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The Best Mineral Sunscreens for Effective Sun Protection

Best Mineral Sunscreens
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updated: July 8, 2024
edited by Nick Leftley

Is there anything that compares to the feeling of summer sun on your skin? That said, even though the sun provides Vitamin D, a nutrient critical for good health, you don’t want to overdo it. Getting too much sun exposure causes sunburns, which are no fun in and of themselves, but beyond that,sun exposure contributes to aging and can cause cancer, with a fifth of Americans developing skin cancer by the age of 70, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.

It’s crucial, then, to have sunscreen handy along with your favorite sunglasses and flip flops to start summer off right, but chemical sunscreens aren’t the only option on the market these days. Mineral sunscreens offer a way to protect your skin from the sun without chemicals, so we’ve compiled a list of the best mineral sunscreens.

Our top mineral sunscreen picks

Best mineral sunscreen for faces: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen Face Lotion

Best mineral sunscreen for faces
Sun Bum Mineral Lotion SPF 30

Sun Bum Mineral Lotion SPF 30

Applying sunscreen to your face is a smart move. Having a beautifully lightweight mineral sunscreen that goes on like butter? That’s a win-win, since you’ll be more likely to wear it if you love its texture. This lotion offers SPF 30 protection thanks to zinc and titanium dioxide. It’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes, so be sure to reapply often if you’re swimming (or sweating!) As with all sunscreens, mineral or otherwise, definitely reapply at least every two hours to stay protected from the sun.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Zinc, titanium dioxide
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 3 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Free of: Fragrance, gluten, oxybenzone, octinoxate
  • Cruelty-free: No
  • Price: $18

Get it here: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen Face Lotion

Best mineral sunscreen for your body: Soleil Toujours Daily Defense Mineral Body Lotion SPF 30

Best mineral sunscreen for your body
Soleil Toujours Daily Defense Mineral Body Lotion SPF 30

Soleil Toujours Daily Defense Mineral Body Lotion SPF 30

If you’re after a mineral sunscreen you’ll actually use on your entire body, this pick is for you. It’s a bit pricier than our other options, but it goes on white and dries to a clear finish. It’s free of phthalates and oxybenzone, which can sometimes trigger skin reactions in those sensitive to these ingredients. Beyond offering SPF 30, it also includes vitamin C ester for firmer, brighter skin, and bisabolol for softer skin. Vitamin E offers some extra UV protection and red algae steps in to hydrate, leaving you with a beautiful glow. That’s a winning combination for fun in the summer sun.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Zinc oxide
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 5.8 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Free of: Silicones, phthalates, oxybenzone, octinoxate
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price: $58

Get it here: Soleil Toujours Daily Defense Mineral Body Lotion SPF 30

Best mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin: Aveeno Positively Mineral® Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Best mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin
Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen Lotion for Face, Broad Spectrum SPF 50 with 100% Zinc Oxide, Lightweight & Non-Comedogenic Facial Sunscreen, Travel-Size, 2 fl. oz

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen Lotion for Face, Broad Spectrum SPF 50 with 100% Zinc Oxide, Lightweight & Non-Comedogenic Facial Sunscreen, Travel-Size, 2 fl. oz

Yes, it is possible to use mineral sunscreen if you have sensitive skin. In fact, Aveeno specifically formulated this sunscreen for people with skin prone to sensitivity. We like that it’s free of fragrance, parabens, and phthalates, and relies on zinc oxide to protect your skin from UV rays.It’s rated as SPF 50, so it packs some powerful sun protection, plus it’s lightweight and non-comedogenic (no clogged pores here!) It’s also cruelty-free and water resistant, so grab your favorite swimsuit and enjoy some pool time—after layering on a little sunblock, of course.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Zinc oxide
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 3 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Free of: Fragrance, parabens, phthalates
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Price: $23

Get it here: Aveeno Positively Mineral® Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Best drugstore mineral sunscreen: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 for Sensitive Skin

Best drugstore mineral sunscreen
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 50 3 fl. oz

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 50 3 fl. oz

Sometimes, you just don’t have two days to wait for an online order to show up. When the sun is shining and you’re out of sunscreen, just swing into a local drugstore like CVS for this mineral sunscreen. Neutrogena is a popular brand in stores like Target and Walmart also, so it’s easy to find this product in several retail stores.

A zinc oxide sunscreen with SPF 50, it’s also hypoallergenic and oil free. You won’t find parabens, fragrance, phthalates, or even dyes in the formula, although it doesn’t seem to be a cruelty-free option. We do like that the price is slightly lower than many other lotions, but it’s also a small product at two ounces.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Zinc oxide
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 2 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Free of: Fragrance, parabens, phthalates, dyes
  • Cruelty-free: No
  • Price: $15

Get it here: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 for Sensitive Skin

Best mineral sunscreen for oily skin: Supergoop! Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40

Best mineral sunscreen for oily skin
Supergoop! 100% Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40, Size: 1.5 Oz, Multicolor

Supergoop! 100% Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40, Size: 1.5 Oz, Multicolor

If your face tends to be oily, reach for this mineral sunscreen from Supergoop! It’ll give you SPF 40 protection in an oil free formula that actually leaves your skin looking more matte instead of shiny. It even minimizes the appearance of pores. Going on a cruise? Well, this is also reef safe, so it’s a solid pick for cruising the Caribbean. As a cruelty-free option in a creamy consistency, you’ll probably want to use it beyond your vacations.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide
  • SPF: 40
  • Size: .68 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Creamy
  • Free of: Gluten
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Price: $22

Get it here: Supergoop! Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40

Best mineral sunscreen for kids: Banana Boat Kids 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Best mineral sunscreen for kids
Banana Boat Kids 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Banana Boat Kids 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Kiddos definitely need sun protection, and this is a great find. At just $11, you get six ounces of lightweight sunscreen that’s free of fragrance and chemicals like oxybenzone. Your kids will get SPF 50 sun protection and you’ll have peace of mind knowing it’s safe for little ones. The formula is created to be free of that stinging sensation that can come with some sunscreens, so there won’t be any tears when you’re applying it to the littles. It also earned the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, so it’s a great option for kids with eczema or otherwise sensitive skin.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 6 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Lightweight
  • Free of: Fragrance, oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, phthalates
  • Cruelty-free: No
  • Price: $11

Get it here: Banana Boat Kids 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Best mineral sunscreen for babies: Blue Lizard Baby Mineral Sunscreen

Best mineral sunscreen for babies
Blue Lizard Baby SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum 5 fl oz

Blue Lizard Baby SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum 5 fl oz

Don’t forget about baby when you’re enjoying the summer sun this year! This mineral sunscreen brings in at least SPF 50 to protect your littlest ones from painful sunburns. It’s also water resistant for as long as 80 minutes, so you won’t need to wrestle with applying sunscreen quite as often. It comes recommended by pediatricians, according to the brand, and it’s free of parabens and fragrance, so it’s a smart choice for protecting infants from UV rays this summer. Plus, the bottle actually turns pink when it’s exposed to sun, which acts as a prompt for you to reapply.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 5 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Lotion
  • Free of: Parabens, fragrance
  • Cruelty-free: No
  • Price: $15

Get it here: Blue Lizard Baby Mineral Sunscreen

Best mineral sunscreen stick: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® Face & Body Mineral Sunscreen Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Best mineral sunscreen stick
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 50 Zinc Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 50 Zinc Mineral Sunscreen Stick

There’s no denying that sunscreen in stick form is just plain convenient. And, thanks to Neutrogena, you can now get SPF 50 protection from a mineral sunscreen stick. Use this on your face and body before heading out into the sun, and the zinc oxide will offer protection for about two hours. If you’re swimming or sweating, it’s best to reapply after about 80 minutes. You won’t find fragrance, sulfates, or even mineral oil in here, so it’s a good choice for people with sensitive skin. It’s also vegan and isn’t tested on animals. If you have darker skin, take note that this sunscreen may be more likely to leave a white cast.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Zinc oxide
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 1.5 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Solid
  • Free of: Fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Price: $19

Get it here: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® Face & Body Mineral Sunscreen Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Best invisible mineral sunscreen: ELEVEN by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF40

Best invisible mineral sunscreen
ELEVEN by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF40

ELEVEN by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF40

There are few things more embarrassing than leaving the house without realizing your facial sunscreen left a big white streak across your forehead. That’s why we like this serum, which is lightweight, can be worn under your makeup, and is designed to leave you free from a white cast. It’s definitely more of a splurge, but the cruelty-free formula and being able to say goodbye to that white cast make it worth it. It’s water resistant for 40 minutes and won’t clog your pores, either. The downside is that, like every sunscreen, you’ll still need to reapply it every two hours, which can be a bit tricky if you’re wearing makeup.

Specifications:

  • Active ingredients: Zinc oxide
  • SPF: 40
  • Size: .99 fluid ounces
  • Consistency: Serum
  • Free of: Parabens
  • Cruelty-free: Yes
  • Price: $48

Get it here: ELEVEN by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF40

What to consider when buying mineral sunscreen

You’ll want to consider a few things when you’re picking out the best mineral sunscreen. Of course, SPF is a big factor, but you’ll also want to take a look at the consistency of the sunscreen and find what works for you, since some people prefer lotions while others like serums or sprays. Be sure to take a look at the ingredients and pick a sunscreen that steers clear of anything you may be sensitive to (like gluten, which can surprisingly show up in sunscreens and cosmetics), that you’d rather not have in your skincare (like phthalates or parabens), or may stain your swimsuits (like avobenzone, which can react with iron naturally occurring in water to leave rust-red marks behind).

Price is another important consideration. Several mineral sunscreens are also cruelty-free, so take that into account if this is important to you. Whatever mineral sunscreen you choose, the best option is always the one that you’ll actually use.

How we selected the best mineral sunscreens

We researched mineral sunscreens made by a variety of brands and selected the best options based on SPF, ingredients, and more. We also reached out to Cecil J. Fackrell PA-C, specializing in General/Cosmetic Dermatology for 19+ years, for some expert advice on mineral sunscreens. He tells us, “For broad-spectrum UV protection that is safe for the environment and reef-friendly, mineral sunscreens take the cake.”

What is mineral sunscreen?

Mineral sunscreens act like a physical barrier to the sun’s rays. They have ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which your skin won’t absorb the way it will with more traditional sunscreens, because they’re designed to sit on the skin, rather than sink in.

Why is mineral sunscreen better?

Fackrell explains that, “While chemical sunscreens also offer broad-spectrum protection, studies show that they leave chemical residue in the bloodstream and can lead to long-term side effects. Plus, marine protected areas usually ban chemical sunscreens due to their harmful impact on reefs and wildlife.” It’s also worth noting that some cruise lines require reef-friendly sunblock, so mineral sunscreens can be an excellent option for your next cruise.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do you remove mineral sunscreen?

According to Fackrell, you can remove mineral sunscreen with “an oil-based soap like Castile soap or shea butter.” However, he adds that you’ll want to slather on some moisturizer if you opt for Castile soap, since it can dry out your skin.

How long does mineral sunscreen last?

Fackrell recommends applying mineral sunscreen 15 minutes before you don your flip flops and sunglasses to head out the door. He also advises that you reapply it “every 80-90 minutes or after swimming.” You’ll want to read the labels of any sunscreen and follow the brand’s directions, too.

How do you get mineral sunscreen out of clothing?

First, don’t panic. It’s best to wash clothes with mineral sunscreen on them right away, if you can. If you got the sunscreen on a white top, try lemon juice to remove it, according to Fackrell. On other clothing colors, he advises, “Dawn Dish soap or castile soap work wonders. And hey, if all else fails, try baking soda!”

How do you apply mineral sunscreen without getting a white cast?

Some mineral sunscreens tend to leave a white cast, while some are designed to be a bit more invisible. However, Fackrell explains, “Don't be alarmed if it appears visible because pure zinc is the active ingredient.” If you’d rather skip the white cast, be sure to look for a mineral sunscreen designed to dry clear.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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