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15 Excellent Zinc Oxide Sunscreens That Blend Like a Dream

Plus, everything to look for in your next formula.

zinc oxide sunscreens to shop in 2022

It's been said that the best type of sunscreen is the one you will use over and over. And while you can find effective broad-spectrum protection from either a chemical or physical sunscreen—as long as its SPF 30 or above—many of us are transitioning our sun care staples in favor of more streamlined and natural mineral-based formulas.

What is mineral sunscreen?

"[By definition,] mineral sunscreens are those that use zinc oxide by themselves, or in combination with the ingredient titanium dioxide, to block UV light,” New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner tells BAZAAR.com. Not only are many zinc oxide and titanium dioxide options deemed as reef-safe (meaning they won't negatively impact marine life), but they also don't contain ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone that may cause allergic reactions to sensitive skin. “Many people think that zinc-only based sunscreens are more natural, and feel more comfortable applying those types of sunscreens on their skin,” adds Zeichner. "I typically recommend a zinc oxide-based blocker for sensitive skin."

Do mineral sunscreens really leave behind white casts?

It's no secret that many mineral sunscreen formulas are notoriously thick and opaque, making them difficult to completely blend on to your face and body. While the dreaded white sunscreen cast is far from a myth, there are plenty of versatile formulas to choose from that blend invisibly into a wide variety of skin tones. “The newest generation of mineral sunscreens use micronized technology so that they fully rub into the skin, not leaving behind a white cast, or an ashy appearance on darker complexions,” says Zeichner.

How zinc oxide sunscreens protect against the effects of UV and blue light

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, mineral sunscreens work like a shield, sitting sit on the surface of your skin and deflecting the sun’s rays. Physical sunscreens are also known to protect against high-energy visible light (HEV)—also know as blue light—which is a growing concern that stems from increased screen time on your computer and phone. “Light within the blue visible spectrum has been shown to deeply penetrate the skin and promote premature aging, including sun spots and wrinkles,” explains Zeichner. “Mineral blockers like zinc oxide protect against some level of HEV light, while chemical blockers do not.” For parents with babies and toddlers, the AADA also specifically recommends using zinc oxide or titanium dioxide-based formulas, as these may cause less irritation to their sensitive skin.

To help you seamlessly transition from a chemical formula, we pulled together 15 zinc oxide sunscreens we recommend wearing year-round while at the beach, on a hike, or just casually sitting in front of your laptop.

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1
GREAT FOR OILY AND COMBINATION SKIN
UV Shield Broad-Spectrum SPF 45
Dermstore
EltaMD

Created for face and body, this oil-free sunscreen contains micronized zinc oxide for a lightweight feel, and applies clear, so it won't compete with your face makeup.

2 Unrivaled Sun Serum
Credo Beauty
Eleven by Venus

Tennis superstar Venus Williams created this 25 percent zinc oxide sun serum featuring a milky, featherweight formula that doesn't leave a trace behind.

3 Sunvisor
Saie
Saie

Forget everything you thought you knew about tacky, hard-to-rub-in sunscreens. Here's a non-nano formula from Saie that combines the benefits of your favorite serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen into one product.

4 Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++
Biossance
Biossance

This squalane and zinc oxide sunscreen from the skincare experts at Biossance is best applied 15 minutes before stepping into sunlight, and is even hydrating enough to replace your go-to moisturizer.

5 Mineral Sun Silk Crème SPF 30
Nordstrom
Coola

Nordstrom customers swear by this velvety SPF cream that uses plant stem cells, antioxidants, and niacinamide to boost skin's radiance while protecting it against blue light and environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.

6 Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30
Dermstore
UnSun

This culty mineral sunscreen contains hydrating ingredients like shea butter, vitamin E, and coconut oil, plus titanium dioxide and five different fruit extracts, for broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection.

7 Mineral SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion
Ulta
Sun Bum

“Not all mineral sunscreens are created equally, even if they have the same ingredient list," says Zeichner. "Sun Bum products really do fully rub in.” This matte tinted face lotion from the brand is vegan and fragrance-free, as well as water-resistant for up to 40 minutes per wear.

8 Zincscreen Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++
Sephora
Supergoop!

Fans of Supergoop’s chemical offerings will be happy to know their mineral options are just as effective (and easy to wear). This lotion in particular is extra lightweight, making it ideal for acne-prone skin.

9 Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Courtesy
Versed

No white cast? Check. Absorbs quickly? Check. Moringa seed extract and sea fennel for added protection against pollution and blue light? Check, check, and check.

10 Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
Beautycounter
Beautycounter

With over 1,400 customer reviews and nearly a five-star rating, this travel-friendly, broad-spectrum sunscreen stick is a hit among Beautycounter shoppers. One writes that the reef-safe sunscreen is, "Easy to use, safe, and effective. I really like it for my aging hands to prevent some spots and reduce wrinkling from the sun."

11 Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
Sephora
Drunk Elephant

The fresh, glowy tint and antioxidant-packed formula satisfy both makeup-at-the-beach and makeup-free types alike.

12 Self Reflect Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 32
Credo Beauty
Kinship

Your complexion will look extra dewy and hydrated after using this plant probiotic-based SPF, which protects against harmful UV rays and the effects of blue light.

13
GREAT FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
Dermalogica

Here's another mineral sunscreen that provides double duty UV and blue light protection. It's especially ideal for sensitive types, as it uses a mushroom complex to soothe skin and minimize redness caused from sun exposure.

14 Sun-è-Serum Drops SPF 35
The Detox Market
Ava Isa

These paraben-free sunscreen face drops feature a 25 percent concentration of zinc oxide, and dry down to a semi-matte finish so you won't have to worry about a shiny T-zone while protecting your skin.

15
GREAT FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children
Courtesy
Shiseido

This hypoallergenic sunscreen features a blend of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and is one of the best to use on children, babies, and sensitive skin. Plus, unlike other mineral sunscreens, this one features Shiseido's WetForce technology that makes it more effective when exposed to water or sweat.

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