These mineral sunscreens go on completely sheer, so your skin never looks chalky.

By Melanie Rud Chadwick
Updated May 28, 2019
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When it comes to sunscreen, the mostimportant thing to remember is to use one every single day—no excuses. Ideally, it should be a broad-spectrum formula with at least SPF 30 (per the recommendations of both the American Academy of Dermatology and The Skin Cancer Foundation). So if you’re already doing that, great!

Since you’re wearing your sunscreen daily, it’s important to find one that is safe for your skin, and this often means a mineral sunscreen. Unlike their chemical counterparts that penetrate the skin, mineral sunscreens sit on top of your skin and use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both) to physically reflect the sun’s rays (hence why they’re also referred to as physical sunscreens).

Why Choose a Mineral Sunscreen?

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only two sunscreen ingredients deemed fully safe and effective, according to recent FDA findings, not to mention that mineral formulas tend to be less irritating and problematic for sensitive or acne-prone skin. The only drawback is that they often leave a white or chalky residue on your skin, which can inhibit daily use. Good news: Mineral sunscreens are becoming more cosmetically elegant than ever, protecting your skin without leaving you looking like a ghost. Here are seven of the best mineral sunscreens to wear this summer—and all year round.


If we could only use one sunscreen for the rest of our lives, it would be this multi-tasking superstar. Not only does it protect from sun damage, pollution, and blue light (the light emitted by the screens of electronic devices, which new research shows can be damaging to skin), it also has a subtle, peachy tint. This both mitigates the risk of any unwanted white residue and evens out your skin tone ever so slightly, an ideal pick for days when you want to go sans makeup.

To buy: $68;


Say that three times fast. We kid, we kid, though the protection this mineral sunscreen packs is no joke. Along with the broad-spectrum mineral protection that helps guard your skin from future sun damage, it also has DNA repairsomes, unique ingredients that help reverse previous damage. (Ideal for anyone who maybe hasn’t be quite so, ahem, diligent, about SPF usage in the past.) Give it a good shake before applying, then prepare to be amazed by how quickly and easily it disappears into skin.

To buy: $55;


Lightweight and silky, this clean formula is free of a laundry list of potentially questionable chemicals (so much so that the Environmental Working Group, an organization that keeps tabs on ingredient safety, gave it top honors). Despite how light it feels, added shea and cocoa butters keep it nice and hydrating. An as an added bonus, it’s super affordable and you can pick it up during your next Target run.

To buy: $15;


Vegan and cruelty-free, this mineral sunscreen quickly and easily blends into skin, without ever feeling sticky or tacky. Infused with soothing aloe and cucumber plus hydrating oils, it also contains antioxidant-rich green tea and vitamin E. Think of these as your second line of defense, since they help neutralize the skin-damaging free radicals caused by sun exposure. (No matter how good you are about using sunscreen, inevitably, some of these free radicals are still going to pop up.)

To buy: $32;


Not only should you be wearing sunscreen daily, you also should be reapplying it every two hours—that seems like a lot of effort, but this powder formula makes it easy. Available in four shades, it won’t mess up your makeup or leave a white cast, and pulls double duty as a nice way to even out your skin. The mineral formula offers complete protection from UV rays, infrared light, and blue light, and the brush bristles are antimicrobial so there’s no need to worry about germs. Keep one in the car and one in your purse to make reapplication a breeze anytime, anywhere.

To buy: $65;


Spray formulas tend to be mostly chemical sunscreens, but not this guy, which uses only zinc oxide to safeguard your skin. While it goes on white when you first spray, don’t stress. All you have to do is rub it in for a completely sheer and matte finish. The 360-degree applicator makes it easy to reach even tricky spots like your back, and because it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes, we love this for beach or pool days. Bonus: It comes in both a yummy tropical coconut scent and a fragrance-free variety, a nice alternative for those who are sensitive to smells.

To buy: $42;


Got sensitive skin? Not only does this bargain buy contain non-irritating zinc oxide for sun protection, but the entire formula is hypoallergenic and free of common irritants like fragrance and alcohol. It’s also non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to stress about clogged pores or breakouts. It’s admittedly a bit thicker than some of the other formulas, though once it’s fully rubbed in, you can’t see it. And while it comes in a bigger size, we’re fans of this smaller, TSA-approved tube for travel or when we’re on the go.

To buy: $4.99;

Related: We Put 40 Different Sunscreens to the Test—These Are the 11 That Really Work