14 Best Sunscreens for 2023 – CNET

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$10 at Amazon

neutrogena-green

Neutrogena Mineral Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

Best overall sunscreen

$38 at Amazon

supergoop-yellow

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Body

Best sunscreen for everyday use

$28 at Amazon

coola-blue

Coola Classic Body Sunscreen

Best lightweight sunscreen

$27 at Walmart

eltamd-orange

EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen

Best sunscreen for dry and sensitive skin

$14 at Amazon

cerave

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30

Best drugstore sunscreen

$16 at Target

black-girl-sunscreen-yellow

Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Hybrid

Best sunscreen for dark skin

$15 at Amazon

badger-blue

Badger Baby Mineral Sunscreen Cream

Best mineral sunscreen that’s safe for infants

$7 at Amazon

coppertone

Coppertone Sport

Best sunscreen for sports and outdoor activities

$19 at Amazon

everyday-humans-pink

Everyday Humans Resting Beach Face

Best sunscreen for the face that doubles as skincare

$9 at Ulta

sun-gloss-yellow

Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Pop Sun Gloss

Best lip sunscreen

$29 at Walmart

earth-mama-green

Earth Mama Uber Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Best mineral sunscreen for kids

$31 at Walmart

pacifica-blue

Pacifica Sea & C Sheer Sunscreen

Best vegan and cruelty-free sunscreen

With summer right around the corner, many people are starting to plan their days with outdoor activities. However, prolonged sun exposure and ultraviolet rays can cause premature aging, sunburn and even skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Using sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. You’ll want sunscreen that’s powerful enough to protect your skin for hours and that can withstand water if you swim at the beach or in your pool. On top of protecting from skin cancer, sunscreen also helps keep your skin youthful and prevents skin issues such as wrinkles, sagging and hyperpigmentation.

I live in sunny (and humid) Puerto Rico, so sunscreen has been an essential part of my daily skincare routine over the years. After testing over 30 products, these are my top 14 sunscreens for 2023.

Read more: 10 Sunscreen Myths You Need to Stop Believing

How we tested the best sunscreen

To determine this roundup of best sunscreens, I considered factors like SPF levels, ingredients, consistency and price. I also tested these sunscreens hands-on to better understand how these products perform in real-time during different activities. Through this process, I identified the top sunscreens that offer the best sun protection and have quality ingredients.

All of these sunscreens were tested for a full, normal workday. My day consisted of a morning outdoor workout, working indoors (next to a window) for eight hours and an afternoon walk in the park. I reapplied each sunscreen every two hours, as recommended by experts. 

I tested over 30 products and narrowed it down to my top 14 sunscreens on the market for every skin type and lifestyle. 

Read more: What Is the Best SPF for Sunscreen?

Best sunscreen for 2023

neutrogena-green

Neutrogena/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer is a bestseller for a reason, but the new mineral formula exceeded my expectations. Compared to the regular formula, Netrogena’s Mineral body sunscreen feels a bit more watery and lightweight. It doesn’t feel greasy and rubs in clear on all skin tones. I have darker skin, so it took about a minute of rubbing before it became clear, but once it did, you couldn’t see any white residue. For an everyday sunscreen at a good price, you can’t go wrong with this.

  • SPF level: 30
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral
  • Consistency: Lightweight 
  • Finish: Matte

Neutrogena Mineral UltraSheer Dry-Touch SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion, Water-Resistant Broad-Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection, Skin Nourishing, Lightweight With Vitamin E, Oxybenzone-Free, 3.0 fl. oz

supergoop-yellow

Supergoop/ Edits by James Martin / CNET

I chose this sunscreen as the best sunscreen for everyday use because of its lightweight and sheer formula. It absorbs well into the skin and doesn’t smell like sunscreen, so you can wear it to work or to go out without smelling like you just got back from a tropical vacation. The gel-like consistency also makes it easy to rub onto the skin and doesn’t leave a matte or dewy finish — it doesn’t look like you have anything on at all. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Body contains a blend of antioxidants that helps protect the skin from free radicals. This sunscreen is water resistant (up to 40 minutes), dermatologist tested, reef friendly, vegan and contains no artificial fragrances.

  • SPF level: 40
  • Mineral or chemical: Chemical
  • Active ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, homosalate 9%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 10%
  • Consistency: Gel
  • Finish: Natural

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen, 1.7 oz – SPF 40 PA+++ Reef-Friendly, Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen & Makeup Primer – Weightless, Invisible, Oil Free & Scent Free – Beard Friendly – For All Skin Types

coola-blue

Coola / Edits by James Martin/ CNET

Greasy sunscreens are no longer the norm, thankfully. Now you can find many sunscreens that feel like (and blend into your skin like) a moisturizing lotion. One of them is Coola Classic Body Sunscreen. This SPF 30 is ultra-lightweight, water resistant (up to 80 minutes) and promises to hydrate and nurture your skin while protecting it from the sun. This sunscreen has a proprietary Plant Protection complex that contains antioxidant-rich ingredients like red raspberry seed oil, buriti oil, meadowfoam seed oil and prickly pear extract that help fight free radicals and nourish your skin.

  • SPF level: 30
  • Mineral or chemical: Chemical
  • Active ingredients: Avobenzone 1.84%, homosalate 2.50%, octisalate 1.65% and octocrylene 3.95%
  • Consistency: Ultra lightweight
  • Finish: Dewy

COOLA Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 Sunblock Body Lotion, Dermatologist Tested Skin Care For Daily Protection, Vegan And Gluten Free, Tropical Coconut, 5 Fl Oz

eltamd-orange

EltaMD/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

Zinc sunscreens have come a long way from those pasty lotions that left a sheen of white behind. EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen uses only zinc oxide to reflect harmful UV rays off your skin so they don’t cause skin damage. What I really loved about this sunscreen is that it rubs in clear. It’s also oil-, fragrance- and paraben-free, so it’s a good sun protection choice for anyone with sensitive or oily skin.

  • SPF level: 50
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral and chemical combo
  • Active ingredients: Zinc oxide 9.0%, octinoxate 7.50% and octisalate 5.0%
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Finish: Dewy

cerave

Amazon

CeraVe is already a great brand for simple, budget skincare, so this sunscreen’s effectiveness is no surprise. CeraVe’s hydrating mineral sunscreen is a great choice for those looking for a sunscreen that provides protection and a natural-looking tint. As someone with dark skin, I tend to avoid tinted products as they’re typically too pale for me and leave a white cast. I did not have that experience with this sunscreen. It absorbed really well with no white residue. 

In addition to sun protection, CeraVe Mineral Tinted Sunscreen also contains three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, that help restore and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. This product is great for all skin types and is free of fragrance, oil and parabens. 

  • SPF level: 30
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Finish: Extra dewy

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30 | Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen With Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide | Sheer Tint for Healthy Glow | 1.7 Fluid Ounce

black-girl-sunscreen-yellow

Black Girl Sunscreen / Edits by James Martin

One myth is that Black people don’t need sunscreen, which couldn’t be further from the truth. While melanin does protect Black skin, it doesn’t mean immunity from harmful rays. Black Girl Sunscreen is specially formulated to protect darker skin tones. Many sunscreens leave a sheer white cast on dark skin tones, but Black Girl Sunscreen blends seamlessly onto the skin. And if you’re worried about oxybenzone and octinoxate, neither are in this sunscreen — all you’ll find are natural ingredients like avocado and jojoba oil, which also hydrate the skin.

  • SPF level: 50
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral and chemical combo
  • Active ingredients: Homosalate 10%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 5% and zinc oxide 5%
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Finish: Dewy

Black Girl Sunscreen Make it Hybrid with Zinc and Lavender Sunscreen – SPF 50 – 3 fl oz

badger-blue

Badger/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

Doctors recommend limiting your baby’s sun exposure by having them wear a wide-brimmed hat and sun-protective clothing and keeping them in the shade. But even with those precautions, sunscreen is still recommended, generally when they are six months and older. Once they reach the six-month milestone, you can use sunscreen to protect them from the sun’s rays, but stick to formulas free of dyes and scents and use minerals (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) for sun protection.

This sunscreen for babies was tested on my 7-month old nephew. His mom was pleased that it had no strong scent and also didn’t cause any reaction on his sensitive skin.

Badger Baby Mineral Sunscreen Cream is an excellent choice for parents looking to protect their babies from the sun’s rays. This sunscreen is made with natural and organic ingredients and is free from harsh chemicals like oxybenzone. It’s also water resistant (up to 40 minutes) and has a soft scent (from the chamomile).

  • SPF level: 40
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral 
  • Consistency: Creamy
  • Finish: Matte

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 40, Organic Mineral Sunscreen for Babies with Zinc Oxide, Travel Size, Broad Spectrum, Reef Safe, Water Resistant, Pediatrician Tested for Sensitive Skin, 2.9 fl oz

eltamd-facial

EltaMD/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

Despite its name, this sunscreen isn’t clear out of the pump. However, this mineral sunscreen rubs in without any white cast. It’s designed for those with acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation and includes niacinamide (vitamin B3), an ingredient that can soothe inflammation and reduce redness.

This formula is neither thick nor thin, and there’s no smell. It takes a bit of rubbing to get the formula to sink in, but once rubbed in, it feels lightweight and moisturizing on the skin. If you’re opposed to the white hue, EltaMD also makes a tinted sunscreen.

EltaMD products are great if you have various skin concerns such as rosacea or sensitivity.

  • SPF level: 46
  • Mineral or chemical: Both
  • Active ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, zinc oxide 9%
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Finish: Dewy

EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Face Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Acne-Prone Skin, Oil-Free Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion with Zinc Oxide, Dermatologist Recommended, 1.7 oz Pump

coppertone

Coppertone/Amazon

Looking for a sports sunscreen that doesn’t feel sticky or oily? This is a good bet. This sunscreen is designed to provide protection from UV rays, even during intense physical activity. Coppertone’s Sport Sunscreen is a popular lotion that’s both water-resistant and moisturizing, thanks to vitamin E. It’ll protect you from UVA/UVB rays for up to 80 minutes if you’re in the water or sweaty. What I liked most it that once I started sweating, it didn’t sting my eyes like other affordable brands do.

  • SPF level: 50
  • Mineral or chemical: Chemical
  • Active ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, homosalate 10%, octisalate 4.5%, octocrylene 8%
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Finish: Matte

Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen SPF 50 Lotion, Water Resistant Sunscreen, Body Sunscreen Lotion, 7 Fl Oz

everyday-humans-pink

Everyday Humans/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

If you’re looking for a sunscreen that doubles as a skincare duo, you’ll love Everyday Human’s Resting Beach Face formula. It’s infused with natural ingredients like green tea extract and spinach, which help strengthen your skin’s natural defense systems. It also contains hyaluronic acid and Pentavitin®, a moisturizing complex that helps restore your skin’s suppleness and volume. This sunscreen is lightweight and non-greasy, so it’s a great option to use under your makeup. It also provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, which is essential for maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin. All of Everyday Human’s products are cruelty-free, vegan, oxybenzone and PABA-free, fragrance-free and Climate Neutral Certified. The packaging is also recyclable. All you have to do is unscrew the cap, cut the tube to remove any product and rinse.

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy good branding. Everyday Humans’ packaging is so aesthetic you’ll want to snap a few pics next to the pool with it. Good ingredients and nice packaging? You got it with Everyday Humans.

  • SPF level: 30
  • Mineral or chemical: Chemical
  • Active ingredients: Octocrylene 2%, avobenzone 3%, octisalate 4% and homosalate 8%
  • Consistency: Lightweight 
  • Finish: Dewy

Everyday Humans Resting Beach Face | SPF 30 Lightweight Facial Sunscreen & Makeup Primer | Serum Moisturizier w/ Hyaluronic Acid For Glow | Face Moisturizier with SPF For Normal, Combo, Oily Skin | Cruelty Free Oxybenzone Free

sun-gloss-yellow

Black Girl Sunscreen / Edits by James Martin / CNET

This sun gloss contains SPF 50 to protect your lips against the damaging effects of UV rays while helping you look fabulous. It contains hyaluronic acid, tripeptides, vitamin E and jojoba that nourish your lips. Unlike other lip sunscreens I’ve tested, this one doesn’t leave a chalky or sticky residue on your lips. It has a glossy and smooth texture that keeps your lips moisturized, similar to high-end glosses you would get at Sephora. Just like regular body sunscreen, you must reapply every two hours for maximum sun protection.

  • SPF level: 50
  • Mineral or chemical: Chemical
  • Active ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, homosalate 4.5%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 9%
  • Consistency: Gloss
  • Finish: Glossy

earth-mama-green

Earth Mama/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

This sunscreen lotion is a great choice for parents who want a safe but effective sunscreen for their little ones. I tested this sunscreen on myself as I don’t have any kids in my family, but what’s important here are the product’s ingredients. Earth Mama Uber Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is made with organic shea butter and organic colloidal oatmeal, making it soothing and gentle for sensitive skin. This sunscreen is reef-friendly, cruelty-free and contains non-nano zinc  — sun protection that sits on top of the skin that scatters sun rays instead of being absorbed by the skin.

Earth Mama’s Mineral Sunscreen for Kids is water resistant (up to 40 minutes) and free from parabens and artificial fragrances.

  • SPF level: 40
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral 
  • Consistency: Lotion
  • Finish: Matte

Earth Mama Uber-Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40 | Reef Safe, Non-Nano Zinc, Contains Organic Colloidal Oatmeal | Steroid-Free Eczema Cream for Baby, Kid & Family, 3-Ounce

pacifica-blue

Pacifica/ Edits by James Martin / CNET

If you’re looking for a great cruelty-free sunscreen, look no further. Pacifica Sheer Sunscreen is your best bet fit you’re looking for quality sunscreen without compromising your ethical beliefs. As someone who is vegan, I really like that this sunscreen is completely free of animal-derived ingredients, and Pacifica also does not test on animals, making it 100% cruelty-free. Pacifica’s Sea & C heer Sunscreen contains vitamin C and marine extracts which decrease photodamage (skin damage from the sun) and helps repair your skin. It’s also water resistant (up to 80 minutes), free of octinoxate, oxybenzone and nanoparticles (small particles that may be absorbed by the skin and have been associated with adverse effects).

I don’t love sunscreens that come in a spray bottles since it’s hard to apply evenly. However, instead of a spray, it’s more like a light mist — it does a better job at providing coverage. I recommend on not relying only on the mist, but also rubbing it onto your skin with your hands after spraying.

  • SPF level: 30
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral and chemical combo
  • Active ingredients: Octisalate 4.9%, octocrylene 7.6% and zinc oxide 7%
  • Consistency: Non-aerosol spray
  • Finish: Natural

Pacifica Beauty, Sea & C Mineral Combo Sunscreen SPF 30, Vitamin C + Marine Extracts, Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection, Non-Aerosol, Suncare + Skincare, Water Resistant, Vegan

sonrei-orange

Sonrei/ Edits by James Martin/ CNET

Sonrei Cleary Zinq mineral sunscreen is the best organic sunscreen I tested on this list. It provides ample protection from UV rays and is also gentle on the skin. This Sonrei sunscreen is made with 70% organic ingredients like zinc oxide, an effective mineral sunscreen agent. It’s also free of oxybenzone, fragrances, parabens and gluten. The Sonrei Clearly Zinq sunscreen is also cruelty-free, vegan, GMO-free, water resistant (up to 80 minutes) and Hawaii Reef compliant. It’s lightweight and doesn’t leave a greasy finish like other mineral sunscreens I tested.

  • SPF level: 60
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral 
  • Consistency: Gel
  • Finish: Natural

Sonrei Clearly Zinq Mineral Face and Body Zinc Athleisure Sunscreen Gel SPF 60 | 6.8 oz (1 Pack)

How to choose a sunscreen

With all of the options available, choosing the best sunscreen for you can be overwhelming. Most sunscreens will offer adequate sun protection, so you just need to keep a few things in mind when buying sunscreen.

  • Choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. This means it protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Look for a sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher. Anything under that may not give you enough protection.
  • Consider your skin type and any allergies or sensitivities. If you have acne-prone skin, it’s best to choose a sunscreen that’s labeled non-comedogenic.
  • Take a look at your lifestyle. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the water, choose a product that’s water-resistant. If you play an outdoor sport, consider one that’s formulated for physical activities.

Mineral sunscreen vs. chemical sunscreen

Mineral and chemical sunscreens work in different ways to protect your skin. Mineral sunscreens use active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide that create a physical barrier on the skin that reflect and scatter UV rays. These sunscreens tend to be less irritating to the skin and may be a better option for those with sensitive skin.

Chemical sunscreens typically use active ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate that absorb UV rays. Chemical sunscreens generally provide a more even coverage but may not be suitable for people with skin sensitivities.

Many people stay clear of chemical sunscreens because of these active ingredients. However, the FDA says they’re safe.

Sunscreen FAQ

Do sunscreens expire?

Yes. Sunscreens expire, but not how you may think they do. Sunscreens tend to hold on to their strength for at least three years. After that, they lose potency but still provide some protection.

Does sunscreen prevent tanning?

Sunscreen does not prevent tanning. It protects you from potential sun damage but will not prevent your skin from getting darker.

How does sunscreen work?

Chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat that is later released by the skin. On the other hand, mineral sunscreens use ingredients that create a physical barrier on the skin that scatters the light from the sun.

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