By now, we understand that sunscreen is the single biggest non-negotiable in the skincare space. Even if it does nothing else, the often life-saving protection offered by chemical and physical sunscreens makes daily application (and bi-hourly application!) well worth it. Even though we're watching summer come to a close and staring down the barrel of fall and winter, it's just as important as ever to incorporate effective SPF into your everyday routine. Experts recommend at least a half teaspoon's worth to cover your face and neck and a full ounce if you need head-to-toe coverage.
But now that the best brands have a firm handle on the whole UV ray-shielding aspect of it, they're all upping the ante. Now, it seems like there's an SPF-packed product for every multitasking need out there: added hydration, glow, skin tone-specific formulas, and even SPF accouterment designed to make slathering sunscreen on even easier and more effective. If you're ready to level up your SPF, reaping a few more benefits along the way, we're rounding a handful of some of the coolest, most high-tech SPF sunscreens out there. Scroll on to check them all out.
The SPF Exposure Stickers
Raise your hand if you've been here: You're at the beach or pool, laughing and splashing and maybe even sipping on some tropical cocktails. Suddenly, you notice your chest getting red—when were you supposed to reapply again? And wait a minute, when did you even put on the first coat, to begin with? Before you know it, it's too late to avoid that sunburn.
It's an all-too-common issue and one that the innovative SPOTMYUV Detection Stickers ($8) aims to solve, one sticker at a time. One patented sticker is all you need for a full day of play, and it fully takes the guesswork out of reapplication. Just stick one of the discreet, circular pads on and coat it with the sunscreen of your choice. When you're covered, it turns clear. But when that SPF has worn off, and it's time to re-up, the sticker will turn purple, indicating your protection's worn off. Safe for and visible on all skin types and tones, it's the tiniest insurance policy ever.
The Water-Resistent Mist
A scalp sunburn is one of those things you don't really think about until it happens to you, and then it's all you can think about every time you go in the sun. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then this protective (and deeply refreshing) mist is worth its weight in gold. Coola's Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30 ($26) is water-resistant and loaded down with SPF 30 to prevent scalp and hairline burns and protect hair color and integrity from the sun's unforgiving rays. Factor in the spray's fresh ocean-and-sage scent and the hydrating monoi oil infused in the formula, and your hair's found its new multitasking best friend.
The Invisible Mineral Sunscreen (Yes, Really)
J-beauty brand Shiseido is already considered the gold standard in sunscreen, but its latest formula breakthrough puts it in a league of its own. The brand's patented Smooth Protect Technology (and a fleet of top-tier researchers) managed to whittle two of physical sunscreen's thickest minerals—titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—down to a light-as-air formula that still delivers maximum protective benefits. Plus, the considerably thinner formula helps combat that dreaded white or purple cast that mineral sunscreens often leave behind for a silky-smooth finish that's virtually undetectable on the skin.
The Dual-Action Sunscreen Serum
Mara's Algae + Zinc Kale Sunscreen Serum ($52) is the definition of "best of both worlds", a true skin-hydrating serum that delivers more than enough daily moisture along with broad-spectrum SPF protection—and a seriously dewy glow to boot. Formulated with algae, zinc, hemp seed, and blue sea kale, the glossy, lightweight serum is made possible by Mara's trademark GlowDefense technology that harnesses non-nano zinc oxide for a purely mineral coverage. Meanwhile, moringa and raspberry seed oil team up to hydrate sun-soaked skin.