We did not see this coming.
If you think you’re going to have to shell out the big buckaroos to keep your skin safe from harm this summer, think again. Consumer Reports just released their Annual Sunscreen Guide with Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ taking the top spot in the spray category. Surprised? We were too.
This year’s guide ranked 73 sunscreens across three different categories (lotions, sprays, and sticks and lip balms) based on UVA protection, UVB protection, and how closely the SPF listed on the label matched the Consumer Reports’ tested SPF level.
What might be the most alarming truth to come out of CR’s extensive testing was that 24 sunscreens tested at 45% or below their labeled SPF. For example, No-Ad Sport Lotion 50—one of the formulas given the red flag—has a real SPF factor of less than 25, contrary to its advertised 50.
While so many of the tested sunscreens landed underwhelming results, there were two varieties that earned perfect marks: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk and Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+. La Roche-Posay didn’t come as much of a surprise since we know it to be a favorite of nearly every dermatologist we’ve polled, but we certainly didn’t see Trader Joe’s taking a top spot—sorry, TJ.
With identical scores and broad availability, the one area that sets the two apart is their price points. We’re not averse to shelling out La Roche-Posay’s $30—as far as we’re concerned, sun care is one area worth investing—but Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ comes in at a can’t-be-beat $6.
You can bet we’ll be stocking up on this beachy-scented spray the next time we find ourselves in the home of "Two Buck Chuck."
WATCH: A Dermatologist Warns Against Using This Type of Sunscreen
For those that don’t have a TJ just down the road, or can’t find one of the other highly ranked options on the Sunscreen Guide, Consumer Reports gives this helpful tip: Stick to Broad Spectrum, chemical varieties that clock in with at least SPF 40. This way you’ll account for any variation in actual versus label SPF levels while still (hopefully) staying above or at the recommended SPF 30.