The 9 best sunscreens in Australia for 2021

Stay sun safe with our round-up of the top sunscreens, according to real customer reviews.

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The best sunscreens in Australia

How did we pick this list?

Our editorial team selected the sunscreens on this list based on both real customer reviews and their own personal experiences with the products. For each category, they carefully selected parameters based on research and identified the products with the highest review score within those parameters.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Best overall sunscreen: Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50

Pros

  • Clear formula doesn't leave a white cast on the skin
  • Many reviewers say it is lightweight and non-greasy

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Some reviewers say they don't like the smell
Price (RRP): $54 for 156mL
Buy at Adore Beauty

Why we chose it

With a score of 4.8 stars, Dermalogica's Protection 50 Sport SPF50 was one of the highest-rated sunscreens we considered as chosen by more than 180 customers on Adore Beauty, Skinmart and Google Reviews.

Not only does the sunscreen have a high SPF rating, but it's also free of alcohol and parabens and remains water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

The lightweight formula is non-greasy to the touch and has a clear finish that makes it suitable for all skin tones, which is why we chose it as our overall winner.

Additionally, the sunscreen is PETA-accredited, cruelty-free and contains antioxidants designed to fight sun damage and strengthen skin's natural protection against free radicals.


Best budget sunscreen: Cancer Council SPF 50+ Active

Pros

  • Water resistant up to 4 hours
  • Many reviewers say it is lightweight and dry to the touch

Cons

  • Some reviewers say it left stains on their clothes
  • May not be hydrating enough for very dry skin
Price (RRP): $15.50 for 110mL
Amazon Price: From $12.50
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

To determine our best budget pick, we considered sunscreens that were priced at $20 or less.

Our winner was the Cancer Council SPF 50+ Active sunscreen, which was difficult to fault with a score of 4.9 stars from more than 25 reviews sourced from Chemist Warehouse and Google reviews.

Priced at just $15.50, the lightweight, non-greasy formula is made for sports and stays water resistant for up to 4 hours, which is longer than most others on the market.

It's also Australian-made and absorbs quickly into the skin, making it ideal for those with oilier skin.

As an added bonus, every purchase of a Cancer Council sunscreen goes towards cancer research and services, making it well worth the buy.


Best physical/mineral sunscreen: Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30

Pros

  • Reviewers say it is long lasting
  • Also offers blue light protection

Cons

  • Many reviewers say it is heavily scented
  • Expensive for size
Price (RRP): $69 for 50mL
Buy at Adore Beauty

Why we chose it

Our best pick for this category was Dermalogica's Invisible Physical Defense SPF30, which came in with a 4.6-star rating across more than 200 reviews sourced from Adore Beauty and MECCA.

The cruelty- and alcohol-free formula is quite lightweight, melting into the skin without leaving a shiny film behind.

A green tea and bio-active mushroom complex meanwhile works to soothe skin, reduce redness caused by UV exposure and fight free radicals.

Due to the light nature of the product and the combination of vegan ingredients, the sunscreen is also great for those with sensitive or reactive skin.


Best chemical sunscreen: Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50

Pros

  • Many reviewers say it is lightweight and non-greasy
  • Clear formula doesn't leave a white cast on the skin

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Some reviewers say they don't like the smell
Price (RRP): $54 for 156mL
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
Buy at Adore Beauty

Why we chose it

With a score of 4.8 stars across more than 180 customers from Adore Beauty, Skinmart and Google Reviews, Dermalogica's Protection 50 Sport SPF50 is not only our pick for the best chemical sunscreen, but also for the best sunscreen overall.

The sunscreen has an SPF rating of 50 and offers a clear finish, making it a great choice for all skin tones.

It stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is lightly moisturising, helping to counteract moisture loss brought on by prolonged sun exposure.

The formula is also very lightweight, blending smoothly into the skin without leaving a sticky, greasy film behind.


Best natural/zinc sunscreen: EltaMD UV Sport Water-Resistant Full-Body Sunscreen SPF 50

Pros

  • Many reviewers say it is long lasting and doesn't irritate the eyes
  • Water and drip-resistant for up to 80 minutes

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Some reviewers say the product is difficult to rub in
Price (RRP): $48.95 for 85mL
Amazon Price: From $38.32
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

If you want to protect your skin from both harmful UV rays and harsh chemicals, EltaMD's UV Sport Water-Resistant Full-Body Sunscreen SPF 50 is a top choice.

The natural, zinc-based sunscreen can be worn on both the face and body and stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It won't run or drip as you sweat either, making it the ideal companion of sports players.

The sunscreen is also fragrance and oil-free, which means it can be worn by the most sensitive skin types, and is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals.

EltaMD's UV Sport Water-Resistant Full-Body Sunscreen SPF 50 received a 4.7-star rating across more than 900 reviews sourced from Google Reviews and Dermstore.


Best sunscreen for deeper skin tones: Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50

Pros

  • Many reviewers say it is lightweight and non-greasy
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some reviewers say they don't like the smell
  • Relatively expensive
Price (RRP): $54 for 156mL
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
Buy at Adore Beauty

Why we chose it

To determine our top pick for this category, we only compared sunscreens that leave a clear finish on the skin.

Our top pick was Dermalogica's Protection 50 Sport SPF50, which received a 4.8-star rating across more than 180 reviews sourced from Adore Beauty, Google Reviews and Skinmart.

The clear-finish sunscreen has an SPF rating of 50 and is made from a lightweight formula that protects the skin without leaving it greasy.

It also offers moisturising properties to help counteract moisture lost throughout the day by prolonged sun exposure.

Additionally, the product is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and contains antioxidants that fight sun damage and strengthen skin's natural protection against free radicals.


Best sunscreen for kids: Avène Sunscreen Spray for Children SPF 50+

Pros

  • Can be used on face and body
  • Many reviewers say it is lightweight and gentle on sensitive skin

Cons

  • Some reviewers didn't like the scent
  • Some reviewers didn't like the spray formula
Price (RRP): $34.99 for 200mL
Buy at Adore Beauty

Why we chose it

When it comes to children's sunscreen, it's important to look for a product that offers a high SPF rating, but lacks irritating ingredients.

With a rating of 4.8 stars across more than 45 reviews from Adore Beauty and Chemist Warehouse, Avène Sunscreen Spray for Children SPF 50+ was our top pick.

Not only does it offer a very high level of sun protection, but it has also been formulated with a minimum of chemical filters to make it gentle on sensitive skin.

The sunscreen can be used on both the face and body and comes in a convenient spray design that is easy for little ones to apply themselves.

Additionally, the formula is non-greasy, fragrance-free and stays water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.


Best face sunscreen: Nivea Sun UV Face SPF50 Shine Control

Pros

  • Eye friendly formula – ophthalmologically proven
  • Many reviewers say it is non-greasy and works well under makeup

Cons

  • Some reviewers say it has a strong scent
  • Other reviewers say it can take a little while to absorb
Price (RRP): $12.99 for 50mL
Amazon Price: From $7.69
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

Our winner for the best face sunscreen was Nivea's Sun UV Face SPF50 Shine Control, which came in with a 4.7-star rating across more than 100 reviews sourced from Google Reviews and Catch.

Priced at just $12.99, the sunscreen provides highly effective UV protection, along with long lasting hydration.

The formula is lightweight, non-greasy and absorbs excess oil from the skin, making it ideal for all skin types (and for wearing under makeup).

The sunscreen is also ophthalmologically approved, which means it's safe to use around the eyes.

For more face sunscreen recommendations, head to our round up of the best face sunscreens in Australia.


Best sunscreen to wear under makeup: Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+

Pros

  • Oil-free, serum-like texture
  • Also protects skin from exposure to bluelight

Cons

  • Expensive for size
  • Many reviewers say it has a strong fragrance
Price (RRP): $47 for 50mL
Buy at Adore Beauty

Why we chose it

Not only did Ultra Violette's Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+ receive a 4.7-star rating across more than 580 reviews sourced from Adore Beauty and Google Reviews, but we also reviewed it ourselves and loved it.

As the name suggests, the formula is more like a serum than a sunscreen in terms of consistency, making it an easy addition to your skincare routine.

It also has many of the same qualities as a serum, as it offers anti-aging properties, gives skin a dose of vitamin C and leaves skin glowing.

Additionally, the formula is oil-free and invisible on the skin, which is why we chose it as best for this category.


Amazon prices last updated on 23 June, 2021 at 01:01 pm

Methodology

33
Brands considered
80+
Products compared
9
Winners chosen

We compared 33 sunscreen brands and based our picks on real customer reviews sourced from popular online stores. We also took into consideration first-hand testing by the Finder reviews team.

The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

What is the difference between physical/mineral and chemical sunscreen?

Both physical and chemical sunscreens are used to prevent sunburn and skin damage, however there are some key differences between the two.

Physical (or mineral) sunscreen creates a physical barrier between the sun and your skin, helping to deflect UVA and UVB rays. These sunscreens sit on the surface of your skin and usually contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Chemical sunscreens meanwhile do the opposite, penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin to absorb the UV rays. These sunscreens can contain a multitude of ingredients, the most common of which are avobenzone and oxybenzone.

To find out more, read our chemical vs physical sunscreen comparison.

What is zinc sunscreen?

Zinc sunscreen is considered to be a physical sunscreen as it forms a protective barrier over the top of the skin.

It is often preferred by those with sensitive or acne prone skin as it contains zinc, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, and does not absorb into the skin.

How often should you reapply sunscreen?

According to the Cancer Council, you should apply your chosen sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors.

Sunscreen should then be "reapplied at least every two hours, irrespective of the water resistance of the sunscreen."

If you have been swimming or working out, you should also reapply immediately after you have finished, as these activities can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreens.

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PaulJune 16, 2019

    What about UV Natural sunscreen? World’s first chemical free sunscreen I think, made right here in Australia. How good is it?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseJune 17, 2019Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      Though UV Natural sunscreen is not included on our suggestions for the best sunscreens, according to the information on their website, they were highly commended by the Nature & Health Natural Baby Awards for 2018.

      To have an idea on how good the product is, you can also refer to other online reviews about UV Natural sunscreen.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

    Default Gravatar
    yggizApril 1, 2019

    can i put your sunscreen on my lizard. he gets very red everyday. they said he was a red lizard at the pet store but i think its the sunburn. i tried normal sunscreen and he started to defecate all over his tank. VERY HARD TO CLEAN. it was runny.
    kind regards yggiz ramus.

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiApril 2, 2019

      Hi Yggiz,

      Thanks for reaching out! It’s helpful to know that for snakes and other reptiles that at times bask in the sun, their inner epidermis is protected from UV rays via their scales, which also function to help retain moisture underneath, among other things. For these animals, they would typically die from overheating before any threat of sunburn became a problem. The sunscreens listed on our page are for human consumption and might not be a fit product for reptiles. I do understand you want what’s best for your lizard but I highly suggest to consult a veterinarian for this as he may be able to suggest proper products.

      Best,
      Nikki

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