Thinking of hitting the poolside to catch that sun-kissed glow? Not so fast! A beautiful bronze tan may be tempting, but the consequences of UV overexposure certainly are not. The sun emits harmful rays that cause burns, wrinkles, dry skin, and even skin cancer after long-term exposure.
To protect your skin this summer, you’ll want to keep it cool and shady. However, we all know that’s not always possible. When the shade runs out, don’t fret! There are a plethora of products designed to keep us safe from the sun.

Check out a few of these top-rated products that will save your skin in the coming months.

Let’s clear some things up about sunscreens. For one, you want to put it on around 30 minutes before you head outside. You also want to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, no matter the SPF. Some people think that they don’t need to apply sunscreen as frequently because their sunscreen has an SPF of 50 or higher, but that’s not the case (source).

With that out of the way, here are a few top sunscreen picks gathered from Consumer Reports’s recommendations for 2021 and our personal experiences:

Equate Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, $3.98 (shop here)
If you’re on a budget, try Walmart’s Equate brand sport sunscreen. With an SPF 50, this long-lasting sunscreen spray will keep you protected for up to 80 minutes between applications. The sport formula is designed to stay on through sweat, so don’t worry about white smears and melting if it’s a little too hot.

Kiehl Activated Sun Protector, $32 (shop here)
Want something a little more boujee? Kiehl’s has a sun protector lotion for you. This lotion is lightweight, cooling, and free of fragrance, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin or who don’t want that greasy feeling. At SPF 30, you probably don’t want to use this one if you’re planning on basking in the sun for a long time. It’s more suitable for moderate sunlight.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70, $10.69 (shop here)
Speaking of sensitive skin… don’t forget to sunscreen your face! Neutrogena has a line of sunscreens formulated with a higher SPF to keep you extra-protected. This brand also makes skincare and acne products, so you might have a lower chance of breakouts after use.

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray, $11.99 (shop here)
Want to bring back the nostalgia of past summers? Banana Boat’s sport spray will do the trick. With SPFs up to 100, you can select the level of UV blocking that is best for you. Plus, this classic will smell like your childhood.

Sun-Protective Clothes
Second to sunscreen itself, the clothes you wear when out in the sun play a major role in how protected your skin is from those dangerous rays. From long pants to long-sleeved shirts to shawls, you can never be too prepared.
At the same time, you don’t want to wear just any old long-sleeved item of clothing. You want breezy, loose clothes that prevent you from overheating as much as they prevent your skin from burning.
Here are our top picks:

West Indies Tassel Cover Up, $112 (shop here)
For a cute cover-up that also has an SPF of 50+, this outfit is super lightweight and gorgeous. Wear it at the beach or the pool; either way, you can’t go wrong looking this stylish while also keeping your skin protected.

Crew Neck Long Sleeve Rash Guard UPF 50 Swim Tee, $54.95 (shop here)
Who says you have to take off the protection to get into the pool? With this swim tee, you can stay protected when in the water and out. This is super important because not only does water wash away some of the sunscreen you’ve diligently put on your skin, but it also reflects sunlight, increasing your likelihood of getting burnt (source).

Hats, Wraps, and Scarfs
Even if you have a full head of thick hair, your scalp is not safe. The part in your hair exposes a strip of skin to the sun, and it’s directly in the path of danger. Avoid burns and flaky heads by covering up with a hat or other head covering.
Here are some easy ways to keep your head protected from the sun:

Slip-On Slinky Headwrap Pre-Tied Head Scarf, $19.99 (shop here)
Keep it chic with a hair scarf! These pretty accessories come in all sorts of fabrics, colors, and patterns. Once you’ve found the perfect hair scarf for your outfit, tie it on your head, admire your new accessory, then get out there and brave the heat.

Broken-In Baseball Cap, $29.50 (shop here)
Want a cute, classic look? Pick up a baseball cap! You can slap this over a low pony, a braid, or even your bedhead from last night. Just make sure to sunscreen the tops of your ears before you head out into the daylight – especially if your hair is up.

Shady Character Packable Wide Brim Hat, $68 (shop here)
Of course, you can also block the sun with a sun hat. Felt may be a no-go in summer temps, but nothing is stopping you from rocking a cute straw floppy hat.  In this case, the wider, the better, as that means more protection overall from the sun. A floppy hat can help protect your face, scalp, and ears, making it a win-win in our book!
For more tips on fashionable ways to protect your scalp from harmful UV rays, check out this post.

You probably have one million pairs of sunglasses, and so do we. Believe it or not, your eyes can get sunburnt as well.
The consequences of burns to the eyes vary from pain to blindness. That is not a risk worth taking, so pop on over to a Target, head to the gas station, or check out our guide on choosing sunglasses for your face shape before you go spending a day outdoors.

Rose Theater, $38 (shop here)
Sun safety is no joke, and sun damage is often not reversible, so play it safe this summer and let your fashion choices protect you. And as your mother would say… don’t forget your sunscreen!