My Current Favorite Affordable Sun Protection Products & Wish List

If I had to pick one skincare item for the rest of my life, I would gladly trash all of my serums and moisturizers in the name of SPF. We’re only a few weeks into summer and I’ve already been burned once – but there won’t be a second time! Some of these SPF-heavy products are new to my arsenal, but others have been with me for years. Once I find something that does a great job protecting my skin, I stick with it.

Recently, I’ve taken a chance on some new products (two of which are in this list) and loved them. It made me really want to try some other affordable SPF products that are popular around the web. (Scroll down to see my wish list!) 

Current Favorite SPF Products for Summer 2017

Tree Hut Protecting Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
$10.62 at Amazon

Since the summer started, this has been my daily moisturizer. Broad spectrum UVB protection with SPF 30. A couple of pumps covers my whole face, and an extra one covers my oft-exposed chest that already suffers from sun damage.

This formula is creamy but not too thick, hydrating but not oily, and after several weeks of use I feel sufficiently protected. Thanks to the double-duty of this sunscreen-moisturizer, it also comes along with some helpful skincare ingredients like rose and

Palmer’s Eventone Suncare Cocoa Butter Sunscreen Sheer Spray SPF 30
$9.99 at Kmart

Trust me, I was more skeptical than anyone about spray-on sunscreen. All I envisioned was oily mess after oily mess, and it was bad. Now, I’m not going to tell you that this isn’t oily because, well, it says right on the front that it has coconut oil in it. But, it didn’t get sticky, it absorbed really quickly, and it was incredibly handy!

Recently, I took this (and the previously mentioned sunscreen moisturizer) camping as my primary sources of sun protection. My boyfriend and I went through one of these bottles in just over a week (with frequent daily applications) but ended up loving it and getting some more. The spray occasionally needs to be rubbed in once you figure out how to best apply it, but after that it’s kind of a spray’n’go situation.

Carmex SPF 15
$1.69 at Walgreens

The longest, most consistent relationship in my life is my relationship with lip balm, and Carmex is that one I always end up going back to. The medicated version is awesome for cold sores, but their basic, non-medicated lip balm actually includes SPF 15.

Strawberry is my least favorite of the scents, I’m an Original gal who doesn’t mind a Mint every now and then. Every Carmex lip balm container is currently present in my car: stick, tube, pot… They’re all good. (And I rely on the medicated version for the cold sores I get when I’m stressed out – it’s the best!)

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
$27.19 at iHerb
Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Spray
$15.99 at iHerb

Fair warning: neither of these contain SPF. Wearing them alone will leave you momentarily hydrated… and then sunburned.

I’ve included these because all the way back in 1996, scientists found out that Vitamin C and Vitamin E can supercharge SPF protection. Yes, combining these skincare products with your UVB sunscreen will actually help the sunscreen work better. They won’t “increase the number” or anything, but the antioxidants in Vitamin C can slow down the damage that those free radicals can cause. Pairing it up with Vitamin E gives it an even bigger boost, but the Vitamin C does the majority of the work. Pretty cool, right?!

Anyway, Mad Hippie is a longtime favorite affordable skincare brand and they formulated these products specifically to accompany sun protective skincare. Both are great under makeup, but I suggest putting them on before sunscreen. The mist also feels amazing when you already have a burn, and it may help slow down and fight off some of that sun damage.

Polarized Orange Mirror Aviator Sunglasses
$48 at Firmoo

Yes, these are totally considered sunscreen! They might not have an SPF rating, but the mirrored lenses do more than make me look like a 1980s coke dealer. I have really sensitive eyes and sometimes the sun feels like 1,500 daggers going straight into my eyeballs, rendering me basically blinded. I look like Mr. Magoo even on overcast days if the clouds are really bright. These glasses, aside from being rad looking, keep me seeing clearly even on the brightest days, and the polarized lenses reduce glare and flashback.

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Best of all, they’re prescription. (The $48 price includes the mirrored prescription lenses!) I snagged them from Firmoo as soon as I laid eyes on them (and then grabbed another pair because 65% of the time, Firmoo is running a BOGO sale). Those ostentatious and almost garish orange mirrored lenses called to me, and I answered that call. I look like a psychedelic state trooper and I absolutely love it.

They’re no longer available, but Firmoo has tons of awesome prescription-ready sunglasses in other styles!

Bonus not-very-affordable favorite: Murad Invisiblur Protecting Shield SPF 30

This… is… $65. (Sigh.) I was lucky enough to receive a sample in exchange for the review (linked above) but man, it’s awesome. I haven’t purchased it since I finished the review sample that BeautyBrands.com sent over, but if I stumbled upon a few thousand dollars, it would be hard not to. It smooths skin, hydrates, fills pores, and performs as a smooth but sticky primer for makeup. I miss it so, so much.


What’s On My SPF/Sun Protection Wish List

In addition to my standards, I’m totally open to trying new SPF products. Technology is always improving, and SPF has come a long way from the days of rice bran & olive oil. Now that we’re understanding the real effects of UV damage, brands are incorporating protection into everything.

Mad Hippie Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Facial Sunscreen
$19.99 at iHerb

It shouldn’t surprise you that there’s a Mad Hippie product in here. After all, if I’m using their boosting products underneath, why not use their sunscreen, too? I’m a big fan of the way they blend science and skincare to create lovely, plant-based products that seemingly have superpowers.

The addition of avocado oil and carrot oil, adds lots of good skin benefits while also sneaking in even more of those good-good vitamins E and C.

Bare Republic Eco-Active UV Protecting Thermal Serum
$14.99 at Target
Bare Republic Eco-Active UV Protecting Dry Shampoo
$16.99 at Target

These two products jumped off of the shelves at Target thanks for their adorable packaging, but also thanks to their innovation. Protecting your hair from UV rays is a task that’s frequently forgotten – likely because you don’t hear about the negative effects of UV damage on hair. Hair is succeptable to UV damage just like every other skin-related part of your body, and those who have treated or colored hair are especially at risk.

Dry shampoo and thermal serum with UV protection is one step closer to keeping your beautiful (and likely expensive) hair in its best state when faced with the summer heat and sun.

Coola Dawn Patrol Classic Primer with SPF 30
$42 at Sephora

Makeup primer is the perfect place to sneak in some high-power SPF, and Coola did a great job with this SPF 30 product. I like that the primer is clear in the bottle, that tells me it’s likely a smoothing primer that will be great for holding makeup on my face while also filling pores. This would be great under a full face, or worn by itself overtop your other SPF 30 facial moisturizer. You can never have too much!

What are your favorite SPF products? What products are on your ‘block list?