Summer’s here, and that means it’s time to shield your skin with a well stocked arsenal of mineral sunscreens.
Why mineral, you ask? Well, chemical sunscreens can seep into your bloodstream, since they are comprised of nano-particles small enough to do so. They then have the propensity to cause liver and kidney damage, which I’m pretty sure you don’t want.
In the past, it was pretty tough for me to find natural, mineral sunscreens– there were only 1/2 brands I really trusted. Even then, they tended to leave behind a chalky residue that left me looking like a member of the Addams family.
Thankfully, we now have plenty of choices when it comes to truly safe, chemical and nanoparticulate-free products… so much so that it’s actually tough to choose!
But it’s your lucky day today, since I’ve taken the liberty of being a sunscreen guinea pig (for lack of a more vegan analogy!) Read on for my list of tried and true natural guide to the best mineral sunscreens, both for your skin and your lips.
1) Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SunBoost ATB SPF 47 – $32.00 for 2 fl. oz, $54.00 for 4 fl. oz, Titanium Dioxide 5.1%, Zinc Oxide 6.4%
This is my absolute favorite sunscreen product. It goes on sheer, leaves no residue, and gives you a nice, moisturized glow after applying. Some folks have accused Ms. Maran of being a greenwasher, but I say, if it works, it works!
For those with oily skin, be warned: this moisturizer does leave your skin a bit oily/shiny, but if you have normal/dry skin, it will mostly absorb after an hour or so. It is pricey for such a little amount, but you get a slight discount if you purchase the larger size ($10 savings). Works well under makeup or with an extra moisturizer/toner beforehand!
2) Lavanila the Healthy Sunscreen Face Cream SPF 40 – $28.00 for 2.8 fl. oz, Titanium Dioxide 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 5.0%
Lavanila is most famous for making all-natural, “healthy skin” perfumes, but they also have an awesome sunscreen-infused moisturizer that is great for everyday use. Instead of having aqua/water as the first ingredient, they generously use vegan allantoin (usually derived from comfrey root and used as an anti-inflammatory) as the primary ingredient and aloe leaf juice as the second.
This sunscreen has a goopier consistency than I would prefer, but it still disappears into the skin without a hitch. I recommend this particular product for those with skin allergies, since it’s made with natural ingredients and is gluten-free (I guess that applies to skincare as well!). It does leave you with a bit of a sheen on your skin, but that doesn’t really bother me! Good for normal/dry skin types.
3) Badger Balm Sport Sunscreen Cream SPF 35 – 15.99 for 2.9 oz
As an avid swimmer and beach-loving gal, it can be a challenge to find a natural sunscreen that stays on in the water.
Badger balm solves that conundrum with their super thick, super white and super chalky water-resistant sunscreen, so you can romp in the sand without fear of too much ruboff (of course you still need to reapply after being in the water though!). The only con: it doesn’t completely disappear, so you might end up looking like a ghost in your #atthebeach selfies. Don’t worry… the pasty Victorian look is always en vogue.
Since the first ingredient is sunflower oil and then beeswax, this sunscreen is able to give you a kind of water-repellancy like the type found on penguin feathers. It’s a pain to remove though — I usually need to really scrub it off with a loofah or body scrub after I put it on. At least you know it’s doing it’s job!
The price is also quite nice considering the amount and the thick consistency of the product, meaning you can use a bit less vs. more watery sunscreens. If you’re already familiar with this product, then it’s a good idea to buy in bulk, as you’ll receive a sweet 10% discount!
4) Mustela SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, $22.00 for 3.38 fl. oz, Titanium Dioxide 4.9%, Zinc Oxide 4.7%
Personally, I’ve never taken the SPF rating as a be-all-end-all when it came to picking a sunscreen. Don’t think that a high rating will help you avoid reapplication… because it doesn’t. It’s just a way to gauge the potency of the sunscreen for a certain period of time. All sunscreens do break down as the day wears on, so no using high spf as a crutch!
So even though this Mustela sunscreen has a high SPF factor, keep that in mind. Mustelas product is also ideal for water action… with a smoother, creamier feel than the Badger Balm. But! It also has a terrible smell… kind of like brake fluid. Maybe that’s because it’s unscented.. but still, I would probably use the badger one just because of the smell.
5) John Masters Organics SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen – $32.00 per 2 fl. oz, Titanium Dioxide 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 5%
This brand is a consistent favorite of mine, as they make stellar organic skincare that smells super fresh and citrusy, and comes in reusable, recyclable packaging. The only problem for me is the cost, which is kinda expected since it’s a premium skincare line only available in select places (like Whole Foods and in their own namesake boutiques). A good amount of the ingredients in this sunscreen is organic, and it absorbs excellently into the skin. I would use this as an all-over sunscreen if I could afford to do so, but for now, I use this mostly as a facial moisturizer on sunny days.
Drugstore picks –
If you’re not able to easily access/afford the above products, there are some just-as-good picks from your local supermarket or drugstore. Check these out!
Aside from being my favorite natural drugstore brand (does that make sense?), J.R. Watkins makes one of my favorite sunscreens. There is plenty of product in the tube, and it’s about 50 percent cheaper than the fancy brands, so you don’t have to feel guilty about using a lot.
This sunscreen has a light and pleasant smell, and comes enriched with shea butter for a multitasking ocean potion. It also blends in super well, and leaves a very slight sheen on your skin. Use it on both your face and your body!
2) Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 – $11.99 for 3 fl. oz, Titanium Dioxide 6.2%, Zinc Oxide 11.0%
A favorite and totally affordable natural brand, Yes to Carrots makes awesome body products that doesn’t stop working their natural magic on your skin. This non-greasy sunscreen almost always sells out at my local drugstore, and it smells fresh while not leaving a white cast. You do need to devote a bit more time to completely rubbing in the product, but once you do, you’re golden.
3) Burt’s Bees Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 – $9.99 for 0.7 oz
This would be my top drugstore pick if it weren’t for the tiny amount and the huge price. I mean, who can really afford to pay $10 bucks for something that’s a little bigger than a tube of Chapstick? Still, the ingredients in this teeny stick are legit, and it would make for a good lip balm alternative that can also be used on skin.
Lip Care –
Sure, having sunscreen on your skin is a top priority– but lips can get burned too! Seek out these pucker protectors and keep a bunch in your medicine cabinet at all times.
Yes to Carrots Sweet Fig Lip Butter with SPF 15 – $3.49 for .15 oz, Zinc Oxide 7.6%
By far my favorite sunscreen-infused lip balm, YTC’s sweetly scented, easy-to-apply balm does double duty protecting your lips and keeping them soft. It leaves no cast at all and works great under a lipstick or a gloss. Plus, it’s cheap and widely available at major drugstores!
Badger Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 15 – $3.49 for .15 oz, Zinc Oxide 18.6%
Though I love me some Badger, I know that their products typically do leave a bit of a cast on my skin. That’s ok though with the balm, since I use it as a lightening base to tone down some of my deeper-hued lipsticks.
Just keep that in mind though before you purchase — though I am still using my original tube of balm which I bought over a year ago, which isn’t the “new improved formula” so it might have gotten better! Remember, a little goes a long way with this one, since it is a thicker, pastier balm.
BurnOut Zinc Oxide Lip Balm SPF 32 – $3.99 for .15 oz, Zinc Oxide 8%
To be honest, I haven’t actually tried this particular product yet, but it has the highest SPF rating out of the ones I’ve found so far. Maybe I’ll leave this spot open for a guest review *hint hint nudge nudge*?