The 9 Most Innovative Sunscreens For Summer 2019

Move over basic lotions and sprays, these unique SPF formulas provide broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection — and so much more.
Written by Meg Storm
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The 9 Most Innovative Sunscreens For Summer 2019Maridav/Shutterstock

Here's the thing about sunscreen: We all know we are supposed to be wearing it all day, every day (yes, even when it's cloudy), but how many of us actually are?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not many. Less than 15 percent of men and 30 percent of women regularly use a sunscreen or block when outside for an hour or more. Even worse? Nearly 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer every year, the majority of which could be prevented by limiting UV exposure.

"It’s very important to wear sunscreen every day," says dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, co-founder of the Center Aesthetic & Dermatology in New York City. "Even if you're not going to the pool or the beach, just walking down the sidewalk on the sunny side of the street can get you sunburned."

But, if the statistics still don't sell you, maybe the innovation in the marketplace will. No longer your grandparents' goopy creams and ashy lotions, the latest crop of sun protecting products are multitasking wonders in innovative formats (think: SPF-infused eyeshadows, lip oils, scalp sprays, and more) that are easy to apply (and reapply!) and almost imperceptible to wear.

"No matter which sunscreen one uses, it must have broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and the higher the SPF, the better," Dr. Karcher shares. "We used to say a shot glass amount of sunscreen was enough to cover the whole body, but I use more than that."

And don't think it's a one-and-done situation. "Reapplying is extremely important," she says. "The effectiveness of the sunscreen may wear off within an hour and a half."

If the idea of slathering on a second or third round of sunblock has you considering skipping your next trip to the beach, don't fret. From skin-perfecting BB creams to travel-friendly sticks, we've rounded up the best sunscreens of the season that you’ll keep using long past Labor Day. Keep scrolling to see our top picks!


Supergoop! Shimmershade Cream Eyeshadow SPF 30 This trio of shimmering neutral hues boasts both sunblocking and antioxidant protection thanks to the combo of zinc oxide and a soothing blend of rose, roman chamomile, jasmine, and sunflower extracts. $24 each,

The Ordinary

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 With Antioxidants Combine your skincare and sun care steps with this moisturizing, mineral-based formula from the affordable, celeb-fave (Kim Kardashian swears by the $10 retinol serum) line. In addition to the mineral-based micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunblock, an antioxidant cocktail helps bolster the skin’s natural response to UV exposure, while a bio-sugar complex and lipids boost hydration. $9.70,


COOLA Mineral Body Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 Perhaps the easiest way to keep your body covered during a long day in the sun, this sheer zinc mist smells sweetly of coconut and is packed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants like buriti, meadowfoam seed, and raspberry seed oil to combat future sun damage. $42,

Cover FX

COVER FX SPF 30 Booster Drops Give just about any skincare or makeup product a broad-spectrum SPF boost with these weightless drops that also feature active ingredients like coconut fruit extract for pollution defense (i.e. perfect for summer in the city). $45,

Brush On Block

Brush On Block Protective Lip Oil SPF 32 This neutral gloss offers a subtle (but not sticky!) sheen and combines natural, mineral-based blue-light- and UV ray-blockers with nourishing antioxidants like argan oil and vitamin E. $25,


Shiseido Sports BB SPF 50+ The latest addition to the Japanese skincare brand's beloved WetForce line is this medium-coverage tinted sunscreen that will hold up to even the most humid summer days. The WetForce technology guards against UVA and UVB rays (the protection factor actually improves as it interacts with water) and is formulated to prevent makeup from running by rapidly drying sweat. Consider it a win-win. $38,

Sol de Janeiro

Sol de Janeiro My Sol Stick SPF 50 It's easy to forget areas like the back of the ears, bathing suit line, under eyes, and lips when applying traditional sprays or lotion sunscreens. Enter this travel-friendly stick that blends conditioning coconut oil and cupuacu butter with antioxidant-rich acai oil for touching up delicate spots on the go. $26,

Soleil Toujours

Soleil Toujours Extrème Face + Scalp Sunscreen Mist SPF 50 Sport Let's face it, there is nothing worse than a sunburned scalp and the dry flakiness that follows. But if you left your hat at home or are hitting the waves, this 70 percent organic mist can be used on the entire face and head for 80 minutes of calming, hydrating, and water-resistant protection. $36,

La Roche Posay

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Gentle Lotion SPF 50 With Cell-OX Shield Ideal for sensitive skin types, the newest fragrance-free face and body lotion from the French pharmacy line combines mineral-based UVA and UVB filters with antioxidant protection. $29.99,

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MEG STORMis the editorial & content director at AEDIT.

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