Even the best powder sunscreens aren’t an adequate substitute for traditional sunscreen. So why bother with one? It’s because powder sunscreens are ideal for touch-ups, protecting your scalp from sunburn, and mattifying oily skin.
Powder sunscreens are good because they are gentle to sensitive skin, especially acne-prone complexions. They also double as setting powder, leaving space in your bag for other things.
Check out the best powder sunscreens here, then scroll down to learn more about each one.
|The best powder sunscreens||Why we love them|
|Colorescience Brush-On Sunscreen Mineral Powder||
|Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen||
|DERMA E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30||
|Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Powder Sunscreen||
|jane iredale Powder-Me SPF 30 Dry Sunscreen||
|[KARADIUM] Collagen Smart Sun Pact SPF50+ PA+++||
- 1 How to get the most from a powder sunscreen
- 2 How to choose the best powder sunscreen
- 3 Best Powder Sunscreens in 2023
- 4 Conclusion
How to get the most from a powder sunscreen
You’ve heard that you need to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours. This is a problem that powder sunscreen solves in the neatest way possible. Instead of slathering on more greasy, sticky sunscreen, you can dust a layer of protective powder on your face, hairline, scalp, and neck. You might also want to do the backs of your hands and the tops of your feet.
Powder sunscreen is perfect over the top of makeup because it acts as a finishing powder. It helps soak up extra oil while it protects against harmful rays.
Even if you spend most of your time in front of the computer, you’re exposing yourself to blue light which worsens hyperpigmentation. That’s not to mention the UVA rays that can penetrate window glass and make your skin age prematurely. Powder sunscreen is a quick and easy way to throw up a defense. (Take a look at the best-selling Colorescience powder below).
Of course, if you’ll be swimming or sweating a lot, make sure the powder sunscreen is water-resistant. And if you’ll be spending a lot of time in direct sunlight, it’s still hard to beat a traditional sunscreen lotion for long-lasting protection.
How to choose the best powder sunscreen
Sit down before you start shopping for powder sunscreen – it’s not cheap. Thankfully, some affordable choices provide all the essentials. For example, it’s not hard to find powder sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB, plus a minimum of SPF 30. But what does all that mean?
SPF is a rating that shows how much the product protects against the UVB rays that cause sunburn. But if the label says the sunscreen is “broad-spectrum,” then it also protects against UVA rays that cause photo-aging and skin cancer. It’s just that the USA doesn’t require manufacturers to put a number on UVA protection (1).
However, you’ll see Korean powder sunscreen with both SPF and PA ratings. The more plus signs that follow the PA the better the defense against UVA rays. Some American companies have started labeling their products like this, too.
Besides the protection factor, look at the water resistance. There are two categories – up to forty minutes and up to eighty minutes. We admit to being skeptical about how well a powder sunscreen stands up to water since it sits on the surface of the skin. After all, the powder is comprised of minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that reflect harmful rays away from the skin. (Compare that to a chemical sunscreen that absorbs the harmful rays).
Lastly, consider how the powder sunscreen is packaged. Many come in a tube with an applicator brush. The downside is that it’s difficult or impossible to wash the brush. Others come in a compact like finishing powder, so at least you could wash the puff. See the reviews below to learn more.
Best Powder Sunscreens in 2023
Colorescience Brush-On Sunscreen Mineral Powder
What’s the best powder sunscreen for the face? Most experts and influencers would recommend this one. Of course, it’s the most expensive, but it’s also the highest-rated. It’s an award-winning cosmetic that’s recommended by dermatologists.
This mineral powder is an all-in-one bodyguard. It defends against UVA and UVB rays plus infrared and blue light. Infrared heats the skin, leading to moisture loss and inflammation. Meanwhile, blue light (also known as High Energy Visible Light) can cause discoloration and make the skin age faster.
But wait, there’s a lot more to love. The powder is water-resistant for up to eighty minutes and it won’t harm wildlife in the waterways. Not only that, it’s non-comedogenic and mattifying to keep your skin looking fresh and clean throughout the day.
The non-nano powder contains antioxidants to fight off damage from pollution and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin supple. Moreover, it’s available in four shades to match every skin tone. Since it’s lightly tinted, you might end up not needing foundation after all.
One tube lasts approximately ninety days, so it’s not a bad deal when you think about all the grief it can save you and average out the daily cost.
Users say that it’s comfortable to wear and easy to use. The only downside is not being able to wash the brush. But this is less of a problem if you’re careful not to dab it on to greasy, sweaty, recently moisturized skin.
- Award-winning, dermatologist-recommended powder sunscreen
- Guards against UVA, UVB, infrared, and HEV light
- Non-comedogenic and infused with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid for healthy skin
- Available in four shades for every skin tone
- Reef-safe and water-resistant for up to eighty minutes
- The brush can’t be removed for cleaning
Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen
We watched it happen right before our eyes – someone fell in love with the Colorescience powder until they saw the price tag. Then, they started searching for a less expensive dupe and found this sunscreen. It offers all the basics and has attractive additional benefits.
It contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for SPF 30 protection. Furthermore, it has skin-soothing ingredients like green tea and chamomile that are packed with antioxidants to prevent sun damage. But don’t forget the HEV protection from the iron oxides.
Like most mineral sunscreens, it’s reef-safe and kind to sensitive skin. You can even use it on children.
Users gave advice on how to dispense the powder. They said to hold the entire bottom section and rotate it just a quarter to a half of a turn. Once a little powder starts to emerge, it’s ready to apply.
- Affordable dupe for the Colorescience powder
- Offers SPF 30 mineral protection and probable defense against HEV
- Infused with antioxidants and skin-soothing chamomile and green tea
- Water-resistant and mild enough for children to use
- Be careful dispensing the powder to avoid spilling it
DERMA E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30
This California-based brand designed its powder to be both sunscreen and makeup. It’s translucent, lightweight, and never cakey, making it suitable for setting makeup. It keeps the complexion mattified and adds a hint of radiance.
Don’t worry, it’s a non-nano powder. There are no artificial fragrances, parabens, gluten, GMOs, or petrolatum derivatives in it. Instead, it features green tea, chamomile, and vitamin E to reduce inflammation.
Dust a little powder along the part in your hair and keep your scalp from getting sunburned, too.
- Translucent, non-caking powder sunscreen that sets makeup
- Mattifies and soothes the skin with chamomile, green tea, and vitamin E
- Free of artificial fragrances, petrolatum derivatives, parabens, gluten, and GMOs
- We saw a few complaints about spills or difficulty in dispensing the powder
Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Powder Sunscreen
Don’t you hate it when your powder is chalky? We were happy that this sunscreen doesn’t have that problem. It’s translucent, which makes it ideal for setting makeup on any skin tone. It doesn’t cake or crease into lines, and it lasts up to twelve hours (as finishing powder).
Also, it has a delicious vanilla aroma, which makes touch-ups something to look forward to.
The formula is vegan and natural. Try it around your eyes because it shouldn’t make them sting as the typical sunscreen does.
- Translucent powder that doesn’t cake, look chalky, or settle into lines
- Delicious vanilla scent from real vanilla
- Vegan with natural ingredients
- Not water-resistant
jane iredale Powder-Me SPF 30 Dry Sunscreen
You know what we love about this powder sunscreen? It’s refillable. That’s a crucial difference between it and the competition. And because it’s refillable, you can clean the blessed brush (finally!).
But if little details like that haven’t won you over, you need a hands-on moment with this product. First, notice the softness of the bristles – they feel nicer than the ones on most of the other powder sunscreens we tried.
Next, it’s oil-absorbent thanks to boron nitride, a safe ingredient that also improves adherence and creates a soft-focus effect. It’s no wonder that this powder lasts all day. It’s even okay if you get sweaty because it’s water-resistant for up to forty minutes.
The powder makes redness less noticeable and calms inflammation with Montmorillonite, pomegranate, and pine bark. What’s more, the formula contains no talc, fragrance, GMOs, synthetic preservatives, animal ingredients, phthalates, or parabens. It’s clean and cruelty-free.
- Refillable (and by virtue of this fact, the brush is washable)
- Soft, fluffy bristles and powder with a pleasing texture
- Sunscreen with a soft-focus effect that also reduces redness and mattifies
- Free of fragrances, parabens, phthalates, talc, and GMOs
- Water-resistant for up to forty minutes
- Certified cruelty-free
- The active sunscreen ingredient is titanium dioxide – there’s no zinc oxide
[KARADIUM] Collagen Smart Sun Pact SPF50+ PA+++
Which compact powder has SPF? This one from Korea, of course. It has a high sun protection factor and it extends makeup wear time because it soaks up excess oil and sweat. The soft-focus filter makes large pores less noticeable and keeps the complexion fresh.
It’s not drying, either. The formula includes silk powder and collagen to create a “moisture shield” to keep the skin supple.
There’s only one downside. The sunscreen is available in two shades only, and both are for fair skin. This is a problem for darker skin tones because the finely pressed powder offers visible coverage.
- Pressed powder compact extends makeup wear
- Soft-focus effect, mattifies
- Collagen and silk powder to maintain supple skin
- Only two shades available for light skin only
It’s worth it to get one of the best powder sunscreens because it’s the easiest way to keep your skin protected throughout the day. Use it to keep your scalp from getting sunburned and your complexion shine-free, too.
We hope our reviews helped you discover your new favorite sunscreen today. If so, tell us more about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/sunscreen-patients/sunscreen-faqs by the American Academy of Dermatology, accessed September 14, 2021