17 Drugstore Sunscreens That’ll Have Your Back All Summer Long


Whether you’re a maximalist with a 47-step skincare routine or a minimalist who can’t fathom anything beyond the basics, there’s one crucial step that none of us should be skipping, no matter your skin type: SPF. This summer, we’re doing our best to ward off God-awful sunburns and long-term skin damage, and the first item on the agenda? Finding an option that seamlessly fits into our daily routines.

When it comes to sunscreen types, there are two main ones to choose between: mineral or chemical. Importantly, both work well—they just achieve sun protection in different ways. Mineral sunscreens have a thicker texture with ingredients like titanium oxide and zinc oxide that create a barrier to reflect UV rays. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens absorb and dissipate UV rays by changing their chemical structure into heat, which is then released from the skin. While mineral sunscreens are known to be more likely to leave that white cast layer on your skin, chemical sunscreens need to be applied more frequently due to their thinner formula. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer as to which type you should be using—it simply boils down to knowing what makes the most sense for you and your application habits.

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on sunscreen to find one that works for you; there are plenty of great drugstore options to protect your skin and wallet this summer. To guide your next trip down the CVS sunscreen aisle, we broke down both the face and body sunscreens worth looking into, plus our editors’ honest thoughts:

Hot tip: If you shop sunscreens on CVS’ site and pick up in-store, you can get 20 percent off sitewide until 7/14!

Face Sunscreens

1. CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen

This sheer sunscreen by CeraVe is a great choice for those who crave a light, natural glow and for those looking to protect against hyperpigmentation. Because it has SPF 30 protection instead of 50 or higher, we’d recommend it for everyday wear rather than a particularly sunny day at the beach. With nourishing ingredients like ceramides and niacinamide, it’s particularly beneficial for dry and sensitive skin and provides hydration without that greasy feel that we know too well. Because this sunscreen contains zinc, you might find yourself spending a bit more time working this into the skin, but once it’s fully applied, it has a healthy, hydrated finish.

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2. Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen

If you’re in the market for an everyday mineral sunscreen with a higher SPF, this option from Cetaphil has your name written all over it. Its thin, lightweight formula makes it ideal for sensitive skin and it offers a non-greasy, velvety finish that wears well on its own or underneath makeup. For a mineral sunscreen, it blends in pretty painlessly, and it’s also unscented—music to the ears of all of us who have sensitive skin.

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3. Eucerin Sun Oil Control SPF

Finding the right face sunscreen when you have oily or acne-prone skin can feel tricky, but this oil-control formula from Eucerin is here to save the day. It does a 10/10 job at keeping oily skin under control, doesn’t clog pores, and is even hypoallergenic, making it suitable for sensitive skin types. Formulated with five different kinds of antioxidants, this non-comedogenic sunscreen blends in quickly and provides an ever-so-slightly tacky finish that helps grip makeup—it’s basically a primer and an SPF in one. While its scent does lean a bit more chemical-y than others, we’re choosing to ignore that due to its impressive list of pros.

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4. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Mineral Sunscreen

If you’re a person who can’t stand the feel of any sunscreen on their face, the non-greasy finish and thin consistency of this La Roche-Posay sunscreen might just be your best bet. With a lightweight formula that’s nearly undetectable on the skin, it’s a solid option for comfortable, all-day wear. As long as you give it a good shake beforehand to ensure an even application, you’ll never turn back.

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5. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Tinted Mineral Sunscreen

Just like its sister sunscreen, this tinted La Roche-Posay formula is ideal for those seeking a barely-there feel that also offers a subtle glow and ultra-light coverage. (Yes, you can have it all!). It has a non-greasy, matte finish that provides a medium level of natural coverage to the skin without looking shiny or cakey, which is hard to come by in tinted SPFs. Based on our testing and vetting, it’s important to note that this tinted option may not be the most favorable choice for darker skin tones, as it did have a slight white cast when applied to the skin.

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6. Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum

Because this Neutrogena formula was made to keep skin hydration in mind, this is a great option for all the dry skin gals out there. This serum-like formula blends incredibly fast and leaves a glowing finish without any additional tint or sheen. Plus, it’s infused with ginger extract to improve skin radiance and an antioxidant complex to help fight environmental factors like cold, ozone, and pollution—a win for skincare gurus and newbies alike. As a chemical sunscreen with no white cast, it wears well under makeup (always a plus), and has no remarkable scent.

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7. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Serum

If you’re looking for that same Neutrogena serum feel but could do without the glow, consider giving their Ultra Sheer variation a try. Like the Invisible Daily Defense option, it’s great for dry skin, but instead of boasting a glowy finish, it leaves the skin matte (because some of us have a natural glow courtesy of our own sebaceous glands). It blends so easily and comfortably into the skin and offers effective SPF 60+ protection. Read: It packs a punch.

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8. Sun Bum Daily SPF Face Gel

If you’re a person who prides themselves on having a quick, five-minute morning routine, this clear gel formula will fit right in. Out of all of the sunscreens we tried, this one reached full-blend status far before any other option, and while it does feel slightly greasier compared to other sunscreens, it still feels weightless, and due to the clear formulation, leaves no white cast.

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9. Sun Bum Daily SPF Face Lotion

For a classic chemical sunscreen suited for a sunny beach day, we recommend going for this OG Sun Bum formula. Its ability to absorb quickly into the skin, provide invisible protection, and offer a soft matte finish makes it a great option for everyday wear. With 80 minutes of water resistance and a nostalgic scent, it’s the ultimate beach bag essential.

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Body Sunscreens

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1. Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Body Sunscreen Lotion

With its nourishing prebiotic oat formula, this Aveeno sunscreen is best suited for particularly dry skin. Not only does this lightweight daily sunscreen leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated, but it also works to combat sun-induced radicals that accelerate skin aging. With a solid SPF 60 protection, it provides beach day-worthy protection while still being light enough for everyday wear.

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2. CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

Finding a highly protective sunscreen that doesn’t irritate or break out your sensitive skin can be challenging, but this oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic mineral formula sunscreen by CeraVe does the job seamlessly. As some mineral sunscreens do, it does take a bit of work to fully blend and can leave a white cast, but ultimately, it provides great protection and is super gentle on the skin. Enriched with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II), it also helps restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier, which can be damaged by sun exposure.

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3. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

This chemical sunscreen is the best lotion for quick application and absorption. It offers a lightweight, non-sticky feel, living up to its “dry touch” name by absorbing quickly into the skin without any greasy, shiny residue. It provides an impressively high SPF 70 protection, ensuring effective defense against UV rays for a day spent in the sun.

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4. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist

If you prefer a sunscreen spray for its ease of use and quick application, this one fits the bill. Offering a fast-absorbing formula with an invisible finish, this chemical spray sunscreen also provides strong SPF 70 protection while being ideal for convenient, on-the-go use.

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5. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen

This sunscreen is a lovely chemical option for sensitive skin and is especially worth a try if you’ve had issues with ultra-heavy formulas in the past. It features a fast-absorbing formula with a velvety finish and provides strong sun protection without irritating skin. With its ability to blend seamlessly and make your skin feel silky smooth, it’s a great contender for everyday use.

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6. Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

When someone says, “beach day” it’s hard not to let your mind wander to this OG Sun Bum formula. With gentle ingredients that won’t harm or tarnish coral reef ecosystems, you can get all of the UV protection you need without the fear that you’re single-handedly taking down the Earth in the process. And if the sustainability, vitamin E, and moisturizing formula don’t sell you, the to-die-for scent will.

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7. Sun Bum Daily SPF Body Lotion

Just like the name suggests, this daily body sunscreen has a lightweight, moisturizing formula that’s ideal for everyday use. Think: Your favorite body lotion, but with the added benefit of SPF 50 protection. Paired with their heavenly pina-colada-on-the-beach scent, it’ll make you smell incredible all while protecting against skin aging.

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8. Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion

While it still provides strong SPF 50 protection and has a smooth-to-apply chemical formula, this is the must-buy option for those who want that nostalgic vacation scent (and maybe even if the bottle has a cute vibe or not—no judgment here). With hints of natural coconut in its scent, lathering this stuff on will mentally transport you to a Hawaiian beachfront.

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This post is sponsored by CVS but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

 



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