It’s great to see so many drugstore mineral sunscreens available and to see all the new releases since I wrote my first ever post on this blog about mineral sunscreens. (Boy, has this blog come a long way… but that’s another post entirely!)
I am a big fan of mineral sunscreens since my skin is sensitive to chemical sunscreens.
I originally ordered several drugstore mineral sunscreens and tested them with makeup to see how they wear.
I continue to try new drugstore mineral sunscreens each summer season and update this post with the ones that perform the best.
Unfortunately, many sunscreens that I tried didn’t wear so well with makeup, but I found a few goodies, the best mineral sunscreens from the drugstore, which I discuss below.
Then we’ll talk about labels, SPF, and how both chemical and physical sunscreens protect you from the harmful rays of the sun.
This post on the best drugstore mineral sunscreens contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
The Best Drugstore Mineral Sunscreens
Please note that I look for mineral sunscreens that work well with my combination skin. I prefer a natural or matte finish, and like everyone else, I don’t want to be left with a white cast.
I always look for mineral sunscreens that work well with makeup.
Unfortunately, many of the drugstore mineral sunscreens that I tried were either too thick, too sticky, had unpleasant scents, left my skin looking extremely white, or didn’t play well with makeup.
The following sunscreens are very impressive. They contain skincare actives in their formulas, and all have elegant textures and wear well with makeup. Scroll down for swatches!
Australian Gold Botanical Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion
Australian Gold Botanical Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion (shown above in Fair to Light) has been one of my favorite mineral sunscreens for face for years.
What makes it even better is that there are new tinted formulas available for different skin tones.
Originally, this tinted mineral sunscreen only came in one tint, which worked well for my skin since the tint was rather light.
The original shade has been rebranded as Fair to Light, and now there are two more shades: Medium to Tan and Rich to Deep. The minimal tint minimizes uneven color, fine lines, and wrinkles.
This sunscreen contains titanium dioxide 4% and zinc oxide 4%. Australian Gold formulates this sunscreen to provide broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection that is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
It’s a BB cream that is made with Australian antioxidant botanical ingredients such as Kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae and soothing ingredients such as shea butter and squalane.
This is one of the thicker mineral sunscreen formulas I tried, and it leaves a matte, almost powder-like finish that works exceptionally well under makeup.
The shade blends easily into my skin but doesn’t really provide much coverage so I usually apply foundation after.
It’s not sticky or greasy and is even suitable for sensitive skin.
Australian Gold does mineral sunscreen really well: from the finish to the formula, this is an excellent and affordable mineral sunscreen.
CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint
I had high hopes for CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint as I really enjoy CeraVe’s other skincare products. I am happy to say that this SPF 30 tinted mineral sunscreen did not disappoint.
This broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen contains titanium dioxide 5.5% and zinc oxide 10%.
Like CeraVe’s other skincare products, this sunscreen contains three essential ceramides (Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, and Ceramide EOP) to support the skin’s natural barrier, helping it to retain moisture while protecting it from environmental irritants such as pollution.
It also contains one of my favorite skin ingredients, niacinamide, to calm and soothe the skin while addressing the signs of aging, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin.
I love that the ingredients read like an anti-aging moisturizing treatment, but this sunscreen also protects your skin from UV rays.
This sunscreen really delivers hydration and moisture. If you have dry skin, this sunscreen is made for you.
This tint only comes in one shade, which is light-medium in shade, a bit darker than Australian Gold. It blends well into the light-medium skin tone on my face (which I achieve with self-tanning).
This hydrating mineral sunscreen leaves my skin soft and supple but also does not cause any pilling of my skincare underneath it or makeup over it.
I am very impressed with the moisture this provides and will reach for this on days when my skin is feeling dry.
Related Post: CeraVe vs Cetaphil: Which is Better?, The Best CeraVe Drugstore Skincare Products
Etude Houe Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++
Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA+++ comes from Korean brand Etude House.
While it contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, percentages are not disclosed since South Korea does not require this information on product labels.
The bottle states that this provides SPF 50 protection (UVB) with a PA+++ rating (for UVA).
Described as a sun milk, it has an extremely thin consistency for sunscreen.
It is formulated with a slew of skin-loving antioxidant plant extracts, hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera, and soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients.
You definitely need to shake the bottle before application, as it is the thinnest sunscreen that I’ve ever used. It’s a thin white liquid that, once absorbed, does not leave a white cast (yes!).
It sinks in incredibly quickly and dries to a matte finish, making it ideal for you if you have an oily skin type. It really is light and airy as denoted in the title.
No greasiness or stickiness. This sunscreen works best with makeup out of all the sunscreens that I tried due to its super-light consistency and quick absorption.
The one drawback to this sunscreen is the fact that it contains alcohol as the fourth ingredient. As a result, I don’t use this sunscreen every day, as I think it would be too drying over time.
So those with dry or sensitive skin may prefer another formula. But if I want my makeup to look spot on, this is the sunscreen I reach for.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is another mineral sunscreen fluid that is very thin in consistency.
It contains broad-spectrum coverage of titanium dioxide 6% and zinc oxide 5%.
It is formulated with La Roche-Posay’s Cell-Ox Shield technology which combines antioxidants with UVA/UVB sun protection using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
This sunscreen also contains La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water which is infused with minerals and has antioxidant properties.
Prior to application, you need to shake the bottle well. At first, it leaves a minimal white cast and after absorption, it is barely noticeable. It dries to a natural/matte finish.
It is very lightweight and, like my other favorites, works well with both skincare underneath and makeup on top. It’s formulated to be used on sensitive skin and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
While this is technically a drugstore sunscreen, since you can purchase it at Target or CVS (and Amazon) here in the US, this is definitely the priciest of all the sunscreens that I tried.
Do I think it’s worth the price?
I would say yes due to its antioxidant and mineral protection, lack of white cast, featherweight feel on my skin, and natural-looking finish.
Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection
Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection is a lightweight cream that is formulated with titanium dioxide 1.0% and zinc oxide 7.8%.
It also contains antioxidant goodies like green tea and caffeine. Hyaluronic acid is also added to the formula for hydrating and plumping.
It contains no parabens, fragrances, or dyes and it’s made for sensitive skin.
Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen is another drugstore mineral sunscreen that comes from an Australian brand.
Again, since my skin is fairly light even with a self-tan, the white tint from this liquid dissipates after absorption. I’m not sure how well it would perform on darker skin tones since it does not have a tint.
This sunscreen took a little effort to blend into my skin. At first, I thought it was a total fail, but eventually, it absorbed and pretty much disappeared into my skin.
It’s one of the thicker consistencies that I tried, but it feels surprisingly light on my skin.
The mineral formula leaves a matte/natural finish and works well with skincare while wearing well under makeup.
That’s saying a lot considering I tried so many drugstore mineral sunscreens that did not perform well. This one is a keeper.
Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen Swatches
Olay Regenerist Mineral Sunscreen Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30
Olay Regenerist Mineral Sunscreen Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30 provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection against UVA/UVB rays. It contains 17.5% zinc oxide to protect against sun damage plus niacinamide (vitamin B3) and palmitoyl pentapeptide-4.
So while this is a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you are also getting the benefits of a hydrating and protective face moisturizer.
The peptide in this sunscreen is made up of five amino acids: lysine, threonine, threonine, lysine, and serine, and is often called the collagen pentapeptide since it is a subfragment of type I collagen.
This peptide helps smooth and balance your complexion.
The sunscreen is made without fragrance, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or synthetic dyes. The sunscreen also comes in an SPF 15 version, but I say go with the SPF 30. The higher the better.
I have been waiting for a mineral sunscreen from Olay! I purchased this online as soon as I heard about it, and I am glad that I did.
Mineral sunscreens, especially those with high levels of zinc oxide, often leave a white cast. I couldn’t wait to test this sunscreen to see the results.
But first, the texture. It is surprisingly light, which makes absorption easy and fast without any greasy residue.
It produced the tell-tale mineral white cast upon application, but it quickly dissipated. The result was a lovely natural invisible finish on my skin.
For reference, I have a light skin tone. Those with darker complexions may or may not have an issue with a white cast. Even better, my skin felt hydrated all day.
But it’s more than a broad-spectrum sunscreen. It contains anti-aging and skin-balancing ingredients in the form of niacinamide and a peptide.
While I still apply a moisturizer under this sunscreen, I love getting the added skincare benefits of these active ingredients.
Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 is a lightweight tinted broad-spectrum sunscreen providing three-way protection against the following:
- Environmental pollution
- Electronic pollution (from screen time)
This oil-free mineral sunblock leaves a natural matte finish, without leaving a white cast, the usual drawback of physical sunscreens.
This sunscreen is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide at 15.2% which protects against UVA and UVB rays from penetrating the skin. (Read more about nanoparticles in sunscreen.)
It also contains antioxidants to protect against environmental and blue light, also known as HEV: high energy visible.
Moringa seed extract is antioxidant and vitamin-rich, and it helps to protect against moisture loss. Sea fennel extract is a plant extract that is an astringent and emollient, helping skin retain moisture.
The sunscreen is lightly tinted to offset any white cast. It absorbs very quickly without leaving any white cast.
It is made with 79% PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic and is non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free, pregnancy-safe, paraben-free, silicone-free, sulfate-free, and free of 1,300+ other toxins.
Related Post: Versed Clean Drugstore Skincare Review
Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen SPF 50
Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen SPF 50 is a 100% mineral liquid sunscreen in the form of 12% zinc oxide.
It’s extremely lightweight and sinks into the skin quickly without any greasiness. It leaves a matte finish and works well under makeup, thanks to the thin liquid formula.
Water-resistant up to 80 minutes, this zinc oxide sunscreen also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect skin from free radical damage.
This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, paraben-free and fragrance-free, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin.
Related Post: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream vs Lotion
Pipette Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
From the baby skincare brand Pipette comes Pipette Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50.
This baby-friendly sunscreen uses 20% non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 50 protection.
This broad-spectrum sunscreen contains good for your skin ingredients like 100% sugarcane-derived squalane and glycerin for moisture and wild gooseberry extract to calm the effects of infrared light, the type of light that causes the skin to heat up.
Plant-derived bisabolol is an antioxidant that soothes irritation while moisturizing delicate skin.
Perfect for babies and adults alike, this lightweight sunscreen leaves my skin feeling very moisturized but not too dewy. This lightweight physical sunscreen is formulated for even the most sensitive skin.
This formula is hypoallergenic, free of synthetic fragrances, cruelty-free, and vegan.
Please consult a doctor before using this on children under the age of 6 months.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen For Face SPF 50
Developed for sensitive skin, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen For Face SPF 50 is a 100% mineral-tinted facial sunscreen formulated with 11% titanium dioxide to provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
This tinted sunscreen uses La Roche-Posay’s Cell-Ox Shield Technology that uses a 100% mineral UV filter (in the form of titanium dioxide) along with antioxidant protection.
Senna Alata is a tropical leaf extract and antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from free radical damage caused by sun exposure. The sunscreen also contains mineral-rich La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.
Since I loved, the non-tinted version so much, I had to try this tinted mineral sunscreen from La Roche-Posay.
This sunscreen has an ultra-lightweight texture, absorbs quickly, and is non-greasy, leaving a matte finish.
The tint is a little dark for my light skin tone, so I think it would work better for medium/darker complexions. It is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes and is suitable even for sensitive skin types.
NOTE: This formula contains 11% titanium dioxide, while the non-tinted version contains 6% titanium dioxide and 5% zinc oxide.
Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen SPF 30
Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 is a 100% mineral sunscreen formulated with 4.1% titanium dioxide and 11.5% zinc oxide for SPF 30 protection against UVA and UVB rays.
This tinted sunscreen blends into the skin easily without any white cast, and offers very sheer minimal coverage.
The sunscreen is formulated with an antioxidant blend of blueberry, acai, and green tea extracts that help protect the skin from free radical damage, which can break down collagen and accelerate the visible signs of aging.
Rosa canina fruit oil, better known as rosehip oil, is also included in the formula to nourish and hydrate the skin.
Rosehip oil is rich in fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, which can be helpful for those with acne-prone skin. Studies show that acne patients have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin’s surface lipids.
Sodium hyaluronate, a form of hyaluronic acid, is included to help attract and retain moisture in the skin.
Squalane, a lightweight oil that is similar to the sebum (oil) in our skin, provides moisture without any greasiness.
This has become my new favorite drugstore mineral sunscreen. It sinks into my skin and practically disappears. And it leaves no white cast or greasiness. I use it daily.
Please note that this sunscreen contains lavender essential oil that imparts a light herbal fragrance.
This broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen is non-greasy and has no chalkiness like some physical sunscreens.
And, it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores.
Eucerin Sensitive Tinted Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 35
Eucerin Sensitive Tinted Mineral Face Lotion SPF 35 is a mineral sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum SPF 35 UVA/UVB protection with 24% naturally sourced zinc oxide.
This lightweight lotion has a sheer, tinted finish, making it suitable for all skin tones.
The tint is a little darker than other tinted sunscreens that I’ve tried, which makes it a good option if you have a darker skin tone.
In addition to its mineral sun protection, Eucerin’s 5 AOX Shield Advanced Antioxidant Complex, containing licochalcone A, glycyrrhetinic acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, and oxynex, helps to protect your skin from free radical damage.
The lotion leaves a smooth matte finish without any residue or white cast.
It is hypoallergenic, free of fragrance, dyes, parabens, PABA, phthalates, oxybenzone, and octinoxate, making it safe for sensitive skin.
Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Formulated specifically for acne-prone skin, Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 contains 17.53% zinc oxide (non-nano) in a fragrance-free, reef-safe formula.
The light green-shaded sunscreen is lightweight and leaves a natural finish that won’t clog your pores (it’s non-comedogenic).
It’s filled with plant extracts that Hero calls antioxidant superfood botanicals that protects against environmental aggressors, such as green tea leaf extract and vitamin E.
The gel-cream hydrates without being greasy and feels weightless on the skin. The green tint helps hide redness and the formula works with makeup as a light primer.
It’s non-irritating and can even be used by sensitive skin.
Live Tinted Hueguard 3-in-1 Mineral SPF 30 Moisturizer Primer
Live Tinted Hueguard 3-in-1 Mineral SPF 30 Moisturizer Primer is a 3-in-1 moisturizer, primer, and SPF 30 broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays and blue light.
It contains 18.23% zinc oxide, which helps protect your skin from UV rays, plus antioxidant vitamin E, and soothing bisabolol. Sea buckthorn berry oil moisturizes with palmitic (Omaga-7) fatty acid.
The sunscreen has a light tint that disappears once absorbed into your skin.
The sunscreen blurs imperfections, making it a great primer for makeup.
It has no white cast, just a natural finish that blends easily into any skin tone and leaves your with a glowing complexion.
It’s fragrance-free, reef-safe, too.
Good Molecules Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Good Molecules Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 is formulated to be a mineral sunscreen for every skin tone.
It protects your skin from AVA/AVB rays with 13.3% zinc oxide, a mineral sunscreen filter.
The sunscreen is also enriched with antioxidants and hydrators like sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid).
You have to love Good Molecules’ transparency, as the exact concentrations of each ingredient are listed on the box. And like other Good Molecules products, this sunscreen is super affordable.
Even though the sunscreen isn’t tinted, it leaves a minimal white cast and has a very lightweight, thin consistency.
Plus isn’t greasy on your skin and works well with makeup, too.
Butyloctyl Salicylate In Mineral Sunscreens
Many mineral sunscreens contain butyloctyl salicylate, an active ingredient often described as a solvent. It is a helper ingredient that can help boost the SPF rating of a sunscreen.
This active ingredient is very similar in structure to octisalate (ethylhexyl salicylate), a chemical sunscreen. So please note this if you’re allergic to salicylates.
In a way, this active acts like an unregulated chemical sunscreen, as it isn’t approved as a chemical sunscreen by the FDA.
For more information on this active, please see this interesting post by Lab Muffin.
The mineral sunscreens in this post that contain butyloctyl salicylate are:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35
- Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen SPF 50
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen For Face SPF 50
- Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen SPF 30
- Eucerin Sensitive Tinted Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 35
- Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Good Molecules Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
While I am sensitive to most chemical sunscreens, this ingredients does not irritate my skin.
SPF and Sun Protection
Sunscreen labels can get very confusing, so I wanted to provide a few clarifications on the different kinds of ultraviolet radiation and the levels of sun protection found in sunscreens.
The sun produces ultraviolet rays in UVA, UVB, and UVC wavelengths. You don’t hear too much about UVC rays because the earth’s atmosphere blocks these rays and they don’t reach your skin. That leaves us with UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays reach the deep layers of your skin which trigger the signs of aging such as wrinkles.
While UVB rays don’t reach as deep into the layers of your skin as UVA rays, UVB rays cause sunburns which can ultimately lead to skin cancer.
In the US, you’ll see sunscreens denoted with an SPF number. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measures UVB ray protection of a product.
The number will tell you how long it will take the average person’s skin to burn when exposed to sunlight over a certain period of time.
You may be surprised to learn that you’ll need an entire ounce of sunscreen to cover your whole body and you should be sure you reapply every two hours when in the sun.
When it comes to your face you’ll need 2 mg/cm². So what does that equate to? Around 1/4 teaspoon for your face. Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher.
Asian brands measure how well the sunscreen protects from UVA rays, so their system starts with PA+ and goes up to PA++++.
The PA rating system originated in Japan and uses the Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) method to research how the skin is tanned from UVA rays.
You want to look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen since it will protect against both UVA rays that cause photoaging and UVB rays that cause sunburns, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer.
Chemical Sunscreen vs Mineral Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens block UVA and UVB rays by turning them into heat, which is released by the body.
You’ll see many different combinations of chemicals used in this type of sunscreen such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule.
In 2019, concerns were raised when it was reported that these chemical UV filters that are absorbed by the skin can linger in the body for days. The FDA has stated that the chemicals noted above plus another eight need to be studied for safety.
A follow-up on the FDA’s 2019 findings was provided in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January of 2020.
The new information builds on 2019’s study and shows that in studying 6 active ingredients in sunscreen (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate), once absorbed into the body, they can linger for up to three weeks.
Where it stands now is the FDA is requesting additional safety data from the industry.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate have also been found to contribute to harming the coral reef. As a result, as of 2021, Hawaii banned the sale of products containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Mineral Sunscreen Filters: Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide
The two types of sunscreen protection that you will find in mineral sunscreens are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They reflect UV sunlight and form a layer on the surface of your skin that blocks UV radiation.
While zinc oxide does a great job of protecting your skin from both UVA and UVB radiation, titanium dioxide protects well against UVB and short-wave UVA radiation.
You’ll often see a combination of both in mineral sunscreens.
Traditionally the big drawback of mineral sunscreens is that they leave a white cast on your skin, but as you’ll see in some of the best mineral sunscreens in this post, they are improving due to effective formulations and tinting.
Final Thoughts on Drugstore Mineral Sunscreens
While there are many mineral sunscreens available today at the drugstore, not all wear well on your skin.
The best drugstore mineral sunscreen for your skin will depend on your needs: do need a tinted formula, or do you prefer non-tinted? Do you need a water-resistant formula?
Whichever drugstore sunscreen you choose, most are available at an affordable price.
Remember that it is important to wear sunscreen every day regardless of whether the sun is out or not.
What is your favorite drugstore mineral sunscreen?
Drop me a line in the comments… I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading!
Thursday 16th of June 2022
Which of these mineral sunscreen would you recommend for dry skin? I have very dry skin and just want one that is the most moisturizing from the list!
Saturday 8th of October 2022
I think CeraVe and Olay are the most hydrating. I like Olay better, but it could leave a white cast depending on your skin tone. Thanks!
Tuesday 1st of June 2021
How do the Versed and Pipette sunscreens wear under makeup?
Thursday 3rd of June 2021
I applied Versed to one side of my face and Pipette to the other and really didn't notice a big difference in how my makeup performed throughout the day. Versed is tinted and Pipette isn't, but both disappear into the skin and work well under makeup. I did notice that Versed was a bit drier, and Pipette provided more moisture. Thanks!
Thursday 22nd of April 2021
Great post thank you!!! How does the LRP (non tinted) compare to the Cetaphil? I have dry, sensitive skin and been looking for a liquid mineral sunscreen, but wasn't sure if either/both would be moisturizing enough or too matte? Thanks!
Friday 23rd of April 2021
They are very similar. La Roche-Posay is a little thinner in consistency and feels slightly more moisturizing than Cetaphil. It's tough to say whether they'd be too drying for your skin type, although you can always apply a rich moisturizer underneath. Thanks!