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3 Surfer-Tested Sunscreens That Won't Wash Away

Highly waterproof products to keep the UV rays at bay


The spring equinox is only a week away and the sun is only going to get brighter. The good news is more daylight for surfing, paddling and swimming. The bad news is UV rays don’t care about your stinkin’ fun.

With that in mind, we’ve selected three watersport-friendly products that won’t wash off in the surf, whitewater or whatever you subject them to, short of soap.

Watermans Face Stick SPF 55 & Sun Cream SPF 55

It’s not simply a marketing ploy that Watermans sponsors surfers and stand up paddlers. Surfers and other saltwater fiends agree that Watermans will stick to your skin no matter what. The face stick rolls on like deodorant—or lipstick if you're feeling fancy—and is lightly tinted (they’ve got two shades) so you can see where you’ve covered. Although a little bit pricey, Watermans is considered the Cadillac of saltwater sunscreens.

MSRP: Face Stick $15.95, Sun Cream $19.95.
Pros: Won’t wash off or run into eyes; non-slip formula won't interfere with gripping a paddle or surfboard
Cons: A little pricey; some dislike the tint on the face stick

Aloe Gator Total Sunblock Gel SPF 40+

Aloe Gator is a good all-purpose gel that goes on clear and won’t sweat off during a long hike, or wash off during a swim for that matter. The plus side is you will get a durable, all-purpose UVA and UVB blocker. The downside, many users complain, is that it can leave a greasy film on your skin.

MSRP: $12.99 for a 4 oz. tube. ($10.95 at REI)
Pros: Lasts all day, won’t sting eyes, full-body protection
Cons: Can leave greasy film

Shiseido Sun Protection Stick Foundation SPF 35

Technically a makeup foundation, this face stick is an open secret in the surfing world. Pros swear by it because, like Watermans, it rolls on in a solid layer that isn’t slippery or runny. It’s also tinted, which, depending on your skin tone can be a good or a bad thing (The translucent shade is reported to be slightly white.) For reference, this is not to be confused with Shiseido’s sunscreen, which doesn’t come so highly recommended.

MSRP: $27.00 (Translucent shade $24.99 on Amazon)
Pros: Won’t run or burn eyes
Cons: Expensive, needs to be combined with another sunscreen for full body protection

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