Let’s be real: sunscreen should be part of a skincare routine for every man, woman, infant, or elder. In this article, I will list some of my favorite sunscreen lotions, which I have personally tested (and tested on my husband) throughout the years.
My suggestion is to find a good sunscreen lotion that you can use in place of the moisturizer in the AM: the thing about sunscreen is that, contrary to what one might think, you need to use A LOT of product for it to reach the level of protection stated on the bottle. We are talking roughly 1/4 tbsp or 1ml just for the face. That may not seem a lot when you’re baking a cake and liberally applying that vanilla extract, but I assure you, 1/4 tbsp of sunscreen is a lot to take: it can make your skin look greasy and leave a white cast if you don’t pick the right one for your skin.
Therefore, layering sunscreen on top of a moisturizer might be too inconvenient for most of us. I would rather find a sunscreen lotion with moisturizing properties and kill two birds with one stone.
Naturally, moisturizing serums and lotions can be applied prior to slathering your face with sun protection, as part of your AM skincare routine. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this video by Rory from Overt skincare, in which he breaks down an effective skincare routine for men.
I divided the list into two parts: moisturizing sunscreens for men for the face and plain sunscreen lotions for the rest of the body (including the neck and hands). Body sunscreens don’t need to be as sophisticated or use expensive ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or hydrating oils: all you need from them is to be easy and smooth to apply without leaving a white cast.
Ultimately, the best sunscreen is the one you won’t mind using every day in generous quantity: if you get a sunscreen lotion that doesn’t agree with your skin, you’ll be less likely to use it, or you won’t apply enough for it to be effective.
This is also why I tend to favor affordable sunscreens over luxury ones: people are more likely to apply a cheap-ish lotion liberally and eke out expensive products. Remember that you need around 1ml of lotion a day just for your face, and this means that a standard 30ml bottle will last you roughly a month. Choose a product you can afford to buy regularly.
Hada Labo – Perfecting Gel
SPF 50 PA++++
This is a white gel that goes on very smoothly and leaves absolutely no white cast. It can make your skin look a little “sweaty” if you apply the right amount (about 1/4 tbsp for your face), but it’s usually completely absorbed in 20-30 minutes. It’s loaded with hyaluronic acid which helps retain water without adding a greasy layer on top of your skincare products.
Purito Centella Green Level Unscented
SPF 50 PA++++
This is a very light white lotion that’s easily absorbed and leaves no white cast. It is slightly heavier than the Hada Labo gel, so I would recommend it to people with dry skin. Additionally, centella extracts are known to calm redness, therefore this is a great product for people with sensitive skin, also on account of it being free of fragrance and essential oils, which are potentially irritating.
Biore UV Aqua
SPF 50 PA++++
A favorite of many due to its lightweight and hydrating formula. It is a milky lotion that leaves no white cast. I found this to be midway between the Hada Labo gel and the Purito lotion in terms of hydration.
Supergoop Glow Stick
This is quite literally the only sunscreen my husband will use. If you have an eversion to lotions, you might find this to be a good alternative to traditional creams and gels. To be clear, I don’t recommend this as a daily sunscreen, because it’s hard to get a feeling of how much you’re using, but alas, it is better than not wearing anything at all.
It is an expensive product considering the small amount you get, but some may be willing to pay extra for a fast and convenient application: unlike many sunscreens in stick form I’ve tried, this one glides super smoothly allowing for a fast application. It is technically an oil, so you also get good hydration.
The best use for it is to carry it with you and use it to top up your sunscreen application throughout the day.
Just like the name suggests, this is a great sunscreen for everyday use. I would not recommend it for your face, considering it does leave some white cast and the filters contained in it are not as sophisticated as those contained in the Japanese products (you can blame the FDA for that). The best thing about it is that it comes in a gigantic 18fl bottle with a pump, which makes the application less messy.
A good waterproof sunscreen that will serve you well if you jog or run outside. It’s lightweight enough that you won’t feel too sticky even wearing it under your clothes. Again, I recommend it for body use only due to the rather plain and not sophisticated formula.
I have been using this product for over 4 years (actually, I use the Target brand version which is just as good) and I can confirm it withstands a sweaty workout.
Regardless of which product you choose, make sure it’s broad spectrum, and remember to reapply throughout the day if you’re in full sun. Don’t forget to use it on the back of your hands: it’s such an overlooked spot that is constantly exposed to UVA and UVB, which can lead to skin cancer and hyperpigmentation.
Pair sunscreen with a good skincare routine that tackles your specific issues and you’ll be happy you took these steps in a few years.