Let’s be honest. Sunscreen is not the easiest beauty product to love. It doesn’t deliver the same satisfaction as a great, skin-renewing scrub or the wow factor of a mascara that takes short, stubby lashes and transforms them into a full-on flirty fringe. Plus, there’s that greasy finish and eventual chalky residue—both of which have a tendency to cause clogged pores. Or is there? After sifting through dozens of SPFs, we’ve discovered sunscreen is a lot easier to love than it used to be.
If you still consider protecting yourself from the sun more of a chore rather than a necessary step in your skincare regimen, then read on. Chances are you just haven’t found the best product for your skin type. To simplify your summer beauty routine (and save you from any skin woes—or the subtle sun damage that could be aging you), we’ve rounded up our top picks for seven skin types. Scroll on to find your perfect match.
The sunscreen solution for oily skin types is no longer simply oil-free formulas. Dry sunscreens that come in easy-to-apply powder brushes take it one step further. Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen ($46) is a chemical-free, mineral sunscreen that won’t clog pores. It comes in two colors, Translucent and Golden, both of which deliver SPF 30 protection that’s water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Dry skin needs a creamy moisturizer that absorbs well—anything too thick will sit on the skin and end up feeling sticky or greasy. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 ($32) is a hydrating protector infused with Argan oil. The skin-nourishing ingredients and lightweight texture make it a fast-absorbing moisturizer that delivers hydration deep down, while the all-natural, chemical-free sunscreen protects.
Sensitive skin should stay away from all chemical sunscreens. Look for zinc oxide formulas, like Epicuren Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 ($41). Zinc oxide is an all-natural, physical UV filter, meaning it sits on the surface of the skin. Your mind might go straight to an image of noses covered in a layer of thick, white sunscreen—but that’s not this. Epicuren’s formula is totally transparent, and it’s packed with a wealth of good-for-skin fruit and plant extracts, too.
Acne-prone skin has a lot of the same needs of oily skin when it comes to sunscreen, but you need to be even more mindful of the ingredients list. Oil-free, paraben-free, sensitivity-free, and fragrance-free are all mentions to look out for. Noncomedogenic is another important one, which means the product won’t clog pores. EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Very Light Sunscreen ($22) checks off all the boxes. It’s a dermatologist favorite that not only protects but also calms acne-prone skin.
Aging skin needs all the protection it can get, plus anti-aging ingredients. Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF 50 ($90) calls itself “a new generation of sunscreen” because it defends skin against UVA and UVB rays, free radicals, pollutants, and environmental damage, and it promotes firmer, more luminous skin. Powerful firming, brightening, moisturizing, and collagen-promoting ingredients work instantly to deliver a youthful radiance, and, over time, improve skin tone and texture.
When your skin is irritated or inflamed, the last thing you want to do is load it up with lots of heavy product. Susanne Kaufmann SPF 25 Sun Cream Cell Protection ($97) is an ultra-light fluid that provides high, broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection without irritating the skin. It also provides a blend of organically cultivated ingredients including anti-inflammatory balloon vine oil.
All Skin Types
For the hardened sunscreen skeptics who have all but given up on finding an SPF that they can get on board with, try a sunscreen mist. Goldfaden MD Sun Visor ($45) delivers a light (non-aerosol) mist of UVA/UVB-blocking SPF 30. The translucent formula is paraben-free, fragrance-free, oil-free, and smear-free. You can even wear it over makeup (and you won’t even notice it). It can be easily reapplied throughout the day—and with its skin-renewing organic red tea and antioxidants, you’ll want to.
This story was originally published on July 10, 2014, and has been updated.