Best Sunscreens for Summer 2021

Summertime is officially here, whether the calendar says so or not. We’ve already spent several days in the pool, so I thought I’d put a post together with my favorite summer sunscreens. Sunscreen does have a shelf-life, so I always toss mine at the end of the season and buy new when summer rolls around again, and here we are!

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine

You will see a theme here; most of these are mineral sunscreens, and all are considered “clean” beauty products. Mineral sunscreens are generally considered safer and healthier than their chemical counterparts, and I do my best to use mineral sunscreen whenever I can. If this is news to you, or you want to know more, the EWG has tons of information on sunscreens. You can also search EWG’s Skin Deep database for more information on specific products.

The active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, rather than chemical filters and fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin and are potentially harmful.

My Favorite Summer Sunscreens

#1. Supergoop! Mineral Sheer Screen SPF 30 PA+++ // This is my favorite facial sunscreen when I don’t want a tint. I usually apply this in the morning before exercising, and then I wash it off before doing my morning skincare routine. It doesn’t irritate my skin, and it blends in better than any other mineral sunscreen I’ve tried. I won’t say there is no white cast, but it’s minimal.

Supergoop! is considered a clean beauty brand. Their products are free of sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oil, oxybenzone, hydroquinone, triclosan, and undisclosed synthetic fragrances.

#2. EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Face Moisturizer with Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (also at Amazon) // This is my favorite facial tinted sunscreen. I apply this after doing my morning skincare routine.

It’s thick and smooth and moisturizing, and the light tint helps even out my ruddy skin tone and start the color correcting process so there’s less work for my foundation to do. It also looks better when I want to go without makeup.

This product uses both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and it has an SPF 44. I discovered it through Angie at Hot & Flashy, but my cosmetic dermatologist also recommends it.

#3. ULTA Tinted Mineral Face Lotion SPF 30 // I haven’t tried this, but it’s Caroline’s favorite for a budget-friendly tinted mineral facial sunscreen. She is very serious about her sunscreen and has done tons of research and tried many. She doesn’t have the budget I do, and she has found this ULTA brand product to work well for her at a more wallet-friendly price point.

This product is cruelty-free, and it’s formulated without oxybenzone, parabens, sulfates, or mineral oil. It uses both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and it has an SPF 30. It also contains shea butter, evening primrose, green tea, and cucumber to help sooth and hydrate the skin.

#4. Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 (also at Amazon) // If you want extra protection especially formulated for the eye area, I highly recommend this 3-in-1 eye treatment with a chemical-free, 100% mineral SPF 35. It also contains antioxidants and hyaluronic acid to help alleviate signs of aging, dark circles, puffiness, sun damage, and dryness.

This product helps brighten and color correct the under-eye area, as well as eyelids, providing a nice base for your makeup, or it helps even out your skin tone when you want to go without.

#5. Coppertone Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 50 (also at Amazon) // This is another Caroline recommendation, and you certainly can’t beat the price. This is her go-to body sunscreen, and she likes it because it’s affordable and doesn’t irritate her sensitive skin. It’s oil-free and easy to apply, but it does leave a slight white cast.

This product is made with naturally sourced zinc oxide, and it provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It is also formulated without phthalates, parabens, dyes, or synthetic fragrances.

#6. Coppertone Pure Simple Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray // I threw this in here because I am a huge fan of sunscreen sprays for ease of use, so I wanted to give an option. I haven’t tried it, though, so I can’t attest to effectiveness or ease of application. Just like the Coppertone Pure & Simple lotion, it contains 100% naturally sourced zinc oxide; and it’s free of oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, dyes, alcohol, sulfates, and fragrances.

#7. COOLA Suncare Sport Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30 // This is my personal favorite for a body sunscreen. This product is a compromise because it is not a mineral sunscreen, but it is made of 70% organic ingredients, and it’s a non-aerosol spray. When I search the COOLA brand on EWG’s Skin Deep, the non-aerosol sprays get a 3 rating, which isn’t terrible. Active ingredients are avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene.

Any-who! The reason I like COOL sprays are they smell amazing, and they’re moisturizing and super easy to apply. The downside is they’re expensive, and they don’t last very long. You can also find COOLA products at Amazon and Sephora.

#8. COOLA Suncare Classic Sunscreen Spray Fragrance-Free Broad Spectrum SPF 50 // I love the scented COOLA sprays, but I threw this in here as a fragrance-free option, for those who prefer.

#9. COOLA Suncare Travel Set // I love this little travel set; I always bring one along to a warm weather destination. It includes a travel-size Piña Colada Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 30, a travel-size Cucumber Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 (perfect for wearing to the pool or beach when I’m not wearing makeup and I don’t want any white cast), a travel-size Radical Recovery After Sun Lotion (to calm sunburn and soothe dry skin), and a full-size Original Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30 (a 2-in-1 SPF 30 and lip balm).

I’m sure there are lots of other great sunscreen options, but these are my personal favorites and the ones Caroline and I currently use. If you have a favorite that you recommend, let us know!

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9 thoughts on “Best Sunscreens for Summer 2021

  1. Do you have any attractive sun hat recommendations for the beach? I like to wear a hat beside sunscreen. Thank you for sharing your favorite sunscreens. I can’t wait to try a few from your list.

  2. Cleaner sunscreens are important. I use Tizo for face and body. It comes in tinted too but I haven’t tried that one. Its a mineral sunscreen. Doesn’t stay white. Rubs in good. I’ve always hated sunscreen on my face and use to have it in my foundation but since I’ve changed my foundation to a clean one, it doesn’t have sunscreen in it. Id like to try the face one you recommend. The tint could help my ruddy redness too and I keep looking for the best non greasy one. It’s so great Caroline is taking sunscreen wearing serious. I wish I knew more about sun damage back in my teen years. I wouldn’t have laid in the sun and would have wore higher SPF. But back then I think SPF 8 was the highest. Lol. Thanks for the post.

    1. I haven’t heard of Tizo, I’ll look it up. Yeah, I have always liked a tan, and now my skin is showing that fact. I keep telling her she’ll be glad she did when she’s my age.

  3. I appreciate you doing this post, and I hate to admit it, but I am real bad about not paying attention to the shelf life of sunscreens. I hate throwing them out when so much product is left, but if they aren’t as affective as they should be, then they don’t need to take up space. I really appreciate you sharing some of Caroline’s favorites that are more budget friendly. I’m going to order some now. Have a great day!

  4. Love this post! So helpful. We recently went to St Thomas and needed Reef-Safe sunscreen. We took Coola for our faces and Pacifica (Ulta) and Bare Republic (Target) for our bodies. I was surprised at how long the coverage lasted! Maybe it was the difference between mineral and chemical. Or maybe it was because I took high SPF, but I usually buy that. After a week, we didn’t have any sunburns and didn’t re-apply more than once. They are now family faves, on or off the beach.

  5. The Elta MD Elements sunscreen is excellent. I have olive skin and the tinted version blends well with my skin tone; I am darker complected than you so the tinted color seems to work well for many complexions. Great alone on hot summer days when you don’t want/need foundation.

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