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Talk to any beauty junkie for just a few minutes and you’ll quickly learn that sunscreen is a non-negotiable step in any skincare routine. The best sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV and UVB rays while creating a barrier to shield against sunburn and damage. It has been proven that too much sun exposure without proper protection can lead to dark spots, leathery skin, brown spots, and wrinkles so proper protection is a definite must.
Board-certified dermatologist Estee Williams recommends layering your sunscreen with your other makeup and skincare favorites. “Technically sunscreen should be the last product after everything else,” Williams says. “But anyone who wears makeup knows that’s hard to do. That’s why layering is great. Start with serum, then moisturizer, add SPF, and makeup last.”
Finding an affordable sunscreen is the key to making sure you maintain good SPF habits year-round, especially given how many bottles you'll blow through for adequate protection. So, to that end, we researched the best affordable sunscreens on the market.
Keep scrolling for our top budget-friendly sunscreen picks—all under $40.
Best Overall: Australian Gold Botanical Mineral Lotion SPF 50
Double up on sun protection and skincare with this gentle yet luxurious lotion that also moonlights as a sunscreen. This formula boasts SPF 50 and is full of antioxidants and vitamins that your skin will love.
This one is a crowd-pleaser because it hydrates your skin without making it feel sticky. The slight tint makes it ideal for anyone looking for some subtle coverage with their sun protection. And as an added plus, this sunscreen is cruelty-free, safe for sensitive skin, and made without any parabens.
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 100+
This lightweight formula feels great on the skin while it works overtime to provide powerful sun protection. It absorbs at lightning speed for a barely-there feeling once you rub it in. The non-comedogenic formula won’t clog your pores and the super-thin consistently layers spectacularly underneath your makeup. If you’re on the market for a sunscreen that shows its strength without leaving any residue, you’ll want to grab a bottle of this. Reviewers note that they’ve been loyal repeat buyers for years because of how great this formula is.
Best Stick: Supergoop Glow Stick SPF 50
You may be more of a spray or lotion sunscreen type of person, but hear us out because this stick SPF is actually quite impressive, offering glow-boosting hydration and major UV protection.
Supergoop recommends using this stick sunscreen right after moisturizer to lock in hydration and protect against the sun. You can stash it in your bag to reapply as needed throughout the day. It’s also safe to use on your face and body.
Best Mineral: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick
Ideal for those who are looking for protection without feeling like they’re wearing a ton of product, this lightweight formula is said to leave your skin feeling clean yet protected. It’s important to note that you should be comfortable with that classic sunscreen white cast on your skin if you opt to use this product. Because it’s a mineral formula, a white tint is normal as the product sits on the skin instead of absorbing. Reviewers especially love the coconut scent and the fact that the formula is truly waterproof and doesn’t budge in the pool or ocean.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50
Aveeno products are all specifically designed for sensitive skin and this sunscreen is no exception. Hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic, this formula will deliver the sun protection you’re looking for without messing with your skin. Another lightweight formula, this sunscreen is quick to absorb and is both sweat and water-resistant. Reviewers note that it’s also TSA-size friendly making it a no-brainer for your next getaway.
Best for Oily Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
This dermatologist-recommended sunscreen has won top honors from Consumer Reports for multiple years in a row. Ideal for oily skin types because of its calming effect, the multi-award-winning sunscreen is easily one of the best affordable sunscreens on the market. The synergistic filtering system provides real protection by sifting out harmful UVA rays. The milk-like consistency goes on thick and then quite literally melts into your skin until you forget you’re wearing it.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Kinship Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 32
With a zinc oxide concentration of 22.4%, this sunscreen takes its blocking duties very seriously. It’s loaded with turmeric to soothe skin and protect from future damage and is full of kinbiome, a plant-based probiotic that supports clear skin. The results? A matte, smooth, slightly-blurred finish. It’s recommended to apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure and to reapply every two hours as needed. Reviewers note that along with being ideal for those with acne-prone skin, this sunscreen is great for darker skin tones, as well.
Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Ultra Light Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30
This lightweight formula is a great starter sunscreen for anyone with dry skin. It’s light enough for daily use and strong enough to combat heavy sun exposure. The two-in-one moisturizing and sun-blocking properties make this product a no-brainer for a smoother and more efficient morning.
Best for Body: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion Sunscreen SPF 15
Amp up your skin’s glow factor with this full-body sunscreen formulated to make your skin radiant. With an ingredient list that boasts mango fruit extract, shea butter, and vitamin E, this all-over sunscreen delivers major hydration. Oil-free and non-greasy, it will leave your body feeling moisturized and clean and not overloaded with product. Reviewers love the classic tropical scent and the slight shimmer it leaves on the skin.
Best for Dark Skin: Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer SPF 30
This sunscreen packs a punch with a formula that blends aloe, vitamin E, B3 and SPF 30. Oil-free and non-greasy, this sunscreen is both hydrating and protective. It’s also super lightweight and promises not to leave that dreaded white cast behind. The brand recommends reapplying at least every few hours for it to truly do its job. Reviewers note that this sunscreen absorbs quickly, doesn’t leave a white cast behind, and impressed them more than most high-end alternatives. One pump is plenty to cover your entire face and you can rest assured knowing that the zinc-filled formula will keep your skin safe.
Best Sport: Coola Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30
Spritz this sunscreen before you head outside for on-the-go sun protection that’s both sweat- and water-proof. With cucumber, algae, strawberry extracts, and red raspberry seed oil, this natural sunscreen will nourish and hydrate your skin as it protects. The spray application helps you get to the back of your knees, arms, and neck to make sure you are fully covered.
Best Natural: Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Keep your sunscreen clean and your skin happy with this broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. Ideal for layering underneath makeup, this sunscreen targets redness and helps restore your skin’s firmness and elasticity. Bonus: You can rest assured knowing that this sunscreen is free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and a whole host of other toxic ingredients.