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Five Best Mineral Sunscreens for Face

May 25, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 27 Comments

All of my favorite sunscreen picks are based on the mineral actives, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Although titanium dioxide is a photosensitizer, it is used in micronized form is supposed not to penetrate the skin and damage cells. These Five Best sunscreens won’t leave a chalky cast and play well with serums and makeup. However, they are not necessarily your best bet for pool, outdoor sports and beach. Honorable mentions should also go to MD Solar Sciences for creating a mineral sunscreen that is the most cosmetically viable I have come across, Badger and Hydropeptide’s award winning SPF 30 Anti-wrinkle.

Suntegrity All Natural Moisturizing Face Protection SPF30 ($45 in the shop). The active is zinc oxide at 20%. The thing I like best about Suntegrity (there is a body version as well for $29  in the TIA shop), is that it has powerful antioxidants such as astaxanthin. This is a potent radical scavenger, but what makes it useful in analyses have shown that astaxanthin is also an efficient absorber of specific ultraviolet sunlight rays that may contribute to skin aging and cancer. It gets an antioxidant boost from red algae and pomegranate. No nasties and it is paraben free. Read the full Suntegrity review.

DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ ($19.85). The active is zinc oxide. Highly popular within the Truth In Aging community, DeVita’s sunscreen is a simple lightweight formula. As Kim said in her review: “It dries quickly and is not greasy at all. It feels super nice on, and makes for a great daytime moisturizer.” Another reviewer, Anna, uses the DeVita body version for the face as well.

Nutra-Lift Maximum Protection UVA & UVB SPF 30 ($21). The actives are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. As Summer put it in her review, the ingredients read more like an organic smoothie than a sunscreen. There is aloe vera and oat protein to soothe the skin, plus extract of soybean, sunflower seed, almond, white cranberry, pomegranate, carrot, cucumber and green tea all combating free radicals and boosting protection of the skin. Good for even sensitive skins and offers good protection.

ColoreScience Sunforgettable SPF30 or SPF50 ($50). Actives are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Although this is a powder that is brushed on, it is one of the most protecting sunscreens I have ever used. Colorescience claims that it is very waterproof as well. And it never makes me break out. I think many people find the idea of a powder a little odd, but I like that I’m not slathering on yet another layer. The Perfectly Clear version is almost undetectable on fair skin and it works well as a finishing powder, helping to even out skin tone a little. As our reviewer Marsha put it: “a very comfortable, effective and easy to use sunscreen”. Read my full review of ColoreScience.

Lumixyl MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF30 ($58). Active is micronized titanium dioxide and SymHelios. This is rather a clever sunscreen in that SymHelios prevents UVB rays from causing an amino acid, tryptophan, to form a toxic substance. This toxin binds to a protein in our bodies called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) where it wreaks havoc by destroying collagen and elastin, creating oxidative stress and potentially leading to skin cancers. Enter SymHelios. This binds to the AhR, preventing UVB radiation. Although this is not a chemical free formula, I find it pleasant to use with no adverse reactions. Read the full review on Lumixyl’s sunscreen.

Ingredients in Suntegrity

Active ingredient: Zinc oxide 20% Ingredients: Water (Purified), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Capric Caprylic Triglycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Jojoba Oil, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt), Sunflower Oil, Cucumber Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Tea-Oil Camellia, Pomegranate Oil, Red Algae Extract, Astaxanthin, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Essential Oil, Citrus Reticulata Blanco (Tangerine) Essential Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Essential Oil, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide*, Ethylhexylglycerin* *Paraben-free anti-microbial agent.

Ingredients in DeVita

Active ingredient: micronized zinc oxide: 14% (transparent) Inactive ingredients: Purified Water, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides (derived from Coconut Oil), Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate (from vegetable oil), Lecithin, Vitamin E (Acetate), Allantoin, Comfrey Root Extract, Grape Seed Extract.

Ingredients in Nutra-Lift

Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide (10.00%), Titanium Dioxide (2.00%). Other Ingredients: Infusion of Aloe Vera gel* (aloe barbadensis), Avena Sativa*( oat protein), Soybean* ( glycine soja) extract, Sun Flower Seed (helianthus annuus) extract, Ascorbly Palmitate ( vitamin C), Lecithin, Coconut extract, Glycerine, Carrot* extract, Green Tea* extract, Avena Sativa* (oat) Betaglucan, natural Xanthan Gum, Almond* extract, natural mixed tocopherols (Vitamin-E), white cranberry* extract, Cucumis Sativus* (cucumber) extract, Punica Granatum*(pomegranate) extract, Eucalyptus extract, citric acid, sodium benzoate. *Certified Organic Ingredients

Ingredients in Colorescience

Active ingredients: Titanium dioxide 22.5%, zinc oxide (24.5%). Other ingredients: Mica, dimethicone/vinyldadimethicone crosspolymer, corallina officianalis, calcium silicate. May contain: iron oxides, titanium dioixide, dimethicone, chromium oxide greens

Ingredients in Lumixyl

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 8.40% Inactive Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Water (Aqua/Eau), PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Benzylidene Dimethoxydimethylindanone

  • October 19, 2012

    by Tara Ashwood

    The NIA 24 Mineral Sunscreen has been a favorite for many years with an unbelievable amount of repeat buyers. Image Skin Care has a great line of moisturizers with SPF 30 for all skin types that we can barely keep in stock.

  • July 27, 2012

    by Cairie

    How about larger bottles of body sun block? Most of the mineral sunscreens that I've found are all under 4 fl. oz. That won't cut it for me and my partner during our upcoming 2 week camping trip! Any suggestions?

  • October 10, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Kat, thanks for sharing your experience with DeVita. Its not my favorite either. As far as protection goes, I've tried all the other ones in this roundup and found them to be very effective.

  • October 10, 2011

    by Kat

    I'm months late to this thread but I felt the need to ask something. Because every time I see another website recommend the DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer it makes me want to scream. Have any of you who keep recommending this stuff actually worn it out under the sun? I saw it recommended in TONS of beauty sites and I bought it. And sure, it felt wonderful, but it didn't give me any sun protection at all. I was constantly burning and reddening when I wore it. I do end up in the sun a lot with my lifestyle. I never burned with my old chemical sunscreen moisturizer but I've been trying to make the switch to a natural one. I tried tons of ways to wear it making sure to not disturb the layer of sunblock since mineral sunscreens work by sitting on top of your skin instead of sinking in like chemical ones. It didn't matter what I did though: thicker application, not touching my face etc... I still burned with it.
    What a waste of money! So now I'm still looking for a good mineral sunscreen and I keep coming across this one as a "top pick". It makes me so mad!

  • July 6, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Kristen, I am so glad that you like ColoreScience. It is one of those underrated products. Unfortunately, we didn't sell enough to justify carrying it. But if I suspect there's growing interest then I'll get it back.

  • July 6, 2011

    by Kristen


    I bought Colorescience from the TIA and LOVE it. It is so easy to apply which means that it actually gets reapplied throughout the day. I have SPF20 in my tinted moisturizer that I put on in the AM and then I use Colorescience every couple of hours if I am in the sun. I like that it doesn't mess up the rest of your makeup or make you look shiny.
    I even use it on my little ones who hate goopy sunscreen. They don't mind getting their faces brushed with powder sunscreen...reapplying sunscreen on my fairer than fair kids is crucial.

    I am sorry to hear that you are no longer carrying it in The TIA shop. Let me know if you change your mind.

  • July 6, 2011

    by Dava

    I recently read this article about sunscreen the other day and I have to say, I it makes some good points and raises some eyebrows. You really do need to read the labels on things especially the ones that say "all natural". I don't wear sunscreen very often unless it's already in a product I buy. I don't like the idea of the chemicals soaking into my body and would rather just limit my time in the sun and soak up the vitamin D instead!

  • May 31, 2011

    by Donna

    I recommend proceeding with caution with the Nutra-Lift Maximum Protection UVA & UVB SPF 30 if you are sensitive or acne prone. I eagerly purchased it from here but after a few days found that it clogged my skin and caused irritation. What a shame!!! I have been using Solar Protection Formula Tizo3 SPF 40 and I can't recommend it enough! Perfect under mineral powder foundation.

  • May 28, 2011

    by Jaysie

    Junko - I hear you about controlling loose powder application. My PTR sunscreen presents the same problem so I put some of it into a little container and I put it on with a very thin sponge. This also prevents dust from flying around and ending up on my eyelashes and clothing, or going in my eyes or nose. I'd kill for an effective SPF pressed powder.

  • May 28, 2011

    by Amanda

    Love the post! The sunscreen that I am using always leaves a white cast on my face. It makes me look artificial. I feel embarrassed to have my face and neck in two tones! I will love to try a new one next time!

  • May 27, 2011

    by lilly

    RE: Colorscience
    Hi Marta,
    Thanks for the great post! I'm one of those people who ends up with an oil slick on her forehead and I have really sensitive skin. I'd love to try Colorscience (it might help mattify me) but the price put me off a bit. I think most consumers interested in anti-aging are looking at sunscreens that do double duty (for the price) with anti-aging ingredients or moistureizer (not just protection from the sun). Add that to the unconventional delivery and those combination of factors could be the problem. Having said that, I'd like to try it someday anyway! :)

  • May 26, 2011

    by Sunday

    I really like MDSolarSciencs SPF50+ Ultra Mineral Screen GEL Sensitive Skin Formula ~ it goes on soft and matte, and there is no white cast! I live in the Bay Area, Calif. and I've tried all kinds of SunScreens. This is REALLY nice to wear, it is not greasy at all.

    I also have and use the Lumixyl MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF30 and it does a great job too, but since receiving this GEM it is all I'm putting on my Face and Décolleté this Summer. I don't have sensitive skin per se, so I never bought a Sensitive Skin formula add to that this is a GEL type lotion and it just WORKS!!!

  • May 26, 2011

    by Mary

    * products

  • May 26, 2011

    by Mary

    Looking forward to your recommendations on prices for outdoor sports.

  • May 26, 2011

    by Dennis

    I love the DeVita Solar Protection. I would like to note that they have recently repackaged because the previous glass bottle was leaving a lot at the bottom. It's now in a squeeze tube. They also increased the amount from 1.7 to 2.3 oz

  • May 26, 2011

    by ha ly

    I have the Colorescience and just recommended to a friend. I didn't know it was pull! She was going to order on TIA Shop. I love it. As for it being too light or dark, I think it helps to just go with the darker color so you don't look ghost like, Jaysie. It feels nice to not put on another layer! That's definitely a plus.

    Marta, it took me awhile to order because of the price :/

  • May 26, 2011

    by Junko

    I have ColorScience and the coverage is heavier than a finishing powder, which I'm accustomed to, so it feels heavy to me. Jaysie * it has more coverage/color than a finishing powder. It might be the brush and the way it dispenses. I didn't buy this at the TIA store and I can't figure out how in the heck this tube is supposed to refill, so I'm going to break open the tube so that I can try brushing it on with my powder brush to try and get a lighter dusting of it.

  • May 25, 2011

    by Kelly

    Does anyone know whether all "micronized" mineral ingredients in sunscreen are safe? In this post it mentions that micronized titanium dioxide is ok but is micronized zinc oxide safe as well? I know there is some controversy about nano particles but I'm not exactly sure about "micronized". Thanks!

  • May 25, 2011

    by Jaysie

    Re: ColorScience, I was going to order this but it's difficult to know what the color will look like. I have spots I'd want it to camouflage, but I'm also fair so I don't want to look like a ghost, or on the other hand, go too dark or yellow. E.g., I have the Peter Thomas Roth loose powder sunscreen and it often looks too yellow on me.

    I would MUCH prefer a powder because every cream sunscreen I've used makes me shiny or clogs my pores. The only one that didn't was a liquid made by Georgette Klinger years ago but it had a low SPF.

  • May 25, 2011

    by Tracy

    What about Tizo3 mineral sunscreen? I love the tinted formula. It has great slip and it's tinted enough to do some concealing.

  • May 25, 2011

    by Marta

    The Skinceuticals formula is not for the faint hearted (or sensitive types):
    5% Zinc Oxide And 6% Titanium Dioxide. Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Undecane, Triethylhexanoin, Isohexadecane, Nylon-12, Caprylyl Methicone, Butyloctyl Salicylate, PhenetIyl Benzoate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Tridecane, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Talc, Dimethicone/peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Aluminum Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Magnesium Sulfate, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-8 Laurate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Tocopherol, Propylene Carbonate, Artemia Extract, Benzoic Acid, PEG-9, D41547/1

    Let us know how how you get on with it Anna.

  • May 25, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Shannon, I pulled Colorescience from the TIA shop as no one bought it. I feel I am out on a limb on this one - but I really think it is a good product. I'm not sure what puts people off - the fact that it is a powder? The price? I'd love to hear what people think about it.

  • May 25, 2011

    by Natalija

    What a great post! Thank you, Marta!
    I am personally a big fan of Skinceuticals "Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50" for the face: no breakouts, no oil slicks and it goes on sheer enough to be virtually undetectable. It is also paraben-free, even though reading their label is no picnic.

  • May 25, 2011

    by Anna

    Good timing with the reviews! I just ordered Skinceuticals Sheer Physical SPF 50 and am anxious to try it. Sheer is key. If it doesn't work out then I'll have this list to choose from. Thanks!

  • May 25, 2011

    by Susan

    Thanks for the list, Marta. I'll pick up some DeVita--just in time for summer!

  • May 25, 2011

    by Shanon

    Is the TIA shop not carrying Color Science anymore?

  • May 25, 2011

    by jc

    can i just add a couple more for my top picks? paula's choice RESIST cellular defense daily moisturizer with spf 25 and antioxidants(seems like products like to have a mouthful for a name these days), though it uses titanium dioxide and i prefer zinc wears well, even when washing my dog in the hot, humid weather we had here in pa. it didn't run in my eyes, NO whiteness whatsoever, and i'd recommend it for dry to really dry skin as it's quite moisturizing and can leave a sheen that might need a light powder for some...but the antioxidant lineup is awesome.

    and my second nominee is jouer cosmetics luminizing moisture tint with spf 20. the tints are lovely colors, with a true luminosity, not sparkle or glitter, and just enough coverage to even out most imperfections.

    those are my two newest loves!

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