Which Sunscreens Stand Up to Sweat?

Published in: Just For Fun, Makeup Tips/How To, Skin Care


Hey, ladies. Did you catch this article in the New York Times the other day on women in the military?


“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the first in which tens of thousands of American military women have lived, worked and fought with men for prolonged periods. Wars without front lines, they have done more than just muddle the rules meant to keep women out of direct enemy contact.

They have changed the way the United States military goes to war. They have reshaped life on bases across Iraq and Afghanistan. They have cultivated a new generation of women with a warrior’s ethos — and combat experience — that for millennia was almost exclusively the preserve of men.”


It got me thinking about reader Sandra. She heads overseas later this year.

Hi Karen,

I need some advice! I am getting deployed to the Middle East this winter for a year and want to know what heavy duty sweat-proof, high-SPF sunscreen you can recommend for everyday use on my face. I would like to have something that feels light, offers moisture, and stays put with a ton of sweating. I would be wearing my tinted moisturizer over this product.


Hi Sandra,

I REALLY love Shiseido 55+, aka better than sliced bread.

It’s sweat-proof, moisturizing, comes in a high SPF and feels light — neither greasy nor sticky — on the skin. On top of all that, it doesn’t have an overwhelmingly sunscreeny scent.

At $38, it’s more expensive than drugstore sunscreens, but I think it’s the best basic sunscreen I’ve ever used.

As for less costly drugstore alternatives, I love Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 30 ($12). Like Shiseido 55, it’s sweat-proof, light and non-greasy/sticky, but I don’t think it’s quite as moisturizing. A layer of moisturizer worn beneath it should help.

Neutrogena makes versions of it in higher SPFs (70-100). I’ve tried them, too, but didn’t care for them as much; the higher SPFs were noticeably thicker and harder (took longer) to massage into my skin. Personally, I’ve never noticed a difference in sun protection between products containing SPF 30 and 70, but I haven’t skin tested with a control to see if that’s true.

Safe travels, Sandra! I hope this helps. Drop by the blog whenever you can while you’re over there to let us know how you’re doing. 🙂

Ladies, let’s give our girl Sandra a hand. Can you recommend any suncreens that stand up to sweat?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. xtina says:

    I adore Neutrogena Drytouch myself. Used it at band camp where we were outside for 9 hours a day and it stuck really well. I’m assuming she’ll be able to wear a hat because that will definitely help. I’ve heard wonders about Bullfrog from my surfer friends too. http://www.bullfrogsunblock.com/super.html

  2. Scifi says:

    My sister uses Ocean Potion Anti-Aging SPF 50 sunblock. It smells really nice and isn’t greasy, but she does have to put more on later in the day (She works outside the whole day.)

    Keep in mind even though the labels sometimes say it’s only sweat/water resistant, not waterproof, it means the same thing. 🙂

  3. I tried the Shiseido one and it made me break out. The Neutrogena one on the other hand works fabulously on me. I prefer the higher SPF, even though it takes longer to rub in, and I would think that is better for long days out in the sun, especially in the scorching sun of the Middle East. Right now I like the MAC Prep and Prime SPF 50….an SPF and primer in one, so it makes skin smoother and your tinted moisturizer will apply better too.
    .-= Kajal Couture’s last blog post… Giveaway!!!! – The Sweet 15 Kit =-.

  4. Neutrogena SPF 100+

    This stuff is HG for me. It goes on flawlessly, and makes your skin brighter as well. It has complete sunscreen protection, and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling heavy. It’s real lightweight and lasts throughout the day. It is sweat-proof, water-proof, and rub-proof.

    .-= i♥makeup’s last blog post… Lisa Ray’s Make-up Breakdown at the Miss USA Pageant 2009 =-.

  5. neutrogena sensitive skin sunblock spf 60 (has zinc oxide). it’s sweatproof.

    also, for lips, ears etc. i like vichy capital soleil sunscreen stick spf 60. i’ve got reactive/sensitive skin, so these two work without breaking me out or causing rashes.
    .-= ines, felix and kitten (the office kitties)’s last blog post… Fragrance Review (the Gardenia Quartet Part I) – Crazylibellule and the Poppies Pompon Gardenia =-.

  6. Lise says:

    I really love my Clarins Sun Control Stick (SPF 30)


    I use Clinique City Block Sheer SPF 25 every morning and then I apply the stick around my eyes, above my eye-brows and around my lips to ensure that those wrinkle-prone areas are covered well! I apply my make-up after this and I use the Clarins stick during the day for touch-ups. It’s sweatproof and it gives me a nice glow!

  7. Meghan says:

    I like pretty much anything Neutrogena puts out, and Bullfrog as well. I’ve only used the Bullfrog spray and it’s awesome, though I go through it pretty quickly. It is rather difficult to wash off at the end of the day, but other than that, I love it!
    .-= Meghan’s last blog post… An Ode to Liquid Liner Pens =-.

  8. Tekoa says:

    Aveeno sunscreen spray SPF 45. Oh, how I love the spray on factor! Moisturizing? Unknown, but there were no sweat issues and it could handle the Ethiopian/Israeli sun.

    Keep save Sandra!

  9. Paige says:

    LOVE Clinique Super City Block SPF 50 – like others with high SPF, it takes a while to rub in, but it’s super moisturizing (I have dry sensative skin) and totally worth it.

    I have fair skin and a long family history of skin cancer, so I won’t use anything less than SPF 50.

  10. Rae says:

    Here’s another vote for Neutrogena Dry Touch!! I love that stuff — but if you’re concerned about chemicals (or allergic to chemical sunscreen!) their new baby sunscreen with “PureScreen” is an amazing mineral-based sunscreen. Just beware if you have darker skin (like Karen’s or darker) as it can leave a bit of a white cast!
    .-= Rae’s last blog post… Splurge: normal-wear lip gloss =-.

  11. Vanessa H says:

    Someone already mentioned the sunscreen I love (Neutrogena Dry Touch), but I wanted to thank Sandra for serving our country!

  12. neha says:

    Hi Sandra,

    I moved to the Middle East, specifically Kuwait, in January and I use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch 55 SPF. It lasts through the day. However, I find that having blotting tissues on hand helps if you wear sunglasses. The sweat tends to make the undereye area quite shiny. Hope this helps.

  13. Christina says:

    I use Neutrogena Dry-Touch as my budget sunscreen or when I run out of my HG.

    Le Roche Posay’s Anthelios line is my HG. I love it and it sinks in relatively fast. Unlike Neutrogena, which feels like it’s sitting on my face, Anthelios is relatively quick-absorbing.

    Also, those two are the only 2 approved by dermatologists to effectively block UVA/UVB rays. I love SHiseido, but I doubt it’ll stand up to the ME sun. It’s got the best absorbency and consistency though, it’s a lovely formula but I needed better coverage.

  14. E.D. says:

    If breakouts are a problem, Vanicream comes in SPF 35 and 50. If that’s less of a problem, I also like the Clinique City Block.

  15. Laura F. says:

    I like the Neutrogena Dry Touch.

    God bless, Sandra! Thank you for your bravery and service. Stay strong.

  16. Citrine says:

    I love the shiseido sunscreen (as well as the one for eye areas) but fr the Neutrogena, whenever it gets in my eyes from rubbing or when I am sweating like a donkey, it will stink the heck out of my eyeballs. (It happened probably more than 5 times so now I just try to keep them away from my face.)
    .-= Citrine’s last blog post… Wet n Wild Nail Color in Jade and More Jade =-.

  17. C-Diff says:

    I’ve been using La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ Extreme Fluid outside for about six hours a day all summer, and I’ve gotten a little color but haven’t burned at all, which is impressive with my pasty, pasty breeding. It feels a little gummy perhaps, but if I put tinted moisturizer on top I don’t even notice it. Bought it in a two-pack from a seller on Amazon after hearing that the one sold at CVS is a pain in the butt. On the rest of me I use the Neutrogena Dry Touch, and now I can’t go back to their other greasy stuff. Plus, all my customers say I smell like the beach. 🙂

  18. Rebecca says:

    If you have oily/acne-prone skin, try Dermadoctor’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ sunscreen. It’s SPF 30 but it STAYS AND STAYS -I’ve worn it at the beach, in and out of the water for five hours and not burned at all. It goes on a little thick but once it’s dry it’s completely matte and smooth and helps makeup last longer – absolutely no oil or sweat breakthrough even in Houston in August! I don’t notice it helping acne but it doesn’t make it any worse either.
    Sandra, thank you for serving our country. My children are safe and free because of the strength, courage and sacrifice of brave men and women like you, and I am deeply grateful.

  19. Shiseido didn’t really work for me … I found it clogged my pores and made little red bumps come out.. I like the Hauschka sunscreen ( its a little stinky but works well!)
    .-= Blovet Beauty’s last blog post… G DRAGON EYES ON U! =-.

  20. Michel says:

    Neutrogena 55+ Face sunblock for me. It’s a matte-finish one and works almost like a primer under my foundation. It works for me,that’s all I can say. I hope she picks something 55 or higher, otherwise she’ll be reapplying all day. The SPF is number of minutes of sun exposure the product protects you, so SPF 55= 55 minutes. Good luck with this and for your safety, Sandra!
    .-= Michel’s last blog post… The Ultimate Beauty Question =-.

  21. Mel says:

    My rec to Sandra if she goes with Neutrogena (small tubes, easy to carry around, easily available at drugstores, not too expensive (especially if you can catch a sale) is to buy one with HELIOPLEX (it says so on the packaging) since only those ones are photostable (this means the chemicals won’t degrade too fast in the sun). So you have to buy the SPF55 or higher (only those have helioplex).

  22. Astrid says:

    I love the L’Occitane Immortelle Very Precious Fluid Serum SPF40. It’s very light in texture, even lighter than La Roche Posay Anthelios. But if your skin is dry, you’d still need a moisturizer underneath it.
    .-= Astrid’s last blog post… Thesis Writing: LaTeX vs Word? – Part 2 =-.

  23. Nikki says:

    Shiseido Anessa Perfect Sunscreen spf50. I’m using the silver bottle which is good enough for Thailand weather and humid. But in your case I think you need the gold bottle because it’s really really sweat proof.

  24. deniz says:

    Shiseido’s Very high SPF 50(cream&lotion type) and Extra gentle SPF 30(cream&lotion type) are waterproof products,that not only perfectly protect the skin against the UVB(cause for dehydration,spots,darkening and sun burn) but effectivly guards agains the UVA rays ,which cause the photoaging(sagging,wrinkles). Shiseido’s Suncare is with extreme skincare benefits.
    So, ladies if you want to preserve and incease the Beauty of your skin go for ….Shiseido(the name interpritation is- House of Life Resources).

    Best wishes

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