They're perfect for both hard-to-reach areas and on-the-go coverage.

By Christina Oehler
June 30, 2020
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Even though applying sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine 365 days a year, if you associate anything with summer, it's probably SPF. Whether you're spending afternoons lounging poolside, going for a long hike, or just making a quick run to the store, protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays is key to preventing skin cancer, aging, and dark spots. But lathering on lotion can leave you feeling sticky, which is especially unideal for a day at the beach (read: sand. everywhere.).

Enter: Sunscreen sticks, the perfect solution to protecting skin while keeping application easy and clean. Debra Jaliman, MD, professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of Skin Rules says sunscreen sticks are handy alternatives to lotion, noting that they are "safe and effective" forms of sun protection. Many people find them easy to apply and super portable, since you can just throw them in your purse or backpack and go.

Unlike sunscreen sprays—with which you can end up with more of the product in the air than on your skin—sunscreen sticks seamlessly glide over skin to ensure proper and thorough application and can help protect the delicate skin near your eyes, since they don't run. "You can also apply them on the ears or nose, and they're good easy-to-miss spots like the ankles," points out Dr. Jaliman. She recommends choosing formulas with natural ingredients such as zinc oxide over chemical-based ones. And like with lotion and spray forms, you should reapply a layer every two hours, or after a swimming or sweating session, advises Dr. Jaliman.

Ahead, the best sunscreen sticks to try for your next outing or outdoor adventure.

Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick

While this formula comes in a spray and a lotion, the stick version is ideal for easy-to-miss spots on the face, ears, and neck—and is perfect for pool days, yard work, and anything in between. Its formula works to actively fight aging and prevent burns, and you can conveniently toss it in your purse or carry-on (the 1.5 ounce size is totally TSA appropriate).

One reviewer wrote: "My whole family applies this stuff before we head out into the sun. It's not greasy, but you can tell it's going on. When I've been good about applying this, I've never gotten a burn once, nor has anyone in my family. We keep one in the car, in my purse, and in the house," writes one Amazon user.

SolRX SPF 50 Zinc Stick 

Courtesy of merchant

This zinc-formulated sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays—similar to what you would get in a chemical sunscreen—without the harmful ingredients. Its application is clear, so you don't have to worry about it leaving a white cast on skin, and it is water resistant for up to 80 minutes—perfect for pool days or sweaty outdoor workouts.

"This is the only stuff I have found that can hang in there through hours of triathlon training," a customer shared. "It stays put through open water swimming, long bike rides and long sweaty runs."

Bare Republic Mineral Sport Sunscreen Stick

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If you're not a fan of the smell of sunscreen, look no further than this stick. Not only is it scented with sweet coconut and vanilla, but it's also reef-friendly and water-resistant up to 80 minutes. Reviewers say that its travel-friendly size makes it easy to carry anywhere, so just toss it in your beach bag or hiking backpack on your next day trip.

Loving this sunscreen stick it doesn't have a sticky feeling also works great when in water hasn't came off all day also smells good," said an Ulta shopper.

Supergoop Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Stick

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Just because this pediatrician-approved sunscreen stick is designed with kiddos in mind, doesn't mean that you can't use it, too. True to its name, this all-mineral formula is made up of natural ingredients like jojoba oil, zinc oxide, and coconut oil, so it's also safe for sensitive skin types.

"My kids stood still while I put it on, and my husband with the most sensitive skin on the planet even loves it," noted a buyer.

Shiseido Clear Stick UV Protector

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This stick has your clear sunscreen application covered—literally. Its paraben- and sulfate-free formula can be applied over or under makeup, so you have no excuse for leaving the house without your SPF. It also boasts a technology that makes it stronger as it comes into contact with water or perspiration, so you don't have to worry about it coming right off after a dip in the pool or a sweaty run.

"This is my favorite sunscreen so far," raved a customer. "This is a clear stick spf 50 plus that does wonders for my skin! No break outs- no mess! I simply just glide it on my face and leave the house. Doesn't take more than a minute and you're fully covered!"

Beauty by Earth SPF Mineral Sunscreen Stick

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Made with Mother Nature in mind, you can play at the beach and swim in the ocean knowing this sunscreen is free of harsh chemicals that could damage reefs. It contains all-natural ingredients, including zinc oxide, coconut oil, and shea butter, so you know exactly what you're putting on your skin. Not to mention, parents have taken to Amazon to rave about this product.

"It is very difficult to put sunscreen on my children’s faces," said a shopper. "They squirm and scream and then usually the sunscreen gets into their eyes and it’s a big drama. This stick is great at saving us from that scenario. It glides on smooth and since it’s a stick and not a spray or liquid, it stays in place and doesn’t get into their eyes and sting."

Sun Bum Sunscreen Face Stick

With over 600 glowing Amazon reviews, this broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Reviewers love its sweet, banana-scented formula that's gentle on skin and doesn't look or feel greasy post-application. And the tiny bullet will fit in any handbag or back pocket, so you can bring it with you wherever you go this summer.

"This is my absolute favorite face sunscreen," shared a buyer. "I have some occasional acne and rosacea-prone skin, but this doesn't make me break out or irritate my skin at all. It feels comfortable and not as slick as some other sunscreen sticks. It lasts a lot longer than a liquid sunscreen, even when I'm rowing, running, kayaking, or hiking."

Sol De Janeiro My Sol Stick

Sephora

This tiny sunscreen stick is as powerful as it is cute. It's made for easy-to-miss spots like your lips, bikini line, and tattoos, and its moisturizing and antioxidant-rich ingredients (think: cupuaçu butter, acaí oil, and coconut oil) help to soften and soothe skin for the ultimate glow. Plus, one reviewer says that it even smells like cake! No complaints here.

One reviewer wrote: "This by far has to be the best sunblock I have ever used. I have literally tried dozens of sunblock only to have it run into my eyes & sting really bad. This one does not. It smells delicious (like cake). It stays were you place it, doesn’t run and I don’t have any issues with clogged pores (I have oily skin). I will buy this again."

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen Stick

AMAZON

Made for those with sensitive skin (translation: it's hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and free of parabens), this clear sunscreen stick can be applied to the face and body. It's also developed with zinc oxide, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays, and it's sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Also great: Multiple reviewers comment on how well it stays on the skin, with one customer relating it to "crazy glue" (in a good way).

"It reaaaaally stays on your skin and does all the awesomeness for sun protection," raved a shopper. "I have an overall super sweaty face (for realz even my under-eyes get sweaty) and even like that, I still feel the sunscreen doing its job, like it does not get washed away."

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Water Resistant Sunscreen 

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Even if you're stuck at home this summer, spending time in your backyard warrants just as much protection as a day at the beach. This stick is a powerful option for anyone—children or adults—spending long stretches in the sun. Its formula protects against aging and burning, and the best part is that you don't have to wait until you're completely dry to reapply.

"I’ve been using this daily on my two year old, as we’re outside for hours everyday in the summer, often in and out of water. The stick clearly works very well because she hasn’t had any sunburn on her face, ears, and neck," said a customer.

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