I Tried 9 Sunscreens in 9 Days—Here’s How They All Fit Into My Daily Routine 

Photo: W+G Creative
Ask any dermatologist, and they'll tell you—the best SPF is one that you'll want to use every day. The problem is that the SPF category has been chronically delayed in putting sunscreens on the market that are actually enjoyable to wear. Like most people, I've run into my fair share of pasty, white-cast formulas that have made sun protection far from fun.

However, as a beauty editor with 10 years of experience covering skin-care trends, I've spent years talking to dermatologists about sun protection. know better than to skip out on sunscreen. "Sunscreen reduces your overall UV exposure and lowers your risk of skin cancer and sun damage," says Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Regular daily use of SPF 15 (30 is even better) sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent. It also helps prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun, including wrinkles, sagging, and age spots."

According to Dr. King, wearing SPF makes the single most dramatic difference in how our skin ages over time.

According to Dr. King, wearing SPF makes the single most dramatic difference in how our skin ages over time. "Sunscreen is important every day and so is reapplying every two hours and after swimming or sweating," she says.

Luckily, brands (like the summer sunscreens from Sephora listed below) have been hard at work lately, making SPF wearable, sexy, and effective, and nowadays, it feels like there are more good options than none. My skin-care routine has evolved to the point where applying sunscreen is no longer a task, but a seamless part of my day. I've curated an "SPF wardrobe," much like a collection of closet basics. These formulas can stand independently for work or fun but also blend well with other elements of my life, like makeup, physical activity, and even cuddling with my baby.

I've recently added nine new summer sunscreens from Sephora to my SPF wardrobe, all serving a unique but essential purpose. Ahead, I'm diving into my absolute favorites for your sun protection needs ahead of summer.

Shop Summer Sunscreens from Sephora

Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 — $32.00

Many brands that promise clear sunscreen don’t really mean it—but not Shiseido. This stick is 100 percent transparent and feels like silk when applied to the skin. I discovered this formula a few months ago on a vacation and used it to a stump. It’s a great formula to wear on your face, but I also love keeping it in my purse when the weather gets warmer to reapply to exposed areas (like my arms and chest) when I wear short sleeves or tank tops.

Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40 Sunscreen with Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide — $38.00

Supergoop revolutionized the industry with its efficacious formulas that made wearing sunscreen fun, and the brand continues to innovate. I’ve been a regular devotee since the launch of Glowscreen (it’s pearlescent SPF formula that gives you that lit-from-within vibe). Since then, Supergoop has released different shades of the formula, and Golden Hour is my perfect match. The glowy liquid is tinted brown, and during the winter, it makes me look like I spent a few days on a tropical vacation. In warmer months, it pairs nicely with a natural tan.

Even I’m not stepping outside, I love slathering this on days when my skin feels dull and needs a pick-me-up. I also love using it as a base for dewy makeup (or just adding some liquid blush on top, to be honest).

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Balm Sunscreen Stick SPF 45 — $30.00

Another great, clear option that has yet to fail me is this balm stick from Glow Recipe. Yes, it’s transparent, and yes, it has the hyaluronic acid and watermelon extract that I love from the brand’s Watermelon Glow range. But what I love most about this one is that there’s also niacinamide, an ingredient I look for to help with my hyperpigmentation. I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and I’m excited to see how daily use helps my skin (while protecting it) this summer.

Kiehl's Better Screen™ UV Serum SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen with Collagen Peptide — $42.00

This serum has a super soft formula that leaves a satin, skin-like finish behind. It’s packed with collagen peptides, which, along with SPF 50, help to improve the look of skin texture over time. Again, it’s an excellent option for everyday wear that won’t even feel like you’re wearing sunscreen (which is ideal for adding to your daily routine).

Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Mineral Milk Sunscreen SPF 30 — $36.00

This Summer Fridays formula feels like an expensive silk scarf for your face. It’s lightweight, like a serum, and has squalene, one of my favorite ingredients for hydration. I use the two-finger rule with this, and the nozzle applicator makes it easy to measure. Once it’s on, it leaves my face soft and visibly plump, making reapplying every few hours feel like a luxury.

Sol de Janeiro Rio Radiance™ SPF 50 Body Spray Sunscreen with Niacinamide — $36.00

I’m usually a sucker for sunscreen that mentally takes me to the tropics, and this one does that and some. The Rio Radiance mist pairs the beachy aroma of Sol de Janeiro’s Cheirosa 87 scent (one of my faves) with SPF 50 sun protection, so you don’t have to skimp on long-lasting fragrance while shielding your skin. Beyond the delicious scent, it also leaves a nice sheen that doesn’t feel sticky or greasy. I’ll use this for tank top season, but I’m packing an extra bottle for my upcoming summer vacation.

Sephora Collection Daily Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF 30 — $20.00

Finding a mineral formula that doesn’t pill or feel dry (not to mention one that won’t leave me looking ashy) has been challenging. This one does none of the above and actually rubs in clear on my medium-deep skin. It contains zinc oxide, which creates a physical shield that protects the skin and leaves me feeling hydrated but not greasy or sticky. “Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are less likely to irritate sensitive skin and there are fewer concerns about absorption and safety,” Dr. King says. Plus, pilling is never an issue if I layer makeup on top.

Innisfree Daily UV Defense Invisible Broad Spectrum SPF 36 Sunscreen — $18.00

When you think of closet essentials, the first things that come to mind are plain white tees, a flattering pair of denim, and a cute blazer. You know, the basics. This formula is all of that, but for your face.

As you know, sunscreen should be applied daily. So, when I’m looking for a formula to make the cut into my everyday routine, I reach for one that’s moisturizing and feels like skin care. This one is so hydrating it feels like a drink of water for my face. It’s formulated with green tea extract and sunflower seed oil to soothe and plump dry skin (like mine), but it doesn’t feel too matte. It also doesn’t leave behind a white cast, which is super important to me.

innBeauty Project Mineral Sun Glow Broad Spectrum SPF 43 PA +++ with Peptides and Vitamin C — $35.00

When the weather gets warmer, I typically ditch applying foundation altogether. Instead, I love a tinted SPF with just a few spots of concealer where needed. This has been my go-to base for days when I want my skin tone to appear more even. It plays well with my concealer, so I get perfect coverage and protection when I wear them together. SPF wardrobe, complete.

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