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The Best Sunscreen Sticks of 2024

Kaitlyn Neese
Written by Ashley Neese
Close-up of young woman in yellow swimsuit applying suncreen on her skin, vacation and skin protection concept.

Stick sunscreens are the most convenient way to apply sunscreen, as they’re small, portable, and easy to use. There are also many different formulas on the market that can target specific skin types and concerns. In this post we’ll review the best sunscreen sticks of 2024 in terms of SPF protection, ingredients, and additional benefits. The Cetaphil sunscreen stick is our top pick for its effective, mineral-based formula, but we’ve included a variety of options to suit various needs and skin types. We’ve even added a buying guide to help you pinpoint the best formula for your specific needs.

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The Best Sunscreen Sticks: A Buyer’s Guide

When searching for a sunscreen stick for your needs, it can be difficult to understand what sets each product apart. This can make shopping a bit stressful, since protecting yourself and your family from the sun’s harsh rays is serious business. This buying guide should make the process simple and straightforward by breaking down the most important features to look out for:

SPF Rating and Broad Spectrum Protection

The SPF rating refers to the amount of protection that the sunscreen stick offers against UV rays. You’ll want to select a sunscreen stick with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, as this will ensure adequate protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. Always ensure it provides broad spectrum protection as well. This means that it can effectively block both UVA and UVB rays, providing all-around protection during outdoor activities.

Active Ingredients

Sunscreen sticks can contain various UV-blocking ingredients. Physical sunscreens contain things like zinc oxide to create a barrier between you and the sun. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like octinoxate that absorb the sun’s rays before converting them into heat that your body release.

Be sure to choose a sunscreen stick that contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, mexoryl, or octinoxate to ensure proper sun protection. Some sunblocks will even combine these ingredients for maximum sun protection. Try to avoid products that contain oxybenzone since it can damage the ocean’s reefs.


Sweating, swimming, and other activities can cause sunscreen to wear off your skin more quickly. This is why you’ll want to look for a water-resistant sunscreen stick to ensure it will stay on the skin despite contact with water or sweat. Always check the packaging to see how long it stays effective when exposed to water and sweat. The most convenient sunblocks allow for at least an hour or two of swim time before needing to apply more.

Skin Type Compatibility

Make sure that the sunscreen stick you choose is appropriate for your skin type since some may contain potentially irritating or pore-clogging ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, look for labels such as fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. If you're prone to breakouts, make sure the product is oil-free and non-comedogenic.

For additional support, seek sun protection sticks that nourish the skin with natural ingredients such as Vitamin E, aloe, or shea butter. For the safest, most reliable results, seek products that display things such as the Skin Cancer Foundation's recommendation or the National Eczema Association’s seal of acceptance.

Stick Format

Make sure the stick format you choose makes the application convenient. Wider sticks help you cover more surface area in shorter amounts of time but may be too big for your bag or for little kids to use themselves. You can read customer reviews to ensure the stick does not leave behind a white cast or greasy residue. It’s also good to note that some sticks can break easily if you apply too much pressure.


Consider the product's price when selecting a sunscreen for your needs. Depending on the amount of product, the brand, and features, most sun protection sticks fall in the $5 to $10 range and will vary depending on the amount of product, the brand, and extra features. Compare different products with all of these factors in mind, especially the level of protection, so you can find a sunscreen stick that offers all the factors you need and want without having to overspend.

The Best Sunscreen Sticks


Cetaphil Sunscreen Stick


  • Free of fragrance, parabens, and mineral oil
  • Works on lips, nose, earlobes, and the eye area
  • Lightweight formula flawlessly melts into skin


  • Some may find the consistency too thick

This 100% mineral-based sunscreen stick by Cetaphil offers so many benefits in one product that it ranks as the best overall on our list. It contains SPF 50 and is suitable for both face and body with its non-comedogenic, non-greasy formula that blends in quickly without feeling heavy. The formula utilizes zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays without leaving any white cast behind.

With soothing Vitamin E, skin softeners, and prebiotics, this sunblock nourishes the skin and prevents it from drying out from the sun. It’s even water resistant for 80 minutes and won’t negatively impact reefs like other sunscreens, promoting a happy and healthy ocean. Plus, the application is mess-free and its portable size makes it highly convenient to take along any sunny adventure. You won’t regret having this sunscreen stick in your beach bag or purse, since provides all the protection you need on the go.


Sun Bum Sunscreen Stick


  • Won’t clog pores or leave residue
  • Easy to spread with no white streaks
  • Gives a subtle glow to the skin


  • Banana scent may be bothersome

Sun Bum’s original SPF 30 sunscreen face stick is the perfect choice for those with acne-prone skin, as this oil-free formula will effectively protect your skin from harsh UV rays without clogging pores. The formula is free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, and parabens, so you can trust that it’s safe for your skin. It offers reliable protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays by combining multiple sun-blocking ingredients in one solution. Plus, the formula is even safe for the ocean reefs and is vegan-friendly.

Dermatologist-approved, this sun protection stick is water-resistant and hypoallergenic, encouraging the most carefree fun in the sun. It’s also packed with nourishing Vitamin E to keep your skin calm and moisturized. To get the best results, be sure to reapply every 80 minutes when swimming or sweating or every two hours when dry. This non-comedogenic sun protection stick is a great choice since it allows you to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about sunburns or breaking out.


Blue Lizard Sunscreen Stick


  • Non-comedogenic (won’t break you out)
  • Sweat and water-resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Free of skin-irritating ingredients


  • May leave a white cast behind

The Blue Lizard sensitive mineral sunscreen stick is a perfect choice for those who suffer from sensitive skin, as the ingredients of this formula are 100% free of parabens, fragrances, and dyes which are common causes of skin irritation. The formula is also non-comedogenic which means that it won’t clog up your pores. It contains naturally soothing ingredients including aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and Vitamin E, which all work together to nourish even the most sensitive skin.

The SPF 50+ sunblock is suitable for long-term sun exposure, providing excellent UVA and UVB protection. Plus, it’s water-resistant, so you can enjoy swimming without frequently having to re-apply. The sunscreen is even vegan-approved and doesn’t contain any ingredients detrimental to ocean reefs. And it’s super easy to apply, while its half-ounce size makes it easy to carry around for great protection on the go.


Neutrogena Sunscreen Stick


  • Lightweight and absorbs into the skin fast
  • No-mess application
  • Unique Helioplex Technology for UV protection


  • Some may find it a bit too oily

The Neutrogena Beach Defense stick with broad spectrum SPF 50+ provides superior skin protection from harsh summer elements. It has Helioplex technology, which protects your skin from skin-aging UVA rays and skin-burning UVB rays. It’s also PABA and oxybenzone-free, which means that it’s safe for both your skin and the reefs of the ocean. The product glides on easily for convenient, hands-free application, and its lightweight formula doesn’t create a distracting residue.

And unlike other brands that have smaller, thinner sticks, this one has a wide design that allows you to get full coverage quickly and easily—and it’ll last you a lot longer! Neutrogena’s sunblock is water-resistant for 80 minutes, so you can get plenty of swims and outdoor activity time in before needing to reapply. This face and body stick is also great for active families thanks to its big size and ease of application.


Banana Boat Sunscreen Stick


  • Sting and tear-free
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Lasts long on the skin


  • Stick is fragile and may break

Parents can enjoy some peace of mind as their children play outside knowing that Banana Boat kids sport sunscreen stick is pediatrician tested for safety and free of parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone, and octinoxate. Not only that, but it’s also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as a means to protect against the sun’s harmful rays, helping to keep all of our kids safe and healthy. Plus, the mild and gentle formula is suitable for all skin types and won’t irritate your child’s delicate skin.

Families will not only appreciate the sun protection stick's small size for its portability but also for its ability to encourage little hands to start learning to protect their skin independently. And it’s fast-absorbing, which prevents it from running or sliding around and speeds up the application process. It’s even water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so it can stand up to splashes and games without losing efficiency.

People Also Ask

  • Q: Do sunscreen sticks provide any other skin benefits?

    A:Yes, many sunscreen sticks provide additional benefits to the skin, such as moisturizing and nourishing properties. If you have acne-prone skin, sunscreens containing zinc oxide may actually improve your condition due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

  • Q: How do I know which sunscreen stick is most suitable for sensitive skin?

    A:Products suitable for sensitive skin are hypoallergenic and free of ingredients like phthalates, parabens, fragrances, and dyes. The product label should specify that it's safe for sensitive skin. It’s also good to look for elements that soothe and nourish the skin, such as aloe or shea butter. And as far as active ingredients go, zinc or titanium dioxide are generally the safest options for sensitive skin.

  • Q: How many layers of application do sunscreen sticks require?

    A:To ensure you're using enough sunscreen for proper protection, swipe the stick back and forth four times per area to get good coverage. Take a few more seconds to rub it in for optimal results.

  • Q: Do sunscreen sticks last as long as liquid sunscreens do?

    A:Yes, sunscreen sticks last as long as liquid sunscreens when you apply them correctly.

  • Q: What harmful chemicals should I avoid when buying a sunscreen stick?

    A:Most brands of sunscreen sticks try to avoid using potentially harmful chemicals in their formulations and opt for natural or hypoallergenic ingredients, although this varies by brand. It’s essential to read the label before purchasing a product to ensure optimal safety. Harmful substances you should avoid include oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octyl methoxycinnamate, octisalate, and octocrylene.

  • Q: Do the sunscreen sticks have an expiration date?

    A:Yes, your sunscreen should include an expiration date so you'll know when using it is no longer effective.

  • Q: Is the packaging of the sunscreen stick recyclable or reusable?

    A:This depends on the sunscreen stick. Before purchasing a product, carefully check the brand's website or look at the packaging to see if its packaging materials are recyclable after use.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Kaitlyn Neese

By Ashley Neese

Hi, I'm Ashley Neese and I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  I'm passionate about all things beauty, fashion, and wellness — specifically skin care, makeup, and natural health. I love writing about things that help people feel like their best selves, whether it's finding their perfect lip color or a supplement to alleviate anxiety. In my free time, I am usually reading a romantic comedy or playing with my two dogs.

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