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A woman in a pink bikini putting white sun screen onto her legs.

The Ultimate Guide to Mineral Sunscreen

Looking for the perfect mineral sunscreen? Look no further. The vegan sunscreens below will save your skin and elevate your time in the sun.

The allure of a sun-kissed glow first became appealing after the one and only Coco Chanel once returned from vacation flaunting that coveted glow. Since then, the craze has only grown.

However, the damage that can be done by prolonged hours outside is far from a secret nowadays. We all know that we have to protect our skin from the harmful rays that can cause premature aging, wrinkles, liver spots, and even eye problems. It can also, of course, lead to skin cancer.

While we can try to avoid prolonged exposure and wear protective clothing, sometimes we just can’t avoid the rays or maybe just don’t want to. For these times, high-quality sunscreen is our saving grace. While chemical-laden sunscreen is out, we turn to the better for you and better for the planet, mineral sunscreen. 

Here are the best sunscreens for you from some of our go-to cosmetic and makeup brands.

What is mineral sunscreen? 

Mineral sunscreen is just as it sounds; a sunscreen that uses minerals as its active ingredients versus chemicals used in the sunscreens of yesteryear. The most common active ingredients in mineral sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

They are both naturally occurring, but can also be created synthetically.

Mineral sunscreens do work completely differently than chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin and offer protection by blocking UV rays. Mineral sunscreen, however, simply sits on top of the skin in order to reflect the harmful UV rays. 

Mineral sunscreens are often referred to as physical sunscreens, as they provide a physical barrier between skin and the UV rays.

Pros and cons of mineral sunscreen

The pros of using mineral sunscreen are that it has safe and effective ingredients, is ideal for those with sensitive skin, offers immediate protection, is safe for children, and lasts longer in direct UV light.

The few cons are that it may feel heavier on your skin, can be difficult to rub into the skin, and can rub off with sweat or water. Overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

What does reef-friendly sunscreen mean? 

Traditional chemical sunscreen has UV-blocking ingredients that have been shown to cause coral bleaching. This process turns coral white and although it is still alive, the coral is under extreme stress leaving it susceptible to disease and even death.

In 2018, the state of Hawaii banned the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are the two most common coral bleaching ingredients. In 2019, the city of Key West in Florida followed suit. 

While this is a step in the right direction, unfortunately, reef-safe is not currently a regulated term and there is not an agreed-upon definition. While all reef-friendly sunscreen brands refrain from using those two toxic chemicals, other ingredients such as preservatives and fragrances may also impact coral life.

Additional concerns lie with the fact that coral reefs can absorb nano-articles or small particles from sunscreens. To help avoid this, opting for a cream or a lotion is actually better. 

Tips for picking a mineral sunscreen: What type of sunscreen should you use?

By now, we hope we’ve painted a picture as to why mineral sunscreen is the better option, so we wanted to share a few last tips in picking out the perfect one for you.

Ensure that your mineral sunscreen is fragrance-free, water-resistant, and complies with reef-safe ingredients as mentioned above. 

Additionally, it is good to note here to always be aware of your sunscreen’s expiration date because just as food has a past date, sunscreen’s effects wear off over time in the bottle. As always, all product recommendations from us at Kinder Beauty will be vegan and cruelty-free.

Cruelty-free sunscreen is a must and vegan beauty has never been so easy to attain.

The best mineral sunscreens

Pacifica Mineral Body Butter

Life is better with a little glow and this is one type of sun protection we can't get enough of. We love this bronzing body butter from Pacifica as it gives your skin a sun-kissed glow while also offering SPF 50 protection. It is water-resistant, smells incredible, and has high-quality ingredients including shea butter, caffeine, and zinc oxide.

Drunk Elephant Tinted Sunscreen

Are you looking for light coverage that doesn’t feel heavy in the sweaty summer? Look no further than a tinted sunscreen/moisturizer. This one from cult favorite Drunk Elephant offers UVA and UVB protection and helps aid in protection from free radicals and oxidative damage. Applying sunscreen has never been so smooth!

Suntique I’m Safe

This gentle formula is ideal for those with sensitive skin and works on skins of all ages and types. In addition to the physical blocker titanium dioxide, it also has calming Centella Asiatica and aloe leaf extracts. It is also extremely moisturizing and instantly absorbs into the skin without leaving a white cast behind.

SunBum Daily Mineral Sunscreen

This mineral sunscreen from drugstore-favorite SunBum makes the list not just because it's a very effective product, but also because of its exceptional smell. The SunBum classic coconut smell is sure to get you into the summer mood, stat. It also rubs into oh-so-easily and is extremely moisturizing—and, of course, reef-safe!

Hello Bello Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

We love this Hello Bello mineral sunscreen as it comes prepared with 55+ SPF protection, making it one of the highest on the market. The reef-friendly and water-resistant formula use non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Its unique combination also includes cocoa seed butter, avocado, cucumber, and chamomile. The resulting lotion is easy to rub into the skin and has a great smooth finish, oh, and it smells pretty nice!

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Jackie Lutze has been writing about cruelty-free beauty for years and loves finding the best vegan products to help readers build their ultimate beauty routine.