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Best Summer Sunscreens

If you’re dying to look like an albino vampire like me, THIS IS YOUR ANSWER! Or, if you want to just be a smart person, lather yourself up in these sunscreens then get a spray tan. (I’ve tried that and just look like Tan Mom/a lunch shift stripper, and also I’m just lazy, so I stay my natural translucent shade.) There is NO REASON not to wear sunscreen on a daily basis. I am trying to save your life because I am a good person. If that is my one legacy, I’m cool with that – the girl who tried to be a writer/actor, but succeeded in preventing skin cancer for the Heels in the Hills readership of her mom’s book club and some super nice strangers who leave super nice messages that serve as verbal antidepressants!

Seriously, it’s common knowledge now that you need to wear sunscreen on the daily. Even when it’s overcast or rainy, because the UV rays that give you wrinkles can penetrate that shit and still get you. And for most people in Hollywood, looking old is worse than dying of skin cancer.

Fun story: I once went to cheerleading camp in high school, and as an act of rebellion against my mom who wouldn’t let me go outdoors without greasing me up like a pig in SPF, I decided to forego sunscreen and attempt a tan. The camp was in Santa Barbara overlooking the ocean – which meant I was not only getting burned from the sun, but also from the sun’s reflection on the ocean. By the end of the day, I had 2nd and 3rd degree burns, and had so many blisters on my body it looked like I had the plague. I have never seen my mom cry so hard, and she frequently likes to remind me that that one day will probably eventually kill me.

So now, I am religious about it. Here is my routine, because sunscreen is like cheese – there are all sorts of options, and you need to choose the right one for the right occasion:

Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 Facial Sunscreen: My dermatologist recommended this brand as the best on the market right now. I layer this one on every day under my make-up; it’s smooth, light and absorbs immediately. It’s got transparent zinc oxide, and protects against UVA/UVB.

Elta MD UV Shield Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 for Face & Body: I use this one on my neck, ears, chest, arms – any other body part that will see the light of day, for all of the above reasons, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

L’Oreal Invisible Protect Clear Cool Lotion SPF 50: I am OBSESSED with this one. It is my favorite recent sunscreen discovery. It is completely clear, so you don’t get any white goop on your outfit or bathing suit. Plus, it smells amazing – Tony likes this better than perfume, and says it reminds him of our honeymoon. It’s almost always sold out at the drugstore, so I buy it online. It’s perfect for the beach, or when you know you’re going to be in the sun for a while but don’t want to be embalmed in thick white goop.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen SPF 70: Neutrogena is my dermatologist’s favorite drugstore brand of sunscreen. I use it on my face under make-up on days when I’m going to be outside for most of the day, like at the beach, jet skiing in Lake Tahoe or on a long run. This one layers just as smoothly and lightly as the Elta MD facial sunscreen, and absorbs just as quickly, but the SPF is amped up to protect you more.

Neutrogrena Fresh Cooling Spray SPF 45: Because this one doesn’t have a high enough protection for what you want for long days outside, I’ll spray this on before a run or dog walk, or bring as a reinforcement to reapply throughout the day at the beach or lake. Like the clear L’Oreal sunscreen, it is completely clear so you won’t be spraying white gunk on your bathing suit, and smells better than perfume (at least to Tony and me).

Supergoop! SPF 50 Spray with Vitamin C: I love to use this one for my face, whether it be because I already put on make-up and realize I’ll need a stronger SPF than my usual Elta MD or when I need to reapply when I’m at the beach and don’t want to mess up my make-up. (Yeah, I wear make-up to the beach. JUDGE AWAY.) The vitamin C helps counteract wrinkles, and makes me feel fancy and cutting edge with my sunscreen choice. It’s more expensive, which is why I reserve it to preserve my face.

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection SPF 70: This one is the big daddy of sunscreen. I embalmed my body with it at least once a day when we were in Bora Bora for our honeymoon, and do the same when I’m parked next to Lake Tahoe with a bottle of champagne for some day drinking and magazine binging. It is white and goopy, but it will protect you the most and best if you’re outside in a bikini all day. It’s also on the affordable end, so you can use tons of it without breaking the bank. It also comes in spray form, but I’ve found that sprays wear off faster and more easily – I like to put this one on in the morning, and then use sprays to reapply for the rest of the day (see above). If it were a dessert, this would be the cake and the above sprays would be the frosting you put on top of it (like, as much frosting as you want. Lots of frosting and lots of sunscreen is always the right choice.)

Remember, use 1 ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to cover all of the exposed parts of your body. It sounds like a lot, but think of how easy it is to drink a shot! I’m gonna be your mom for a minute. Just listen to me and do it. I JUST SAVED YOUR LIFE YOU’RE WELCOME.


  • Sophie K says:

    You’re an absolute babe – this is so useful! My very sensitive Anglo-Saxon skin always goes haywire with breakouts in the summer, what with how greasy and heavy the higher SPF stuff can be :/ these sound a lot more skin/moisturise-y focused though so I’ll keep an eye out! x

    • Annie says:

      I FEEL YOU. These are my exact same issues. The Elta MD is super gentle/face-focused and truly the best I’ve found for every day, but the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer liquid is also AMAZING and not greasy, it layers well under make-up and absorbs really quickly so you don’t even know it’s there!! Let me know if you try and love any of them!! Thank you for reading the blog and for the sweet sweet words!!!! X

  • Kim DeJesus says:

    This is why you have the best skin on earth!

  • Barbara King says:

    Taking this list with me next time I go shopping!

    • Annie says:

      I hope you love them! EtaMD you have to order online (Amazon Prime sells it), and Supergoop! is at Nordstrom, and probably some other places. Try the clear L’Oreal for sure, that one’s my obsession!! Thank you sweet lady!