Sunscreen is going through a major glow-up. From sunscreen-serum hybrids to SPF that doubles as makeup, these new formulas actually make you *want* to reapply. In Bustle’s Suncare Week, we’re doing a deep dive on the latest innovations in sun-care, from textures to technology.
There have never been more sunscreen options on the shelves, which is great news for society’s general skin health. You can have it any way you want: mineral, chemical, tinted, serum-like… the list goes on. While having so many different formulas to choose from is a good problem to have, it can make it difficult to choose just one (or three). Beauty editors, however, are sitting on a treasure trove of knowledge when it comes to the most covetable and best sunscreens in 2021.
As editors, we (arguably) play around with more skin care concoctions per week than most people use in their entire lives — which means we tend to have strong opinions on even the most seemingly benign of products. During the summer especially, our beauty testing energy gets channeled into all forms of sun-protecting formulas.
These days, sunscreen has made so much progress that it’s become a skin care product many people (including myself) look forward to applying and reapplying. Since it’s quite literally our job to sort through the endless offerings, consider the below roundup of beauty editor picks as the best sunscreens of 2021.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
The Best Sunscreens Of 2021
An SPF For All Skin Tones
Black girls get sunburned too, and this melanin-friendly formula is infused with jojoba and avocado for extra hydration and restoration. Perfect under makeup or solo, this sunscreen is an absolute winner — and it’s white cast-free! — Kui Mwai, beauty writer
A Super Absorbent Face Cream
It’s hard to find a face sunscreen that does the sun-protecting job on the sly. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Typology’s creamy formula absorbs instantly into my skin. It doesn’t add any weight to whatever’s already on my face, and I get the added benefit of a moisture boost thanks to aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor
A Sunblock With A Glow
I was already in love with the cult-favorite Supergoop! Glow Screen — which gives an out-of-control radiance that always wins me compliments — but its more recently-launched body version has me falling for the glowy SPF all over again. It contains a solid SPF 40 and doubles as a subtle but gorgeous all-over shimmer, making it perfect for sprucing up my limbs in the summer heat. — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor
A Grown-Up SPF Spray
Sometimes you just want to spritz on your sunscreen and be done with it (after carefully rubbing it in, of course). I’m in love with Bask’s spray-on SPF: The smell makes me feel like I’m poolside at a resort, and it quickly sinks into my skin without feeling greasy. — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor
A Skin-Perfecting SPF
I like wearing this Glo tinted SPF because it has just enough coverage to get me through the days when my skin is acting out with discoloration or breakouts. It goes on easy and the dispensing method is mess-free, which means I can keep it in my purse. But, TBH, the real reason I’ve become so dedicated is because it makes my skin look so flawless and dewy —a wildly rare feat for sunscreen. — Tamim Alnuweiri, beauty & wellness writer
An Acneic Skin-Friendly SPF Serum
In the summer, I need to apply fewer layers of product to my skin. This Zitsticka SPF is perfect since it streamlines my routine: First, it lessens the amount of skin care I have to use since it doubles as a serum and sunscreen. Secondly, it is so gentle on my skin and never causes any breakouts or clogged pores. It’s so light I frequently forget it’s even a sunscreen, which is the ideal viscosity and finish you want from an SPF. — Tamim Alnuweiri, beauty & wellness writer
A Discrete Sunblock
I’m on a perpetual hunt for a sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast or smell like, well, sunscreen. This little tube — which is compact enough to throw in my bag while running errands or hanging out at the beach — checks both of those boxes. It smells faintly of lavender — so calming — and melts into my face without leaving an embarrassing visible layer of residue, which isn’t easy to find in a mineral sunscreen. — Hilary Shepherd, beauty writer
A Dreamy Retro SPF
I’ve been pretty nostalgic lately and when I came across this 80s-inspire sunscreen, I was totally feeling its retro vibes. But, cool aesthetics aside, it has everything I want in an SPF: It’s super lightweight, blends into the skin seamlessly with zero white cast, and — my personal favorite part — it’s the best smelling sunscreen I’ve ever tried. It’s earned a permanent spot in my beach bag this summer. — Audrey Noble, beauty writer
A Portable SPF Stick
I’m not one of those people who are diligent about applying SPF throughout the day (oops), but now, thanks to this product, I might be. This portable little tube can be tossed in the smallest of summer bags or even your pocket to ensure you’re fully protected. The thing I love most is that it’s a mineral formula (most chemical sunscreen sticks tend to break me out or leave my face extremely greasy), but there’s no white residue. I swipe the oil-free formula directly onto my face, then blend in with my fingers, and voila: It’s now a summer staple. — Faith Xue, executive beauty director
A Cooling Sunscreen
I love this SPF mist because it’s perfect for spritzing on the go. It also makes reapplying throughout the day easier than ever, but the real perk is it feels so refreshing on my skin — the formula has a cooling effect combined with a slight minty scent, which makes it a perfect sunscreen for those extra hot days. — Faith Xue, executive beauty director