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The Best Sweat-Proof Sunscreen For Every Outdoor Adventure


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Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

While applying sunscreen is an absolute must -- not just for the summer, but for every day wear -- not all sunscreens are created equal. If you spend a lot of time outside, you need a strong and sweat-proof sunscreen that's water-resistant for every kind of activity. From swimming and surfing to fishing and hiking, a good outdoor sunscreen absorbs quickly, won't irritate your eyes if your face gets wet, and keeps you protected from harmful UV rays that can cause everything from sunburns to skin cancer.

When it comes to finding the right sweat-proof sunscreen for you, we think it's best to choose one that works best for your situation -- if you're outside every day, you'll want a sunscreen that doesn't leave you feeling greasy and doesn't leave a white cast no matter your skin tone. If you're finding a sunscreen for your kids, you'll probably want something that's easy to apply and doesn't contain harsh chemicals. And if you're searching for the right sunscreen for an intense activity - especially one that means you'll be in the water -- you want something that's reef-friendly and incredibly resistant to water. As for mineral vs chemical sunscreens, we've included both on this list. Mineral sunscreen is also known as physical sunscreen -- it uses ingredients like zinc that have been proven to block UV rays. This will sit on top of the skin as a protective layer and repel the rays. Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that work to turn UV rays into heat, which then dissipates away from the skin. In 2019, the FDA updated regulatory requirements on certain ingredients in chemical sunscreens. The FDA has since banned two ingredients from sunscreen (so of course they're not on this list!)  and required some of the chemicals used (like oxybenzone) to undergo more testing overtime. While we did include chemical sunscreens, we did not include chemical sunscreens that include oxybenzone -- and while the FDA is studying ingredients like oxybenzone more, they have not deemed them unsafe. Either way -- whatever your comfort level is, we've included options for both, so be sure to pick the one that works best for you, and ask your doctor should you want to learn more.

Finally, another note: no sunscreen will work all day unless you're diligent in reapplication. All of these sunscreens should be applied 15 minutes before you are exposed to the sun, and then again after 80 minutes of exposure to water or if you're sweating. Follow that golden rule and find the right sunscreen for you below, and you'll have a sunburn-free summer.

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1. Best Spray Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Unscented Sport 50+ SPF Sunscreen - Amazon, $19.61 

This mineral-based sunscreen is from beloved Australian brand Blue Lizard, and the SPF 50+, the zinc oxide-based formula, and the reef-friendly ingredients make this our top pick for a water-resistant spray. We love spray sunscreens to keep in your backpack for easy reapplication -- and an easy rule of thumb is to start with a cream base and travel with a spray option for mess-free sun protection all day long. This has no fragrance, which is great for sensitive skin and to keep bugs away. It's a spray that applies visibly white, so you'll actually be able to see where you're hitting the skin to ensure you're covered, and it stands up to sweat and water without burning your eyes.

2. Best Clear Sunscreen Stick

Oars + Alps Go Stick Clear SPF 35 Face Sunscreen - Amazon, $21.99

If you have sensitive skin, you'll probably want to get an additional sunscreen for your face -- and this Oars + Alps Clear Stick is our pick for the best stick option that goes on totally clear. It has jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and Vitamin E to keep your skin soothed and soft, unlike other sunscreens that can cause breakouts or burning. The clear coverage makes it easy to apply without a mirror and the stick makes it easy to take it with you everywhere. It's vegan, fragrance- and cruelty-free, and it's reef-safe. We love that you can bring this in your carry-on and don't have to stow it in your liquids bag if you're flying, so you don't have to spend money on expensive sunscreens when you land for your tropical adventure.

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3. Best Sport Sunscreen Stick

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral SPF 50+ Sunscreen Stick - Amazon, $13.99 

This sunscreen stick from Blue Lizard has all of the same qualities as the first spray (a reef-friendly, made for sensitive skin, mineral-based sunscreen), but it's in stick form. This is a must-have for extreme days on the water or outside, and will provide a mess-free way to quickly protect yourself on parts of your body you feel might be burning. Place it in your pocket and use it to reapply on sensitive areas like your nose, shoulders, the tops of feet and hands, and the hairline -- and you'll be burn-free and protected from the harsh UV rays of the sun all day long: sweat and water's no match for this stick.

4. Best Spray Sunscreen for Kids

Babo Botanicals Sheer Spray SPF 30+ Sunscreen - Amazon, $19.36

Kids can be notoriously impatient during sunscreen application, so most of the time, spray sunscreen will be the best bet -- not only is it quick and easy to apply, they can also do it themselves if they so insist. Our pick is a mineral option from Babo Botanicals, which has an SPF of 30 and is made with natural ingredients like zinc for reef-safe sun protection, as well as avocado, sunflower seed oil, and jojoba oil for a skin-soothing and moisturizing effect. It leaves a sheer cast on skin, so you can ensure your children are fully covered and won't burn.

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5. Best Sport Sunscreen for Kids

Thinksport Kids SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen - Amazon, $18.94

If you're spending a day out on the water or doing outdoor activities, you're going to want a strong sunscreen for your kids. This zinc option from Thinksport is vegan and biodegradable. It's also hydrating, will quickly be absorbed by the skin, and won't be sticky, so it will please even the pickiest of kids. One reviewer writes: "I've been using this sunscreen on my family for two years now, and love it for days at the beach. It gives good protection, doesn't wash off easily, spreads easily, and has a nice faint fruity smell."

6. Best Sunscreen for Fishing

Watermen's Mineral SPF 55 Sunscreen - Amazon, $22.99

This sunscreen is made for days out on the water -- whether you're fishing or doing extreme water sports, this is the versatile, high-performance sunscreen for you. Watermen's is made to endure both sweat and water, and doesn't make your hands slippery, so you'll never lose your grip while wearing it. It's a zinc mineral sunscreen that's reef-safe, and won't sting your eyes if you put it on your face.

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7. Best Sweat-Proof Sunscreen With SPF 100

It is very, very hard to find SPF 100 in stores -- and this sport option from Coppertone is a crowd favorite. If you're fine with using chemical sunscreens, this one goes on thick and dries clear, so it won't leave a white cast on skin. It's 99% effective against UV rays, and the moisturizing formula won't clog pores. It's a really fantastic option if you're extremely sensitive to the sun.

8. Best for Families

Bullfrog Quik Gel SPF 50 Sunscreen - Amazon, $12.99

So you need a crowd-pleasing sunscreen that will work for all your family members. We think we've found it. Bullfrog Quik Gel sunscreen is (drum roll, please): quick to dry, dries clear, has an SPF of 50, is reef-friendly oil-free, won't feel greasy on skin, and made with plant extracts to soothe skin. We can see this pleasing most crowds, so if you're looking for an all-in-one option that you can bring on your next camping trip, this one was actually so popular, they brought it back after discontinuing it a while back. One reviewer writes: "The thing I like most about the Bullfrog Quick Gel is that it doesn't come off, even if you perspire a minute after applying it. Every other sunscreen I have used does this."

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9. Best Everyday Sunscreen That Dries Clear (Body)

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion - Amazon, $15.99

If you're outside every day, you need a sweat-proof sunscreen that feels and works like a moisturizer -- and you'll want one that dries clear if you plan on using it daily. This classic favorite from Sun Bum has an SPF of 50, is reef-friendly, and has a creamy but not too thick consistency that doesn't leave a greasy cast behind. Fans of this sunscreen love its summery smell, and that it's hypoallergenic, too.

10. Best Everyday Sunscreen That Dries Clear (Face)

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 - Amazon, $39.05

This mineral-based zinc oxide sunscreen from Elta MD dries completely clear on any complexion or skin tone, and it also has skin-loving ingredients that protect against acne, so you can be comfortable wearing this all day every day. The addition of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid make this a high-quality option for every day use -- if you're out in the sun often, you owe yourself an SPF that acts like skincare, protecting you from UV rays, pollutants, sun spots, and more.

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11. Best Lip Balm

Headhunter Coconut Mineral Lip Balm SPF 30 (3-Pack) - Amazon, $9.99

You can't abandon your lips when you're applying sunscreen, and this coconut lip balm checks all the boxes: a 3-pack is under $10, it has a subtle coconut flavor, it's a mineral formula, and it's reef-safe. To ensure you're protected all day, throw one of these in your bag and you'll be covered from head to toe.

READ MORE: The Best Cooling Hats For More Comfortable Hikes & Fishing Trips