We all know that sunscreen is an absolute must for healthy skin, but have you ever considered what it’s doing to the environment? Non-mineral sunscreens include chemicals that can be damaging to marine life, including oxybenzone, which, when in water, damages the coral reefs.
But there are not just environmental benefits to swapping your usual chemical formula to a mineral-based sunscreen, your skin will thank you too. Unlike chemical sunscreens, there is little chance of mineral products causing skin irritation – especially if you suffer from acne, eczema, or sensitive skin. And because mineral sunscreen works by deflecting heat, they can also be a lot more comfortable for those who suffer from heat-stressed skin conditions such as prickly heat. Plus, a mineral sunscreen works immediately, unlike chemical versions which can take up to 30 minutes to ‘kick in’.
Until recently, mineral sunscreens have been given a bad rap as they are often associated with leaving a thick white cast or a chalky finish, especially on darker skin tones. But traditional formulas have moved on leaps and bounds, and now there’s a host of innovative, easy to blend offerings that will safeguard your skin and the planet. Here’s our favourites…
When Pai Skincare founder Sarah Brown’s skin became irritated, hyper-sensitive and acne-prone out of the blue, she set about creating a skin care line that would let her take back control which included this brilliantly named sunscreen. Five years in the making and patch tested on eczema-prone skin types, this coral reef-friendly mineral-based formula covers all bases. Non-greasy, absorbs effortlessly and non-irritant on sensitive skin types.
You’ve heard us bang on several times about this favourite brand of ours, so it will come as no surprise that when this new product landed on The Handbook beauty desk, there were squeals of excitement. It’s the same winning formula of skin-loving ceramides and hyaluronic acid that’s suitable for all skin types and tones – but with added sunscreen plus added niacinamide and vitamin E. It’s basically everything your skin needs both in the sunshine and out.
We obsessed with this new mineral-based translucent brush, not only because it’s a genius way to apply sunscreen, but it also transports you to a tropical paradise with just one whiff of its coconut-fragrance. Dinky packaging that can be kept in your handbag minus any spillage and great for quick touch-ups on the go. Plus, it suits all skin tones. Simply brush either over or under makeup to give skin protection without the worry of chalky white marks. And it’s super lightweight too. All the ticks!
If you want daily protection that will scale-down your usual skincare, then let us introduce you to this new 2-in-1 serum that corrects and prevents pigmentation while also protecting you with a high SPF. This lightweight liquid is like applying a second skin to your face which will protect your skin both outdoors and indoors (from blue light emitted from screens). It leaves no white cast or greasy residue but instead a natural-enhanced glow. Yes, it’s a hefty price to pay for a sunscreen, but it’s a hard one to beat.
This hybrid product is very much when skincare meets suncare. Milky and very light in texture (almost like water), this oil rubs in well and leaves a silky veil on skin that feels more like luxe skincare than suncare. It’s super hydrating and leaves a dewy finish thanks to the brand’s signature GlowDefense technology. A great choice for under makeup.
Adored by beauty editors and sun worshippers alike this creamy sunscreen contains 84% certified organic agricultural ingredients including calming aloe vera, green tea and beeswax. It’s moisture-retaining, water-repellent and won’t clog pores like most sun lotions, making prickly heat unlikely and sensitive skins happy. A great formula for the whole family to use. Plus, we love that the company gives 20p to the Marine Conservation Society with every bottle sold.
This super sheer sunscreen blends in fast while refreshing and calming skin from heat stress. It leaves a dewy finish minus any shine or white residue, in fact it’s the most invisible suncare we’ve tried. So, if white marks are your bugbear, this is an absolute must for your beach bag.
A REN bestseller for good reason. Though it’s thicker than most the other sunscreens on this list and needs some good old-fashioned elbow grease, it’s full to the brim with antioxidants (via passion fruit seed) that shields the skin from damage. Plus, combination and oily skin can rejoice in knowing it also control shine and makes pores appear smaller. It’s packaged in recycled plastic and is 100 per cent recyclable and while REN recognised there’s no such thing as ‘reef-safe’ sun care, this is made with the friendliest reef ingredients to protect the planet.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Ultrasun have a family of fabulous formulas that keep on giving, and this mineral body cream is no exception. Simply work it into the body then watch it disappear and leave a mattifying effect behind. It has a high UVA filter of 95 per cent to protect against ageing and damaging rays and blue-light protection too. It also has a matching face product too, so you’re well covered from top-to-toe.
This brand is on a mission to make suncare a key part of our skin routine, whatever the weather. This vegan friendly line prides itself on lightweight, purse-friendly formulas that work for all skin types and tones. Packed with zinc oxide, titanium and carnosine that rebalances skin while also protecting from the sun and locks in moisture too. Undeniably your skin will get your money’s worth.
Inspired by Australia’s most iconic beach (Bondi), this suncream will protect against harmful rays while ensuring the kind of plump, gleaming, healthy complexion that comes only with a morning surfing session (or a really, really good skin care routine). This won’t coat your complexion with a ghostly cast, nor will it clog pores, instead expect 72 hours of hydrated glowy, well-protected skin.
Anyone who suffers with eczema, psoriasis, excessive dryness and more, can ensure they are well protected with this sun cream without feeling the need to scratch or itch it off. In fact, so gentle a formula the tube even quotes “from first day of life children.” It won’t look sexy on your sun lounger and may need some elbow grease to rub in, but it will certainly keep skin burn at bay and limit any discomfort. An all-round excellent product.
If you’re looking for a savvy product that contains no nasties whatsoever, but has all the makings of a strong, solid formula with SPF offerings, added antioxidants and virgin marula oil to nourish, this is it! It comes in both a tinted and a non-tinted formula that’s so light you’ll forget you’re wearing any sun protection; the tinted version is ideal for anyone after a subtle bronzed glow.
If ageing is your main skin concern but you won’t forgo sunshine for wrinkles, then this is great all-rounder and protector. Very high SPF, super-moisturising, beautifully silky, lightweight, and packed with skin-loving ingredients. The list goes on… A favourite amongst those who live a beach bum life (aka The Dream!)
The name of this product says it all: It’s a completely sheer mineral sunscreen (not always easy to come by!) that gives a blurring effect to skin. Bush clover extract defends against free radical damage and blue light while aloe-leaf juice acts as the ultimate skin hydrator, while squalene serves up extra nongreasy softness. Plus, it’s sweat and water-resistant too, perfect for holidays.
The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some products purchased through affiliate links.