Sunscreens for Working Out That Don’t Suck—or Streak or Leave You Greasy

By Maire,

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We tested sprays, creams, and sticks during our runs, bike rides, and hikes. These picks make lathering up feel like less of a chore.

Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense SPF 50+

While our tester was nervous to try out most face products due to her sensitive, acne-prone skin, she loved this lightweight mineral sunscreen with a sheer universal tint for a bit of coverage. While not water-resistant, it did hold up for a hot bootcamp-style workout in the park and a few hours of lounging in the sun afterwards. Best of all, she experienced no irritation at all! ($38; kiehls.com) (Be sure to check out these SPF and Sun Protection Myths to Stop Believing.)

PHOTO: KIEHL’S

Acure SPF 30 Continuous Spray Sunscreen

Our tester wore this sunscreen during a half marathon, and loved that she wasn’t constantly reminded of its presence throughout the race. It didn’t feel sticky at all and was completely undetectable in both scent (totally odorless!) and sight (no white residue). ($13; target.com)

PHOTO: ACURE

Rodan + Fields Essentials: Body Sunscreen (SPF 30)

 

This went on clear and left no thick residue and barely gave off a scent at all (perfect for those averse to smelly sunscreens), according to our tester. The only downside is that it’s only water/sweat resistant for 40 minutes, so you’d have to remember to reapply—fine for beach activities, but a little more difficult for distance runners or cyclists who would have to stop or carry it with them. ($24; rodanandfields.com)

PHOTO: RODAN + FIELDS

Coola Sport Face SPF 50, White Tea

With its lightweight, non-greasy formula and spa-like white tea scent, our tester couldn’t believe a product so hydrating could also be so high-performing—it’s designed for sensitive skin, yet water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and it strayed strong through a super sweaty rooftop yoga session. ($32; coolasuncare.com)

PHOTO: COOLA

L’Oreal Invisible Protect Clear Cool Lotion SPF 30

 

Our tester reported that this sunscreen went on clear and dry (as dry as a liquid can be, at least!) and had a pleasant cooling effect—without leaving any sticky or greasy residue like some other gel-like products. While it should be reapplied every 80 minutes, it stood up for our reviewer for four hours of hiking in the sun without any redness at all. ($10; lorealparisusa.com) (Next up: Is Your Sunscreen Actually Protecting Your Skin? We had a derm weight in on the results of the recent Consumer Reports study.)

PHOTO: L’OREAL

Coppertone Faces

 

Like the name promises, this really does go on super smooth and sheer. Our tester wore for a half marathon and reported that she barely remembered it was there due to the lightweight and breathable formula (and no burns, even with a tricky cloudy UV sitch that was happening!). While she didn’t try any water activities, it is water-resistant up to 80 minutes, making it the perfect summer swap for your regular everyday moisturizer. ($10; drugstore.com)

PHOTO: COPPERTONE

SkinCeuticals Sport UV Defense SPF 50

 

This formula felt a little thicker to apply, but our tester liked the SPF 50 protection (no burns or lines!) and it totally held up to a sweaty 10-mile run without feeling gross or sticky. (Makes sense since it was specifically formulated for ‘extreme conditions’ and is marathon runner-tested!) Our reviewer did manage to get it all over her black crops which was super obvious because of the zinc in the formula (this one’s a physical/chemical block combo), but it washed right out. ($40; SkinCeuticals.com)

PHOTO: SKINCEUTICALS

Coppertone Sports High Performance SPF 30

sport sunscreen

 

A quick few sprays of this water-resistant sunscreen before an outdoor spin class on a pier, and our reviewer was good to go. It dried almost instantly, so there was no waiting to get dressed or fear that it would leave marks on a favorite workout tank or swim top. And it didn’t feel sticky at all, even after 50 minutes on the bike. ($8; target.com)

PHOTO: COPPERTONE

Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30

sunscreen

 

If you’re a fan of Fresh’s main line of lip balms, you’ll love this moisturizing, water-resistant SPF 30 all-purpose face stick that has the same amazing smell. While our tester felt the hydrating avocado oil formula made this product better suited for protecting drier areas like the lips and under-eyes (rather than the oily T-Zone), it was still perfect for touching up on a long weekend run. ($25; sephora.com)

PHOTO: FRESH

Neutrogena Cool-Dry Spray SPF 50

 

This spray sunscreen went on light, smelled fresh, and didn’t get gross after sweating. Our tester wore it for a three-mile run and then sat in the car with it on for a few hours without showering. (If that doesn’t test the greasy-feel factor, what does?). Because it’s so lightweight, reapplication is definitely important if you’re wearing for longer than 80 minutes, but at just $10, you can afford to spray generously. ($10; neutrogena.com) (FYI—this product also made last year’s best-sunscreen picks. Check it out for more sun products that will keep you covered all summer long.)

PHOTO: NEUTROGENA

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