The Best Mineral Sunscreen For Your Face

Protect and nourish the skin on your face with mineral sunscreen. This guide reviews mineral zinc oxide sunscreen brands for your face, with some top picks that won’t leave a white cast. Check out the best mineral face sunscreen of 2022.

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I’ve been on the search for a natural and clean (free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance) sunscreen with ZERO white cast after application, not too shiny and one that feels natural on my skin. Although a few of my tops picks are on the pricey side, this year I updated the post to add some budget-friendly picks that I love! I tested 9 brands of clean, natural sunscreen for the face and neck – read on for my reviews and favorite picks.

HOW I TESTED

I divided face sunscreen into 2 types – one type I would consider an everyday SPF with moisturizer that’s perfect for desk work, hanging out at home and running errands. This everyday sunscreen contains a 10-19% zinc oxide formulation. The other type of sunscreen I tested is more heavy duty, used for hiking, running, skiing, beaching and other outdoor activities where you would spend considerable time outdoors. This type of sunscreen contains a 20-25% zinc oxide formulation.

To give you an idea of my skin type, I have extremely sensitive skin that burns pretty easily and reacts to fragrance. I also consider my skin to be very dry.

If you’re not sure what to look for in a sunscreen, check out our post on Mineral Versus Chemical Sunscreen. In this post I discuss what to look for in sunscreen and what ingredients to avoid.

All in all, I tested mineral face sunscreen and evaluated each one for:

  • Did it leave a white cast? This is a no go for me. Since my skin is dry, any whiteness from sunscreen transfers to my dry skin flakes and looks terrible.
  • Greasiness factor. I don’t like really shiny, greasy sunscreen.
  • Hydration and moisture. My dry skin likes some hydration without the greasiness.
  • Natural ingredients, no fragrance, zinc oxide as active ingredient and EWG score (some brands have not been scored yet).
  • Reef safe- all brands I tested use non-nano zinc oxide (most brands listed this on their website, but I had to call a customer service rep for one brand).

Look below for reviews on all of the mineral face sunscreen I tested.

*Cost was calculated at the time this article was published, and is subject to change.

MINERAL FACE SUNSCREEN

Live Tinted Hueguard Mineral SPF

  • Cost: $32 for 1.7 oz ($18.82 per ounce)
  • Active Ingredient: 18.23% non-nano Zinc Oxide
  • From the Live Tinted website: An innovative daily mineral SPF 30, moisturizer, and primer that protects skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays and blue light. This non-nano zinc, weightless formula blends seamlessly into the skin, giving it a natural glow with no white cast on all skin tones and types.
  • My Thoughts: This sunscreen has an orange tint, but you’d never know once it’s rubbed in. It rubs in super easily, has no white cast, and has a non-greasy yet moisturizing finish. I love that it contains sea buckthorn oil and beta carotene for an antioxidant boost. Although this sunscreen is fragrance-free, it does have a beta carotene-like smell when you apply it, but that dissipates quickly. I wear this sunscreen daily since it doesn’t feel heavy, is so easy to apply and is relatively affordable. It has quickly become a favorite!
  • Shop: Live Tinted Hueguard Mineral SPF

Le Prunier Plumscreen

  • Cost: $78 for 2 oz ($39 per ounce)
  • Active Ingredients: 4.7% non-nano zinc oxide
  • From the Le Prunier website: Le Prunier Plumscreen® combines broad spectrum sun protection with the skincare benefits of Le Prunier’s cult-favorite Plum Beauty Oil. Antioxidant-rich Plum Superfruit Complex® shelters skin and protects collagen from pollution, blue light and UV damage while shielding from DNA-damaging free radicals. Crafted with hydrating Zonaria Tournefortii Extract that helps protect against future wrinkles while moisturizing skin, the silky sheer, non-nano zinc oxide formula means less white residue — zero harm to coral reefs. Plumscreen® SPF 31 has been clinically tested by FDA registered and ISO certified labs.
  • My Thoughts: This product is more of an errand-running, around-the-house sunscreen than one I would wear to the beach. It has a thin consistency that rubs in very easily, and there is the faintest tint that does not look like tint once it’s applied to the face. It has the loveliest light almond scent. I really, really like this sunscreen for everyday wear. It’s packed with antioxidants and makes my skin glow (I’ve gotten compliments from several people). The only downsides are the price and the packaging. The tube is aluminum, similar to Davide’s toothpaste brand, and it can tear and leak out the side if you don’t dispense it properly (by squeezing from the bottom). Out of all the sunscreens I have at home, this one feels the best on my skin. Due to the price tag, I’ve recommended another sunscreen as my favorite, but this one really is amazing!
  • Shop: Le Prunier Plumscreen

Indie Lee Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Cost: $42 for 3.3 oz ($12.73 per ounce)
  • Active Ingredient: 20% uncoated Zinc Oxide
  • From the Indie Lee website: Perfect for beach days and outdoor activities, this mineral sunscreen has 20% uncoated Zinc Oxide for broad spectrum SPF 30 protection. Squalane, Shea Butter and Aloe provide rich moisture to keep skin hydrated all [sunny] day long. Plus, it’s unscented, dries down clean and is safe for kids!
  • My Thoughts: This sunscreen has a consistency on the thicker side, but it rubs in clear. I love that Indie Lee products have never irritated my sensitive skin. I use this sunscreen for outdoor activities and would consider this a great beach day sunscreen.
  • Shop: Indie Lee Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Cocokind Daily Sunscreen SPF32

  • Cost: $24 for 1.7 fl oz ($14.12 per ounce)
  • EWG Rating: not rated
  • Active Ingredient: 21% non-nano zinc oxide
  • From the Cocokind website: Cocokind Daily Sunscreen SPF32 lightweight, non-irritating mineral-based daily sunscreen lotion with SPF 32 uses non-nano zinc oxide, blue phytoplankton, and microalgae to protect skin against everyday stressors such as: UVA rays (aging) and UVB rays (burning), pollution, blue light. In doing so, it helps prevent signs of premature aging, such as dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles while protecting skin against sunburn. This formula is fragrance-free and leaves skin with a soft, satin finish – never greasy.
  • My Thoughts: I’m really impressed by this affordable sunscreen. It rubs in easily and I don’t notice any white cast on my skin. It’s also a fairly matte formula and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin.
  • Shop: Cocokind Daily Sunscreen SPF32

Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

  • Cost: $11.32 for 4 oz ($2.83 per ounce)
  • Active Ingredient: 20% non-nano zinc oxide
  • From the Pipette website: Our baby-friendly, family-loved SPF 50 sunscreen uses 100% mineral, non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. This lightweight, fast-absorbing, non-sticky formula blends effortlessly, protecting from the sun’s harmful rays. Plant extracts moisturize and calm the effects of infrared (the type of light that causes skin to heat up)—plus our Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 is made with non-comedogenic ingredients. Moms love it for the whole family!
  • My Thoughts: This is a great mineral sunscreen and I would use it for beach days and outdoor activities. It’s fragrance-free, rubs in clear and is great for the whole family!
  • Shop: Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum SFP 35

  • Cost: $50 for 1 oz. ($1.67 per ml)
  • Sunscreen Active Ingredients: 25% zinc oxide
  • EWG Rating: No rating at this time
  • From the Credo website: This Product Is: a lightweight serum combining skincare and sun protection that’s good for all skin types and skin tones. EleVen by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35 is a game-changing lightweight serum that combines skincare and mineral sun protection. This dermatologist-approved serum applies transparently and absorbs quickly on all skin tones, creating a smooth velvety finish. 25% zinc oxide provides reef-safe broad-spectrum sun protection, and prickly pear delivers long lasting hydration while helping to calm and soothe skin. Unrivaled Sun Serum is the ultimate multi-tasker as the final step before applying makeup, leaving skin with a beautiful demi-matte glow.
  • My Thoughts: This is a serum sunscreen that comes with a dropper as the applicator. I really like that it goes on clear and is matte. At first I thought this serum was slightly irritating, but have since worn it tons of times and have changed my mind. I would highly recommend this EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum SFP 35  as a clear zinc-oxide sunscreen.
  • Shop: EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum SFP 35

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SFP 30

  • Cost: $150 for 4 oz. ($1.25 per ml) for large size, $85 for 2 oz. ($1.42 per ml) for regular size, $50 for 1 oz. ($1.67 per ml) for travel size
  • Active Sunscreen Ingredients: 12% zinc oxide
  • EWG Rating: No Rating at this time
  • From the Josh Rosebrook website: Our dual-action day cream performs as a regenerating moisturizer and natural, broad-spectrum sunscreen. Nutrient Day Cream delivers a potent combination of distinct herbal actives and plant oils to repair, moisturize, and protect the skin. Unique herbal synergies release skin transforming anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, fatty acids, and phytonutrients proven to firm, reduce redness, and assist the skin in regeneration. This luxurious, lightweight cream finishes matte, smooth, and comfortable without a white cast. We’ve chosen a high quality uncoated, non-nano, high micron zinc oxide to provide effective sunblock against skin-damaging solar rays.
  • My Thoughts: Although this used to be my favorite everyday sunscreen, the others listed above have slightly edged it out. I love that it’s packed with antioxidants and is not irritating on my sensitive skin.
  • Shop: Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SFP 30

Taos Aer SPF 30

  • Cost: $38 for 4 oz ($9.50 per ounce)
  • Active Ingredient: 20% non-nano zinc oxide
  • From the Taos Aer website: Safeguard your skin from damaging UV rays with the power of nature’s most potent plants and minerals.  Taos AER SPF 30 is a lightweight mineral sunscreen made with 20% non-nano zinc oxide that has been independently tested and verified for 40 minutes of water resistance. Taos AER has been inclusively formulated for a transparent, non-whitening dry down — meaning no chalky finish.  A specialized blend of desert plant oils and botanicals help to hydrate and nourish skin.  With a light blend of sage, cedarwood, bergamot, and vertiver essential oils, Taos AER has created a signature scent inspired by a hike in the woods.
  • My Thoughts: This is a thick formula, but it does rub in clear. It takes a little longer to rub in than all of the sunscreen formulas with a thinner consistency. It has a mild lemony scent, and it did slightly irritate my sensitive skin.
  • Shop: Taos Aer SPF 30

Attitude Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Stick

  • Cost: $29.95 for duo sticks
  • Active Ingredient: 20% non-nano zinc oxide
  • From the Attitude website: This Complexion Brightening Duo contains a Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Stick – SPF 30 and a Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick – SPF 30. They are both formulated with coconut oil and shea butter which boosts hydration, leaving your skin feeling smooth and nourished while giving it a healthy glow! Discover and adopt a zero plastic waste sun care routine with these 2 unscented essential sun care products.
  • My Thoughts: I love that this stick sunscreen is eco-friendly, convenient and glides on easily. It felt heavy on my skin, so I would use it only for extra protection on my nose if I know I’m going to be out in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Shop: Attitude Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Mineral Sunscreen Brands

SHOP NATURAL FACE SUNSCREEN

A NOTE ABOUT SUNSCREEN AND CITRUS BASED ESSENTIAL OILS

When I started testing natural sunscreen, I wasn’t aware that citrus based essential oils can cause pigmentation to your skin if exposed to sunlight. Some of the sunscreen brands I reviewed do contain citrus based essential oil, and I’ve noted which ones do (this did not change any of my favorites). According to dermatologist Sharyn Laughlin, “Never use a product that contains lime or any citrus based essential oil during the day on sun exposed skin. Dermatologists frequently see what is called photodermatitis- the sudden appearance of brown streaks or spots when lime juice or extract on the skin is exposed to sun light. This pigmentation can take a long time to fade.”

In one study, oxypeucedanin, a compound found in lemon, lime and bitter orange oil, caused photopigmentation on colored-guinea-pig skin without preceding visible erythema.

woman lounging in sun