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I could write a dissertation about the best sunscreen products in my sleep. SPF is my holy grail, my can’t-live-without, my must-have. I’ve tried dozens upon dozens of formulas through the years, and I’m confident that there’s nothing as quick, easy, and convenient to apply as one of the best spray sunscreens. Because whether I need to reapply sunscreen over makeup or want a non-sticky full body mist to use on the beach, a super-fine SPF spray is always going to be my MVP.
The convenience can’t be beat, and while a spray can be just as effective as a cream sunscreen formula, it’s important to take a little extra caution during application to avoid bizarre tanning patterns (been there, done that, not cute) or sunburn. The recipe for success? Hold the bottle no more than six inches away from your body and thoroughly rub everything into the skin. As for the face? Start off with a cream formula (mineral or chemical will do) and reach for a facial-friendly spray SPF for reapplication.
To get a crash course in all things spray sunscreen, I strongly encourage you to keep reading. Not only have I rounded up some of my personal favorite products, but I also tapped board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky to get her top application tips. From fine mists with a barely-there feel to makeup setting sprays loaded with SPF, here’s a definitive guide to the best spray sunscreens.
The Best Body Sunscreen Sprays
“When using sunscreen, I recommend applying at least one ounce of sunscreen to the entire body—this is the equivalent of a shot glass,” explains Dr. Zubritsky. “This can be hard to determine using a spray-on sunscreen, so a good rule of thumb is to apply the spray until the skin glistens.” You’ll want to keep the bottle close to the skin (no more than a six inch distance) and rub the product in.
For reference, a standard size bottle of spray sunscreen should last *only* six body applications. Let that sink in: one bottle is worth only six body applications.
The Best Water-Resistant Body Sunscreen Spray
Dr. Zubritsky loves this SPF “because it contains antioxidants like Vitamin C for extra protection.” She says it’s ideal for allll the summer activities (read: hiking, swimming, sports) because it’s water resistant. While you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours, it’s best to lather up after 80 minutes if you’re sweating or decide to go for a dip.
The Best-Smelling Body Sunscreen Spray
First things first: this SPF smells like heaven—and that’s not an exaggeration. Delicious coconut scent aside, the formula is a winner. It’s going to protect you from UVA and UVB rays, while also soothing and hydrating your body thanks to ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, and banana extract.
The Best Body Sunscreen Spray for Dark Skin Tones
While you should always rub in your SPF, you definitely won’t feel like you need to with this invisible body sunscreen. Not only is it going to spray on completely clear (no white cast!), but it’s going to sink into your skin so quickly.
The Best Kid-Friendly Body Sunscreen Spray
Making sure that little kids are protected from the sun is tough. Trying to coat them in a cream? Near impossible. But with a spray like this La Roche-Posay option, it’s a heck of a lot easier. We love this formula because it’s water resistant, offers antioxidant protection, and leaves a silky finish.
The Best Face Sunscreen Sprays
First things first: the face is sensitive, so it is going to be best to start off with a cream formula. That said, a spray can be used for reapplication—just make sure you’re using one of the best formulas. “Choose a spray sunscreen that is specifically made for the face to prevent clogging pores and acne breakouts,” explains Dr. Zubritsky. “Be sure to avoid getting any in your eyes and keep your mouth closed while spraying.”
The Best Derm-Approved Face Sunscreen Spray
Remember those super-fine water misters that cooled you off while you waited on line for a roller coaster? Remember how cooling and light it felt? Same vibes here. This mist is easy to reapply all day long, and it smells like bananas to boot. Plus, it has Dr. Zubritsky’s stamp of approval.
The Best Face Sunscreen Spray for Oily Skin
This lightweight mist promises to leave you with no white cast or shine, and is a great sunscreen for oily skin. In addition to defending your complexion against UV rays and blue light, it'll hydrate your skin and repair sun damage. Plus, the formula contains Swiss Buddleja flower extracts, which will help calm sensitive skin.
The Best Face Sunscreen Spray for Dry Skin
This whisper-light, non-sticky veil provides broad spectrum UV protection with xylitol, which helps the skin retain its natural moisture and boosts levels of hyaluronic acid. You can spray this formula directly onto your face, or you can spritz it into your hands and rub.
The Best Face Sunscreen Spray for Plumping
There’s nothing more refreshing than having a facial mist on hand during a sweaty beach day. Habit delivers—but they take things a step further too. Not only is their cucumber-scented mist going to give you a pick-me-up, but the formula is made better with SPF 36.
The Best Makeup Setting Sprays With SPF
A setting spray packed with SPF is Dr. Zubritsky’s go-to for reapplication with makeup. Setting sprays easy as can be to apply over makeup and won’t mess up your foundation or cause your mascara to bleed. Just make sure you’re applying enough product to actually get the benefits on the bottle. Reminder: you want to “glisten.” If you’re more into a matte look, check out the best powder sunscreens.
The Best Blurring Makeup Setting Spray With SPF
If you're looking for a 2-in-1, this double-duty formula acts as a SPF and matte-finishing makeup spray. That's right—this spray will keep your makeup in place and add a soft blurred finish for a long-lasting look. We’re not the only ones that love this formula—it’s also Dr. Zubritsky’s fave.
The Best Velvet-Finish Makeup Setting Spray With SPF
Set your makeup and get broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection with just a few spritzes. You can pop this hydrating facial spray into your purse and mist throughout the day for a radiant complexion.
The Best Shine-Control Makeup Setting Spray With SPF
This SPF 30 formula is 70 percent certified organic (a.k.a. great for sensitive skin) and will seal your face beat in with a lightweight matte-finish. The shine-control formula is far from drying though—it’s packed with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to boost moisture during sun-filled days.
The Best Hydrating Micro Mist Sunscreen Spray
This sheer mist is brimming with nourishing skincare ingredients like aloe extract, green tea leaf extract, and sodium hyaluronate that'll soothe and hydrate your skin. Plus, red algae, vitamin C ester, vitamin E, and bisabolol will provide anti-aging benefits, improve skin texture, and reduce skin damage.
The Best Ultra-Fine Sunscreen Sprays
If you *despise* the sticky, greasy feeling of sunscreen, we have some good news: There are a handful of products that spew out SPF so fine, you barely feel it. They sink into the skin, dry down in seconds, and won’t leave your face or body with a damp or wet feel.
The Best Non-Greasy Micro Mist
No one wants the sand to stick to their body during a beach SPF application. And with this luxe formula, you won’t have to worry. The aloe vera-packed spray has a silky texture that doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind. Plus, it's also got a slew of skin-fortifying vitamins and calming aloe vera extract.
The Best Micro Mist Sunscreen Spray for Mature Skin
Protect your skin from sun damage that causes wrinkles and fine lines by adding this spray into your daily routine. The scent-free mineral sunscreen contains hyaluronic acid and aloe, which work to keep your complexion clear and hydrated.
The Best Micro Mist Spray Sunscreen for Even Application
This non-aerosol spray comes out in the finest particles. But—and we consider this a plus—the non-nano zinc-based SPF lands with a white tint on the skin so you can see exactly which areas have coverage. While you’ll definitely need to rub this one in, we promise it feels weightless.
The Best Invisible Micro Mist Spray Sunscreen
For an SPF that’s reef safe and has a vegan ingredient list, you can beat Derma-E. The spray comes out completely clear and is uber-fine. While zinc oxide is going to be the main ingredient, the SPF also includes hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and coco butter, along with soothing add-ons like green tea, pomegranate extract, and vitamin E.
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.