I posted my Favorite Sunscreens for the Face. I wear sunscreen every day. Saying that, I don’t wear sunscreen on my body daily because most of the year, my body is not exposed. I mostly wear sunscreens for the body in the summer or if I travel to a warmer climate. I do try to wear sunscreen on my hands every day. So, my needs and requirements are different for a body sunscreen than a daily face sunscreen.
Unlike my Favorite Sunscreens for the Face, you won’t find any mineral/physical-based sunscreens on this list. Why? Because I *usually* don’t like them. The ones for the body tend to feel heavy, are impossible to rub in and leave me looking like a ghoul. I also wear a lot of black. Yep, even in the summer. The mineral-based ones get all over my clothes (some formulas have destroyed my clothes). Since I don’t have an allergy, I use well-formulated “chemical-based” sunscreens for my body.
What I look for in a sunscreen for the body is something that doesn’t have a sticky or heavy texture, doesn’t transfer onto clothing, doesn’t smell terrible and doesn’t cost a fortune (you have to use a lot of sunscreen on the body!).
Here’s a few of the ones that I keep repurchasing and are in my current rotation:
Vichy Idéal Soleil Soft Sheer Sunscreen SPF 60
Actives: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocyrlene 5%, Oxybenzone 6%
Texture: Lotion (but more liquid-y than the others)
- This is one of my daily body sunscreens. I like how it layers over body lotions or creams. It also dries quickly.
- Pros: There’s no scent. It layers nicely.
- Cons: Price. Availability. Anti-oxidants appear to be minimal (towards the end of the ingredients list).
The 5 oz tube retails for about $30 at select drugstores and on Amazon.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 45 (or SPF 30 or SPF 55)
Actives: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%
- Real talk – This isn’t my favorite sunscreen in the world but it has some pros that keeps me repurchasing. It’s inexpensive, available everywhere and does have a non-greasy feel. If I find myself out without any sunscreen, I can usually find a tube of this to pick up. Some people use this on their face; I don’t.
- Pros: Easy to find. Lightweight. Dries quickly to a matte finish. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Has not transferred onto my clothes. Layers nicely over body lotions.
- Cons: Doesn’t feel “luxurious”. Has a faint sunscreen smell. No glamorous ingredients – just UVA/UVB sun protection.
The 3 oz bottle retails for under $10 and is available at most drugstores and Amazon.
Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel Super SPF 50 PA +++
Actives: Octinoxate, Univnul A Plus, Univnul T 150
Texture: Gel lotion.
- This is one of those Japanese magical texture sunscreens. It’s like a gel and dries invisibly. How do they do this?! Despite its higher SPF, I tend to only use it on low UV days. Why? Because I don’t think it provides protection against all UVA rays (but what does?). I have used this and noticed some color change on my body (unlike my face) so I do wonder about its efficacy (and how it holds up to sweating). This could be that I’m not applying enough or I’m sweating it off. I don’t know. But, because of this, I only use it on “lightweight” days.
- Pros: Big bottle with a pump. Gel spreads evenly and is lightweight. Has not transferred onto my clothes. Price.
- Cons: Availability is limited (shipping takes a long time from Japan). High alcohol content. Light fragrance (heavy on the alcohol). Lower SPF coverage in comparison to other Japanese sunscreens.
The 4.9 oz bottle retails for about $12 on Amazon.
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion SPF 30
Actives: Avobenzone 2%, Homosalate 5.5%, Octisalate 4.5%, Octocrylene 4%
- This is my guilty pleasure sunscreen. It feels like a body cream and smells like “the beach”. You know, that white floral coconut functional fragrance that companies have brainwashed us into thinking is the beach? Well, it’s that. And I like it.
- Pros: Easy to find. Moisturizing and actually makes my skin feel good. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Price.
- Cons: Not “dry touch”. Lower SPF than I like for “beach days”. There’s a strong fragrance (which is a pro for me but it will compete with your perfumes – I usually pair it with something like Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess).
The 5.1 oz bottle retails for under $10 and is available at most drugstores and Amazon.
Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 (not pictured)
Actives: Homosalate 10%, Oxybenzone 6%, Octisalate 5%, Avobenzone 3%, Octocrylene 2%
- There’s no glamorous marketing with this one, but it works. It’s a sunscreen that doesn’t feel too heavy (I wouldn’t use it on my face though). It has some anti-oxidants and is water-resistant.
- Pros: Lightweight finish. Addition of anti-oxidants. Water-resistant.
- Cons: It says it has a “matte” finish but I think it’s more of a satin finish. Has a sunscreen-y aroma. Availability is limited to online.
The 5 oz bottle retails for $17 and is available at Paula’s Choice and Nordstrom.
Honorable mentions that I repurchase but haven’t bought this year (yet): La Roche-Posay Antihelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen SPF 60 (about $30, one of my old favorites) and Kiss My Face Oat Protein SPF 30 (about $11). I sometimes wear a physical sunscreen (usually from the baby lines by Korean skincare brands) if I know I’m going to be getting some vicious, sub-tropical sun (this is so rare).
UPF Clothing: If I’m going to be outside for an extended period, you better believe I’m going to wear something that protects. I love my black Uniqlo AIRism UV hoodie with thumb holes (to protect the tops of the hands). They also have other UV items in the AIRism line (like tops and a “summer” blazer). Coolibar is a brand that specializes in UV clothing. I bought their black/white bandana to wrap around my neck/chest if I’m out. When I used to drive, I wore the UPF gloves/sun sleeves (that was before I knew about the Uniqlo hoodies). This also helps with mosquitoes (less skin exposed). Usually for the body, I prefer UPF clothing or treated clothing over sunscreen.
Stick SPF – I always carry a sunscreen stick with me to use on the tops of my hands, tops of my exposed feet or on my ears if my hair is pulled back. I’ll usually buy any mineral/physical sunscreen stick or something like Yes to Cucumbers SPF 30 Stick. I like them because they are easy to travel with are easy to apply after hand washing. Because of their size and heavy texture, I don’t recommend them for the entire body or face unless I’m in a totally desperate situation.
What are some of your favorite sunscreens for the body?
Note: I don’t usually get into the ocean but if I do, I make sure to not wear sunscreens that contain the ingredient oxybenzone because of its possible affect on coral-bleaching. I mean, it’s more complex than sunscreen but still, I’d rather play it safe.
*Products purchased by me. Pola Negri pic from drmacro.com. Other pics are mine. Post contains affiliate links.