Sunscreen formulas have come a long way from the goopy lotions that left you with a ghost-like complexion. Find your new go-to block here, plus useful tips.

By Chelsea Burns
Updated: January 30, 2017

As the sun ups its appearance, you should also up your sunscreen use. “Your winter routine won’t cut it now,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, dermatologist and director of cosmetic research at Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City. “As springtime begins, the strength of UV radiation increases, causing your skin to need even more protection.”

Happily, sunscreen formulas have come a long way from the goopy lotions that left you with a ghost-like complexion. Find your new go-to block here, plus useful tips from Dr. Zeichner on how and when to use it.


Best for: Protection on the go. Throw them in your gym bag for a quick wipe down post-workout or in your carry-on for a sunny weekend getaway (they’re TSA friendly!).

Try: LA Fresh Travel Lite Sunscreen Wipes SPF 30 ($30 for 48,

Good to know: Apply in a circular motion, making at least two passes over each area to ensure you don’t miss any spots and are depositing enough product, says Dr. Zeichner.

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Best for: Quick and easy applications. Whether you’re rushing to your outdoor sweat session or lounging on the beach, this spray has you covered in seconds without a sticky residue.

Try: CeraVe Sunscreen Wet Skin Spray SPF 50 ($5,

Good to know: To prevent the mist drifting away, hold the bottle an inch or two away from skin and spray for roughly two seconds per area, then rub it in, advises Dr. Zeichner.


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Best for: Cooling off during extended stints in the sun; it will shield you from the rays and lower your body temp.

Try: Bull Frog Water Armor Sport Quik Gel Sunscreen SPF 50 ($10,

Good to know: A little goes a long way—you only need a shot glass-sized amount to cover the whole body—making it the perfect head-to-toe shield. Hot tip: Store it in your fridge or cooler for an extra refreshing treat.


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Best for: Covering tricky spots. An SPF stick is perfect for those small areas like your ears, hairline, toes, and lips that often go neglected.

Try: Yes To Cucumbers Natural Sun Stick SPF 30 ($8,

Good to know: For the most effective protection, give it 4 swipes (back and forth and back and forth).


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Best for: Wearing everyday under makeup. Making one of these lightweight blocks part of your morning routine means you’ll never step outside unprotected.

Try: La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum SPF 50 ($43,

Good to know: Apply it as your last step before foundation. Rub any excess formula into the backs of your hands and down your neck and chest.


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Mineral powder

Best for: Midday touch-ups. It’ll give you an extra hit of protection when you find yourself in unexpectedly sunny situations.

Try: e.l.f. Studio SPF 45 Sunscreen UVA/UVB Protection ($6,

Good to know: No need to take off your makeup: just swipe over top of it. Be sure to thoroughly cover the high points of your face—cheeks, forehead, and nose—as these areas are always exposed to the sun.


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Best for: Extra parched skin. Oil formulas sink into skin quickly, amping up moisture and boosting your sun protection.

Try: Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil SPF 50 ($34,

Good to know: If thoughts of oil remind you of days baking in the sun, think again. This new form of SPF uses chemical blocks, like avobenzone and homosalate, to keep rays at bay.


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