Finding the Perfect Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Is Hard, But We Found 10

Let's talk about sun protection. (Because yes, it's the time of year and the blazing hot summer temperatures are just a swipe away!) As a skin care category, sunscreens have attracted a lot of discussion and heat in recent years. First of all, there is a blatant problem with the lack of diversity. Despite the influx of new formulas that come onto the market every year, the ratio for all skin tones is appallingly low. Not to mention annoying white residues and unflattering ash-gray surfaces, most commonly used for zinc oxide-based sunscreens, which many are touting as a safer and more environmentally friendly option compared to their chemical counterparts. If only some of the safer zinc oxide sunscreens can effectively serve consumers of all colors, that's mildly problematic.
And, of course, there are many debates about the pros and cons of mineral / physical sunscreens (which contain the zinc oxide or titanium dioxide mentioned above and sit on the skin and reflect the sun's rays instead of being absorbed) and chemical formulas (those that use active sun filters such as avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone and penetrate the skin and absorb harmful UV rays to ward off damage).
We let you do your own research to decide which type of sun protection is best suited to your own needs. It is important that you wear sunscreen and have a sun protection factor of at least 30. We also strongly recommend that you check out this helpful guide on the website of the Environmental Working Group (EEC) when you learn about your sunscreen various options.
Since my beauty editor Courtney Higgs and I are always asked which zinc oxide sunscreens are the best money we can buy, we share our top 10 tips below. These are the formulas that experts have recommended to us, the formulas we've tried and fallen in love with, and the formulas (and brands) that do the most work to be inclusive in terms of finish and color range . Keep scrolling!
Best overall: Versed Guard's Up Daily Mineral Sun Protection
Versed Guard's Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen ($ 22)
Where to start There are so many amazing things to love about this new sunscreen from the clean, sustainable skin care brand Versed. (Read our full report on the exciting start here.) First and foremost, it receives our largest gold star as it literally leaves no residue or marks on the skin. (ICYMI is basically unknown to zinc oxide formulas.) It is also non-comedogenic, pillow-soft and light, and enriched with hard-working antioxidants to prevent possible environmental damage and the blue light currently emanating from your screen. Really, it's the perfect sunscreen, and we've heard nothing but glowing reviews.
Best under makeup: Supergoop! Zinc screen 100% mineral lotion SPF 40 PA +++
Supergoop! Zinc umbrella 100% mineral lotion SPF 40 PA +++ ($ 42)
Supergoop! has undoubtedly earned a reputation as one of the best brands for all sun protection needs. Nevertheless, the brand has a very special talent for creating formulas that not only protect our skin from harmful rays, but also play well with our make-up. The new formulas Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($ 36) and the cult classic Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($ 34) are top competitors, but this zinc oxide formula is also amazing. It has a skin-lightening pink tint that matches your natural skin tone and helps counteract the telltale white residue that is symptomatic of so many zinc oxide sunscreens.
Best for acne-prone skin: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Wide Spectrum EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 ($ 36)
Enriched with niacinamide, lactic acid, zinc oxide, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, it is no wonder that this special sunscreen from EltaMD is hailed by derms, facials and beauty editors as the best in the whole country. Courtney and I are both big fans. She loves that it lives up to its name and actually dries clear, and I'm also grateful that it doesn't clog or inflame my acne-prone pores.
Best brush for brushing: ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Powder Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Powder Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 ($ 65)
I recently received this brand new powder sunscreen from ZO Skin Health (a line by world famous dermatologist Zein Obagi) and I was so impressed. I'm usually more of a cream or gel type when it comes to sun protection, but I love how this sheer formula leaves a weightless veil of zinc oxide-enriched sun protection on my face while giving it a subtle sheen. It is available in three colors (deep, medium and light), which are touted as universally flattering. I can't attest to that since I only tried the light, but since the cover is extremely clean, I have a hunch that deep and medium skin tones will be lucky with this formula as well. (If not, DM me and let me know!)
The best tinted: La Roche-Posay Anthelios tinted mineral sunscreen for face SPF 50
La Roche-Posay Anthelios tinted mineral sunscreen for face SPF 50 ($ 34)
The French drugstore brand La Roche-Posay has received numerous awards (year after year) for their A + sun protection formulas. The Anthelios line in particular is receiving great attention. After Courtney and I tested this tinted zinc oxide formula from the product line, we can wholeheartedly confirm that it is one of the best (and generally most flattering) tinted sunscreens on the market. Courtney noticed that even though she is a big fan of the texture, a little noticeable gypsum remains on the skin. However, it is light and she tells me that she would wear it under makeup since it ticks off all of her other boxes.
Best for a matt finish: MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème broad spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB
MDSolarSciences Mineral Cream Wide Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB ($ 42)
Not only does this zinc oxide sunscreen get super high ratings from Sephora and Dermstore, but Courtney also confirms that it is definitely one of the better options on the market when it comes to barely recognizable plaster casts or surfaces. "There is a small cast at first, but it fades after a few minutes," she tells me. Still, she's not sure what it would look like on ultra-deep skin tones.
The Celebrity-Facialist Pick: Check oil-free sun protection SPF 30
Control Oil Free Sunscreen SPF 30 ($ 38)
If the celebrity facialist Shani Darden recommends a product, just listen. After experiencing a really bad bout of breakouts, she suggested adding this oil-free formula to my regime and explained that it would protect my complexion from sun damage without clogging my pores or exciting new pimples. It was a fairytale story of true love and I've been thrilled ever since.
"Sun protection is the most important product that is used every day," Darden explains on her website. "This oil-free sunscreen provides sunscreen, but it also feels like a moisturizer when you apply it. I've never found another sunscreen that has the same light, non-greasy feel."
Best new kid on the block: First Aid Beauty Weightless liquid mineral SPF 30
First Aid Beauty Weightless Liquid Mineral SPF 30 ($ 34)
When I was looking for the best zinc oxide sunscreens to recommend on the Internet, an old first aid beauty formula often appeared. When I did the research, it seemed as if the brand had set a fan favorite that advertised consumers of all skin tones as really invisible and amazing. Although the brand has now taken this particular product off the market (as far as I can tell), it has introduced a brand new formula in its place that reviewers seem to be equally excited about. On the rating street, it is said that it actually looks practically invisible on all skin tones and even has other advantages such as not being greasy and not comedogenic.
Best for the body: Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield SPF 50
Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection body protection SPF 50 ($ 45)
If you want to cover all of your bases (also known as your head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes), this best-selling SPF formula from Colorscience is a winner. It contains not only zinc oxide as the main means of combating damage, but also beautiful additives such as shea butter, youth-promoting antioxidants, skin-soothing plant extracts and much more. Technically speaking, the light tint of this product is called "universal". However, if you have a rich skin tone, we recommend that you choose this bronze version, which melts effortlessly to the skin in order to achieve a radiantly illuminated appearance.
The best makeup-skin care-SPF hybrid: Suntegrity Impeccable skin moisturizer for the face
Suntegrity Impeccable Skin Moisturizing Face sunscreen ($ 55)
If you're a clean-beauty stan, you're probably already familiar with Suntegrity's popular 5-in-1 sunscreen with a natural hydrating face ($ 45). But if you're looking for something a little less humid and with more color options on the market, this zinc oxide formula is a great alternative. As a true multitasker, it offers medium coverage to blur the appearance of blemishes and contains countless amazing ingredients such as vitamins C and E, peptides, melanin and hyaluronic acid. There is even environmental protection that is combined with the product's MVP (non-nano-zinc oxide) to ward off pollutants, allergens and, of course, sun damage.
Next up are 17 sheer sunscreens that are actually simple in black girls
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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