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I’m a budget-pick kind of person whose sunscreen of choice—for me and my face, as well as for my family and all of our body parts—is one of Wirecutter’s picks for the best face sunscreen, the not-so-budget-priced Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50.
This remarkably lightweight lotion has proven its value—especially in its family-friendly, more economical 18-ounce jug, which is on sale now.
This chemical sunscreen formula rubs in easily and appears nearly transparent once applied. It has a light, pleasant scent and comes in four sizes, including an 18-ounce jug.
Use promo code WC23
Until I tried Play Everyday years ago, it hadn’t occurred to me that putting on sunscreen could be a pleasurable experience. Like any broad-spectrum, SPF 50 sunscreen, this one affords more than ample protection against both UVA and UVB rays when properly applied—and there’s the (literal) rub.
Play Everyday is appealingly supple before, during, and after application. Other sunscreens feel comparatively sticky, greasy, runny, or gloppy, which makes them less enjoyable to put on, which makes it less likely that anyone will put them on adequately enough for them to do the job they’re meant to do. In my family’s experience, Play Everyday’s luxurious texture is also the very reason for its effectiveness.
For my husband, who is hairy everywhere except atop his head, the lotion maintains its smooth glide amid his more hirsute terrain.
With a surprisingly satiny consistency, it glides smoothly across the skin and absorbs quickly without leaving behind a white cast or sticky residue, making it more pleasant to apply for everyone in my household. My 10-year-old tolerates it (I daresay she even likes it) without complaining about feeling slimy afterward, as she has with other sunscreens.
For my husband, who is hairy everywhere except atop his head, the lotion maintains its smooth glide amid his more hirsute terrain. And for all of us, its fast absorption makes it easy to use before we get dressed without then feeling like our clothes are sticking to us, allowing for the 15-ish minutes all sunscreens need to soak in before sun exposure.
Play Everyday’s user-friendliness extends to the 18-ounce jug itself, a sleekly curved beaut that I always enjoy seeing parked next to my front door; come summer, I keep one there to help ensure that everyone slathers up before heading out. It’s a large-enough container that it’s difficult to miss, and if it does wind up somewhere other than its usual station, it’s not hard to find. The pump is easily operated with one hand and is more fun than squeeze tubes or flip-cap bottles for my 10-year-old. (One study found that kids apply sunscreen more liberally when they use pump dispensers.) I do wish that it had a locking mechanism for easier transport—one of my coworkers reported that leaving the jug in the car on a hot day resulted in a puddle of dribbled lotion all over the floor.
When summer ends, I relocate my front-door jug to my bathroom and use up what remains as my daily, year-round face sunscreen. Although Play Everyday is one of the costlier sunscreens you might use for your body, the 18-ounce bottle’s price per ounce ranks significantly lower than that of any of Wirecutter’s other face sunscreen picks, yet the lotion still delivers a texture I find preferable.
People say that the best sunscreen is the one you don’t even notice you’re wearing, but I beg to differ. I always notice when I’m wearing Play Everyday, because the feel of it is so enjoyable. In fact, if I had to admit to a Play Everyday drawback, it’s that I probably touch my face too much when I’m wearing it, because I just can’t get over how supple it makes my skin feel. And while I’m not much of a makeup gal, when I do gussy up, this sunscreen works just fine underneath my CC cream or foundation.
My experience, however, is not universal. While none of Wirecutter’s testers experienced a white cast with Play Everyday, some of them reported that it “left them feeling greasy, like there was a layer of gunk on top of their skin that never completely dried,” notes staff writer Caira Blackwell in our face sunscreen guide. If you want to give it a test run before committing to the big bottle, try it out with a 1-ounce container first.
This clear chemical sunscreen is a good choice for wearing under makeup or for those with dark skin. However, it’s on the greasier side of our picks, and it’s pricey.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $36.
If you want a sunscreen that received higher marks for layering under makeup, Caira suggests Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen. Though it’s also a splurge, she says that “many people like the Unseen formula because it has the same texture as a makeup primer, so it layers really well.” Writer Hunter Harris agrees, gushing in an ode to Unseen, “This gel does every single thing it’s supposed to, there’s no irritating scent, and you can’t see any evidence of its work. It’s completely invisible.”
This article was edited by Catherine Kast and Annemarie Conte.
Rose Maura Lorre
Rose Maura Lorre is a senior staff writer on the discovery team at Wirecutter. Her byline has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Salon, Business Insider, HGTV Magazine, and many more. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, and lots and lots of houseplants.
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