If you’re going to be swimming, sweating, or just outdoors for an extended period of time, you need to make sure you're wearing the right sunscreen — mainly, one that's going to repel water and sweat. The best waterproof sunscreens provide broad-spectrum sun protection with an SPF of at least 30, and are water resistant up to 80 minutes, because, funnily enough, truly waterproof sunscreens don't exist. All of them will wash off after extended periods of swimming, sweating, or vigorous towel drying, or lose their efficacy throughout the day. That's why the FDA doesn't allow brands to label their sunscreens waterproof. However, brands can use the term water resistant if they've undergone testing that proves their sunscreens are effective while users are sweating or swimming. Note that all sunscreens, even water-resistant ones, need to be reapplied about every two hours when you're outdoors.
Whether you prefer a lotion, a stick, or a spray, scroll on to shop eight of the best water resistant sunscreens on the market right now.
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1. The Overall Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen
EltaMD's UV Sport Sunscreen is an unscented, oil-free sunscreen that uses a zinc oxide base to provide broad-spectrum sun protection in the form of SPF 50. Safe for use on your face and body, it absorbs quickly, won't drip or run, and doesn't leave behind a heavy white cast, unlike most other, mineral-based sunscreens. It's water resistant up to 80 minutes, and was designed specifically for active lifestyles — aka people who sweat or exercise a lot.
2. Best Water-Resistant Drugstore Sunscreen
For a more affordable choice, go with Neutrogena's classic Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen. As its name implies, it dries down to a sheer, matte finish, leaving skin feeling clean and fresh. This is another oil-free, face and body sunscreen that's water resistant for up to 80 minutes, but unlike the EltaMD pick above, this is a chemical sunscreen, not a mineral sunscreen. Also, this has a really high SPF of 100+, so it'll keep sun-sensitive skin extra protected outdoors.
3. Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen Spray
If you prefer spray-on sunscreens, pick up a bottle of Coppertone SPORT Continuous Sunscreen Spray. Like the Neutrogena sunscreen, this has an SPF of 100 and is water resistant up for to 80 minutes (though it also comes in an SPF 70 version, which is sold on the same page).
The downside to any spray-on sunscreen is that it can be easy to miss spots, particularly if you're applying it outside where a breeze can blow the lotion away from your skin, so the AAD suggests spraying it until your skin glistens, then rubbing it in with your hands afterwards for maximum protection.
4. Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen Stick
Sunscreen sticks are really handy for touchups throughout the day, so everyone should keep a WaxHead Sport Stick on their person or in their bag. It's a super-thick, mineral-based cream with an SPF of 30 that stays put wherever you apply it — just dab it on and rub it into your skin. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes, it contains just four ingredients: zinc oxide, extra-virgin coconut oil, beeswax, and vanilla extract, which gives it a subtle scent.
5. Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen Tin
Similar to the WaxHead Sport Stick, this Badger sunscreen has a zinc oxide-based formula that contains just a few natural ingredients, including organic sunflower oil and organic beeswax, but it's unscented. With a bit of rubbing, this sunscreen-in-a-tin goes on clear, and won't run or drip into your eyes. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes, it has an SPF of 40 and is Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free. Super handy for stashing in a pocket or small bag.
6. Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen For Your Lips
Water resistant up to 80 minutes, this Vanicream lip protectant with SPF 30 is one of the best lip sunscreens around. Not only will it help protect your delicate lips from burning, but it also provides moisture to prevent and treat chapped skin caused by the wind and sun. Even if you have sensitive lips, this sunscreen should work nicely for you, since it's free of dyes, fragrance, and gluten, like all Vanicream products.
7. Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen For Your Scalp & Hair
If you're not wearing a hat, you need to protect your scalp, which is just as susceptible to sunburn as the rest of your body. But instead of a messy lotion, try this COOLA Organic Scalp & Hair Sunscreen Mist instead. Not only is it water resistant for up to 80 minutes, but this SPF 30 spray is loaded with good-for-hair ingredients, like panthenol, monoï oil, algae extract, centella asiatica extract, and more. As a bonus, it's vegan and cruelty-free. An especially smart choice if you dye or highlight your hair.