Life is full of necessary evils: going to work, doing the laundry, calling your grandma, sending "thank you" notes, having to put on pants every single time you leave the house,
wearing sunscreen daily. But you can quit your job, excommunicate yourself from your family, go completely off the grid, and join a nudist colony — and once that's all said and done, you'll still have to wear sunscreen, provided it's not a subterranean mole colony you've actually signed yourself up for.
Waking up every morning and cleansing and moisturizing and finishing it all off with a generous amount of a good
SPF might not fill you with quite as much joy as, say, waking up on a Saturday and realizing you don't have to go to work; it's more Groundhog Day than joie de vivre. But look, you don't really have a choice in the matter, so why not focus on the things you can control, like finding a sunscreen you don't hate more than you hate your most constricting pair of jeans?
With so many avowed SPF haters out there in the world (what, you thought you were special?), there's a huge market for
sun protection that doesn't sting your eyes, make your face shiny, or smell like the beach as imagined by a person who's never been to a beach. These new formulas bring humankind ever closer to a sunscreen we'll actually want to apply — or, at the very least, won't mind keeping on hand as the sun gradually gets hotter and hotter and then explodes.
The transparent finish of this twist-up stick renders the chalky white cast left behind by lesser sunscreens a thing of the distant past — and the exceptionally smooth, clear formula can even be applied over makeup without melting your foundation into a wax-figure version of your face.
Clear Stick UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, $28.00
The goal here was not to create yet another sunscreen, but to somehow manage to formulate a luxurious luminizing moisturizer that happens to provide sun protection. And if you're going to call something the "anti-sunscreen" — as this one purports to be — then it better deliver. Fortunately, it does, leaving nothing but a flattering pearly finish and a strong dose of SPF in its wake, sans oiliness or shine.
Prismatic Luminizing Shield SPF 50, $35.00
If your least favorite thing about sunscreen is the idea of all those chemicals with their endocrine-disrupting hormones leaking into your body via its largest organ, look no further: This baby provides maximum UVA/UVB protection without parabens, petroleum, phthalates, sulfates, and artificial colors and fragrances, and leaves a lovely, powdery matte finish behind that's perfect for layering your plant-based makeup on top of. (And chill out, by the way — all that worrying will kill you faster than the parabens will. Probably.)
Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 Non-Tinted, $22.50
Do you hate
everything about sunscreen? Do you hate the smell, the texture, the sheer weight of it? Doesn't matter — just buy this moisturizer and quit complaining. Feather-light and fragrance-free, with a smooth, non-greasy finish, it provides a hit of sun protection that feels nothing like sunscreen as you know it... and the bottle it comes in is so minimalist and unassuming, you'll forget it even contains SPF at all, provided you turn it in your bathroom cabinet just so. Context
Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer SPF 15, $40.00
There are so many things to worry about in 2018: climate change, nuclear warfare, earthquakes, partisan politics, skin damage inflicted by blue light from the iPhone that at this point is practically fused to the palm of your hand. This mineral sunscreen, which is best used daily as a lightweight lotion over or in place of your standard moisturizer, will help assuage at least one of those fears, thanks to a life-proof formula that defends against pollution, sun damage, and beyond.
Complexion Rescue Defense Radiant Protective Veil, $39.00
Boring as it may seem, being diligent about your preventative SPF ensures better, healthier skin in the long run. But if doing your future self a solid still isn't enough to convince you to wear sunscreen every day, the light-diffusing properties of this next-gen mineral formula provide instant gratification in the here and now.
Squalane + Mineral SPF 45, $39.00
Oil-based sunscreen: sounds terrible, is actually great. This easy twist-up stick has a unique dry-feel finish that leaves skin looking fresh and dewy without greasy residue, thanks to a blend of antioxidant-rich fatty acids that work to hydrate and protect all at once. And, yes, the travel-friendly format makes it easy to toss it into your purse for reapplication throughout the day. (You do know you're supposed to reapply, right?)
Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50, $25.00
Beyond looking like something you'd find at a local surf shop, if you were to have a local surf shop, this kitschy tube contains a virtually idiot-proof formula that's sheer, non-sticky, and fragrance-free. You really can't go wrong — all you have to do is remember to put it on.
Face Lotion SPF 50, $12.99
Sure, it doesn't have the highest SPF count out there (it's not our go-to for hot summer beach days), but it's perfect for your weekday commute into the office. The blueberry, edelweiss extract, vitamins C and E, and jojoba work to brighten and significantly moisturize while protecting against UV rays, and it never pills under makeup.
Daily Defense Cream SPF 23, $69.00
Maybe you want your SPF so "healthy" and "natural" it's only a couple tiers beyond Tom Brady's alarming conviction that
drinking water is like wearing sunscreen
. In that case, you're sure to love this simple formula, which contains only six ingredients: coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, tea tree oil, and zinc oxide. It's natural, waterproof, and smells delicious — and hey, it's a hell of a lot better than water.
This SPF doubles as a pre-makeup primer, with a universally-flattering peachy tint that illuminates skin without ever feeling greasy. But the best part is what you don't see: It's a totally mineral (not chemical) formulation, so it's great for all skin types, even sensitive and acne-prone.
City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++, $65.00
From its promise to defend skin against not only UVA/UVB rays (the kind that come from the sun) but also HEV and IR exposure (the kind emitted from all those damn screens we're all glued to), to its fast-absorbing serum-like texture and aesthetically-pleasing packaging (in a lovely washed-out shade of
), this breakthrough organic formula fits the Platonic ideal of the perfect sunscreen for convincing millennials to wear sunscreen.
Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops SPF 30, $46.00