Which sunscreen sticks are best?

Sun protection is immensely important, not only to reduce your risk of sunburn but also to lessen the chance you’ll get skin cancer down the line. Sunscreen sticks are becoming increasingly popular because they make it easy to apply and reapply sunscreen. 

Sun protection factor is the first thing that many buyers look at when choosing sunscreen. While it’s undeniably important, you should also pay attention to factors such as broad-spectrum protection and water resistance. 

What are sunscreen sticks?

Sunscreen sticks are sunscreens that take the form of solid sticks. They look and work much like deodorant sticks, containing a mechanism that pushes the stick up from the base, so you can reach more once you’ve used up the exposed part. 

They’re generally compact and there’s no chance of them leaking, so these sticks are convenient for on-the-go use. You can buy formulas for the face, the body and both. 

What to look for in sunscreen sticks

SPF

The SPF of a sunscreen tells you how much protection it offers against the UVB rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer. Experts recommend wearing sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 if you’ll be out in the sun for an extended length of time. However, an SPF of 50 or 50+ is even better if you burn easily or you’ll be out all day. 

Just be careful not to let a high SPF give you a false sense of security. You should still reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Wearing hats and loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible is still advisable on exceptionally hot days. 

Broad-spectrum 

The SPF of sunscreen only refers to the amount of protection it offers from UVB rays. Unless stated otherwise, it won’t protect against UVA rays at all. While UVB rays are objectively more harmful, leading to sunburn and a greater risk of skin cancer, UVA rays still damage the skin. 

Broad spectrum sunscreen protects from UVA and UVB rays, so it should be the go-to choice for most buyers. 

Water-resistant

If you’re going to the beach or intend on swimming in rivers or lakes, you should choose a water-resistant sunscreen. This offers more protection while you’re in the water. However, you should still reapply when you get back on dry land. 

Mineral vs. chemical

You can find both mineral stick sunscreens and chemical stick sunscreens. While the chemicals in sunscreen are safe, some people still prefer natural mineral options. Mineral sunscreens naturally offer UVA and UVB protection and work right away but they can leave a white film on the skin. 

Reef-safe

Reef-safe sunscreens are free from the chemicals known to damage coral reefs, so they’re suitable for use in places like Hawaii and Australia. 

Best SPF 30 sunscreen sticks

Thinkbaby SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick

Thinkbaby SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick

Offering broad spectrum protection, this mineral sunscreen is gentle on the skin and suitable for babies, kids and adults. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and reef-safe, so it won’t harm aquatic life.

Sold by Amazon

 

Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Face Stick

Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Face Stick

This SPF 30 sunscreen is designed for use on the face, but there’s no reason why you can’t use it on your body, too, in a pinch. It’s non-greasy and has a banana scent that most users love.

Sold by Amazon

 

Raw Elements Tinted Face Stick

Raw Elements Tinted Face Stick

Not only does this stick offer sun protection, it also has a medium tint to give the skin a healthy glow, like a tinted moisturizer. Its mineral formula offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and is reef-safe.

Sold by Amazon

 

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen Stick

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen Stick

Thanks to its compact size, this SPF 30 mineral sunscreen stick is perfect for topping up sun protection on the go. It absorbs into the skin quickly and is non-greasy, making it great for use on the face.

Sold by Amazon

 

Coola Organic Face Sunscreen

Coola Organic Face Sunscreen

With a classic coconut scent, this broad-spectrum sunscreen will take you back to beach days and sunny picnics. It’s easy to apply and offers water-resistant protection for up to 80 minutes of swimming.

Sold by Amazon

Best SPF 50 sunscreen sticks

Supergoop Play Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Supergoop Play Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Its broad-spectrum protection keeps the skin safe from UVA and UVB rays, as well as from infrared rays that can damage the skin. It has a mineral formula that’s gentle on the skin and great for face or body use.

Sold by Amazon 

 

Boogie Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Boogie Mineral Sunscreen Stick

With an impressive SPF 50 and broad-spectrum protection, this stick is designed to protect babies’ delicate skin, but kids and adults can use it, too. You can buy it in packs of two or three.

Sold by Amazon

 

Joshua Tree Sun Stick

Joshua Tree Sun Stick

Water-resistant, sweat-resistant and freeze-resistant, this versatile sunscreen is great for active people, whether snorkeling at the beach or hitting the slopes. It has a broad-spectrum mineral formula that’s non-greasy and totally natural.

Sold by Amazon

 

Babo Botanicals Super Shield Zinc Sport Stick Sunscreen

Babo Botanicals Super Shield Zinc Sport Stick Sunscreen

Offering SPF 50 protection, this sunscreen stick helps keep your face, lips and ears from burning, even on the hottest, sunniest days. It’s sweat-resistant, water-resistant, non-greasy and ultra-sheer, so you’ll hardly feel like you’re wearing it.

Sold by Amazon

 

Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick

Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick 

This reef-friendly mineral sunscreen is water-resistant and sweat-resistant for roughly 80 minutes. It offers broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Sold by Amazon

Best SPF 50-plus sunscreen sticks

Zinka Clear Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Face Stick

Zinka Clear Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Face Stick

The SPF 50-plus designation means it must provide at least SPF 60 in the relevant tests, making this some of the most protective sunscreen you can buy. Despite its strength, it has a clear, non-greasy formula that’s easy to apply.

Sold by Amazon

 

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick

You get broad spectrum SPF 50-plus protection from this water-resistant, reef-safe mineral sunscreen. It has a natural formula that’s free from fragrance, dyes and parabens, so you can be sure nothing nasty is going on your skin.

Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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