We all know that while the sun’s warm rays are good for us, we can’t forget that you can have too much of a good thing.
This is particularly true for the fragile skin on our faces, which is frequently exposed to sunlight. But re-applying sunscreen lotion onto our faces can be a real hassle and impractical when out on the go.
That’s where sunscreen sticks come in!
Compact, easy to use, and ultra-portable, the sunscreen stick is a must-have item for your skincare arsenal.
Today we’ll be exploring the best sunscreen sticks for face use while we demystify your choices and give you the knowledge you need to protect your skin effectively.
Selecting the Ideal Sunscreen Stick for Face Use: What You NEED To Know
- SPF Factor. Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, plays a crucial role in selecting the right sunscreen stick for the face. The SPF rating of sunscreen relates to what amount of UV rays the product can block. Dermatologists recommend choosing sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher for optimum protection. However, no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays, and regardless of the SPF level you choose — that’s why regular sunscreen reapplication is essential to maintain its effectiveness.
- Broad Spectrum Protection. A sunscreen’s ability to shield your skin against both UVA and UVB rays is a critical feature. Broad-spectrum sunscreens afford this dual protection. UVA rays can lead to skin aging, wrinkling, and even skin cancer, while UVB rays are infamous for causing sunburns and skin cancer. Therefore, for comprehensive protection, prioritize sunscreen sticks labeled as broad-spectrum (don’t worry, most are. And, all the sunscreens we highlight here are broad spectrum).
- Mineral vs Chemical Ingredients. The ingredients in your sunscreen stick can significantly influence how it feels on your skin. Chemical-based sunscreens have ingredients like oxybenzone or avobenzone that absorb UV light. They’re easy to rub in and readily absorb into the skin. However, some chemical sunscreen ingredients have been banned for ocean use due to reported environmental damage. They can also be super irritating for sensitive skin typs. Conversely, mineral sunscreens rely on natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that sit on top of your skin and reflect UV rays. Despite being typically more difficult to apply and sometimes leaving a white cast, they have lesser skin irritation potential and a lower environmental impact. Fortunately, many newer mineral sunscreen sticks have improved formulations that rub in easily and leave no visible residue.
- Ease of Application. Due to how important it is to regularly re-apply sunscreen, we need to make it easy to reapply in order for you to actually do it. So, select a formula that can be quickly reapplied whenever needed. The best sunscreen sticks work well in this aspect, offering the convenience of swift and even application, making them an obvious choice for individuals with an on-the-go lifestyle.
- Skin Sensitivity. Sensitive skin requires a more careful approach to sunscreen selection. Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic sunscreens are designed to minimize skin irritation and avoid clogging pores. While chemical sticks may more readily irritate sensitive skin, mineral ones tend to be gentler when applying sunscreen. However, every skin type is unique, and regardless of the product you choose, a patch test is recommended to ensure the sunscreen is compatible with your skin type.
Best Sunscreen Stick for Face Use: Our Top Picks!
1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Stick
A zinc oxide mineral-based sunscreen stick that's clear and sheer.
- SPF 50 + broad spectrum mineral sunscreen stick with zinc oxide
- Formulated with 21.6% zinc oxide mineral and vitamin E
- Nn-greasy, dry touch finish, and no white residue.
- Water resistant for up to 80 minutes and doesn't run into the eyes and sting
- Gentle and mild for sensitive skin -- free of fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates and mineral oil
About: Say hello to optimal sun protection without the shine with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick. Celebrated for its outstanding broad-spectrum SPF defense, this sunscreen stick efficiently keeps your skin protected against both UVA and UVB rays, boasting an SPF 50 rating.
Made using ‘dry-touch’ technology, this sunscreen stick is beloved for its non-greasy finish that leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth, and matte.
It’s also quite affordable too, so it’s a good consideration even for tight budgets. The only downside is that, due to its mineral-based composition, individuals with darker skin tones may notice a residual white cast when using this stick.
- Broad Spectrum Protection: This sunscreen has the power to shield your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. You’re gearing up for a formidable line of defense against sun damage with this SPF 50 sunscreen stick.
- For Body and Face Use. This sunscreen is designed to be versatile, functioning as a face and body stick that can cover all kinds of ground. That’s partly why we also recommend this as a great sunscreen for sun allergies too — it’s a real multi-tasker.
- Non-Greasy Vibes: Say goodbye to greasy sunscreens. Crafted with Neutrogena’s “dry-touch technology”, this face and body sunscreen stick leaves a non-greasy, matte finish.
- Suitable for Water and Sweat: Besides providing robust protection against UV rays, it holds up against water and sweat for up to 80 minutes. Whether you’re hitting the beach or the gym, it’s up to the challenge!
- Non-Comedogenic: Got acne-prone skin? No problem. This sunscreen is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores and spark breakouts. It’s a solution tailored to keep both the sun and spots at bay.
- Oil-Free: Catering to combination and oily skin, it’s an oil-free formula that leaves your skin feeling clean and fresh instead of sticky and slicked with product.
- A trustworthy sun protector at an affordable price point
- Suitable for various skin types, courtesy of being non-comedogenic and oil-free
- While it’s marketed as having a light feel, some users reported a noticeable stickiness. Skincare is personal, so experiences might vary!
- Can be a bit tough to rub in, but that’s pretty common with sunscreen sticks — glide over the skin instead or relying on rubbing!
2. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick
About: We’re big Blue Lizard fans across the board, and their Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick continues to line of excellent sunscreen products. It respects sensitive skin as much as it does the environment!
With a robust SPF 50 rating, this mineral sunscreen formulated with zinc oxide prioritizes protection without compromising skin comfort. With its thoughtful composition that’s kind to skin and sea life alike, it’s the sun-protective ally you hadn’t realized your skin needed.
- Zinc Oxide Based Protection: This sun-smart lightweight formula uses zinc oxide, a type of mineral that forms a skin barrier and reflects harmful UV rays before they can do any damage. This ensures effective wide spectrum protection against both UVA & UVB rays.
- Ideal for Sensitive Skin: Thoughtfully formulated without any chemical active ingredients, it’s tailored for reactive complexions. If your skin has ever gone head-to-head with irritants and lost, this mineral sunscreen stick could be your winning redemption.
- Fragrance-Free Formula & Paraben-Free: In going the extra mile for delicate skin, the formula is free of common irritants like fragrances and parabens. It’s gentleness you can trust.
- Reef-Safe & Water Resistant: This mineral sunscreen stick employs a formula free from oxybenzone and octinoxate (mineral ingredients only), making it safe for our ocean reefs and one of our top picks for the best sunscreen for Hawaii too. Plus, it even resists water, letting you dive into those waves without a worry in the world (but don’t forget to reapply!).
- Gentle ingredient list that’s perfect for sensitive skin.
- Reef-friendly and water-resistant, so it’s great for traveling to places like Hawaii.
- Respectable SPF 50 protection
- Its mineral nature might leave a noticeable white cast on some skin tones. But hey, that’s just the sun-reflection power doing its job!
3. Babo Botanicals Zinc Sports Sunscreen Stick
Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sport Stick
A compact and travel-friendly stick sunscreen
- SPF 30 and broad spectrum mineral zinc sunscreen
- Stick formula designed to protect face, lips, nose and ears
- Reef-safe and hypoallergenic
- Clinically tested and rated number #1 in safety by Environment Working Group (EWG)
About: Step into the sunny side of life with Babo Botanicals Zinc Sport Sunscreen Stick – a trusted protector, healer, and friend to sensitive skin.
Crafted as a sheer mineral sunscreen stick with an admirable SPF 50 rating, it promises to fight harmful sun rays fiercely, while never breaking its promise to keep your skin soothed and safe.
Caring for your skin goes beyond sun protection, and this zinc sport sunscreen also packs in nourishing ingredients like shea butter that offer a soothing touch. We also adore how small and travel-friendly this stick is — it can fit right in your purse or backpack so reapplication is always a hand’s reach away.
- Compact Stick Format: No more struggling with the right application amount; this sunscreen stick format ensures fuss-free and even application.
- Nourishing Ingredients: This zinc-based mineral sunscreen stick does more than protect. Infused with jojoba oil, avocado, and shea butter, it gives your skin a spa-like treatment with every application.
- Water and Sweat Resistant: Sweat or swim fearlessly! It stands undefeated against water and sweat for up to 80 minutes, ensuring continuous protection even when you’re on the move. It’s sport-specific design is why we recommend this as a great sunscreen for sweating too.
- Sensitive Skin Soldier: Formulated as a hypoallergenic product, this sunscreen stick caters perfectly to sensitive skin types. Plus, it’s gluten, soy, dairy, peanut, almond, and walnut-free, making it a safe choice for those with allergies.
- Reef-Friendly: Leave not just your skin but also Mother Earth smiling. Free of oxybenzone and octinoxate and certified cruelty-free, this mineral sunscreen stick respects marine ecosystems just as passionately as it does your skin.
- Perfect for those hard-to-reach spots like lips, nose, and ears.
- All-in-one sun protector and skin soother in a handy stick format.
- Allergy-safe and reef-friendly too.
- Its small size may not provide as much sunscreen as you’d expect for the price. But remember, good things often come in small (and sun-protective) packages!
4. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick
Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick
A reef-friendly zinc-based mineral sunscreen that comes in stick form
- SPF 50 + broad spectrum zinc-based mineral sunscreen
- Easy roll-on design for quick application
- Lightweight and silky feel
- Waterproof and sweatproof for 80 minutes
- Gluten and cruelty-free
About: Bring on the sun — as long as you have the Sun Bum Sunscreen Face Stick in your arsenal, you’ll be good to go.
Designed for easy application, this stick sunscreen sports an SPF 50 rating alongside reliable sweat and splash protection. Combine it with the cheerful branding and you get a sunscreen that’s just as much fun as those sunny days out at the beach.
- Mattifying Stick Application: No more greasy hands or uneven application — this stick is smooth and easy to roll on. Plus, it boasts a soft, mattifying effect on your face that fans love.
- Skin-Loving Ingredients: Alarm bells won’t ring with this ingredient list. It’s oxybenzone-free, hypoallergenic, and free from parabens or fragrances that could irritate sensitive skin.
- Water and Sweat Resistant: Embrace your inner Aquaman or Sweaty Betty! This sunscreen stick has been formulated to stay put and protect for up to 80 minutes through sweat and water.
- Cruelty-Free and Reef-Safe: This sunscreen stick loves all creatures big and small, on land and under the sea. It’s cruelty-free and free from chemicals that harm marine life with it’s 100% mineral, zinc-oxide composition.
- Convenient sunscreen stick format perfect for on-the-go reapplication
- Keep up with your active life by resisting sweat and water
- Mineral zinc oxide formula plays nice with your skin and the ocean
- May leave a white cast due to its mineral composition
A high SPF, broad-spectrum coverage, and water resistance are all key factors in a fantastic sunscreen face stick, but it also has to feel good on your skin.
So, explore your options, consider your needs, and find that perfect sunscreen stick that will serve as a faithful guard against harmful sun rays. Your skin is your body’s largest organ – protect it with care!
What sunscreen stick for face use are you the biggest supporter of? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!