The best mineral sunscreen for your face

Protecting your face from the sun is vital, but regular sun creams can irritate your skin – here’s our pick of the best mineral sunscreens you’ll be happy to use every day.

mineral sunscreen

by Catherine Ball |

Finding the best mineral sunscreen for your face can be a challenge - your skin is usually more sensitive on your face than elsewhere on your body, and many people hate the feeling of conventional creams and lotions.

If you’re still looking for a facial sun protection product which suits your skin type, mineral sunscreen could be the answer.

What is mineral sunscreen?

Conventional sun creams contain chemicals like oxybenzone and avobenzone which sit on the skin and protect it by absorbing the UV rays from the sun. While these chemicals are considered safe to use in sun protection products, they can cause problems for people with sensitive skin and can irritate your eyes.

If you’ve ever ended up with red, itchy eyes when you’ve applied sun cream to your face, it is probably due to the chemical filters in the product. In contrast, mineral sunscreens don’t absorb the sun’s harmful rays, they deflect them instead.

Related: What is the difference between BB & CC cream?

Mineral filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide create a protective seal over the skin, reflecting UV rays so they don’t get the chance to penetrate your skin. And mineral sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB radiation, while many products with chemical filters will only work against UVB rays.

UVB radiation is the one which will cause sunburn, which is why most sun care products were developed to tackle it. But UVA radiation can be harmful too and can cause sunspots and wrinkles. Both UVA and UVB radiation have been linked to skin cancer.

Related: What does SPF mean?

Does mineral sunscreen leave a white residue on your face?

Some people are put off the idea of trying mineral sunscreen on their face as they have heard it can leave a white, chalky residue behind. When mineral sunscreens were first released on the market, many did leave a thick, white residue on the skin, however, advances in technology mean most manufacturers have now found a way around this problem.

Most mineral sunscreens now contain much smaller particles than they used to, so they can be better absorbed by the skin. This means you shouldn’t be able to tell you’re wearing mineral sunscreen.

Related: The best self-tanner for mature skin

Who should use mineral sunscreen?

Anyone can use mineral sunscreen – it is down to personal preference – but it can be helpful for people who have experienced skin irritation from chemical sun creams, lotions or sprays.

People with sensitive skin or those who suffer from acne, eczema, allergies or other skin conditions may find that a mineral sunscreen suits them better than one with chemical ingredients, particularly on their face.

Related: The benefits of using rose oil in your beauty routine

Mineral sunscreens your face to try this summer

Clinique SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for face, 30ml

Clinique SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for face
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This light liquid sunscreen is easily absorbed by your skin and gentle enough to use near your eyes. As it's from a luxury skincare brand like Clinique, it comes with a premium price tag so you won't be tempted to use it anywhere other than your face.

REN Clean Skincare Clean Screen Mineral Mattifying Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin SPF30, 50 ml

REN Clean mineral sunscreen
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Offering protection against UVA, UVB and blue light, this vegan sunscreen has added antioxidants and is suitable for daily use both on its own or under make-up. The formula is mattifying making it a good choice if you have oily skin and as it is non-comedogenic, it won't clog your pores.

Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Mineral SPF 50 Women's Sun Cream 50 ml

Kiehl's ultra light mineral sunscreen
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Designed for people who are prone to acne or who have sensitive skin, this lightweight mineral sun cream from Kiehl's has added vitamin E and completely mineral-based filters. This product is expensive but claims to help tackle signs of premature ageing as well as prevent sun damage.

Ultra Violette Lean Screen Mineral Mattifying SPF 50+, 50ml

Ultra Violette mineral sunscreen

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This zinc-only broad-spectrum sunscreen doesn't feel sticky or leave a white residue behind on your skin. The hydrating formulation includes the antioxidant Kakadu plum, a superfood known for giving skin a natural glow and acting against free radicals.

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, 59ml

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen
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A hypoallergenic mineral sunscreen, this product from Neutrogena is fragrance-free and doesn't contain any parabens, dyes or other chemicals which might irritate your skin. Designed especially for the face, its dry-touch technology means it doesn't feel greasy though some reviewers said it made them look paler than usual.

Babo Botanicals SPF 40 Daily Sheer Facial Sunscreen, 50ml

Babo Botanicals sunscreen
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This soothing mineral sunscreen will moisturise your face as well as protect it from UV rays. It contains plant-based ingredients, sunflower, aloe and jojoba, and is lightweight and ultra-sheer so you won't feel like you're wearing a heavy cream or lotion.

Azani Active Care Kaolin Clay Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, 80ml

Azani Active Care Kaolin Clay Mineral Sunscreen
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This is one of the most affordable mineral sunscreens and is aimed at a unisex market. The lotion includes kaolin clay, a soothing substance which absorbs oil and detoxifies your skin, helping to protect it from pollution as well as the sun.

SETT Natural, mineral SPF30 Face Stick, 13.5g

SETT mineral face stick
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This mineral sunscreen is a solid stick, designed by surfers, although, of course, it works well for those on dry land too. It is water-resistant and made from beeswax so it won't run into your eyes. You apply it directly to your face as a sunblock but it feels dry rather than oily.

DRUNK ELEPHANT Umbra sheer physical daily defence sunscreen SPF30 90ml

DRUNK ELEPHANT Umbra sheer physical daily defense sunscreen
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Free from chemicals, this sheer mineral fluid puts a barrier on your skin to protect it from the sun's rays but won't harm marine life when it washes off. It includes raspberry seed and marula oils to enrich and moisturise your skin and it is available in a tinted version too if you want to give your skin a bronzed glow.

Heliocare 360 Mineral Tolerance Fluid SPF50, 50ml

Heliocare 360 Mineral Tolerance Fluid
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With a transparent finish and no residue, no one will ever know you are wearing this water-resistant fluid. It contains 100% mineral filters and Fernblock, a natural antioxidant which will also protect your skin against free radicals.

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