I’ve been on a hunt for clean, mineral sunscreens that work for years. Let me tell ya – it’s been quite a journey of trial & error. From breaking out, to dry, flaky skin – I’ve experienced all of it. Below you will find the broad spectrum facial sunscreens that have worked really well for my sensitive, combo, acne prone skin and that blend and dry clear on all skin tones. You’ll also find my favorite body sunscreens that won’t turn your whole body white and I even have a recommendation for a clean SPF lip balm. All are cruelty free, as all my recs are.
Why Mineral Sunscreens?
Mineral sunscreens contain these active ingredients only: zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. They are physical blockers (hence the name physical sunscreen) and they reflect UVB and UVA rays, as opposed to absorbing them into the skin, like chemical sunscreens do. Chemical sunscreens’ active ingredients may contain a combination of these: oxybenzone, octinoxate (octylmethoxycinnamate), homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone. Many of these active ingredients are unfortunately both endocrine disruptors AND destroy coral reefs. Chemical sunscreens can also cause skin damage, irritation and, therefore, aging, due to the free radicals they produce. FUN! Now let’s get to my physical/mineral sunscreen favorites. 🙂
Hynt Beauty Sun Prep SPF 25 (vegan)
This is has been a staple of mine for years now. It’s the most lightweight, clear, and refreshing sunscreen for every day, and the PERFECT primer for makeup. It’s a titanium dioxide based SPF 25, and it’s not waterproof, so don’t take this to the beach or the pool. It’s definitely a sunscreen you won’t see on your face, as it blends in seamlessly, with truly no white cast AT ALL. It has a slight citrusy scent and feels cooling on the skin upon application. Ingredient highlights: PINE BARK EXTRACT, ORGANIC SESAME SEED OIL, ORGANIC ALOE VERA LEAF, ORGANIC RHATANY ROOT EXTRACT, and ORGANIC GREEN TEA LEAF. Buy it here!
Ah, this is my latest favorite and a new staple. This is the ONLY zinc oxide based facial sunscreen I’ve found that’s light like a lotion, leaves no white cast and feels calming on the skin without causing breakouts! It’s an EWG verified, 14% non-nano zinc based, vegan SPF, that’s affordable too! Since it’s Squalane based, I like to use just a couple drops of my Indie Lee Squalane Oil and then put this sunscreen on, as I like to “match” ingredients when I can (don’t like overloading my skin with a ton of different ingredients at once, you know what I mean?). Ingredient highlights: SQUALANE, WATER LILY. Buy it here!
This is a great option if you want some tint added to your sunscreen! Unfortunately most tinted SPFs on the clean market sit really heavy on my face, or are simply too pricy for what you get, so I really love this MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid. It lives up to its name, as it’s totally liquid, almost like a serum (the packaging is in a glass bottle with a dropper; the label has been updated since I got the one you see below). This sunscreen has a whopping 16.1% zinc oxide, which provides the SPF 50 protection. It’s also oil free and contains bentonite clay, which is awesome for the summer as it creates a smooth, matte finish, so your face won’t look oily. The coverage is light, but it evens things out really well. I use the light/medium shade and they also provide a medium/dark one, as well as an un-tinted version. I don’t love the un-tinted because it leaves a bit of a white cast. Make sure to shake the bottle really well before every use (it has a little metal ball inside to combine the ingredients). Ingredient highlights: BENTONITE CLAY, SAFFLOWER. Buy it here!
Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 (vegan, water resistant for 80 mins)
I’ve recently discovered this Babo Botanicals sunscreen and I love it! It’s a non-nano zinc based body sunscreen, so you need to rub it in to avoid having a white hue. It has a runny, lotion-like consistency, which I prefer over a thick cream one. This one is safe for the whole family – babies, kids and adults, and it’s water resistant for 80 minutes! I prefer the fragrance free version, even with clean brands who use essential oils for “fragrance”, as I’m sensitive to strong scents in general. This does have a scent due to the zinc still, but it’s nothing overpowering. It’s great for sensitive skin, too. The Babo Botanicals Clean Zinc sunscreen is both awesome for everyday use and beach/pool days, and it can double as a face sunscreen too. Ingredient highlights: ROSE HIP OIL, ALOE LEAF JUICE, ARGAN OIL, SHEA BUTTER. Buy it here!
First, let me just say – Badger is one of the best, most affordable and cleanest sunscreen brands out there (they also have other lovely skincare products, too!), and they use a large percentage of organic ingredients in their products. They have a TON of SPF options, and I’m always eager to try their new products. Last year, Badger came out with this Unscented Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion and… they had me at LOTION. This is the perfect, non-greasy, light sunscreen lotion for daily use, that truly blends right into your skin, without a white cast. It can double as a face sunscreen too, but my face is too temperamental, so I’ve only used it on my body, and didn’t experiment with my face. Since this sunscreen isn’t water resistant, I don’t recommend it if you’re going to go to the pool or the beach. Ingredient highlights: ORGANIC ALOE VERA, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL, ELDERBERRY EXTRACT. Buy it here or find it at your local Whole Foods!
Badger Clear Zinc Sunscreen Unscented SPF 30 (water resistant for 40 mins)
I had to include my OG Badger Sunscreen favorite. This is a great sunscreen for being active outdoors, wherever you are. It has a thicker, creamy consistency but it blends pretty easily and dries clear. This Clear Zinc Sunscreen is also very hydrating so you won’t end up with flaky and dry skin as that’s the case with many zinc based body sunscreens I’ve tried. It has a super short list of ingredients, which I love – the simpler, the better. It’s your perfect beach companion! Ingredients: UNCOATED CLEAR ZINC OXIDE (18.75%), ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC BEESWAX, SUNFLOWER VITAMIN E & ORGANIC SEABUCKTHORN EXTRACT Buy it here or find it at your local Whole Foods!
Hurraw! Sun Lip Balm SPF 15 (vegan)
Our lips, too, are sensitive to the sun. Lip aging (like all skin aging) happens largely due to sun exposure damage. So, if you want to go the extra mile (and I bet you already own a lip balm!), why not get this Sun Lip Balm from Hurraw. It’s a very moisturizing lip balm with a yummy scent, achieved by combining tangerine, vanilla and chamomile. It glides on really well, and I’ve noticed a bit of a white tint to it, but only when you first apply it. You can also use it as a protective base underneath your lipstick, if you want. Ingredient highlights: RED RASPBERRY SEED OIL, SEA BUCKTHORN SEED OIL, POMEGRANATE SEED OIL. Buy it here!
With all this said, there are always new formulations coming out, and there will never be a way for me to test ALL the clean mineral sunscreens out there (my skin would kill me, ha). However, I will keep trying new ones and share my findings with you on the blog and on Instagram. A good rule of thumb for sunscreens (and all clean beauty) is to read the ingredients on the label carefully, and recognize if there’s a fishy ingredient (i.e. retinyl palmitate) or one that you’re sensitive to (i.e. coconut oil). This will save you time and money – there’s no need to buy a product just because there’s a big hype about it – if the ingredients don’t work for you, they don’t work for you, period. And finally, wear a sunhat, friends. 😉
*this post contains some affiliate links and if you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. Affiliate or no affiliate, you are getting my honest recommendation – I would never recommend something I don’t like and haven’t used and loved myself. 😉