ranging from lotions to sprays to swipe-on sticks, and in different finishes that can prime makeup or even out complexions. Whether you struggle with dryness or have oily skin, there’s an SPF that’s designed to leave your skin hydrated and protected. Scroll through for the very best sunscreens you’ll want to keep on repeat all year long.


Supergoop Play SPF 50

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $6.54 | Sizes: 1 ounce, 2.4 ounces, 5.5 ounces, 18 ounces | Scent: Basil, eucalyptus, citrus | Finish: Hydrated

So lightweight you’ll want to use it daily and effective enough to use on long beach days, Supergoop’s Play SPF 50 tops our list of sunscreens. The non-greasy formula has a healthy dose of sunflower extract, a source of beta-carotene that helps protect the skin from environmental damage and rosemary leaf extract, which is packed with calming antioxidants. And along with the hydrating benefits, this fan-favorite sunscreen protects from UVA (that accelerates the aging process), UVB (that burns the skin and can cause skin cancer) and IRA rays (which penetrate skin more deeply and can also cause premature aging). It’s also water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What our editors say: “This is a great option for people who want a hydrating sunscreen they can use from head to toe,” says deputy editor Jane Sung. “The formula is lightweight and blends quickly, making reapplication—an all-important step—especially easy.”

The 2024 Forbes Vetted Best Product Awards are here: Explore our 150 top-recommended items across categories after extensive research and testing.


MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50

Type: Mineral | Price per fluid ounce: $12.65 | Size: 3.4 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Hydrated

Mineral sunscreens get a bad rap for leaving a white cast on the skin, but this popular SPF 50 formula from MDSolarSciences has gained recognition for avoiding it (across most skin tones). Our tested best mineral sunscreen winner is formulated with a blend of ceramides, vitamin C, green tea, cranberry and pomegranate extracts, hydrating even the driest skin with sheer, smooth coverage that leaves no chalky finish. The naturally derived mineral zinc oxide in this cream helps reduce the risk of photoaging and skin cancer. Read our in-depth tested Mineral Moisture Defense review here.


Coola Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $18.82 | Size: 1.7 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Hydrated

If you’re looking for the very best face sunscreen according to extensive testing, this organic, antioxidant-packed formula is what you want in your corner. Coola’s Classic Face Sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection while also hydrating skin sans a heavy, greasy finish. It’s particularly nice under makeup and also approved by testers with facial hair, which make it an easy everyday sunscreen. And if you’re headed to the pool or beach this summer, it also happens to be water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.


Summer Fridays ShadeDrops SPF 30

Type: Mineral | Price per fluid ounce: $21.18 | Size: 1.7 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Sheer, glowy

Compared to other mineral sunscreens on the market, the Summer Fridays ShadeDrops formula stands out for its silky smooth application. It contains skin-hydrating boosters like squalane, shea butter and antioxidants for a glowy, moisturized finish. Between its skin-protecting properties and light-as-air finish, this was an instant favorite among our testers, who chose it as the best mineral pick in our evaluation of the best face sunscreens.


EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46

Type: Hybrid | Price per fluid ounce: $25.29 | Size: 1.7 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Matte

EltaMD’s UV Clear is a fan favorite with over 4,000 5-star reviews on Dermstore. It’s also tested and approved by our facial sunscreen panel, who rated it best overall in the best sunscreens for sensitive skin. This lightweight formula provides broad-spectrum SPF 46 protection, and the addition of niacinamide helps to soothe and calm the skin. Plus, it’s oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for most skin types.


Ulta Beauty

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $5.33 | Size: 3 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Dewy

This is a lightweight, moisturizing formula that provides SPF 30 protection against some of the negative effects of the sun (think: fine lines, hyperpigmentation and dark spots). Packed with nourishing ingredients like carrot and sunflower seed oils, this sunscreen is great for moisturizing and leaving skin glowy, which is why we named it our top value pick in our best face sunscreens review. Plus, it doesn’t leave any streaks of white cast, making it ideal for a wide range of skin tones. Read our in-depth review of this sunscreen here.


Lightsaver Activated Mineral Sunscreen SPF 33

Type: Mineral | Price per fluid ounce: $26.47 | Sizes: 1.7 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Sheer, glowy

The Lightsaver Activated Mineral Sunscreen is a cult-favorite multitasker: It not only protects against harmful rays, but also helps to repair signs of sun damage on skin. Its restorative effects are thanks to its unique blend of photolyase (for soothing), niacinamide (for brightening), squalane (for hydration) and lingonberry (to protect against blue light damage). Reviewers rave about this formula’s feather-light feel, and its recyclable packaging is an added bonus.

What our experts say: “I’m a big fan of this tinted sunscreen for its creamy, almost whipped texture and how it evens out my skin tone a bit,” says Sung. “It never pills and is great to wear on its own or under makeup.”


CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $8.82 | Size: 1.7 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Matte

CeraVe’s Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion is ideal for those seeking a non-greasy, oil-free formula. The non-comedogenic sunscreen can also take the place of a regular moisturizer thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides that help to restore skin’s natural moisture barrier (earning it the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation for Daily Use). Its gentle formula, lightweight consistency and lack of a white cast make it a great option for all skin tones.

Ulta Beauty

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector SPF 50+

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $10 | Size: 5 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Dewy

This is a great option for anyone who hates applying sunscreen. With a pink tinge to its formula, this powerful SPF applies like a moisturizing serum. It was featured in our best face sunscreens roundup as our clear sunscreen pick due to its easy-to-blend consistency and translucent finish. It’s water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and thanks to the oxybenzone- and octinoxate-free formulation, it’s said to be reef-friendly too.


Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 55

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $3.33 | Size: 3 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Matte

While most sunscreens give you a sheen or glow, this drugstore pick will absorb right into the skin and leave you with a non-shiny finish. This tried-and-true product has been around forever and is beloved for its lightweight, matte finish that won’t clog pores. And its budget-friendly price point means you can stock up on it to last you through the summer.


Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50

Type: Mineral | Price per gram: $11.50 | Size: 6 grams | Scent: None | Finish: Matte

Powder sunscreens are a makeup-wearer’s dream thanks to their ability to be applied over foundation and to remove shine. This brush-on formula by Colorescience protects from UVA and UVB rays, pollution, blue light and infrared radiation—and unlike some SPF powders is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The brand also has a bronze version in multiple shades from fair to deep tones that gives your skin a glow.


Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 50

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $18.82 | Size: 1.7 ounces | Scent: None | Finish: Dewy

Glossier’s recently upgraded Invisible Shield formula delivers on every front: weightless texture, faster absorbency and higher SPF. In addition to the usual broad-spectrum protection, this cruelty-free sunscreen contains rice phyto-compounds and aloe leaf juice for a pore-smoothing effect, priming skin for effortless makeup application. With its gel-like, velvety consistency and lack of white cast, this sunscreen lives up to its name—you might even forget you have it on. Fun fact: The “SPF 50” on the tube changes color when exposed to UV light to remind you to re-apply.


Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+

Type: Chemical | Price per gram: $1.60 | Size: 20 grams | Scent: None | Finish: Matte

This cult-favorite sunscreen goes on so lightweight and invisible, you’ll find yourself going over certain spots to be sure you’ve covered them properly. The stick formula is convenient to apply, which makes it ideal for on-the-go reapplication throughout the day. It also has the same WetForce and HeatForce Technologies as the brand’s Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion that keeps the SPF effective even when exposed to heat, water and sweat (although we’d still recommend re-applying based on expert recommendation).

Ulta Beauty

Vacation Classic Spray SPF 30

Type: Chemical | Price per fluid ounce: $3.17 | Sizes: 6 ounces | Scent: Tropical coconut and banana | Finish: Glowy

While you may be drawn to this product based on the cute retro-inspired packaging alone, the formula itself is deserving of its own attention. Also available in SPF 50, the SPF 30 sunscreen features skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera and shea oil, along with the brand’s signature tropical scent blend of coconut and banana. The non-aerosol, continuous spray applicator makes for even and easy application from any angle—even upside down—without stopping up or clogging.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

At Forbes Vetted, the beauty and grooming team takes sun protection seriously. Every day is an opportunity to evaluate a variety of SPF formulas and skincare products, and Vetted staffers continue to update this list as the market evolves.

How We Chose The Best Sunscreens

When researching the best sunscreens, we browsed online reviews, product awards and retailer ratings to uncover the latest and greatest in all-things sun protection. We also tested dozens of formulas ourselves.

  • We considered active ingredients, performance and scent. And since the best sunscreen is the one you’re willing to wear, we put a large emphasis on ease of application, texture, feel and finish for all our picks.
  • We’ve spent many days indoors and outside testing sunscreens from the most popular formulas to emerging and niche brands. In our latest update, we highlighted top picks that our testers loved the most.
  • We consulted with dermatologists for insight on what to look out for in the best sunscreens, personal recommendations and more.

What To Consider In The Best Sunscreens

When it comes to purchasing a sunscreen that works for you, it’s important to consider many factors, from your skin type to the formula and SPF level. It’s important that the one you settle on reflects your lifestyle choices, like how much time you spend in direct sunlight, if you work out, whether you wear makeup and more.


Dermatologists typically recommend using sunscreens with at least SPF 30 or above for everyday use. The higher the level of SPF, the more protection it offers. “A sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks about 97% of the sun’s rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98% and SPF 100 blocks about 99%,” says cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic Dr. Dendy Engleman.

Active Ingredients

There are some key differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens. Ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene often make up chemical sunscreens while mineral versions feature zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. According to Engleman, physical sunscreens start protecting your skin immediately, while chemical sunscreens require at least 15 minutes of absorption before they begin working. Engleman recommends applying chemical sunscreens at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun.


Most sunscreens have a lotion-like consistency, although some are heavier than others. You can also find SPF in oil, powder, spray or stick forms, which allow you to choose based on your preferences. Oil textures are great for giving your skin a glow, while powders work to set your makeup or remove shine. A spray is good for covering large areas, like your legs or back, quickly and a stick is great for on-the-go, spillproof application.

It’s also important to note that no matter which formula you choose, sunscreen is not waterproof. Some versions are water-resistant, which means they perform even when exposed to water, and can last up to 40 or 80 minutes before requiring reapplication.

Skin Type

People of all skin types should get into the habit of applying (and reapplying) sunscreen for optimal skin health. However, there are some ingredients to note when considering your skin type. According to dermatologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Dr. Anthoni Rossi, you should avoid sunscreens with parabens and look for formulas with added ingredients like antioxidant niacinamide if you have sensitive skin. If you have dark skin, you may want to stay clear of certain sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they can leave a white cast.

What SPF Is Best?

SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” and it’s a measure of how long a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the better protection. While dermatologists recommend using sunscreens with at least SPF 30 on a regular basis, SPF 50 or higher is encouraged when you’re in direct sunlight or spending a day at the beach.

When Should You Wear Sunscreen?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise—you should wear sunscreen every day, even if you’re spending most of your time indoors. “One should get into the habit of using it every morning before going outside,” says Rossi. Not only does it help reduce the risk of skin cancer, but it also helps prevent photoaging or premature aging of the skin. “This is important for patients with hyperpigmentation issues after inflammation or conditions like melasma, as UV rays can even pass through clouds and window glass,” he says.

What’s The Difference Between Chemical And Mineral Sunscreen?

Both chemical and mineral sunscreens tackle the task of protecting your skin from sun exposure in different ways. Mineral sunscreens scatter light using physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. “Mineral-based versions create a physical shield,” says dermatological nurse and aesthetician Natalie Aguilar. Experts say that mineral sunscreens can be less irritating than chemical versions, making them ideal for sensitive skin. As for that dreaded white cast that some mineral sunscreens can leave, formulas have improved in recent years thanks to nano-size zinc- and titanium-oxide particles that blend more easily.

On the other hand, chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays and converting them to heat. They often contain active ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene, and they take around 20 minutes to start working.

There are also formulas that are a hybrid of the two. These can be a great option for someone who is sensitive to some common chemical sunscreens but doesn’t like the texture or wear of a 100% mineral one.

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