The 7 Best Mineral Sunscreens For Faces
All mineral (or physical) sunscreens contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, and are typically well-tolerated by most skin types. But the best mineral sunscreens for your face not only meet the essential requirements for any good sunscreen (in other words, they offer broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage, have an SPF of at least 30, and are water resistant for at least 40 minutes or more), but they also have gentle, non-greasy formulas that won’t irritate skin or provoke breakouts. So while the six top-rated mineral sunscreens featured here can be used by anyone, they’re especially great choices for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
One downside to using mineral sunscreens is that they tend to leave behind a white cast (such is the nature of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, unfortunately), but you can try thinning out your sunscreen by mixing it with a few drops of liquid bronzer or foundation. Keep in mind that there will probably be a bit of trial and error involved in finding your perfect mineral sunscreen, since everyone’s skin is different.
To shop the best physical sunscreens for your face, scroll on.
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1. The French One
A top-notch facial sunscreen for just about everyone, La Roche-Posay’s cult-favorite Anthelios mineral sunscreen offers both UVA and UVB protection via broad-spectrum SPF 50, and also contains antioxidants to keep your skin further protected from environmental aggressors. Beloved by dermatologists and beauty editors alike, the fast-absorbing formula dries into a light, matte finish and is water resistant for up to 40 minutes. It’s oil-free and fragrance-free, but reviews are mixed on the white cast front (some say it’s barely noticeable, while others say to avoid if you have dark skin).
2. The Korean One
Another cult-favorite mineral sunscreen, this one, from Korean beauty brand Etude House, has a major following across the beauty corners of the internet. Enriched with soothing and moisturizing ingredients like centella asiatica, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid, it has a light, airy finish (hence its name) and doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy or sticky. People with oily skin in particular are fans of this sunscreen, with Amazon reviewers touting its ability to help control sebum production and keep skin looking matte. And though the brand says it won’t leave behind a white cast, reviews are once again very mixed in this department, so you’ll have to try it for yourself. At just $9, what’s the harm?
3. The Drugstore Favorite
For an affordable, no-frills sunscreen from a trusted drugstore brand, you can’t go wrong with Neutrogena’s sensitive skin sunscreen. The oil- and fragrance-free formula has a nice, high SPF of 50 and is water resistant up to 80 minutes, though its white cast is pretty apparent; because of this, it’s probably better suited to days at the beach and not for everyday wear under makeup.
4. The Best Stick
Stick sunscreens, like this one from CeraVe, are not only useful for tossing into a bag and using on the go, but tend to be particularly good for use around the eye area because the formula is less likely to run. This oil-free, noncomedogenic stick has an SPF of 50, is water resistant up to 40 minutes, and contains barrier-strengthening ceramides to help keep skin strong. Useful to keep on hand for people with active lifestyles and kids.
5. The Best Powder
Another travel-friendly choice, powder sunscreens are especially handy for applying to your hairline and part, and while they’re not strong enough to act as your daily facial sunscreen, they’re useful for reapplication throughout the day. Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder has a transparent finish and an SPF of 30, and the brush is refillable, so once you run out, you can keep buying refill cartridges for half the price.
6. The Best Splurge
This is a splurgy purchase for sure, but you get a whole lot of bang for your buck with the ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen. In this derm-recommended formula, DNA Repairsomes and antioxidants work to repair existing sun damage while simultaneously protecting your skin from future damage, too. The sun protection (broad-spectrum SPF 50+) comes from 100% zinc oxide, and it has a lightweight, non-greasy formula that’s water resistant up to 40 minutes.
You actually get much more product here, too; all the rest of the sunscreens on this list contain less than 2 ounces of product, but this one contains a whopping 3.4 ounces — a lot for a bottle of facial sunscreen.
7. Editor’s Pick
This is technically a moisturizer with sunscreen, not a moisturizing sunscreen, but they accomplish the same job. That said, Paula’s Choice-DEFENSE Essential Glow Mineral Moisturizer offers so many extra skin care benefits, thanks to its formula that’s loaded with vitamins C and E, both sources of antioxidants, resveratrol — another antioxidant — and nourishing argan oil. But the star ingredient here has to be niacinamide, which basically does everything good for your skin, including promoting a brighter, more even-looking complexion. It offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while all those antioxidants help protect skin from five different types of environmental aggressors, including smog and smoke. Once again, reviews are absolutely mixed when it comes to its white cast.
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