We know you know how important it is to wear sunscreen every single day, no matter what your skin tone is or whether or not you’re basking in the sun. But as the temperatures start to sizzle and many of us head outdoors, it’s especially crucial to protect ourselves from the sun’s damaging rays. So if you’re looking for the best sunscreen for year-round protection, look no further than Consumer Reports, who just released its 2018 Annual Sunscreen Guide. They’ve chosen one contender as the perfect sunscreen, and turns out, it’s won that honor four years in a row.
Each year, Consumer Reports tests dozens of sunscreen brands to get the word out to shoppers about the best options on the market. The organization rated 73 protective lotions, sprays, and sticks, all labeled SPF 30 or higher (the minimum level recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology). According to the report, 24 of them failed to meet the SPF claim on the label, which is not good considering many people don’t apply enough sunscreen to begin with, or fail to reapply frequently enough.
If the SPF claims are inaccurate, you are applying the product ineffectively, or you aren’t reapplying roughly every two hours, you might not be getting the sun protection you think. Yikes.
Of the 73 contenders, one sunscreen received a score of 100 (for the fourth consecutive year): La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk ($36). “Our top-rated lotion is fragrance-free, although it does have a very slight plasticky smell,” Julia Calderone writes. “It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly.” Following closely behind is Walmart’s in-house brand, Equate, which earned a 99 score for its Sport Lotion SPF 50 ($5).
Additionally, Consumer Reports named top buys for a variety of different needs and applications that appeal to your summertime plans.
If you prefer a spray to a lotion, the highest-rated spray option can be picked up when you’re shopping for affordable canned wine. Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ ($6) is not only budget-friendly and effective, but also has a classic beachy aroma, according to CR. A close runner-up in the tropical scent category is Banana Boat Sun Comfort Sunscreen Spray in SPF 50 ($7).
If you’d rather use a stick or a balm, you’ll love Target’s Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Sticks in SPF 55 ($8 for two) which are specially formulated for kids, so they’re especially gentle on eyes.
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(Photos via La Roche-Posay, Trader Joe’s, Target, Getty)