I Tried Dozens of Mineral Sunscreens This Summer, and This Is the Best One for Your Money

At $25 and dermatologist-approved, it’s perfect in every way.

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Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Sunscreen
Photo: Courtesy/InStyle

If there's one consistent piece of beauty advice my 60-year-old mom (who still looks 45) has passed down to me over the years, it's to wear your sunscreen. She never swears, but the one time I remember her doing so, it was when she exasperatedly told me off for irrationally turning down a pump of sunscreen from the tube she carries with her at all times. That's why there's always a row of sunscreen lined up like soldiers on a shelf in my bathroom medicine cabinet, and why it's always the climatic finale to my morning skincare routine.

Yet picking the right sunscreen isn't always easy. First, there's the mineral versus chemical debate. The former sits on top of skin, starts working instantly, and is gentle enough for sensitive skin but can leave a notorious chalky cast on your face. The latter's chemical filters are absorbed into the skin and usually look clear, but it needs to be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Plus, there are the usual considerations to picking any skincare product: Is it greasy? Does it melt into your skin easily? How does it smell? My personal choice has always been a mineral sunscreen with minimal white cast that feels completely non-greasy — and Hero Cosmetics' mineral, reef-safe Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen is definitely the winner.

Hero Cosmetics Shield Superlight Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Shop now: $25, target.com

I had tested out close to a dozen sunscreens this summer to find the best sunscreen on the market, and Hero Cosmetics' Force Shield genuinely shocked me by how instantly it melted. The consistency feels more similar to my favorite lightweight whipped moisturizer than to a traditional sunscreen, and softens into my skin so quickly that I never have to stand around to wait for it to finally dissipate.

Truly, it feels barely there on my skin with no greasiness, and its SPF-30 formula even works great as a primer under foundation because its dewy gel has a blue-ish green tone that softens any redness. It's a feature that really impressed Dr. Caroline Robinson, a Chicago-based dermatologist and Hero Cosmetics partner, who said, "We use green in both color cosmetics and dermatology to mask a little bit of redness and if you have a breakout, it's such a great idea to use a green tinted formula to help mask that."

One of my biggest concerns with sunscreens is how easily they can clog pores and lead to acne if you're not careful about cleaning your skin at night after wearing it all day, but Hero Cosmetics' sunscreen hasn't led to the typical flare-up of pimples that comes with testing new skincare. Since the brand is behind some of the best pimple patches you can buy, I had high hopes that its sunscreen would pay great care to acne — and it doesn't disappoint in one bit.

Plus, it never leaves a tacky residue on my fingers after I apply it (so I don't have to immediately wash my hands with makeup remover after putting it on like I typically do with other options) or have the classic sunscreen smell that's essentially ghostly hints of wet Lycra, chlorine, and bad vacations. It's so perfect all around that I actually look forward to re-applying it every two hours — something I used to put off as a chore — and even super affordable at just $25.

The Force Shield sunscreen is like the Goldilocks bed of sunscreens: Just right in every way. Shop it here at Target.

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