This Oil-Free Sunscreen Is My Go-To for Sweaty Outdoor Runs All Summer

It offers the sun protection I need without leaving behind a greasy residue or white cast.

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Shape Certified: Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Photo: Sephora

It's a widely known fact that wearing sunscreen on your face every day — no matter the weather or your plans — is an important skin-care step. It helps keep signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines, at bay. Better yet, it prevents serious sun damage and skin cancer. "Most of the sun exposure people get is unintentional and incidental," Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Shape. "People don't realize that it's during short moments spent outdoors — their commute to work, running errands — that the sun is damaging their skin."

But face sunscreen is only as effective as how well you apply it, so finding one you actually like wearing is priority number one. I've been able to test quite a few facial sunscreens thanks to my job as an editor, so at this point, I know what to look for: a lightweight formula that doesn't smell like the beach, leave behind a greasy residue, or give off a white cast on my fair-to-medium skin. Oh, and it can't run into my eyes when I sweat on outdoor runs. That's exactly what I found in Dr. Dennis Gross's All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Sunscreen.

Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Wrinkle Defense Sunscreen Key Features

  • How I tested: I've been applying this sunscreen to my face both on its own and under makeup regularly for more than one year.
  • Perfect for: Daily SPF protection and sweaty outdoor workouts.
  • What you'll love: The sunscreen has an oil-free formula that absorbs well into the skin without leaving behind a white cast or irritating eyes when you sweat.
  • Keep in mind: At $42 for a 1.7-ounce tube, the sunscreen is a bit pricey.
  • Key ingredients: Zinc oxide for UVA and UVB ray protection, lingonberry packed with vitamins C and E, and sea buckthorn to protect damage from free radicals and reduce visible signs of aging.

Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Wrinkle Defense Sunscreen

Shape Certified: Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Sephora

I received a sample of this Dr. Dennis Gross sunscreen when it first launched in March 2021. Since then, it's become a regular in my rotation of skin-care essentials. I enjoy applying it to my bare face before heading outside for a run, as its proven time and time again that it won't irritate my eyes when I sweat, and it does a great job of preventing sunburn from extended time spent outside in direct sunlight.

Even when I'm not working out, I use the sunscreen as a final step in my morning skin-care routine before putting on makeup. It blends into my skin nicely without leaving behind a white cast or a greasy feel (thank you, oil-free formula!). Plus, the tube includes a clear applicator tip for greater control over how much product your squeeze out. Better yet, my foundation applies smoothly on top of the sunscreen, so I can get my typical beauty look without sacrificing SPF. I swear it even maximizes how glowy my skin appears.

Shape Certified: Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Christie Calucchia

Now for the science behind the feel-good formula. One of its main ingredients is zinc oxide, a mineral filter that protects against UVA and UVB rays. It's a common ingredient in mineral sunscreens, which don't sink into your skin the same way chemical sunscreens do. "Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and work like a mirror reflecting the sun's UVA and UVB rays," Deanne Robinson, M.D., a Connecticut-based dermatologist, previously told Shape.

The sunscreen also contains lingonberry extract, a plant-based ingredient packed with vitamins C and E. It helps prevent and address visible UV damage, according to the product's description online. Then there's ferulic acid, an antioxidant often found in anti-aging skin-care products thanks to its ability to protect against free radical damage. Finally, sea buckthorn extract, another plant-derived ingredient, works to diminish visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines.

Overall, Sephora shoppers give it an average 4.5-star rating. "I really like that's it's not greasy, but still leaves my face feeling moisturized, and it's easy to reapply," wrote one person. "The first sunscreen I have liked enough to finish the bottle," said another. "The best thing about it is that it's light enough that you can't feel it on your face — it doesn't stay greasy or rub off on everything you own (like some other mineral sunscreens do), so it is very practical for every day usage," they added.

Best of all, the formula is vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and reef-safe. At $42, it's a little pricey for a facial sunscreen, but it's well worth the investment in your skin.

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