With summer officially in full swing, it’s time to get serious about sun protection. And just in case you forgot to put it on your shopping or packing list (who doesn’t?), the Environmental Working Group (EWG) scoured the stores and their database to round up the best lotions at the best prices—all conveniently available at major drugstores and supermarkets nationwide.
The EWG rates products on a 0-10 scale (0 being the best) based on:
- Health hazards associated with listed ingredients (based on a review of nearly 60 standard industry, academic, government regulatory and toxicity databases).
- UVB protection (using SPF rating as the indicator of effectiveness).
- UVA protection (using a standard industry absorbance model).
- Balance of UVA/UVB protection (using the ratio of UVA absorbance to SPF).
- Sunscreen stability (how quickly an ingredient breaks down in the sun, using an in-house stability database compiled from published findings of industry and peer-reviewed stability studies).
All of the products listed below were given a score between 0-2, which means they are “low hazard” based on the EWG’s standards. To see how your favorite sunscreen stacks up, visit ewg.org for more information.
Here, the top performers:
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50
Made with zinc oxide and soothing oatmeal, this one is great for picky skin types that usually get inflamed or irritated.
To buy: $11; target.com
Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion SPF50
This mineral formula is waterproof for up to 80 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about tracking the kids down to relather ever 10 minutes.
To buy: $10; target.com
Bare Republic Clearscreen Sunscreen Gel Sport SPF 30
This super lightweight formula dries quickly and won’t leave a white film. It also has a natural scent of coconut and mango—delicious!
To buy: $13; target.com
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Baby SPF 50
This sensitive skin sunscreen provides broad spectrum UV protection but also includes aloe, shea butter, and chamomile extract to help soothe and calm skin.
To buy: $15; target.com
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30
This paraben- and fragrance-free formula is great at protecting skin, but your kids will love the color changing bottle.
To buy: $19; walgreens.com
CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45
Not only is this formula hypoallergenic, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and fragrance-free, but it also contains three types of ceramides (skin naturally contains them to create a moisture barrier) to keep skin hydrated.
To buy: $16; target.com
Goddess Garden Organics Facial Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
This mineral formula contains antioxidants like green tea to help protect against environmental factors. Plus, it goes on super sheer—perfect for applying under makeup or wearing alone.
To buy: $12.50; target.com
Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen SPF 50
This water-resistant and fragrance-free, zinc-based formula promises no tears, which equals happy parents.
To buy: $11; target.com