This one’s for the people in the back: Just because you’re currently quarantining doesn’t mean you should skip the SPF. Yes, you should be wearing sunscreen. Every! Single! Day!
If you’re feeling like right now is the perfect time to really look into what ingredients you’re putting on your body, you’re in good company with the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration is proposing major chances to sunscreen regulations, sharing that the only SPF active ingredients that are officially recognized as safe and effective are those found in mineral sun protection: zinc oxide and titanium oxide.
In the past, mineral sunscreen formulas had one major drawback: because zinc and titanium serve as a literal physical barrier to protect your skin (opposed to chemical SPFs, which create a reaction where they absorb UV rays, transform them into heat, then release them), they were usually thick, goopy, and left skin with an icky white residue. For people with darker skin tones, mineral sunscreen was not user-friendly.
Luckily, there have been major formula breakthroughs in the realm of mineral sunscreen. We tested over 30 different mineral sunscreens, judging them on how they felt and looked on a range of skin tones and types. Below, the 13 best mineral sunscreens.
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For A Drugstore Steal
Face Sheer Tint Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30
Hydrating ceramides (a fat found naturally in your skin that supports a healthy barrier) and soothing vitamin B3 in this mineral sunscreen super-moisturize for healthy, supple skin. The lotion’s tawny shade leaves a subtle, flattering tint on lighter skin tones and eliminates any pale cast on darker skin tones.
For A Cult-Favorite Pick
Mineral Face Sunscreen Gel Lotion SPF 30
Formulated with people of color in mind, this formula features a groundbreaking gel encapsulation that helps zinc disappear into every skin tone.
For Lightweight Protection
Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30
Botanicals like aloe vera, grape seed, chamomile, green tea, and calendula combine into an ultra soothing, lightweight potion that also happens to protect with zinc oxide. And the tinted formula makes it very blendable on all skin tones.
For Sensitive Skin
Weightless Liquid Mineral SPF 30
Formulated without common allergens like soy, nuts, and irritating alcohols, this lightweight mineral block has a texture that’s reminiscent of a dry oil, imparting a subtle glow.
For Soothing Redness
Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
Ultra-sheer zinc oxide combines with green tea to shield skin against environmental aggressors (Think: pollution, sunlight, infrared waves) and calm simultaneously. Bonus points for a very soft lavender scent that lasts all day.
For Dry Skin
Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++
Super-hydrating squalane (a hydrating oil our skin needs but produces less of with time) makes this lightweight lotion with zinc oxide so blendable and nourishing you’ll look forward to putting on your sunscreen every morning. (And reapplying every afternoon.)
For an Instant Skin Perfector
Tone Smart SPF 68 Sunscreen Compact
This golden-hued cream uses a revolutionary form of zinc oxide that’s porous—meaning it protects your skin like the traditional counterpart, but is smoother, less greasy, and less likely to leave a white cast on skin. When applied (try using a sponge or a kabuki brush!) it creates a blurring effect on skin with a semi-matte finish. And the compact is genius for travel or your handbag.
For Repairing Sun Damage
Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50
Reversing the effects of actinic (or sun) damage is one of the best ways to combat premature aging. This milky, lightweight fluid contains a proprietary enzyme blend that is clinically proven to mend DNA damage from UV light.
For Blemish-Prone Skin
Self-Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen Zinc Oxide SPF 32
Infused with an impressive concentration of 22.4% zinc oxide (that’s more than double the necessary amount for effective sun protection) and acne-fighting pre-probiotic Kinbiome, this sunscreen is the ultimate treat for blemish-prone skin. Even sweeter: it smells like a vanilla cupcake.
For Fighting Crow’s Feet
Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
Thick and nourishing, this cream was made specifically to protect the delicate skin around your eyes—which can be damaged by UV and blue lights more easily. It’s also blended with probiotics and caffeine to brighten and reduce puffiness.
For Your Beach Bag
Eir NYC Surf Mud SPF 30
Inspired by Mayan beauty traditions, this block combines cocoa powder and butter with non-nano zinc oxide into a chocolate-tinted and scented cream that’s water-resistant and reef safe.
For Aging Skin
Full Screen SPF 30 100% Mineral Vanishing Tint
Slightly tinted, this non-nano zinc sun protection is supercharged with vitamins A, B, C and D, plus turmeric, argan oil, licorice root, and the brand’s patented, skin-changing NIA-114 technology to support a healthy skin barrier.
Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50
This is the easiest way to touch up your sunscreen on the go. The brush is saturated with a super-fine, barley-tinted powder that covers skin with SPF 50 protection and removes unwanted shine at the same time.
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