Sunscreen Sanity Savers


Sunscreen. The most used AZ summer product and for me the most frustrating one. The bottles end up super greasy and leak all over my bag. They’re also bulky. And I have the hardest time applying it on my kids! First there are protests. Then I wear them down, but getting them to stay still is impossible. They wiggle out of my grasp which then leads to outright defiance. A half hour or more later, the sunscreen is on but everyone is upset. Since sunscreen in Arizona is a mandatory, we need to do what we can to make applying it a little easier on ourselves. Here are three sunscreen formulas that have absolutely saved my sanity!

  1. Sunscreen Stick. I’m not talking about those glue stick-sized excuses for sunscreen that leave a white, streaky mess. Nope, I use a sunscreen bar that looks like a stick of deodorant that you can swipe all over your squirmy wormy kiddo in the time it takes to listen to the intro of Doc McStuffins.  
    My favorite sunscreen stick overtakes the tiny glue stick!

    Saves my sanity because:
    -It’s super portable. Since I’m diaperbagless (YAY), I just toss it into my purse to use when we’re out. It takes up very little room and I don’t have to worry about it leaking all over my bag. Perfect for on-the-go touch-ups. 
    -It’s FAST. With sunscreen lotion, I have to shake the bottle until some sputters into my hand, emulsify, then go to put it on my preschooler only to discover she’s already taken off. With the larger sunscreen stick, I swipe a few times, rub it in to ensure even coverage, and we’re done before she has a chance to escape. 
    -Precise application for tricky spots. The skin in between the millions of straps on those strappy-back suits or the forgotten skin between the tank and the bikini on a tankini. Tiny toddler noses and ears. The back of the neck. The part in your hair. Pretty much anywhere. 
    -Available in a mineral formula with no white zinc oxide mess. After trying out a few sunscreen sticks that made my kids look like I had drawn on them with chalk, I now swear by Beautycounter’s Protect Stick Sunscreen. Shop it here. Beautycounter’s commitment to “The Never List” means that I’m using a product free of potentially harmful ingredients. You’ll notice in the link that fellow SMB contributor, Rebecca Hubanks, is a Beautycounter consultant and can answer your product questions.

  2. Sunscreen Brush. A total mom sanity saver, tinted mineral sunscreen powder in a compact brush is the handiest tool us mamas can have to protect our skin!

    Saves my sanity because:
    -It’s ultra portable. Notice a theme here? I’m all about stash and go. This is an all-in-one product since the sunscreen powder is built into the brush. I’ve been carrying a sunscreen brush in my purse cosmetic bag for years because it’s so easy to reapply throughout the day. 
    -Quick application. Yep, stash and go! I tap my brush and buff my powder where I need it. Put the cap back on and I’m out. 
    -Great for smaller areas. Besides the face, I brush some into my part as well as along my hairline. I’ve rocked a noticeable red sunburn line on my forehead right next to my hairline when I haven’t taken the time to fully apply my sunscreen. The brush ensures I’m getting every part of my face. 
    -Doubles as make-up. Most sunscreen brushes have a hint of color so that you don’t look like a victim of celebrity white powder malfunction, giving you the benefits of mineral make-up along with sun protection. I reapply mine throughout my pool or beach day to combat any shine. My favorite is Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral SPF 45 that I found at Sephora. I love it because I can apply it over my make-up or alone and it evens out my complexion while protecting my skin from the sun.
  3. Sunscreen Whipped Foam or Mousse. I reached out to my fellow SMB contributors for their sunscreen sanity savers and one mom recommended a whipped sunscreen that she had recently sampled at Target. After telling me how easy it was to apply, I had to grab some in the name of research! It’s exactly like old-school Barbasol shaving cream or hair mousse and dispenses into a huge golf ball-size puff of foam. Sure enough, this was a hit with my kids!

    Saves my sanity because:
    -Quick and easy application. The foam dispenses easily and absorbs quickly. I can plop it on my kids and yell, “Look whipped cream!” while I quickly rub it in before they realize that I’m actually “torturing” them by applying sunscreen.
    -Kids love the foam. My kids think the big puff ball is the best thing ever and beg me to let them apply it! I follow up and make sure that no spots were missed, but it’s nice to work together on this rather than me repeating through gritted teeth, “Don’t move.” “Hold still. Almost done.” This stuff actually made applying sunscreen fun! #winner
    -Easy to find. My fellow SMB mom found hers at Target. I grabbed a bottle at Walgreens. No special ordering required and no need to run to a specialty retailer. I purchased Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple Whipped Sunscreen since in the past Water Babies hasn’t irritated my kids’ skin, however I do want to note that I did not find a mineral formula when researching for this post. Maybe you have?

What sunscreens have saved your sanity? Share your finds in the comment section!


  1. Great options! The brush/powder combination is a wonder for virtually all women living in the scorching AZ heat/sun. The stick and foam-mousse are great alternatives for squirmy kiddos.

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