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The best mineral sunscreens to buy in 2023

best mineral sunscreen

Protect your face and body against the harmful rays of the sun, minus the irritation, with the best mineral sunscreens for every skin type

There’s much to be said for big floppy hats, sunglasses and just staying out of the sun altogether. However, when it comes to sheer practicality, it’s far easier to commit to the cardinal rule of beauty and all-round skin health of applying SPF daily.

Sunscreens essentially fall into two categories: chemical, which use synthetic filters such as oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb UV rays (so your skin doesn’t), converting them into heat; and mineral (also known as physical sunscreens or “sun block”), which contain mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to actively deflect the UV rays.

While chemical formulas tend to be a popular choice because they’re typically lighter in texture and easier to apply, mineral sunscreens are less likely to clog pores, making them better for sensitive, irritated and blemish-prone skin types.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best mineral sunscreens currently available, for all skin types, with options for face and body. First, we reveal the key considerations for picking the best mineral sunscreen for your skin.

Best mineral sunscreens: At a glance

How to choose the best mineral sunscreen for you

What are the benefits of a mineral sunscreen?

In the past, mineral sunscreens have had a reputation for being prone to rubbing off or pilling, with some formulas even leaving a white cast over skin on application, particularly on darker skin tones.

Now, thanks to technological advances, most mineral sunscreens are so sophisticated you won’t even know you’re wearing them. And because they can be combined with hydrating ingredients, pigment and anti-ageing ingredients such as antioxidants without compromising their efficacy, SPF no longer even needs to be a separate layer in your skincare regime.

Unlike chemical formulations, which take around 20 minutes to become effective, mineral sunscreens also get to work as soon as you apply them.

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“Personally, I prefer mineral sunscreens,” says Dr Munir Somji, chief medical officer at aesthetics clinic DrMediSpa. “Titanium dioxide is extremely effective at blocking short-wave UVA and UVB rays, but it’s also non-irritating, while zinc oxide is water-resistant and won’t break down when exposed to sunlight.”

How much should I spend?

We tested a range of mineral sunscreens spanning a range of different budgets, all of which showed effective levels of protection. But, as with all skincare products, it’s worth investing in formulas that work for your skin type. Some more sophisticated formulas with additional active ingredients – to help fight blemishes or tackle past sun damage, for example – may cost more, but they’ll be worth the money if that’s something that’s important to you. SPF should be applied daily, so the most important thing is to opt for a formula that feels comfortable on your skin.

How we test mineral sunscreens

We put some of the most top-rated mineral sunscreens to the test, covering a wide range of budgets and skin types. As mentioned, mineral sunscreens are particularly great for those with sensitive and/or acne-prone skin, which is the reason we select testers who have those exact skin concerns to find out whether each one really delivers on its promise to provide sun protection without the risk of breakouts. As well as looking at how well they prevent sunburn, we also examine texture, fragrance and feel, and how well each product sits beneath makeup.

READ NEXT: The best facial sunscreens

The best mineral sunscreens to buy in 2023

1. REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30: The best mineral sunscreen for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £25 (50ml) | Check price at Amazon

Oily, sensitive and blemish-prone skins will love this fast-absorbing, silicone-free formula from planet-friendly skincare brand REN. It’s the addition of naturally derived rice starch that stands up to shine, instantly absorbing excess oil and reducing the look of problem pores. Straight-up zinc oxide is the active ingredient offering complete protection against UV rays. It’s mattifying without being chalky, and there’s absolutely no white cast. Without doubt, it’s one of our year-round go-tos.

Key specsSPF: 30; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide

Check price at Amazon

2. UpCircle Mineral Sunscreen SPF25: The best mineral sunscreen for dry skin

Price when reviewed: £27 (60ml) | Check price at UpCircle

This cooling cream feels lightweight yet nourishing, particularly on dry and sensitive skin types. The silky formula touts several hydrating ingredients including vitamin E, aloe vera and glycerin, and is formulated with non-comedogenic sunflower oil, so it won’t block pores if you’re prone to breakouts. It has a light lavender scent, but it isn’t at all overpowering, and the semi-matte finish sits well under makeup. We’re also huge fans of UpCircle’s eco credentials. The brand is known for repurposing by-products from other industries – including coffee grounds, olive stones and fruit seeds – to create its vegan-friendly formulas. This SPF comes in a fully recyclable glass jar with an aluminium lid, and it’s refillable, so not only does it offer excellent protection and hydration, but it ticks the sustainability box, too.

Key specsSPF: 25; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide

Check price at UpCircle

3. Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50: The best anti-ageing mineral sunscreen

Price when reviewed: £66 (50ml) | Check price at Cult Beauty

City dwellers, this one’s for you. As well as protecting against UVA and UVB rays, this advanced SPF from Dr Murad wards off just about anything that contributes to skin ageing, including multiple types of light damage (electronic devices, we’re looking at you) and all the toxic pollutants one might encounter on their daily commute to the office. The fast-absorbing formula glides on like a good primer and has a very pale, peachy sheen, while the iron oxides present colour-correct and even out skin tone. Over time, the brightening effect this had on our tester’s skin was undeniable. A pricier option, but well worth it.

Key specsSPF: 50; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

Check price at Cult Beauty

4. Naked Sundays Collagen Glow SPF50+: The best mineral sunscreen for a makeup base

Price when reviewed: £34 (50ml) | Check price at Beauty Bay

This gentle and hydrating SPF is designed to be used as a multitasking primer, providing effective SPF 50+ protection with a subtle tint that imparts a healthy glow. The texture is thick compared to some of the other mineral sunscreens we’ve tried, but it blends magically into the skin and feels lightweight once applied. It’s also chock-full of complexion-loving ingredients, including vegan collagen to help smooth fine lines, and hyaluronic acid for an extra dose of hydration. Wear under your foundation as a skin-protecting primer, or on its own as a tinted moisturiser for a no-makeup makeup look.

Key specsSPF: 50+; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide

Check price at Beauty Bay

5. Omorovicza Mineral UV Shield SPF30: The best lightweight mineral sunscreen

Price when reviewed: £82 (100ml) | Check price at Omorovicza

This splurge-worthy SPF may be the most expensive on our list, but it comes with an armour of skin-boosting benefits that deliver UV protection, brighten the skin, and result in an all-round more youthful appearance over time. While zinc and titanium dioxide offer feather-light protection against UV rays, vitamin C illuminates and helps to tackle age spots. It dispenses as an ultra-light, silky cream that blends into the skin so effortlessly, it’s hard to believe it contains zinc. The result is a matte finish that isn’t too drying, so it sits well under makeup. As well as the texture and absorbency, we loved the subtle floral scent.

Key specsSPF: 30; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

Check price at Omorovicza

6. Supergoop! Mineral Sheer Screen SPF30: The best mineral sunscreen for combination skin

Price when reviewed: £34 (45ml) | Check price at Beauty Bay

If you’re a long-time fan of Supergoop’s cult Unseen Screen, you’ll fall hard for the brand’s new mineral SPF, which promises sheer, second skin-like protection – and delivers! The milky-coloured cream has an almost whipped consistency that’s lightweight and melts into the skin for a completely invisible finish. It has a light scent – our tester described it as almost cookie-like – but not at all overbearing or unpleasant; in fact, quite the opposite. The light, smooth finish makes it an excellent base for makeup, and it’s packed with feel-good ingredients, including deeply moisturising squalane and aloe leaf juice, plus bush clover extract to reduce the signs of ageing and visible effects of stress on the skin.

Key specsSPF: 30; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide

Check price at Beauty Bay

7. Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Skin Nourishing Milk SPF30: The best budget mineral sunscreen

Price when reviewed: £11 (100ml) | Check price at Boots

A trusty drugstore favourite, Hawaiian Tropic’s mineral offering delivers broad-spectrum protection against UV rays using naturally derived zinc oxide as well as any other SPF on this list. And if the tropical scent of coconut – reminiscent of holidays and poolside pina coladas – doesn’t lure you in, the affordable price very well might. The white fluid is light and silky, and the milky texture disappears the moment you rub it into the skin. We tested the Skin Nourishing Milk for the body, but there’s a Facial Milk formulation available, too, at an equally pleasing price. The perfect holiday duo!

Key specsSPF: 30; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide

Check price at Boots

8. UltraSun Body Mineral SPF30: The best mineral sunscreen for the body

Price when reviewed: £28 (100ml) | Check price at Holland & Barrett

When it comes to sun safety for the whole family, the trustworthy formulas from UltraSun are some of the best on the market, and this non-greasy, non-sticky mineral sunscreen is no exception. It’s fragrance-free, lightly water-resistant, and has been designed especially for sensitive skin types, so it works as well for kids and summer dips in the pool as it does for folk enjoying snow- or water-sports. It’s also fast absorbing – a must for anyone battling an energetic toddler. We tested the SPF30, but it’s also available in SPF15 and SPF50, for anyone requiring a different level of protection. Whichever you choose (ideally 30 or above), this is a holiday essential.

Key specsSPF: 30; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

Check price at Holland & Barrett

9. ZitSticka Megashade Sunscreen Serum: The best mineral sunscreen for acne-prone skin

Price when reviewed: £35 (50ml) | Check price at ZitSticka

For a belt-and-braces approach, this mineral-chemical hybrid is wonderfully lightweight and fast-absorbing, leaving behind an ultra-delicate illuminated finish that’s designed to suit all skin tones. It’s also packed with skin-loving ingredients, including hydrating hyaluronic acid, anti-inflammatory niacinamide to soothe redness, ferulic acid and antibacterial tea tree, so not only is it safe for breakout-prone skin, but it actively fights spots, too. The formulation sits well under makeup, but the dewy finish means skin looks and feels just as healthy and hydrated without, so you could easily skip your foundation. We also love the pipette applicator, but it does make getting the last dregs out of the bottle a little difficult.

Key specsSPF: 50; Active ingredients: Zinc oxide, octinoxate

Check price at ZitSticka

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