Mineral sunscreen can have its pros and cons. On the one hand, it doesn’t generally contain the same toxic ingredients as traditional sunscreens, which is better for human health and the planet. After all, chemical-based sunscreens are contributing to the destruction of ocean reefs and connected to cancers in humans. The main culprits in these sunscreens are ingredients like octocrylene and oxybenzone, among others. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, block UV rays with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which can pose inhalation concerns in spray form, but otherwise do not penetrate the skin or disrupt hormones like their chemical counterparts.
While this seems to make mineral sunscreens the obvious winners, anyone who has ever used them knows they can be very thick and make skin look shades lighter during use. Accordingly, not all mineral sunscreens are ideal for facial sun protection — especially for those hoping to maintain a normal appearance while protecting their skin from the sun. Thankfully, however, some mineral sunscreens are actually face friendly and don’t carry huge price tags. The following are some of the best affordable mineral sunscreens for facial use that leave skin protected without the thick white streaks.
Defend Matte Finish Daily Moisturizer with All-Mineral SPF 30, $23
Nuria Defend Matte Finish Daily Moisturizer with All-Mineral SPF 30 doesn’t change the color of the face after applications and provides a light protective barrier that applies cleanly for use anywhere, not just the beach. Formulated as a daily moisturizer with euphrasia, peach flower, lemon balm, and willow leaf magnolia, this sunscreen does extra duty by hydrating skin, reducing signs of aging, and protecting from pollutants. It is also free of harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, living up to clean beauty standards.
Disco Mineral Sun Block, $24
Disco Mineral Sun Block is designed to not leave a white cast on the face. The sun block applies cleanly and is perfect for daily use. Not only does it protect from the sun with zinc oxide, it also contains tripeptide and vitamin B3 to rebuild skin and reduce fine lines, helping to counteract the aging affects of the sun. The natural list of ingredients passes the clean beauty test and Disco offers subscription options for a reduced rate to make reordering easy.
Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF-30, $39
Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF-30 applies without visibility and features ultra-sheer zinc oxide for sun protection that’s lightweight enough to work for daily use. The vegan formulation is chemical free and 100% reef safe — and also provides good moisturization for dry skin. Made in Australia, the sunscreen is EWG-verified as a clean beauty product.
CLEARSTEM Brush On Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $38.50
CLEARSTEM Brush On Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 provides a powder alternative to regular mineral sunscreens that’s perfect for daily use. The powder goes on easily and provides a light layer of mineral sun protection that works well with any makeup routine or a bare face. Unlike lotion, the effect is neither shiny nor whitening and is great for acne-prone skin. Formulated with vitamin E and green tea, the powder is both nourishing and soothing to the skin.
Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow, $48
Iris & Romeo Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow is tinted to prevent a white cast and works on all skin tones. It lives up to this promise and goes on without the white film of many mineral sunscreens. Combined with time-released vitamin C, this sunscreen brightens skin and reduces signs of aging, making it a product perfect for daily use — and a great way to combine skincare steps into one easy formula. The lotion can be worn on bare skin or used as a primer before applying makeup and has powerful hydration and protective properties.