Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50
A 100-percent mineral face SPF that helps block UVA, UVB, blue light, pollution and infrared radiation. Don't be turned off by the slight peach tint, as it just helps with color correcting. $68, Murad.
Supergoop PLAY Antioxidant Body Mist SPF 30 With Vitamin C
Supergoop's new non-aerosol formulation is now free of octinoxate, so it's totally reef safe. We also like that it gives us a little extra glow. $21, Supergoop.
Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Whipped Sunscreen Lotion
This chemical-free mineral sunscreen also happens to be vegan. Full disclosure, this particular formulation won't fully blend into your skin, but we love the whipped texture and how well it works for sensitive skin. $17.99, Sun Bum.
CōTZ Sport SPF 45
The brand's latest formula easily blends and is perfect for athletes. "CōTZ is 100% free from chemical sunscreen filters, preservatives, phthalates, dyes and fragrances, is reef-friendly and even offers plant-based solutions for sensitive skin," Dr. Fallick informed Observer. "Plus, the lightweight formulas feel great and blend beautifully into all skin tones." $27, CōTZ Skincare.
Everyday Humans Rosé S'il Vous Plait SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
This is a fragrance-free, ultra-gentle facial mineral sunscreen. "Rosé S’il Vous Plait is suitable for all skin tones and leaves no white cast with a velvety-matte finish," Charlotte Pienaar, founder of Everyday Humans, told Observer. "It’s free from essential oils, silicones and fragrance. It’s been clinically tested to not clog pores, and is great for those with sensitive, blemish-prone and oily skin. The rose extract and aloe vera juice in our formula restore skin's moisture-sebum balance and soothe any troubled spots." $25, Everyday Humans.
Ren Skincare Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen
A silicon-free mineral sunscreen ideal for those seeking a matte look. It contains rice starch to stop any kind of shininess, as well as passionfruit seed extract for antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage. $38, Ren Skincare.
Dr. Jart Every Sun Day™ Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+
This waterproof sunscreen is great for super sensitive skin. Apply it at the end of your usual face skincare routine everyday; it has a light powdery finish, but doesn't look chalky. $39, Dr. Jart.
Farmacy Green Defense Broad-Spectrum SPF Mineral Sunscreen
We like how lightweight, nongreasy and sheer this formulation is. $36, Farmacy.
Elta MD UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
All of Elta MD's sunscreens contain transparent zinc oxide, and they're also fragrance- and paraben-free. The cult favorite brand has a stamp of approval from the utmost of sunscreen authorities—the Skin Cancer Foundation. $29, Dermstore.
Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 35
This oil-free, lightweight sunscreen doesn't leave any white residue, and isn't too matte nor too dewy. It contains non-nano zinc oxide to block UVA and UVB rays, as well as help prevent environmental and blue light damage (those screens we're staring at all day aren't doing us any favors). $21.99, Versed.
Ulta Beauty Collection Mineral Face Stick SPF 30
You can get mineral sunscreen in an easy-to-use face stick formula, too. This one is super reasonably priced, and convenient to throw in your bag. $9.99, Ulta.
Glytone Hydra Lipid UV Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40
A face sunscreen that includes Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane to not only protect from harsh rays, but also help reduce fine lines. $36, Glytone.
Skinceuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50
If you have oily skin and tend to break out easily, try this mineral sunscreen. It's oil-absorbing and won't irritate your skin, and leaves you with a slight matte finish. $34, Skinceuticals.
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30
A reliable everyday body mist sunscreen. $36, Birchbox.
Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
This lightly tinted face sunscreen is geared towards those with acne-prone problem skin, so there are no worries about summer breakouts. $38, Kiehl's.
Cocokind Daily SPF
A lightweight SPF 32 that's best for the face; it contains zinc oxide, blue phytoplankton and microalgae. $24, Cocokind.
We love trying out new serums, moisturizers, face oils and all the other products in our ever-growing skin routines, but let’s never forget the most crucial step—sunscreen. It’s important to apply sunscreen every single day, not just during these scorching summer months. UVA and UBV rays can damage your skin even when on a cloudy day, so taking the extra minute to add some SPF to help prevent sun damage and skin cancer is non-negotiable.
It’s important to make sure you’re using a clean, nontoxic sunscreen, which is why we, along with so many others, have recently made the switch to exclusively using mineral sunscreens, as opposed to their traditional chemical counterparts. Mineral sunscreens are typically free of harmful chemical ingredients and tend to be gentler on your skin, as well as reef-safe. But what, exactly, makes a mineral sunscreen better than a chemical sunscreen?
SEE ALSO: Home Set: Summer Beauty Essentials for the July Heat
“Mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens work in fundamentally different ways,” Dr. Harry Fallick, the founder of Fallene Ltd. and CōTZ Skincare, explained. “The two active ingredients in mineral sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, act as reflectors to scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. Zinc oxide itself protects against a broader spectrum of UV light than any other sunscreen ingredient.”
“All other FDA-approved sunscreens are considered chemical sunscreens,” Dr. Fallick told Observer. “These absorb the UV energy and dissipate it as heat via a chemical reaction.”
Mineral sunscreens not only protect against UVB and UVA rays, but usually also help protect from blue light rays—yes, your screens are hurting your skin. A mineral sunscreen is also the best choice for those of us with sensitive skin.
“Mineral sunscreens are better for the skin because their ingredients aren’t absorbed into the skin itself, and they tend to be hypoallergenic,” Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad Skincare, told Observer. “The physical filters in mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as a ‘screen’ that deflects UV radiation. They’re also formulated with all-natural minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium. The ingredients found in mineral sunscreens are biodegradable as well, which means they won’t harm marine life or their environment.”
One of the big issues people have with mineral sunscreen is that it’s not as blendable as chemical sunscreens, and can sometimes leave a slight white sheen. While some mineral products are harder to fully blend than others, it’s all about finding the right brand for you.
“The hesitancy of many people to embrace mineral sunscreens stems from their outdated reputation of being heavy and leaving a white cast,” said Dr. Fallick. “Our experience formulating with minerals and choosing the right raw materials has led to products that are exceptionally elegant as well as safe and effective.”
Whether you’re looking for a full-body spray, an ultra gentle face sunscreen, a stick formulation or more, we’ve found the best mineral sunscreens to try right now. Scroll through to see our favorite picks.