The best sunscreens you need this summer
Here’s who made the cut
Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / September 22 2023
Let’s get this straight - wearing any sunscreen is better than wearing none at all. Even more so if you make it part of your daily routine (kudos to you, smart lady!). But, once you cross that threshold, it’s easy to discover there are some seriously shitty formulas out there. And we wouldn’t be Beauty Crew if we didn’t keep searching for the best sunscreens kicking around each summer.
The criteria? The best formulas are the ones that offer broad-spectrum protection - that is, protection from both UVA and UVB rays (this one is a non-negotiable). They are lightweight, water resistant, won’t mess with your skin, tell lies or take long smoko breaks. They’re on the g-damn task 24/7, and this is why they’ve made the cut.
Check out our picks for the hardest-working sunscreens for protecting your skin all summer long (and beyond).
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+
We could harp on for *days* about how good La-Roche Posay Anthelios XL 50+ is, but we’ll keep it straight to the point. Basically, it’s the real deal. It’s ultra-lightweight (won’t feel greasy and gross on your skin), non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores), fragrance-free (great for sensitive skin) and, most importantly, it offers high UVA/UVB protection. Did we mention it also contains thermal spring water to soothe the skin? Full marks, La Roche-Posay.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
We are seriously impressed with the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 – this formula *literally* feels light as air. It glides on easily for a convenient, on-the-go, hands-free application (because greasy sunscreen hands are the worst) and is the perfect size to chuck in your handbag. It also offers high protection, is non-comedogenic and oil-free. You gotta try it, guys.
Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Tinted Moisturiser SPF 50
Good news: This isn’t like the zinc you grew up with. It’s super lightweight, rubs in clear, is suitable for sensitive skin and is WAY better for the environment. Containing no chemical UV filters that may be harmful to coral reefs, Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Tinted Moisturiser SPF 50 is a physical sunscreen (meaning it provides a physical barrier between your skin and the sun) that contains naturally sourced zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection. Good for your skin AND good for the environment – we can really get around that.
NIVEA SUN Sensitive Protect SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion
If you’re a gal with sensitive skin, here’s another goodie: NIVEA SUN Sensitive Protect SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion. It not only offers broad-spectrum protection, it’s also formulated with aloe vera and chamomile to help soothe and calm reactive skin. On top of that, it contains vitamin E to help keep your skin hydrated and comfortable.
Mesoestetic Melan 130+ Pigment Control Mesoprotech
If you struggle with pigmentation, this guy has got you covered. Mesoestetic Melan 130+ Pigment Control Mesoprotech is a broad-spectrum SPF that’s strong enough to protect pigmented skin against further damage, as well as prevent the appearance of sunspots and visible signs of ageing. It’s also incredibly lightweight and won’t make you look ghostly white.
Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen
This three-in-one sunscreen is every minimalist’s dream come true. It combines the protection of sunscreen with the hydration of moisturiser (meaning one less skin care step and a sleep-in) and the makeup readiness of a primer. Packed with Australian native antioxidants, Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen is an all-round hero when it comes to protecting your skin against UVA, UVB, infrared, blue light and pollution.
Beachfox SPF 50+ Daily Vanilla Sunscreen
This isn’t a regular sunscreen, it’s a cool sunscreen. Beachfox SPF 50+ Daily Vanilla Sunscreen is a clear, non-sticky spray that smells bloody delicious. It’s also water resistant for four hours, won’t sweat off your face, and is suitable for dry skin.
Ella Bache Superfluid Great SPF50+
Not only is this sunscreen ridiculously cute, it’s a serious overachiever, too. It’s a primer, skin tint and SPF all in one. It provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays, while giving you an ultra-lightweight, glowy sheer coverage - Ella Bache Superfluid Great SPF50+ basically makes you *want* to wear sunscreen. It hits stores on December 26, so keep an eye out!
Edible Beauty Australia Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen SPF 50
Edible Beauty Australia Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen is not your average sunscreen. It’s 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free, and is made with a plant-derived ingredient list, meaning it’s gentle on skin and good for the environment. What makes it even better is that it’s bursting with a heap of anti-ageing and hydrating botanicals such as vitamins A, B, C, D and E, as well as Kakadu plum extract and rosehip oil.
Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Fragrance Free Face Sunscreen Lotion
This fragrance-free sunscreen from Bondi Sands is the *perfect* addition to your summer skin care line-up. Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Fragrance Free Face Sunscreen Lotion is formulated to deliver up to 72 hours of hydration (whether you plan on wearing it alone or under makeup) and is bursting with skin-loving ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E. It’s proudly reef-friendly, as well as paraben and sulphate-free.
Hawaiian Tropic® Duo Defence Face Lotion SPF50+
If you want to get more from your sunscreen, Hawaiian Tropic® Duo Defence Face Lotion SPF50+ is your guy. This silky little number provides broad-spectrum protection AND pollution protection (hello, bushfire smoke), all in one cute formula. Side note: the scent is VERY dreaming-of-an-island-getaway.
Sun Bum Original 50 Lotion
Super fast absorbing and non-greasy, Sun Bum’s Original 50 Lotion will protect you from harmful UVA/UVB rays while enriching your skin with the goodness of vitamin E. Perfect to wear all over, it’s reef-friendly, cruelty-free, vegan and hypoallergenic - basically everything you could ever wish for in a sunscreen.
Mecca Cosmetics To Save Face SPF50 Superscreen
We’re on board with anything that has the word ‘super’ in it. Especially when it comes to sunscreen. Mecca Cosmetics To Save Face SPF50 Superscreen is a luxe facial sunscreen, offering broad-spectrum protection and a whole lot more. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to hydrate and protect the skin’s barrier, as well as pomegranate extract to fight and delay the signs of ageing. On top of this, it’s also delightfully lightweight, matte and non-greasy, and won’t leave the skin with a white cast.
Natio Suncare Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 50+
If you’ve got kids, this family-size Natio Suncare Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 50+ is ideal for those days spent outdoors. Offering UVA/UVB protection, it’s light and quick to dry, and also contains aloe and vitamin E, perfect for sensitive skin types.
Aspect™ Sun Envirostat Face SPF 50
Aspect™ Sun Envirostat Face SPF 50 contains a blend of antioxidants and vitamin E to nourish and protect the skin’s barrier from the damaging effects of UV exposure. It’s water-resistant for four hours, lightweight in texture and the perfect year-round choice. It offers an instant dry finish (dreamy), is reef-safe and is the perfect companion for those living an active lifestyle.
Avène Tinted Compact Cream SPF50
If you’re looking for something that offers a little coverage as well as protection, Avène Tinted Compact Cream SPF50 is the perfect option. Not only does it have 50+ broad-spectrum protection, it also boasts a string of ingredients that are perfect for the most sensitive skin types. Suitable for everyday wear, it’s a great choice if you suffer from a range of skin conditions, such as rosacea, pigmentation, recent scars and even post-surgery skin.
Cetaphil Sun Ultra-light Lotion SPF50+
As it says in the name, the Cetaphil Sun Ultra-light Lotion SPF50+ is super lightweight, which gives you solace in knowing it’s ultra-fast absorbing. Ideal for sensitive skin, the hypoallergenic formula is ideal for everyday use. Slather away and enjoy the sunshine knowing you’re protected.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Wear protective clothing, hats and eyewear when exposed to the sun. Prolonged high-risk sun exposure should be avoided.
If you’re looking for more great sunscreens, check out some of the best sunscreens for every skin type.
What’s your pick out of this stellar bunch of sunscreens? Share with us in the comments below.
Main image credit: Sevak Babakhani
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.
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