The 16 Best Affordable Sunscreens for Every Budget of 2022

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Let's cut to the chase: sunscreen is a non-negotiable part of your skincare routine. Yep, even if you only go outside for a few minutes a day, and yeah, even through the winter. Some dermatologists recommend wearing SPF indoors, so make sure you slather it on in the morning, no matter what you have planned.

"A great sunscreen is a sunscreen that someone wants to apply generously every single day and reapply when needed," says Claudia Christin, MBBS, Ph.D. in dermatology and medical advisor at Picky. In other words, it's all about finding one you like. But since you need roughly half a teaspoon's worth to cover your face and neck, and a full shot glass worth when applying SPF to your whole body, you can expect to go through a tube relatively quickly—which is why affordability is key.

We searched high and low, contacted experts, and checked our own medicine cabinets to bring you budget-friendly options for various skin types. Once you land on an SPF product you love, you might actually look forward to putting it on.

Scroll on for the best affordable sunscreens currently on the market.

Best Overall: Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++

Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++
What We Like
  • Non-sticky

  • Soothes skin

  • No chemical sunscreen

What We Don't Like
  • Can have a white cast

Korean cosmetics brands reign in the sunscreen category. While the formulas are certainly impressive, one place K-beauty sun creams really stand out is their relative affordability—and you can always count on Etude House for wallet-friendly products with brilliant textures.

Sunprise offers long-lasting SPF 50 mineral protection and a smooth finish that's never sticky. The milky lotion contains soothing aloe vera and hydrating hyaluronic acid, plus a handful of other plant-derived, skin-enhancing ingredients.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, carex humillis root extract, sunflower seeds, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid | SPF: SPF 50+ PA+++ | Size: 1.76 ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Alba Botanica Sensitive Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-greasy

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Can have a white cast

Alba's Sensitive Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 only costs a few bucks, but it holds its own against pricier products. The SPF 30 mineral formula is gentle enough to use on your face, as well as the rest of your body. Plus, it absorbs super quickly and leaves your skin feeling moisturized but not greasy.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: 4 ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore: CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

CeraVe Face Moisturizer with SPF 30
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Hydrating

  • Matte finish

What We Don't Like
  • Can pill

When it comes to drugstore skincare products, you can depend on CeraVe to deliver. This SPF 30 lotion uses a chemical formula (as opposed to a physical formula containing zinc and other minerals) to protect your skin from the sun. Essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid nourish the skin barrier without clogging pores.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Non-greasy

  • Safe for sensitive skin

What We Don't Like
  • Can have a white cast

If you're hesitant to try new products for fear of how your skin may react, you can have peace of mind with this mineral sunscreen. Recommended by New York-based board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, the SPF 50 formula safeguards your skin from 97 percent of the sun's rays. And without any irritating fragrances or preservatives, it's easy on sensitive skin.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide | SPF: 50+ | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, fragrance, parabens | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Deep Skin Tones: Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Ulta

What We Like
  • No white cast

  • Hydrating

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it's not for oily skin

Black Girl Sunscreen was made by and for people of color. Formulated with natural ingredients, it goes on totally clear—no white cast in sight—and offers SPF 30 protection. We also like that it doubles as a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated all day.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene | SPF: 30 | Size: 3 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Fair Skin: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100 Sunscreen Lotion
What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-greasy

  • Higher SPF than other options

What We Don't Like
  • Can pill

Fair-skinned folks prone to sunburn should keep a tube of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen on hand. The broad-spectrum SPF 100 cream works hard to protect you from the sun's rays, and the Dry-Touch formula absorbs quickly with a grease-free finish.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone | SPF: 100+ | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Free of: Octinoxate, PABA | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Tinted: Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion

Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Lotion

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Evens out skin tone

  • Matte finish

  • Approved by the National Eczema Association

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it looks orange

Australian Gold Tinted Sunscreen has just a hint of color that blends effortlessly on all skin tones. The mineral formula delivers SPF 50 protection from UVA and UVB rays, while antioxidant botanicals like Kakadu plum and red algae give your complexion the TLC it craves.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide | SPF: 50 | Size: 3 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin: CocoKind Daily SPF

CocoKind Daily SPF
What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Prevents premature aging

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Bottle is only half full

Made with shea butter, aloe vera, skin-enhancing oils, blue phytoplankton, and microalgae, CocoKind Daily SPF is a godsend for dry complexions. It safeguards the skin barrier with moisture, pollution defense, and SPF 32 protection from zinc.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide | SPF: 32 | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Oily Skin: A'PIEU Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream SPF45 PA+++

A’pieu Pure Block Natural Sun Cream SPF45/PA+++

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Non-greasy

  • Matte finish

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

This SPF 45 Korean sunscreen is formulated with aloe and fruit extracts to hydrate the skin without leaving a greasy residue. You can count on broad-spectrum sun protection and a matte finish that lasts for several hours.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Berry Blossom Complex, aloe vera, and watermelon extracts | SPF: SPF 45 PA+++ | Size: 1.76 ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Redness: COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++

COSRx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50 PA+++

Courtesy of COSRx  

What We Like
  • Reduces redness

  • Hydrating

  • No white cast

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

If you battle redness on your face, neck, or chest, COSRX Soothing Sun Cream is right up your alley. Containing naturally anti-inflammatory aloe extract, it calms and moisturizes without irritating your skin. And you can count on SPF 50 protection without a white cast.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Aloe arborescens leaf extract | SPF: SPF50+ PA+++ | Size: 1.6 ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Moisturizer with SPF: Olay Complete Daily Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

Face Moisturizer by Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen
What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Soothes skin

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Can have a white cast

If you're a one-and-done type of person, you'll appreciate this sunscreen-lotion hybrid from Olay, which blends both chemicals and minerals to offer SPF 30 protection from the sun. As for the moisturizer component, the formula contains aloe, vitamin E, glycerin, and other soothing, hydrating ingredients.

Type: Chemical and mineral hybrid | Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and zinc oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: 2.5 ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, oil, fragrance | Water-Resistant: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Texture: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt Sunscreen Milk SPF 60

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-greasy

  • Hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

La Roche-Posay's cult-loved Melt-In Milk Sunscreen has a smooth, velvety texture. The quick-absorbing formula is never greasy or sticky, plus it offers broad-spectrum SPF 60 protection. While it's a little pricier than other products on this list, the 5-ounce tube will last a lot longer.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene | SPF: 60 | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Water-Resistant: Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Body Lotion SPF 30

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Face-Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 30
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Hydrating

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

If your day includes a sweaty outdoor workout or splashing around in a pool, reach for Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen. It's water-resistant for 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, protecting you from the sun's harmful rays while nourishing your skin with lightweight moisture.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene | SPF: 30 | Size: 3 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, oil | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Sport: Derma E All Sport Performance Face Sunscreen SPF 30

Derma E All Sport Performance Face Sunscreen SPF 30
What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Great for the outdoors

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Can have a white cast

For runners, hikers, bikers, and anyone else who exercises outdoors, we recommend Derma E All Sport. This ultra-hydrating SPF 30 face sunscreen works on sweaty skin for up to 80 minutes.

Type: Chemical | Active Ingredients: Octocrylene, octisalate, and avobenzone | SPF: 30 | Size: 2 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Stick: Babo Botanicals Super Shield Non-Nano Zinc SPF 50 Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen

Babo Botanicals Super Shield Non-Nano Zinc SPF 50 Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen
What We Like
  • Easy-to-apply stick formula

  • No white cast

  • Tug-free

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly heavy texture

Sunscreen sticks are great for touch-ups, tattoos, kids, and on-the-go applications. This little guy by Babo Botanicals goes on clear and glides effortlessly over the skin, offering water-resistant SPF 50 sun protection for up to 80 minutes.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide | SPF: 50 | Size: 0.6 ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Body: Sun Bum Baby Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion-Fragrance Free

Sun Bum Baby Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Non-greasy

  • Formulated for kids and babies

What We Don't Like
  • Can have a white cast

Dr. Engelman is also a fan of Baby Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion-Fragrance Free, and we can see why. The fragrance-free mineral cream delivers ultra-light, non-greasy protection. And since it's formulated for kids and babies, you can bet it's gentle enough to slather over your entire body.

Type: Mineral | Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide, coconut oil, and shea and cocoa butters | SPF: 50 | Size: 3 fluid ounces | Free of: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, fragrance | Water-Resistant: Up to 80 minutes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

When it comes to affordable sunscreens, Etude House's Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk (view at Amazon) stands out from the rest. The creamy lotion is formulated with soothing, hydrating ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid, and you'll get long-lasting SPF 50 protection without a sticky feel.

However, if you don't want to spend more than a few dollars, you really can't go wrong with the fast-absorbing and notably moisturizing Alba Botanica Sensitive Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in an Affordable Sunscreen

SPF

When buying sunscreen, the most important thing to consider is the SPF (sun protection factor) rating and if the label says broad-spectrum, which indicates the product protects from both UVA and UVB rays, while SPF protects solely from UVB rays.

Mineral vs. Chemical Protection

Mineral (or physical) sunblocks are formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which create an immediate physical barrier to protect your skin from the sun's rays. Zinc tends to be gentle on sensitive skin, plus it offers the most resistance to sweat and water.

Then there are chemical sunscreens which work by converting UV light into heat to guard your skin from sun damage. Sometimes called organic sunscreens (because they contain organic chemical compounds), this type of product should be applied about 15 minutes before you go outside since it takes a few minutes to activate. Christin recommends looking for a hybrid formula, something containing both mineral and chemical filters.

Formula

If you have a sensitive, oily, or notably dry complexion, you'll want to find a sunscreen that works for your skin type. For sensitive skin, look for a fragrance-free product with a mineral-based formula, as this will be the gentlest. With oily skin, we suggest an oil-free, mattifying formula that hydrates without leaving a greasy residue. If your skin is dry, look for something blended with naturally derived butters and oils, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or glycerin.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer specializing in makeup and skincare. Once an over-tanner, she's now an SPF devotee with a keen eye for good formulations. She's particularly fond of sunscreens by Etude House, Alba Botanica, CeraVe, A'Pieu, COSRX, and Sun Bum. You can check out more of Theresa's work on Verwell Mind, The Spruce, and MyDomaine.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15 percent of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough affordable sunscreens from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

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