We tried and tested a whole selection of creams, milks, oils, lotions and sprays to choose the best water proof sunscreen and decided on three main criteria: there must be no white residue left on the skin, they must not clog pores and they must feel smooth on application. There are still some high SPF products (and we should all be wearing SPF 30 and above) that feel sticky and tacky. And one of these combined with a hot, humid day in the sunshine, will make applying sunscreen suddenly feel like a bigger chore.
There are too many good brands with lightweight formulas to ever put up with thick, greasy or sticky lotions. Remember to use two to three tablespoons for the whole body (yes you read that right, very few people use enough), apply 30 minutes before going out in the sun and top up just before you leave to ensure protection. Seek shade between 11am and 3pm and drink lots of water to hydrate from the inside. When a sunscreen claims to be water resistant, or waterproof, you’ll be protected while submerged, but it’s always recommended to apply again after swimming, towelling, or every two to three hours.
Sun cream has a shelf life of 12-18 months, so if anything is lurking in the back of the bathroom cabinet, make this the year you clear out the old and invest in some new bottles. Finally, don’t underestimate the strength of the British sunshine – we’ve all been caught out on those first few sunny days in early summer.
List of best waterproof sunscreens for swimming and sporting available on the market. The terms Waterproof sunblock and sweatproof sunblock should be taken with a grain of salt because no sun protection product is completely water-proof or sweat-proof, and no product truly ‘blocks’ the sun. These terms were thought to be misleading by the FDA and promising of a higher level of protection than they really offer.
These days, those looking for good waterproof sunscreen pick up “Water resistant sunscreen” ‘Water Resistant Sunscreen’ means that the sunscreen retains its stated SPF value after a certain time (either 40 or 80 minutes) in water or while sweating. These tests must be conducted by a third party laboratory (usually the same lab that tests the SPF value of the sunscreen). Waterproof or resistant lotion is typically preferred for those engaged in water sports like swimming, surfing, or water-polo where they are both in the water and exposed to sun for extended periods of time. Non waterproof sunscreen typically washes off athlete’s faces, whereas the best waterproof sunscreen for face use stays put.
If you are asking yourself, “What is the best brand of water resistant sunblock?” You can use this list of top sunscreen brands to inform your decision, compare prices, find cheap water-proof sunscreen, and be confident that you are buying the best brand of sunscreen that is right for you. Let’s explore the best water proof sunscreen now!
This high-SPF sunscreen from Vanicream is simply fabulous.It provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 50+ via two active ingredients: zinc oxide (7%) and titanium dioxide (5%). It’s also rated as water resistant for 80 minutes. However, the reason this sunscreen is sitting at the top of our recommendations list is due in large part to the inactive ingredients.
The formula is non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog pores.Now, quite a few sunscreens are marketed as non-comedogenic, but that labelling doesn’t usually find itself on waterproof sunscreens because of their typically heavier formula.Even better, it’s formulated with sensitive skin in mind, and users who tend to react to a wide variety of products on their skin report that they can use this antioxidant-packed formula without concern.
One of the least expensive options listed here, this Vanicream product offers tough water resistant protection in a formula that is still gentle enough to be kind to skin – and the added protection of an SPF 50+ formula is great for anyone struggling with additional photosensitivity. If you’ve been searching for the best waterproof sunscreen specifically for sensitive skin, this product is the one for you.
2. Darphin Soleil Plaisir SPF 30Amazon.com
This is sunscreen at its most luxurious, containing high-end skincare ingredients that aren’t normally found in sun care products. That’s way it’s on list of best waterproof sunscreen. There’s hyaluronic acid, an ingredient creating a buzz in the beauty world at the moment – one molecule can hold 1000 times its weight in water, making it a super-hydrator. And as well as protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, this also contains karanja oil, used in Indian medicine, and algae that work together to strengthen the skin and fight premature ageing. To use, it’s a lightweight, non-greasy cream that doesn’t leave white marks, ticking all the boxes for a beauty-orientated sunscreen. This is a paraben-free product that feels like a luxury moisturiser and smells expensive.
3. BADGER Sport Sunscreen SPF 35
Buy it here at Amazon
Badger is a brand that has made a reputation for themselves when it comes to providing quality products that use wholesome ingredients.Their Sport Sunscreen formula lives up to this reputation. This option provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 35 with a staggering 22.5% concentration of zinc oxide.Even better, when your eye strays down to the list of ingredients, there are only 5!
This product’s formula is certified as 100% natural and 94% organic, giving you confidence that you are putting something on your skin that is no cause for concern. And of course, it is water resistant for 80 minutes.The formula does have a sunflower oil base, with the addition of moisturizing tocopherols and jojoba oil, however, due to the high concentration of zinc oxide this product may be a bit too drying to individuals who have problems with dry skin.Another point of consideration with this much zinc oxide in a product is that, while you’ll certainly be well protected, the lotion will leave a noticeable white cast on all but the fairest of skin tones.
4. Lancaster Sun Sport Cooling Invisible Mist SPF 30 – best waterproof sunscreen for sensitive skin
From 2017, rather than just focusing on shielding you from UVA and UVB rays, Lancaster is adding into its sunscreen protection from visible and infra-red light. For the non-scientists among us, 10 per cent of rays that reach us are UVA and UVB (responsible for burning and ageing), 45 per cent are infra-reds (damaging your firmness and elasticity), while 45 per cent are visible, which we now know is partly responsible for ageing. Now the science lesson is over, this is a fantastic, completely invisible mist that crackles and cools on application, and you can also use it on wet skin. It feels fresh on the skin, so is ideal for the sporty, the kids who constantly run in and out of the water, and for those who just want a refreshing spritz rather than a weighty cream.
5. All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30
AquaSport Sunscreen from All Terrain provides broad spectrum, SPF 30 physical protection with just one active ingredients: zinc oxide (16%).The formula is water resistant for 80 minutes, and definitely geared towards an outdoor lifestyle with a focus on a formula that doesn’t stay slippery or greasy on the skin.This means you can reapply as needed, even if you are a rock climber who simply can’t afford to have your hands slip because your sunscreen as too greasy.On the flip side, this non-greasy formula does come out of the tube quite thick, which means that it can take a little bit of extra effort to rub in properly. However, this isn’t too much of an irritant, especially when you consider the quality of protection you get from a non-greasy sunscreen with such a high concentration of zinc oxide – the best waterproof sunscreen.Buy it here
6. Vichy Ideal Soleil Hydrating Milk SPF 50
This is a great sized tube for a family holiday that sits somewhere between the supermarket brands and the high-end sunscreens. It has enough anti-ageing and skincare benefits for the adults, but is certainly suitable for kids too. And to add to its flexibility, it can also be used on the face and is ideal for sensitive skin. For an SPF 50, this is astonishingly easy to rub in ¬– the hyaluronic acid helps with the ease of application, apparently – and feels incredibly lightweight, with no stickiness or white residue at all. There aren’t many brands that can produce an SPF over 45 that feels as light as this one.Buy now
Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF 30: £22 for 200ml
Those with sensitive skin, eczema or psoriasis, or who are prone to prickly heat, need to choose their sunscreen with care, as so many on the market can cause major flare ups, which, quite frankly, is the last thing you want on your holiday. This from organic skincare specialist Green People is ideal. The brand produces lotions that are free of parabens, lanolin, artificial perfumes, petro-chemicals, colourants, as well as other more complicated chemical compounds usually found in sun cream. It contains moisture-retaining ingredients to ensure your tan lasts, is water repellent (but not pore-clogging), and is rich in natural antioxidants (green tea, olive, avocado and rosemary) and vitamins A, C and E – all these combine to help protect against ageing and cell damage. It’s relatively thick, but soaks in surprisingly quickly and easily. We found it was just as effective as its synthetic counterparts.Buy now
5. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Body Spray SPF 50+: £18 for 200ml
French brand La Roche-Posay is the brand we recommend for sun care and skincare, as well as make-up for anyone with easily-irritated skin. Its sunscreens are perfect if you’re sun-intolerant, or prone to prickly heat and they offer one of the best protections against UVA rays that cause ageing – specifically brown sun and age spots. This is an exceptionally lightweight spray – we had to double check it was SPF50 – and stuck to our skin even when in the water.Buy here
Jurlique Sun Specialist SPF 40 High Protection Cream: £27 for 100ml
At the upper end of the sunscreen pricing scale, this is a high-tech yet organic sun care offering – and that costs money to make. But if you want to splash out, Jurlique is where to invest, because this is fantastic. It’s also a multi-tasker, working on the face and body, and comes in a handbag-friendly tube.
It’s a rich cream, which took slightly more rubbing-in than others (it may be best suited to mature skin, and not suit oily or combination complexions). It delivers a powerhouse combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and natural emollients. It’s also nasties-free – no petrochemicals, titanium dioxide, parabens, silicone or colourants. A great, highly effective choice for natural beauty aficionados (with money!).Buy now
Goddess Garden Sport Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
The list of best waterproof sunscreen can’t be without this one. Goddess Garden Organics doesn’t just make great products, they’re one of those companies that you feel good buying from. They are an exclusively woman-owned company that makes a point of promoting more conscious business practices.
Their Sport Natural Sunscreen is made with organic ingredients, in a recycled bottle. They support sustainable business practices, and give back to the community by supporting school, organic farmers, and more.
This particular sunscreen from their line of products provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 through a combination of zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (6.4%).
It’s also rated as water resistant for 80 minutes so you can enjoy plenty of sun and fun without concern – just remember to reapply regularly!
The formula itself is a little bit thick, so can take some rubbing to distribute evenly across the skin. The thickness of the formula doesn’t come from a super high concentration of active ingredients though, which means that this product will not leave a white cast on most skin tones.Buy here from Amazon
Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Protective Hydrating Milk SPF 30: £26 for 150ml
Here’s one for dedicated sunbathers. It smells amazing – the blend of vanilla, jasmine, rose and melon extracts conjures up exotic islands and white sandy beaches. The ingredients apparently boost the skin’s ability to protect against premature ageing from all those UVA rays, and it’s packed with hydrating nourishers – our skin certainly felt soft and supple after use. It’s not sufficiently waterproof to survive swimming so does need to be reapplied after a dip, or every two hours even if you’re not swimming so is perhaps not the one to choose if you’re on the go and don’t want to be reapplying too often.Buy here
Do you already have a favorite best waterproof sunscreen product? If you don’t see it here, let us know! Have fun with your water sport.