The Ultimate Guide to Drugstore Sunscreens

Updated 05/28/19

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In the past, white noses and greasy residue were the de facto price one paid to hit the beach. Luckily, those days are long gone: sunscreen now applies smoothly, soaks in quickly, and can even benefit your skin beyond sun protection. Best of all? Drugstores now carry a range of accessible, affordable brands that offer high-end results, so you don’t have to dip into your vacation fund to stay safe from burns, blisters, or worse. (After all, if you’re applying the correct amount of sunscreen, you’re going to go through bottles pretty quickly.) Keep scrolling for the ultimate list of cheap yet powerful sunscreens for every skin type—all of which are SPF 30 or higher and priced at $30 or under (see what we did there?).

Elta MD UV Shield SPF 45 Facial Sunscreen $26
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It’s no secret that EltaMD is a sunscreen superstar–after all, it’s the #1 dermatologist-recommended sunscreen brand, and boasts hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon. This oil-free formula is designed for long-lasting, full-body coverage, making it ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 $22
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This French pharmacy favorite is a personal holy grail: the fast-absorbing formula applies smoothly, protects powerfully, and soothes my intensely sensitive skin. Plus, La Roche-Posay’s signature Cell-Ox Shield technology fights free radicals while it protects from the sun (it also received a perfect sun protection score from Consumer Reports).

Trader Joe's Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum $9
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Yes, the purveyor of your favorite frozen snacks also makes sunscreen. TJ’s highly affordable formula is designed with sensitive skin in mind and contains natural propellants in its ingredients list, as well as soothing aloe and vitamin E.

Hint Pineapple SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray $11
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This broad-spectrum ‘screen employs a compressed air system that forgoes propellant chemicals for fast-drying coverage, sans sticky hands. Plus, it smells so good that you’ll look forward to reapplying.

Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 $16
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Enriched with Parsol 1789 and vitamin E, this oil-free, paraben free, PABA free, and cruelty free full-body lotion provides protection and moisture to even the most sensitive and allergy-prone skin.

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance SPF 30 Sunscreen $8
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This non-greasy lotion is as good for the environment as it is for you: the formula is certified Reef Safe, meaning that it’s free of environmentally harmful chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. Bonus: a nostalgia-inducing coconut scent that, in this writer’s personal opinion, can’t be beat.

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Face Sunscreen SPF 50 $10
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Infused with zinc oxide, vitamin E, feverfew, and oat, Aveeno’s plant-packed sunscreen is moisturizing, non-comedogenic and fast-absorbing. The travel-sized bottle is perfect for stashing in your beach bag, and the formula dries matte for ideal makeup application.

Blue Lizard SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion $14
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Developed by an Australian dermatologist, this aluminum-free, dye-free mineral formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Bonus: the bottle’s cap turns blue in UV light, so you know when it’s time to apply.

Bullfrog Sunscreen Water Sport Water Resistant Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 $23
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Is BullFrog’s aesthetic something out of a 90s surf movie? Yes. Is their formula quick-drying, long-lasting, and non-greasy? Also yes. Look beyond the chartreuse exterior, and you’ll find a sophisticated ingredient list that promises unparalleled protection in and out of the water.

Olay Face Sunscreen + Shine Control SPF 35 $20
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Olay’s broad-spectrum antioxidant sunscreen does double duty as a mattifier, so you can catch rays while keeping oil at bay. The featherweight formula is light enough to pair with a full skincare routine, but it’s shine-busting power is strong enough that it stands on its own, too.

Coppertone Pure & Simple Adult SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion $12
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The classic suncare brand’s environmentally friendly formula is just as strong as its chemical counterparts: water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, the high SPF promises to keep your skin safe, while the dermatologist-tested botanical ingredients list–free of fragrance, PABA, parabens, dyes and oxybenzon–soothes and moisturizes.

Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion $13
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Australian Gold’s best-rated sunscreen/lotion hybrid boasts a hint of color and a high SPF, so you can primp and protect your skin while forgoing layers of makeup on meltingly hot days.

Bare Republic Coco Mango Mineral Spray - SPF 30 $15
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This tropical-scented spray is packed with plant-derived ingredients and dries sheer on all skin tones. The mineral formula pairs non-nano zinc oxide with antioxidant-rich ingredients like grape, raspberry and carrot seed oils.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Lightweight Sunscreen Spray - SPF 70 $9
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Neutrogena is canon for suncare that doubles as skincare, and the brand’s super light sunscreen spray is no exception. The bottle’s innovative handle offer an upgrade on the classic winning formula, ensuring that you’ll never miss a spot.

Pond's Face Moisturizer $10
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This classic beauty brand has been around since 1846, but Pond’s SPF-packed daily moisturizer feels thoroughly modern. The mega-light cream offers sun protection and brightens and evens skin tone, all while preventing dark spots, aging and discoloration.

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