The Best Mineral Sunscreen For Your Face
I’m sharing the best mineral sunscreen brands of 2023 for your face that nourish your skin and protect from sun damage. This guide reviews mineral zinc oxide sunscreen brands for your face, with some top picks that won’t leave a white cast.
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I’ve been on the search for a natural and clean (free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, endocrine disruptors) 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.
Beyond using mineral sunscreen for the face when you’re outdoors, I recommend using lip balm with mineral SPF and mineral sunscreen for the body too.
How I Tested
I divided mineral sunscreen for the face 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 with SPF31combines 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. 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 sunscreen 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 am in love with this sunscreen for basic, 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 and I seriously can’t love without it!
Shop: Le Prunier Plumscreen
True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF30
Cost: $65 for 1.7 oz ($38.24 per ounce)
Active Ingredient: 19% non-nano Zinc Oxide
From the True Botanicals website: Protect your skin without the breakouts with this mineral sunscreen and anti-aging skincare product in one that’s clinically proven to be ideal for oily and blemish prone skin.
My Thoughts: I really like this sunscreen for going out in the sun for longer periods of time given the high percentage of zinc oxide. This sunscreen rubs in clear, although it does have a slight tint to it, and didn’t irritate my sensitive skin. The consistency was slightly chalky, and I usually prefer a more moisturizing formula, but this seemed to work well with my skin every time I used it. I really like this one, although I don’t use it daily.
Shop: True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF30
Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Fluid SPF50
Cost: $21.50 for 1.7 oz ($12.65 per ounce)
Active Ingredient: 20.6% clear zinc oxide
From the Babo Botanicals website: Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Fluid SPF50 is created for anyone with sensitive skin. It features an exceptionally lightweight zinc oxide formula that provides daily broad spectrum protection from the sun’s damaging UVA/UVB rays. This golden-hued liquid lotion blends in seamlessly with minimal whitening on most skin tones, while offering added blue light protection. Works great under makeup. If you don’t care for tinted sunscreen, try the Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Fluid SPF50 with no tint.
My Thoughts: This is a really economical mineral sunscreen, and I love that it rubs in clear. I’m definitely impressed by this new fluid formula.
Shop: Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Fluid SPF50
Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF50 + Vitamin C + Glow
Cost: $50 for 1.18 oz ($42.37 per ounce)
Active Ingredient: 10% non-nano zinc oxide
From the Iris & Romeo website: This award-winning, first-of-its-kind clean formula combines two holy grail skincare steps–stabilized, time-release vitamin-C and transparent mineral SPF 50–with a dewy, balmy glow, for bare-faced, luminous skin that comes alive in the light.
My Thoughts: This mineral sunscreen gets 5 stars on the internet, so I had to try it! The consistency and feel are thicker than the Plumscreen, more like foundation. Right after rubbing the sunscreen in, my face looked very shiny and red, not exactly the look that I was going for. However, after the formula settled in, I understood more where the 5 stars come from. If you’re going for the luminous look like you’d see on Keely Jones and Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso, then this sunscreen is for you! Even though I like this sunscreen, I’m personally going to stick with my Plumscreen and give this to my teenage daughter.
Shop: Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF50 + Vitamin C + Glow
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
Kari Gran Essential SPF30
Cost: $48 for 1 oz ($48 per ounce)
Active Ingredient: 18% non-nano zinc oxide
From the Kari Gran website: Kari Gran Essential SPF30 uses non-nano zinc oxide as an active barrier to shield the face from UVA rays which cause signs of aging, and UVB rays responsible for sunburn. Made with organic botanical oils, this oil-based sunscreen protects while it hydrates to promote healthy, glowing skin.
Shop: Kari Gran Essential SPF30
Cocokind Daily Sunscreen SPF32
Cost: $25 for 1.7 fl oz ($14.71 per ounce)
Active Ingredient: 21% non-nano zinc oxide
From the Cocokind website: Cocokind Daily Sunscreen SPF32 is a lightweight, non-irritating mineral-based daily sunscreen lotion that 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
Attitude Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Cost: $29.95 for duo sticks
Active Ingredient: 20% non-nano zinc oxide
From the Attitude website: This Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick is 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.
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
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.
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- Organic & Natural Lip Balm For Dry Lips
- The Best Natural Mascara
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