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For most (fortunate!) people, sunscreen is sunscreen. It doesn’t matter where it came from, what’s in it, or what SPF it is, so long as you put it on. But when you have fair and/or ridiculously sensitive, easily burned skin, it’s kind of a different story. Using a new sunscreen can be somewhat of a gamble—will it offer enough protection? Will it clog my pores? Will it drive my skin crazy?—so we’re taking the uncertainty out of the process, if you will. We put quite a few sunscreens to the test, and these five have emerged as the most reliable, highest-ranking among them.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Cooling Water-Lotion Sunscreen ($35.99, laroche-posay.us)
Call us jaded, but the claim of a “refreshing water-like texture” had us feeling a bit skeptical at first. And yet! Our doubts dissipated the very second we massaged just a drop onto the backs of our hands, where we’ve already incurred a sunburn this season. Perfect for face and body, this cooling fragrance-free formula feels truly weightless going on, and the finish is silky smooth rather than slick or tacky like so many sunscreens can be.
Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 Stick ($8.99, yestocarrots.com)
A stick sunscreen is an absolute must for tossing in your purse or beach bag when the sun is shining, especially when you tend to burn on your face. We obviously weren’t able to cover our whole bodies with the perfectly pocket-sized stick, but we did use it for the face, as well as the scalp, on a particularly bright, hot day. Success—this 96% natural formula protected us from sun damage, didn’t break us out, and went on smooth under our makeup.
Boscia Daily Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA+++ ($36, boscia.com)
We’ve gone through so many tubes of this sunscreen, we can’t even count. It uses both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to defend the skin against the entire spectrum of harmful rays, but it’s also a real skin care star, thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and willowherb. It moisturizes and sinks directly into skin for a natural, non-greasy finish, and we even find that it helps to keep our faces from getting slick over the course of the day.
Kiss My Face Cool Sport for My Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion ($12.95, kissmyface.com)
It can be difficult to find a sunblock for the face that won’t aggravate sensitive skin, but this formula is perfect for delicate, temperamental complexions. We even found that it soothed our red spots and calmed down some wayward blemishes, likely thanks to ingredients like aloe, cucumber, and green tea—and yes, we did test out its sport-friendly properties, as well. We wore this on a pretty intense (read: sweaty) bike ride and still emerged unscathed by the sun.
Jurlique Sun Specialist SPF 40 High Protection Cream PA+++ ($38, jurlique.com)
We had anticipated that this rich, luxurious cream would be a bit too heavy for our slightly oily complexion, but our fears were quickly assuaged after we smoothed it onto our arms for a test drive. It’s hydrating, yes, but it’s the total opposite of greasy, instead making for a silky, semi-matte finish that’s actually perfect for oily and combination skin types. The scent, derived naturally by way of essential oils, is also the best we’ve ever tried.
Read more from Daily Makeover: 10 Weird Places You’re Forgetting to Apply Sunscreen