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The 8 best sunscreens of 2021, according to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports tested dozens of formulas — and these ones came out on top.
Woman applying suntan lotion while sunbathing by the swimming pool
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Most dermatologists will tell you that you should be applying sunscreen daily, no matter what the weather is like outside. But as the temperatures warm up and we start spending more time in the sun, the practice becomes even more important.

When it comes to choosing a product that will keep you protected on sunny days, not all sunscreens are created equal. Just in time for beach season, Consumer Reports released its annual guide detailing which options are actually worth the purchase.

To create the guide, testers from the organization evaluated some of the most popular sunscreens on the market, rating each one based on factors like UV protection, accuracy of the SPF rating on the label and the smell and feel of the formula.

Below are eight top-performers that made the "Best Sunscreens of 2021" list.

Best lotion sunscreens

Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector Lotion SPF 30

This lightweight sunscreen reportedly transforms to a water-like texture when applied to the skin, so it goes on smooth and absorbs easily. Suitable for all skin types, you can use it for both your body and face — it's non-comedogenic, so it won't clog your pores.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen SPF 70

Made for everyday use, this facial sunscreen won a top spot for being lightweight enough to wear under makeup, but won't leave behind an oily shine. The small bottle can be slipped into your purse, so you'll have it on hand when it comes time to reapply.

Best spray sunscreens

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Clear Spray, SPF 50

Made with coconut extract, shea butter and avocado oil, this spray-on sunscreen nourishes and moisturizes your skin while providing protection from the sun's harmful rays. Not only is this option one of the top choices according to Consumer Reports, but it also has a seal of approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Spray SPF 100 Sunscreen

Whether you're headed to the pool or out for a hike, you'll be well protected with this option. The high SPF formula is sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, to keep you covered, no matter what the day brings.

Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Spray SPF 30 Sunscreen

Hawaiian Topic's Island Sport Sunscreen made the list for the second year in a row. It leaves behind a luxurious tropical scent that will make you feel like you're on an island vacation — even if you're just lounging on the chaise in your backyard. Plus, the non-greasy formula absorbs quickly, making every application a breeze.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Lotion Spray SPF 60

La Roche-Posay's award-winning sunscreens are made with the brand's Cell-OX Shield technology, which provides broad-spectrum protection and antioxidants to defend against free-radical damage. This spray formula, which topped the Consumer Reports list this year (and the year before), is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Best Mineral Sunscreens

Badger Active Natural Mineral Cream SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen

Some people prefer mineral-based sunscreens, which act as a physical barrier between the skin and the sun's rays and don't contain chemicals like avobenzone and oxybenzone. And when it comes to the most effective options, Badger's active formulas consistently make the Consumer Reports list.

This sunscreen is made with only five ingredients; clear zinc oxide, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, sunflower vitamin E and organic seabuckthorn extract. And unlike other zinc-based products, this one rubs in clear, so it won't leave a white cast on most skin tones.

California Kids #supersensitive Tinted Lotion SPF 30+

This mineral-based, fragrance-free formula is great for kiddos with sensitive skin. It goes on smoothly and is water-resistant for up to 80-minutes, so you can rest assured that your little one will be well-protected on days spent by the pool or at the beach. It also has a slight tint, so you can easily spot any areas that you missed.

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