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What to Look for in a Sunscreen

What to Look for in a Sunscreen

 Picking out sunscreen? Though it should be easy, it can feel overwhelming. In this article, we’ll break down exactly what to look for in a sunscreen, so you can always find the perfect SPF for your needs.

Decide if You Need Water Resistance

First things first: Where are you planning to wear your SPF? If you’re looking for something you’ll be swimming, sweating, or towel-drying in, make sure to opt for something that says “water-resistant” on the label.

Looking for something to wear every day to further prevent skin damage? Water resistance might not be important to you—just be sure to grab a water resistant sunscreen for more active days.

If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, try a face sunblock like our Classic Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. It can stand up to long days of sun exposure in the sun but is also lightweight enough to use every day. 

Not all sunscreen products are formulated the same, so make sure you look at the directions and know how often to reapply sunscreen based on your activity level and the ingredients.

Choose Physical or Chemical Sunscreen

Your next decision: whether to pick a sunscreen with mineral active ingredients, or chemical active ingredients. When determining what to look for in a sunscreen, mineral and chemical sunscreen ingredients both protect skin from harmful UV rays, though the way they protect is a little different. Understanding the difference between the two is important for determining the right sunscreen for you.  Mineral sunscreens use physical active ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to physically block UV rays and reflect them away from skin. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, use active ingredients like Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Oxybenzone to absorb UV rays, convert them to heat, and send that heat away from the skin. 

Mineral sunscreen —like the COOLA mineral sunscreen collection—is extra gentle on skin, so they’re great for babies, kids, or those with sensitive skin. Studies also show that mineral options are reef-friendly, making them a great option for swimming in the ocean. The downside? Zinc Oxide tends to feel thicker and take longer to rub in. For a lightweight mineral option, try a COOLA mineral lotion or spray, featuring genre-defying technology that allows our formulas to rub in sheer, all while delivering powerful broad spectrum protection.

Looking for a 100% invisible sunscreen product on all skin tones? Chemical sunscreen can be truly invisible, and often feels more lightweight than mineral. Plus, there are Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant options (at COOLA, everything we make—including our chemical sunscreens—meet this standard for reef safety). For organic, transparent, Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant SPF options, check out our Classic Lotions or Classic Sprays.

Make Sure It’s SPF 15 or Higher

The FDA recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher every day, no matter the weather. Many dermatologists take this a step further by recommending SPF 30 or higher, especially if you get a lot of sun exposure throughout the day. 

If you’re looking for extra protection from UV light, you can always grab something with an even higher SPF, like our Peach Blossom scented Classic Sunscreen Spray SPF 70

Maximize Your Benefits

To simplify your skincare routine (and get more bang for your buck), reach for SPFs that are more than just a sun protection factor.

Want a sunscreen product that doubles as a deeply hydrating daily moisturizer for dry skin? Try Refreshing Water Cream SPF 50. It’s clinically proven to hydrate skin for 24+ hours with just one application, while also protecting skin from blue light thanks to BlueScreen™ Digital De-Stress™ technology.

Looking for a little extra glow? Grab Dew Good Illuminating Serum SPF 30Allure’s 2022 Best of Beauty winner for the best facial sunscreen. It gives skin an instantly dewy, hydrated look, along with weightless SPF protection. Read more about how to use face serum and learn all the benefits of using it.

Final tips

When in doubt, the best sunscreen for you is the sunscreen you’ll enjoy wearing. That’s why we make organic, healthy, luxurious feeling sunscreen you’ll want to use every day.


  1. Research U.S. Food And Drug Administration.