By now, we all know that sun damage is real and wearing a sunscreen everyday is non-negotiable. That said, it’s also a fact that finding the right sunscreen can be a bit difficult, especially for your face.
Many people have the same complaints: sunscreen feels thick/heavy, irritates sensitive skin or stings eyes, leaves a chalky cast, or creates an oil slick on face. And for those of us who prefer physical sunscreens—i.e. a sunscreen that contains physical UV blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as opposed to chemical blockers — it can be even more difficult to find the perfect face sunscreen that isn’t pasty white, sticky, and greasy.
The main reason why I personally favor physical sunscreens is because they use mineral sunscreen actives that work by reflecting the sun’s rays instead of being absorbed into our bloodstream (as chemical sunscreens like Octylcrylene, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone).
Physical sunscreens are also more photostable and almost immediately effective once applied. Plus, they are gentler on sensitive skin types like mine so there’s less risk of allergic reactions or breakouts, if you’re also acne-prone.
So, if you still haven’t found your go-to daily wear SPF, here are a few of my favorite mineral sunscreens for face that are made without iffy chemicals and won’t leave a chalky film on the skin and simply put, don’t suck! And there’s one for every skin type, lifestyle and budget!
BareMinerals Prep Step™ Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral Shield Daily Prep Lotion ($30) – This mineral-based face sunscreen is oil-free and formulated with color-adapting micro-encapsulated pigments that blend with your skin tone and dry to an invisible finish so you don’t see any white. It has a thin, velvety liquid feel and leaves skin feeling smooth, protected and prepped for foundation.
I tried it on a day when my skin was super-dry, and it emphasized a few dry patches. If you have normal to oily skin you should be fine. I doubt it will even be an issue for me in the summer. Overall, it wears comfortably, helps my makeup stay put, and packs a solid SPF 50…just what you need for the dog days of summer!
Josie maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 Protect + Perfect ($36) – Designed to correct dullnes and add a soft radiance to skin, this new multi-tasking sunscreen is the tinted version of Josie Maran’s bestselling Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47. It has a peachy tint that looks a bit too warm but once applied on the skin, it’s blends really well and adds just enough color to correct uneven skintone and reness.
I love how it evens out my skin tone and add a subtle glow to my face…just what I need when I am not in the mood to wear makeup on a hot sunny day! The formula is nicely hydrating as well and keeps my dry skin happy without being greasy or heavy. It has a subtle, sweet scent that I like…it’s not too strong and dissipates quickly.
Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ – Formulated specifically for sensitive and acne-prone skin, this 100% mineral sunscreen is lightly tinted to enhance the natural skin tone and delivers powerful UVA/UVB protection. The silky, lightweight fluid formula soaks in quickly and blends easily with a velvety matte finish that keeps grease and shine in check.
It’s kind of like a cross between a smoothing makeup primer and a sunscreen, that also adds a light dose of moisture. It leaves my skin perfectly prepped for makeup and there’s no white cast to worry about!
PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45 – Between the barely-there texture and fragrance-free formula, this is the best tinted sunscreen for face that even SPF-haters will want to wear! Its ultra-lightweight, silky lotion-like formula absorbs instantly, with a satiny-smooth matte finish while adding a light dose of non-greasy hydration so you can easily skip your moisturizer.
Also, this is my new favorite sunscreen to wear under makeup especially during the hot summer months. Best of all, despite being a purely mineral sunscreen, it doesn’t leave any chalky white cast, because of its sheer tint formulated to blend with most skin tones. Another big plus is that the formula plays nicely with my acne-prone skin!
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Daily Tone Correcting Primer, Tinted ($40) – Designed for sensitive skin with 100% mineral UVA/UVB protection and a powerful antioxidant complex, this tinted formula provides lightweight sheer to medium coverage in a matte finish mousse formula. Not only does it perfectly prep & smooth skin for your foundation or BB cream (and makes it last longer) but also helps to conceal uneven skin tone, visible signs of sun damage, redness and melasma.
It’s also perfect to wear on its own on those hot summer days when when you want a hint of coverage and not a full face of makeup. With its matte finish that keeps grease and shine in check, this would work well on normal to oily but it also feels fine on my dry skin. Also, it’s fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.
Brush On Block SPF 30 Invisible Mineral Powder Sunscreen ($32) – Perfect for those who like powder sunscreens instead of lotions, this pure mineral sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 30 protection comes packaged in a handy brush, and is invisible once applied…no greasy mess!
Whether used under or over makeup, the brush-on formula is easy to re-apply quickly and is also sweat & water resistant for up to 80 minutes. The self-dispensing brush fits easily in your purse, makeup bag or gym/sports bag making it perfect pick for on-the-go sun protection whenever you need it. I will be toting this one around all summer!
COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30 ($42) – Unlike many mineral sunscreens, which can be difficult to apply makeup on over, this one is a primer that’s actually designed to prep skin for makeup. Great for all skin types, it evens out texture and helps foundation glide on smoothly while providing mineral broad-spectrum SPF 30 to protect skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
It’s very lightweight with a silky-soft feel that I love on my skin! It doesn’t leave any white cast either. There’s a light scent which fades away pretty quickly. It’s a little pricey but totally worth it, especially if you are super picky about face sunscreens! It’s also featured in my post on the Best Sunscreens to Wear Under Makeup.
Do you prefer mineral or chemical sunscreens? Have you found your go-to sunscreen that meets all your requirements? If so, what is it?
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