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Look, you’re probably sick of hearing this over and over again, but here it goes: Wear sunscreen. Every day. Even if it’s cloudy. The end.
That said, knowing what kind of sunscreen to wear, how to apply it, and where to apply it are also good things to know. For a quick refresher, SPF refers to the amount of time you can be exposed to UV rays without burning, not the strength of the sunscreen. You should apply it anywhere skin is exposed to the sun, and you should look for a “broad spectrum” sunscreen. That protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. The UVB rays are the ones that cause burns, but UVA rays penetrate your skin much deeper, causing premature aging and with enough exposure, skin cancer. UVA rays are what you need to protect yourself from on cloudy days, too.
Okay, got all that? Good. Now for a handful of sunscreens that will have you covered on all those fronts.
Not just those of you living in the country, Urbanites get plenty of sun exposure, too. A great pick for your face, Clinique’s City Block is an oil-free option that protects you from environmental skin stressors, as well as sun damage.
(Clinique City Block SPF 40, $23, Sephora)
If you hit the beach hard and play lots of outdoors sports in the summer, something long-lasting and water-resistant should be a staple. Also, you’ll want something with enough product in the bottle for several re-applications. You can pick up Coppertone at any drugstore, and it’ll give you plenty of protection several times over.
(Coppertone Ultra Guard SPF 70, $10.49, Drugstore.com)
For sun protection as well as skin benefits, Eve Lom’s SPF 50 sunscreen gives you soft and hydrated skin, lightly scented with rose. With anti-aging benefits and vitamins C and E, this brightens your skin and prevents premature aging.
(Eve Lom Daily Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen, $90, Nordstrom)
Always a beauty editor favorite, Le Roche-Posay makes excellent sunscreens, like this one that comes in a super light fluid formula loaded with antioxidants and broad spectrum protection. You can find this at lots of drugstores, too.
(La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen SPF 45, $23.99, Dermstore.com)
A winner for best-feeling sunscreens, Lancôme Bienfait UV SPF 50 Super Fluid Facial Sunscreen has a matte finish so it acts as a primer that sits weightlessly under your makeup. No more excuses for not wearing sunscreen daily!
(Lancôme Bienfait UV SPF 50 Super Fluid Facial Sunscreen, $35.10, Nordstrom)
This might be for babies, but it’s a hit with sensitive skin (which probably needs more sun protection!). Mustela makes this mineral sunscreen with no chemical sun blockers, just physical. No chemicals absorb into your skin, as the physical sun-blocking elements sit on top, forming a physical barrier against UV rays and protecting your skin from any sun damage. Also, some drugstores carry this French baby line.
(Mustela Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, $22, Sephora)
Neutrogena’s sunscreens are a drugstore staple, especially the Dry-Touch formula that feels super silky smooth on, not sticky or thick. You can’t go wrong with this waterproof broad spectrum crowd favorite.
(Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 70, $10.29, Drugstore.com)
Shiseido has your face covered with this Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector. You can wear this daily under makeup or by itself to protect yourself from the damaging free radicals and environmental aggressors floating around the city.
(Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42, $28.80, Nordstrom)
Zinc Oxide is the #1 sun blocker but also the most obvious one, often leaving a ghostly cast on your skin. Skinceuticals uses transparent zinc oxide in this sunscreen that does heavy duty skin shielding from UV rays while remaining invisible.
(Skinceuticals Ultimate UV Defense Sunscreen, $25, The Beauty Place)
Supergoop! uses “Cellular Response Technology” to protect you from the sun with this oil-free formula that’s for face and body. Moisture is also important as sun protection—and this one doesn’t skimp on either.
(Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF 30, $19, Sephora)