10 Best Natural and Mineral Sunscreens, According to Skincare Pros

0 189
best natural sunscreens


An important note on sunscreen safety: The FDA is proposing changes to sunscreen regulations, as some active ingredients can enter the bloodstream. Until it can reach a more robust conclusion on safety, the FDA — and the Good Housekeeping Beauty Lab — urges Americans to continue using mineral and chemical sunscreen to protect against UV damage.

Okay, first things first: What does “natural” even mean when it comes to beauty products? It’s a vague term, but in most cases it implies that it’s made with minimally-modified ingredients found in nature (like plants or minerals, for example), according to Birnur Aral, Ph.D. and Director of the Beauty Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. That said, the FDA doesn’t regulate “natural” claims, so the term itself doesn’t really mean anything concrete.

When it comes to sun protection, “natural” usually refers to physical sunscreens that use minerals to block UV rays or sunscreens that don’t include oxybenzone (an ingredient that can affect hormones and allergies in humans and has been found to cause coral bleaching and coral death). Instead of absorbing UVA and UVB radiation like chemical formulas, “Mineral sunscreens protect the skin by reflecting and scattering UVA and UVB radiation, and visible light,” says Sara Hogan, M.D., a dermatologist at the Laser Skin Care Center in Long Beach, CA, and Health Clinical Sciences Instructor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. “Look for the ingredients ‘zinc oxide’ or ‘titanium dioxide’ when selecting a mineral sunscreen. Iron oxide is often added to mineral sunscreens to give color to the ‘white cast,’ but also protects the skin from UVA and visible light, particularly blue light.”

At the Good Housekeeping Institute, our Beauty Lab regularly tests and evaluates all types of sunscreens, including sunscreen for kids and babies, face sunscreen, and sunscreen for sensitive skin. We keep current regulations at the forefront when considering sunscreens for testing. To find the best natural sunscreen, we rounded up top formulas after surveying 2,500 women, narrowed down the field, and sent 330 sunscreens out to testers. After use, our testers filled out detailed questionnaires. Sun protection is of top importance, but we also look at other factors. For example, mineral and zinc oxide sunscreens get a bad rap for being hard to spread, leaving a white cast, or having a sticky feeling, so our pros carefully combed through over 5,500 responses to find the ones folks actually want to wear.

Ahead, you’ll find sunscreens tested by our Beauty Lab that are your best bet for natural, organic, or mineral-based sun protection:

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below


Best Overal Natural Sunscreen

Mineral Non-Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion

Sun Bum


In Lab testing, this sunscreen received a near-perfect score for not causing redness or irritation. It’s also non-tacky, non-oily and doesn’t interfere with makeup. “I absolutely loved this! The silky texture went in like a makeup primer and worked as such,”
one tester says. Other testers rave that it is “silky” and “looks so natural.”

  • SPF 30
  • Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sunscreen lotion
  • Water-resistance: 40 minutes

Best Value Natural Sunscreen

Botanical Sunscreen

Australian Gold


Australian Gold uses a both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to shield skin from the sun. This sunscreen offers a grease-free finish and strongly protects against UV rays. Not only does it actually smell good (95 % of testers agreed it had a pleasant scent), but it also scored perfectly for preventing sunburn and near the top for not being oily or irritating and for its “smooth” feel. 

  • SPF 50
  • Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreen lotion
  • Water-resistance: 80 minutes

Best Natural Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield



In our most recent test on body sunscreens, we found that this sunscreen was the best pure zinc oxide formula. As far as formulas go, testers said that this one “melted into their skin.” One tester said this sunscreen “spread on a lot easier and did not have the thickness” of the other zinc oxide formulas. It’s definitely on the pricier end, but if you’re looking for a sunscreen that feels silky and luxurious, this will do the trick.

  • SPF 50
  • Zinc oxide sunscreen lotion
  • Water-resistance: 80 minutes

Best Value Natural Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion



$8.97 (25% off)

Not only is this sunscreen extremely affordable, but it’s also fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and uses pure zinc oxide as its active ingredient. Unlike many sunscreens, it doesn’t feel like you have a film on your skin when you wear it. “It wasn’t greasy, it wasn’t oily, and it wasn’t sticky or tacky — just like my regular skin but with a protective coating,” one tester raved. Plus, it’s moisturizing and goes on easily.

  • SPF 50
  • Zinc oxide sunscreen lotion
  • Water-resistance: 80 minutes

Best Natural Zinc Oxide Face Sunscreen

Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion



Okay, hear us out — we know that this sunscreen is pricy, but it was the top performer in our facial sunscreen tests. Testers agreed that this pure zinc oxide formula was gentle on skin and didn’t irritate their eyes. It didn’t feel oily, greasy, or tacky, and it provided a shine-free finish. It is an emulsion formula, so don’t forget to shake before you apply. 

  • SPF 50+
  • Zinc oxide mineral sunscreen emulsion formula
  • Water-resistance: 40 minutes

Best Natural Sunscreen for Oily Skin

Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Face Gel Lotion

Bare Republic


This innovative formula is a gel-lotion hybrid that sinks into skin instantly, leaving it matte and non-oily. formula  Testers also liked the texture and how well it stays on during exercise. “This product truly shocked me in how well it went on, how it felt on my face, how my face looked, and that there were no ill effects like many sunscreens—the burning and stinging, breakouts,” one of our testers says. 

  • SPF 30
  • Zinc oxide mineral sunscreen gel lotion
  • Water-resistance: 40 minutes

Best Natural Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion

Bare Republic


Testers gave this sunscreen a perfect score for being gentle on skin. They also said that it left skin matte and didn’t feel sticky after application. It’s only water resistant for up to 40 minutes, so if you’ll be in the water at all, plan on re-applying liberally. This is another emulsion formula, so you need to shake it before applying, or else you’ll get a non-uniform liquid. 

  • SPF 30
  • Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide mineral sunscreen lotion
  • Water-resistance: 40 minutes

Best Natural Sunscreen for Fair Skin

SheerZinc Face Sunscreen



Our Beauty Lab tested this zinc oxide face sunscreen with real consumers, who found it easy to apply and effective at preventing sunburn. It’s a great value and the silky smooth formula means you can wear it under your foundation  testers found it didn’t interfere with their makeup application. Like many mineral sunscreens, it might leave a bit of a white cast at first while it soaks in so it may be better-suited for fairer skin tones. 

  • SPF 50
  • Zinc oxide mineral sunscreen lotion
  • Water-resistance: 80 minutes

Best Non-Sticky Natural Face Sunscreen

Essential Defense Mineral Shield



After trying out this mineral sunscreen, several testers said that they wanted to purchase it for themselves. SkinMedica’s formula earned the highest score for not feeling or looking oily, interfering with makeup, or having a sticky residue. This sunscreen really doesn’t feel like sunscreen, so applying it every day is a breeze. 

  • SPF 35
  • Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide mineral sunscreen lotion
  • Not water-resistant

Best Non-Irritating Natural Sunscreen

Mineral Crème Sunscreen



If you have sensitive skin, this MDSolarSciences mineral zinc oxide- and titanium dioxide-based face sunscreen is a safe bet. In GH Beauty Lab Testing, it didn’t cause skin irritation and testers liked its delicate scent, fast absorption, and the shine-free finish that it leaves on skin. The silky texture also didn’t leave behind any white residue. “It felt like a base coat primer that reduced the appearance of pores,” one tester said. 

  • SPF 50
  • Mineral zinc oxide and titanium dioxide cream
  • Water-resistance: 80 minutes

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.