Our Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by Susan

I recently tested the MD Solar Sciences Mineral Crème SPF 50 ($30 in the shop), a broad-spectrum UVA-UVB sunscreen formulated for all skin types – though, according to the website, it’s specifically suited for normal to oily, acne-prone or rosacea-prone skin.

Normal to oily acne-prone skin definitely describes me, but I was duly prepared to dislike this product. Yes, it has “good for you” anti-agers: green tea extract, cranberry fruit extract, pomegranate extract and vitamin C. Yes, it also uses barrier sunscreens, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, instead of nasty chemical sunscreens. And, yes, it is free of parabens or other dubious preservatives. Still, I just couldn’t see how I was going to easily work it into my beauty routine.

I like to keep things super simple. The way I see it is, less is more. My routine consists of a serum and a moisturizer/sunscreen that has anti-aging properties and the ability to even skin tone. Lately, HydroPeptide SPF30 ($40) has been my go-to. I couldn’t imagine putting this MD Solar Sciences sunscreen under a sunscreen, but since it has no color or skin-tone enhancing qualities of its own, I’d need to use a foundation of some sort over it, which I’m not big on. I also wasn’t sure if it would be moisturizing enough on its own.

I decided to try it under various tinted moisturizers, foundations, and powder mineral foundations to see what worked best. My first thoughts were: this product is odorless and glides on super easy. There is no rubbing and rubbing to get the “white” to disappear. The finish is matte, but – and this is a huge but – it feels slick. Really slippery. That would be courtesy of the six silicones in the formula.

Now, I’m not really against silicones; I think they’re rather harmless as they sit on the skin, and they do have some benefits for product performance. On the other hand, I get why Marta doesn’t like them bulking up expensive formulations in place of results-producing actives. In this cream, silicones are what make the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide blend so nicely and evenly over the skin. The negative part about this cream is if your skin tends to veer towards the oily side (like mine does), you may not be keen on the slippery finish. A dusting of powder over it counteracted the slippery finish, but I’m just not big on powdery finishes either and didn’t feel like my skin appeared hydrated enough.

The next time, I tried it under one of my more matte finished tinted moisturizers, which also has its share of silicones. It was so slick that the tinted moisturizer wouldn’t even blend into my skin. They kind of mixed together and thinned each other out, leaving me with no coverage and too sheer of a color.

Then it finally dawned on me that this product was like a makeup primer. It won’t really moisturize your face, so you’ll need to put that on, but if you normally use a primer under your foundation, you could use this instead. Indeed, the MD Solar Sciences Mineral Crème worked quite nicely under foundation. It blended smoothly, disguised fine lines, and it was nice to know I was getting some sun protection and antioxidant benefits too. If you’re a regular primer and foundation user, you’ll probably like this.

I, however, do not use primer and foundation on a daily basis, so I wasn’t sure how I would manage testing this for the requisite four weeks. Putting on a “full face” every morning did not fit into my short-and-sweet routine. My skin was looking pretty good though (rather ironically because my pale and sallow skin had gotten a little sun-kissed from morning strolls sans sunscreen… naughty me), so I thought that I would just power through using this alone over a moisturizer to see if I had any negative reactions. I did not breakout, the slick feeling subsided somewhat after about an hour, but what I didn’t count on was this: my skin looked pretty nice throughout the day. I think that the very sheer coating of the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide does have a subtle evening-out effect on the skin and its heavy silicone finish blurs fine lines and fills in enlarged pores.

The bottom line is: this cream works nicely as a primer/sunscreen combo, or even by itself, if you don’t mind silicones and can get past the fact that it doesn’t really blend into skin.

Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 1.5%, Zinc Oxide 17%. Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Silica, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Polysilicone-15, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Iron Oxides, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Camellia Sinensis (GreenTea) Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranbery) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract