We'll be honest—the topic of sunscreen has gotten a bit complicated (or should we say heated?) in the past few years. Previously, the major concern was merely whether or not we were wearing the stuff, but now, what's in or not in our go-to formula seems to be the center of the sunscreen debate. Essentially, you have two options when it comes to SPF: a chemical formula or a physical formula, which are also oftentimes referred to as mineral sunscreens.
The main difference between the two is that chemical options contain avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone as their key sun-protecting ingredients, while physical/mineral options feature titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. Of course, there's also the issue of how they work differently to deflect against sun damage. According to Piedmont Healthcare, chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays that hit our skin, converting the rays into heat, which is then released from the body. Mineral formulas, on the other hand, sit on the skin and reflect the sun's damaging rays. While chemical sunscreens have been getting a little bit of a stink eye as of late, both types of sunblock have their pros and cons. My go-to facialist, Renée Rouleau, dives deep on those here.
Right now, however, we're talking mineral sunscreens, which are often less irritating, are immediately effective (no wait time after application!), and naturally provide broad-spectrum defense against both UVA and UVB rays. Oh, and they're also touted to have a longer shelf life (more money saved for you) and are less likely to clog your pores—great news for someone like me with easily provoked, acneic skin.
Because I'm ridiculously picky when it comes to things I put on my skin and because I happen to receive, test, and try virtually every beauty product in the game, I'm sharing my personal list of mineral sunscreen favorites—the face, body, hair, lip, and everywhere-else formulas I personally use or recommend to my friends and family. Keep scrolling!
I'm still in the process of converting to more organic skincare products to fit into my daily regimen, but Coola's new body sunscreen makes it really, really easy to satisfy my daily quota of hydration and mineral-based sun protection. It's also fragrance-free, which makes it a great choice for those who don't want to smell like a vanilla-laced coconut daiquiri.
This tinted mineral face lotion from French staple brand Avène is wonderful for multiple reasons. It feels lightweight and looks seamless on the skin, it boasts an ample dose of SPF, and it keeps my sensitive, acne-prone skin in line—even when the going gets greasy and sweaty thanks to 80-minute water resistance.
I love Suntegrity, and if my wallet (and cabinet space) could afford, I'd hoard every single mineral sunscreen product from the brand. Alas, if I had to choose, its pretty tinted lippies have to be my fave. They protect from both burn and chap, and I keep them in all my bags all year round. (Because yes, you still need sunscreen in the winter, folks!)
Not too many people know about Èminence, but the brand just so happens to be one of my (and, um, Meghan Markle's!) favorite organic skincare lines. This soothing sport and SPF 30–spiked mineral sunscreen is soothing, moisturizing, and all around lovely.
EltaMD is one of the most loved and well-known sunscreen brands in the industry. If you're in the market for a great mineral face lotion, I recommend this cult classic, which goes on clear and keeps the sun's harmful rays safely at bay. (It's the brand's most iconic best seller!)
My mom first introduced me to this natural and mineral line from drugstore brand Australian Gold, and I love that I can find it basically anywhere I go. It never feels greasy and is loaded with skin-enhancing antioxidants, so really, it's a summer gift that keeps on giving.
Sorry, but no sunscreen roundup would ever be complete without the highly rated likes of Colorescience. Sure, the brand is perhaps most well-known for its handy brush-on sunscreen formulas, but I personally keep this dependable body formula in stock at all times. And, don't hate me, I actually can't get behind its powder formula! (Just me being an honest beauty editor here!)
And a few more new favorites…
Again, I've had major issues over the years with finding sunscreen formulas (especially the mineral kinds) that don't break me out or leave me overly greasy. This clean formula from Ren is brand new and isn't guilty of any of the former. I highly recommend. Plus, doesn't peppy yellow packaging just make you happy?
Per the product description: "Niacinamide calms and soothes; lipochrome provides antioxidants and pollution defense, and phytomoist provides hydration."
Face, Neck, & Chest
Ilia is one of the most gorgeous beauty brands. In fact, I honestly forget its products are natural and organic! They're just that good. I get that some people aren't powder people, but I'm definitely not one of them. I need it! Right now, I'm hooked on its translucent mineral and SPF-infused formula for stay-all-day coverage and protection. It keeps my makeup intact on even the most concerning of summer sweat days and also imparts just enough luminosity to look pretty but not over-the-top.
Beautycounter is so underrated and unfairly flies under the radar. (I'm taking a stand!) This tinted mist has been my everything this spring and summer and is the perfect option for someone like me who constantly craves a boost of color but doesn't want to subject their skin to damage or the potential for tomato burn. Plus, it's worth pointing out that so many spray formulas (at least in my experience) just don't do the trick and don't work as well as their lotion counterparts. This one is an A+ exception!