Suntan hero
A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go on Birthright, a free trip to Israel for any Jewish person between the ages of 18 and 26. It was fabulous, with the exception of a horribly painful, horrifyingly ugly sun burn I got my first day in. Our group leader had yelled way too many times about putting on sunscreen from the second the plane landed, but my nonchalant, anti-authority attitude decided not to listen to Ms. Mom without any kids. Bad choice. Anyway, by day four, after the pain had subsided (a bit), sunscreen was my new best friend.

Kim K
Why am I telling you this disturbing anecdote? So you don’t make the same mistake I did. Find what works for you and go with it.

Before I list out the best sunscreen/makeups for summer, though, I figure learning a bit about SPF and all that jazz is the best place to start. Plus, next time you’re applying, you’ll be able to drop a knowledge bomb on your fellow tanning buddies. Score.

The Sun Protection Factor is the measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays, which is a type of radiation that you don’t need in your life.
SPF 15 = 94% UVB rays blocked
SPF 30 = 97% UVB rays blocked
SPF 45 = 98% UVB rays blocked
After that, “it just gets silly,” according to WebMD.

Now that you’re a sunscreen genius, let’s begin, shall we?

sunscreen face
Unlike the rest of your body, your face is exposed to the elements all day everyday, as well as being composed of some of your most delicate skin. That being said, you’ll want to apply a block that is light in texture and non-greasy. Also, finding one that is formulated for your skin type is KEY. One size (type) does not fit all (get it?)

Here are your best options:

Dry skin:
Kaya Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen
Kaya 2
Why it works: This is a two-for-one. The SPF 30 provides protection, and the moisturizer helps with the dryness.
How much: $35

Oily skin:
Dermalogica mediBac Clearing Oil Free Matte
Why it works: Again this serves more than one purpose. SPF 30? Check. No clogged pores and no greasy finish? Check mate.
How much: $50

Acne-prone skin:
Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunblock
Why it works: Of course, it is SPF 30. The best part? One user says, “…With acne prone skin… it doesn’t cause breakouts and leaves my skin matte.” Need we say more?
How much: $5!

lip hero
A recent study found that 60% of people don’t wear sunscreen on their lips… and it is one of the most common places for skin cancer to be found. Wear it, people!

These should do the trick:

Nivea A Kiss of Protection
Why it works: The SPF 30 provides protection, and the Shea Butter and Vitamin E make for silky,  kissable puckers.
How much: $8.20

Sugargoop! AcaiFusion Lip Balm
Why it works: Well, it is SPF 30 (obviously), but, as Allure’s gold-star winner for summer’s best lip balm, this “ridiculously hydrating, creamy balm” also has a barely visible rose tint. The cherry on top? The shiny finish without any stickiness.
How much: $9.50

body screen
We all know that wearing sunscreen is key to prevent skin cancer. Why else is it important? Huffington Post has the top five benefits; read here.

Here are my faves:

Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Why it works: Aside from the SPF, this s*** is chemical free! Also, there’s Vitamin C, which will firm up and brighten your skin. No brainer.
How much: $32

Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen
yes to cucumbers
Why it works: For anyone with sensitive skin, this mineral-based formula is the way to go. Soothing aloe and cooling cucumber doesn’t suck, either!
How much: $11.99

Jergens Natural Glow & Protect Daily Moisturizer

Jergens Natural Glow + Protect Daily Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 20 in Fair to Medium

Why it works: With SPF 20, you’re covered in the protection arena. At the beach, lather up, but if you put it on just once a day, you’ll also get a gorgeous, sun-kissed glow!

How much: $8.49

Happy tanning!