Why You Should Add Stick Sunscreens To Your Bag

There’s more to sunscreen than just liquids and sprays

SPF is one of those inarguable parts of your skin-care routine. Serum you can get away with not using, a chemical exfoliant can also be skipped every now and then, but SPF should be as regular as your morning scroll through Instagram.

While I’ve always been partial to liquid and the occasional spray-on sunscreen, I’d been coming across a lot more stick formulas that made me curious, if not a bit skeptical. Can a solid chunk of SPF be more effective? I asked myself. And is my skin really shielded from harmful rays from a simple swipe? Turns out, it doesn’t do a horrible job.

Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson says that, while a traditional sunscreen type may be more efficient for protecting your whole body, sticks are effective when used on small, targeted areas (like the nose, tops of your ears, and shoulders). And the formula will typically stay on longer than a liquid or a spray—especially in humid and hot temperatures. “Adequate protection requires that the sunscreen create a film on the skin, the thicker the better,” Wilson says. “Creams and lotions contain film formers to help create this barrier. Sticks have the waxes to create the film,” making them harder to rub off.

Since sticks are usually pretty small, it doesn’t hurt to apply a couple of swipes before stepping out into the sun. Plus, thanks to its compact size, you can throw a stick in your bag to reapply throughout the day. And, the real draw for those with brown skin, most go on clear, so you don't have to stress about it leaving a white cast. 

Ahead are some of our favorites on the market right now. Let them serve as a reminder that warmer, sun-filled days are right around the corner. Start preparing sooner rather than later.  

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.

Supergoop!, Glow Stick Sunscreen, $25, available at SuperGoop!

Fresh, Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen, $25, available at Sephora.

Bare Republic, Mineral Sport Sunscreen Stick, $9.99, available at Target.

Shiseido, Clear Stick UV Protector WetForce SPF 50+, $28, available at Shiseido.

Sun Bum, Sunscreen Face Stick, $9.99, available at Target.

Clinique, SPF 45 Targeted Protection Stick, $22, available at Bloomingdale's.

Babo Botanicals, Super Shielf Sport Sunscreen Stick, $10.19, available at Target.