20 Hard-Working Sunscreens the Whole Family Can Use

Mother and daugher at the beach (Photo: Envato)
Mother and daugher at the beach (Photo: Envato)

There isn’t a kid in the world who likes sunscreen: the feel of it, the putting-on of it, the sting of it when the inevitable trace slips into sensitive eyes. (TBH, many adults feel the same way too.) But every parent knows that sunscreen is the first line of defense against a painful, vacation-ruining sunburn.

To make sure your next family trip is smooth sailing (at least on the skin-care front), I’ve put together a list of no-fail sunscreens, sun creams, spray sunscreens, sunscreen sticks, and sunscreen lotions for the whole family: babies, kids, teens, and grown-ups. Because if the last thing you want on a family vacation is a sunburn, the second-to-last-thing you want is an argument over which sunscreen to use.

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Best Sunscreens for Babies

Adult lifting baby on beach at sunset
Babies have very specific needs when it comes to sunscreens (Photo: Jude Beck via Unsplash)

1. Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

Conduct a quick online search for Thinkbaby sunscreen, and you’ll soon find hundreds of reviews raving about the chemical-free, reef-safe lotion. Like most physical sunscreens, it’s thick and white and takes a touch of elbow grease to apply; even so, it spreads easily, feels lightweight, and—best of all—serves as a strong safeguard against the sun. Vegetable glycerin, jojoba oil, and olive oil add a healthy dose of moisture to one of the best sunscreens for kids.

Where to Buy: ThinkbabyAmazonTarget

2. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen

Neutrogena has been a skin-care go-to for decades, and with good reason. The brand makes one of the best sunscreens for kids on the market, with a mild formula that protects the most vulnerable skin from harsh UV damage.

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Mineral sunscreens are universally trickier to rub in than their chemical counterparts, but fans find that Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen blends in with little difficulty. Water resistant up to 80 minutes, the drugstore sunscreen for little ones has been granted the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

Where to Buy: NeutrogenaTargetWalmartAmazon

3. Waxhead Baby Sunscreen 

In addition to water resistance and solid broad-spectrum protection, Waxhead Baby Sunscreen has all natural and organic ingredients—just zinc oxide, spring water, olive oil, beeswax, and vitamins E and D3—to nix any chance of aggravation on young skin. The natural sunscreen concoction is crazy-thick—Waxhead doesn’t use chemicals for cohesion.

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What this means is that you’ll need to give the bottle a little massage to mix everything up before applying. (Pro tip: Warm the lotion up in your hands first.) There is a whitish cast, yes, but in terms of nontoxic and environmentally sound sun protection, this is a slam dunk as one of the best sunscreens for kids.

Where to Buy: WaxheadAmazon

4. Earth Mama Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 40 

To green beauty gurus, the water-resistant Earth Mama Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick easily wins the MVP title of best sunscreens for kids, making it a perfect addition to your beach bag. This sunscreen stick is a serious buffer that slides over skin without tugging on it. The zinc oxide stops UVA/UVB rays from infiltrating, while coconut oil hydrates and organic calendula and aloe calm sun-kissed skin.

Where to Buy: Earth MamaAmazon

5. Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Fragrance-free? Oxybenzone-free? Tear-free? Check, check, and check. This high-factor sunblock from Coppertone earns serious praise from online shoppers, who love it for its affordable price, active ingredients like a whopping 24% zinc, and staying power (the sun cream is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes).

Where to Buy: AmazonTargetWalmart

6. Hello Bello Baby Mineral Sunscreen + Prebiotics

The reef-friendly Hello Bello Baby Mineral Sunscreen + Prebiotics offers broad-spectrum SPF 55+ protection without things like parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances. Non-nano zinc oxide reflects the sun’s rays to protect delicate skin, and the sunscreen rubs in easily. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and it smells great thanks to ingredients like cocoa seed butter, avocado, cucumber, and chamomile.

Where to Buy: Hello BelloAmazonWalmart

Best Sunscreens for Kids

child with rubber duck floaty toy on beach in Cape Town
Get your kid’s pre-approval on sunscreen choice to avoid an argument on vacation (Photo: Cape Town Tourism)

1. All Good Kid’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

With an ingredient list dominated by non-nanoparticle zinc oxide (16%), the gentle toxin-free All Good Kid’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is an excellent mineral pick. The formula has no chemical UV absorbers, and is paraben-free, oxybenzone-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, biodegradable, and coral-reef friendly. It offers full UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. And it’s lightweight and rubs in much more easily than most physical sunscreens.

Where to Buy: All GoodAmazonTarget  

2. Australian Gold Little Joey SPF 50 Continuous Spray Sunscreen

If you want to dive into summer vacation feeling free from smothering sunblock, the fragrance-free, hypoallergenic Australian Gold Little Joey continuous spray sunscreen is a simple way to go. Its cool mist and quick-to-dry finish take the pain out of the putting-on process, and its squad of chemical sunscreens—avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene—derails damaging rays. Aloe and glycerin keep skin soft, not slimy.

Where to Buy: Australian GoldAmazon

3. Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

For many parents, Aveeno‘s mineral sun cream is the best of both worlds: It offers the safety and shield-like protection of zinc, with the spreadability of a more traditional sunscreen. Added polymers give the lotion a silkier texture than many other mineral formulas, which can feel too chalky. A water resistance of up to 80 minutes makes this a great option for a day at the lake or pool. Considering the price, safety, and consistency—for many, this is one of the best sunscreens for kids. 

Where to Buy: AmazonWalmart

4. Sun Bum Kids SPF 50 Clear Sunscreen Face Stick

Ease of application is key for kids’ sunscreens, and the Sun Bum Kids SPF 50 Clear Sunscreen Face Stick can be applied to wet or dry skin. The broad-spectrum formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is made without ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. It smells great, glides on clear, and absorbs quickly, so the kids won’t have to take too much of a break from their beach or pool time to reapply throughout the day.

Where to Buy: Sun BumTargetWalmart

5. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen – Kids Sunscreen SPF 50+

Blue Lizard is something of the holy grail of mineral sunscreens. That’s because it sinks in quicker than other physicals, it’s not greasy or heavy, and it doesn’t bother sensitive skin. The fragrance- and paraben-free Blue Lizard kids sunscreen formula is strong enough to protect skin for up to 80 minutes in the water, and the ingredients don’t damage coral reefs. A nifty little reminder to reapply? The Blue Lizard bottle cap changes color in the presence of harmful UV light. 

Where to Buy: Blue LizardAmazonTarget

6. Badger Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream

If you’re picky about clean products and your little one’s fussy about smells, Badger’s reef-friendly and fragrance-free sunscreen is a great fit. Clear zinc, the main active ingredient, is delivered via a creamy mix of sunflower oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and sea buckthorn (both antioxidants) that goes on white but disappears quickly. The resulting protection is like the “person gesturing no” emoji in sunscreen form.

Where to Buy: BadgerAmazon

Best Sunscreens for Teens and Adults

Teens in the water at Island H2O Live! water park (Photo: Island H2O Live!)
Teens need extra-hardworking sunscreens (Photo: Island H2O Live!)

1. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

A much-loved fan favorite, Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 offers weightless, invisible-on-all-skin-tones, and scent-free broad-spectrum sun protection that’s water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes. The oil-free, antioxidant rich formula includes ingredients like red algae and frankincense to moisturize and strengthen skin, and the sunscreen can also act as a primer underneath your makeup. No wonder why it’s the company’s number-one best seller. 

Where to Buy: SupergoopAmazonUltaSephora  

2. Skinnies Sungel SPF 30

A Runner’s World top pick for best sweat-resistant sunscreen, Skinnies Sungel SPF 30 is a great choice for teens and adults who like to stay active on sunny days. It’s made without water and only takes a small amount to provide UVA/UVB protection that’s water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. The reef-friendly formula goes on clear, rubs in easily, and dries quickly so you’re ready to hit the trail, hop on your bike, or grab your surfboard in no time.

Where to Buy: SkinniesAmazon

3. Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

It’s not just a clever name: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 truly goes on clear and rubs in easily. Ingredients like shea butter, mango fruit extract, and vitamins C and E help hydrate and nourish skin, and the non-greasy formula leaves skin with a subtle glow. It’s got that classic sunscreen scent, is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and is free of oxybenzone and octinoxate that can be damaging to reefs.

Where to Buy: Hawaiian TropicTargetWalmartAmazon

4. EltaMD UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum SPF 40

There’s a lot to like about EltaMD’s UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 100% mineral sunscreen. Its white-to-clear technology means you won’t miss a spot when spraying it on, but it absorbs quickly and leaves a sheer finish on all skin types. With 360-degree sprayability, you can even apply it upside down for shielding hard-to-reach spots from the sun. It’s water-resistant for up to 40 minutes and contains antioxidants and other ingredients to hydrate the skin and protect it from premature aging. 

Where to Buy: EltaMDAmazonWalmart  

5. CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen SPF 30

The CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen is the first-ever mineral/chemical hybrid sunscreen for face and body from the dermatologist-developed skin-care line. The hydrating, lightweight  formula features a combination of mineral and chemical ingredients to reflect and absorb the sun’s rays. It goes on white to ensure proper application but absorbs quickly and leaves a non-greasy finish. Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, it’s fragrance-free, makeup-friendly, and won’t clog pores.

Where to Buy: AmazonTargetWalmart

6. Coola Dew Good Illuminating Serum Sunscreen SPF 30

An Allure Best of Beauty Award winner, Coola’s Dew Good Illuminating Serum Sunscreen provides SPF 30 protection and so much more. Made with more than 70% certified organic ingredients, the lightweight, sheer sunscreen serum gives skin a dewy glow, while probiotic technology helps retain moisture and strengthen skin’s natural barrier. And it doesn’t just block the sun’s rays–it also helps mitigate the effects of blue light, pollution, and other environmental factors that can stress out your skin. 

Where to Buy: CoolaAmazonSephoraUlta

7. Vacation Baby Oil SPF 30

Everything from the throwback packaging to the iconic scent and feel of Vacation’s Baby Oil SPF 30 will provide an immediate blast from the past for adults who are old enough to remember the days when sun protection wasn’t the priority it is now. But this incarnation of the summertime classic offers SPF 30 protection in a mineral oil-free formula that’s also reef-friendly, free of parabens, and safe for sensitive skin. It still gives skin that shiny look along with a little hydration.

Where to Buy: VacationUltaBluemercuryAmazon

8. MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Liquid SPF 30

Makeup meets sunscreen with MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Liquid SPF 30. Available in light/medium and medium/dark tints, the oil-free formula offers 100% mineral broad-spectrum sun protection. It blends in easily for a smooth matte finish that still gives your face a healthy glow. The reef-safe sunscreen is free of things like parabens, phthalates, silicones, and sulfates but does include ingredients like bentonite clay to absorb excess oils. Use it on its own or as a primer under makeup.

Where to Buy: MyChelle DermaceuticalsAmazon

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Beth Luberecki also contributed to this story.

Anne Bauso
Anne is a New York-based writer and editor with a focus on travel and hospitality. A former editor for travel sites Oyster and What to Pack (part of Tripadvisor), she has written for and appeared in Travel & Leisure, USA Today, Fashionista, Jetsetter, SmarterTravel, ABC News, Allure, Zagat, Time Out New York, and NYMag.com, among other publications.