First Posted on June 28, 2024 in:shop like a prosunscreentop reads

In celebration of summer, we decided to test 30 different sunscreens over 30 days to see how these applied, how they held up over time, and even how they wash off. Please head to our TikTok and Instagram channel if you want to see the visuals. Otherwise here’s the running list of sunscreens we’ve tried, our rating, and why:

*To help readers learn more about products showcased in this challenge, we built out and organized these results in Shop My Shelf. We do receive a small commission for using our affiliate link. Thank you for feeding a chemist!

Grading Guidelines: We grade on a 10 point scale with 0 - shouldn't exist and 10 - perfection. Anything from a 6-10 is good! Because in the US we're punished by our limited filter system, most really good ones fall between a 7-8. International sunscreens with great textures can go up to a 8-9. We've never found the perfect sunscreen yet since formulation is just that hard, but who know! Note: It's our first time trying to provide some sort of product rating, so from these learnings it'll continue to dial in with future challenges.

  1. Kosas Dream Beam Tinted SPF 40 PA++++: 7/10
    1. What it be?: A high coverage tinted sunscreen with 80 minutes water resistance.
    2. How it do?: Solid! For a high coverage tint, the finish was still comfortable. Not too cakey or oily. Makeup wipe is needed to reapply.
  2. HaruHaru Black Rice Pure Mineral Relief Daily Sunscreen, SPF50+/PA++++: 3/10
    1. What it be?: A kbeauty mineral sunscreen.
    2. How it do?: This left a pretty unnatural shine and ended up being very dry on Gloria's dry skin.
  3. Tower28 SunnyDays SPF 30: 6/10
    1. What it be?: This is a high-coverage tinted sunscreen with a nourishing, cream finish. 
    2. How it do?: This formula is very robust and held up over time. But affter 2 hours of wear, Victoria's skin started to feel pretty oily/greasy. Normal or dry skin types might have better luck!
  4. Innisfree Daily UV Defense Mineral SPF 45: 7/10
    1. What it be?: A kbeauty mineral sunscreen
    2. How it do?: Upon application, Gloria found this to have a light texture but definitely leaves a shinier finish than most. After 2 hours it held up well and surprisingly the drying after feel was pretty minimal. In the realm of mineral sunscreens, this is a good one!
  5. Trader Joe's Daily Facial Sunscreen SPF 40: 8/10
    1. What it be?: A Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Dupe - A classical silicone emulsion
    2. How it do?: Prefacing with I'm not thrilled by silicone-based sunscreens. Ultimately this is similar to any silicone sunscreen, same initial chemical smell and so. much. slip. during application. But surprisingly, once this had been absorbed, skin felt pretty clean. Ultimately the texture didn’t make me feel too oily, and the price is unbeatable at $9 for 1.7 fl oz.
  6. Supergoop Glow Screen SPF 40: 8/10 
    1. What it be?: A sheer, tinted silicone lotion texture with optical powders to leave skin with a dewy finish.
    2. How it do?: A fter 2 hours of wear time it was still comfortable (even on a hot day) and Victoria didn't feel overly greasy. There wouldn't be any issues reapplying this one so it's a great option if you're ok with that dewy/glow/shine look.
  7. Purito Daily Soft Touch Sunscreen SPF 50: 6/10
    1. What it be?: A classic lotion sunscreen for face that claims heavy duty water resistance.
    2. How it do?: The texture wasn't anything the write home about.  Despite the claims, Gloria noticed that with a lot of sweat the sunscreen started to run and seemed to pool into the folds of skin. This will probably do just fine with normal sweating scenarios but maybe not so much for more intense workouts and saunas.
  8. Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Milk SPF 50: 9.5/10
    1. What it be?: A sunscreen fluid with a powdery silicone finish that claims water resistance & rub resistance.
    2. How it do?: We've also tested the traditional Anessa Fluid in the gold bottle and Gloria found this version to be even more comfortable. The sunscreen held up well to a rigorous workout. Overall a really solid formula!
  9. Vacation Super Spritz SPF 50 Facial Mist: 6/10
    1. What it be?: A chemical filter sunscreen face mist with alcohol.
    2. How it do?:  A couple notes! This formula has a solid amount of alcohol to keep the texture light. That means definitely keep your eyes closed if you spray directly to face. Another option is to spray onto hands then apply on face. Also, the spritz is a lot more concentrated, which means it may feel like you're covering a wide area of your face but in actuality, it's a lot more targeted. Just make sure you rub in the sunscreen well. The sunscreen definitely held up well in the sweat test. However, despite the light application, the after-feel still left skin feeling slightly greasy with some drag. 
  10. Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 50: 9/10
    1. What it be?: An asian chemical filter sunscreen with a watery lotion texture.
    2. How it do?: T his has a refreshing watery break that applies very easily. We wouldn't take the blue light protection claim too seriously - but SPF50+ and PA++++ is great! This was very comfortable on Gloria's dry skin! While it's not super moisturizing - it's definitely nice and non drying. A very solid choice for daily wear.
  11. Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF 50: 0/10
    1. What it be?: An asian water gel chemical filter sunscreen
    2. How it do?: We were baffled by this sunscreen and we're fully aware of how long this formula has been around for and how popular it is. Our takeaways are the following: 1. We don't feel comfortable recommending this one simply because it's not easy to achieve a uniform film. Sunscreens are only as good as the uniform film it creates. 2. If you feel that this is the only sunscreen you're willing to wear, just rub in well. Very well. So so so well. Rub in this sunscreen to the point that the sunscreen has completely dried down and you no longer feel dampness or that watery break. Hope that helps!