The Golden State's Best Mineral-Based Physical Sunscreens

The Golden State's Best Mineral-Based Physical Sunscreens

By California.com
September 25, 2020

Whether hitting the trails, venturing to the rushing rivers, or heading to the best beaches in California, we all know wearing sunscreen is critical for protecting our skin. But it can be difficult to find that that is compatible with our skin, effective in blocking harmful UV rays, and not detrimental to the environment. This is where mineral-based sunscreen comes in.  

What is Mineral Sunscreen? 

Mineral sunscreens protect your skin by becoming a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Also known as physical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens have taken over the market, providing reef-safe, zinc-oxide sunscreens as an alternative to the chemical-laden ones of our childhoods. Though we once believed a higher SPF meant we would be getting more protection, we now know that simultaneously protecting our coral reefs and our skin is possible with as low as SPF 30. Anything higher is marginally more protective, but using non-nano zinc-oxide lotions that do not contain toxic ingredients is far better for our bodies than a higher SPF. 

While these new, safer lotions have become more prevalent, it can be hard to choose between the many options available. So, we checked out the best mineral sunscreens by California companies to make your decision easier—all you have to worry about is which swimsuit to rock at the beach, lake, or river.

The Best Zinc-Oxide Sunscreen

All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion

Enjoy all the protections of sunscreen without any of the harmful chemicals. Photo courtesy of All Good.

Headquartered in: Morro Bay

Price: $16 for 3 ounces

Price per ounce: $5.33

The All Good SPF 30 Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is a great mineral sunscreen for the face because it provides all of the protection you would expect—without any of the grease that traditionally comes with sun protection. While the lotion can go on white, massage it in and watch as it absorbs into your skin. (Pro tip: Use a moisturizer before applying zinc sunscreen, and you will have an easier time smoothing it on.) 

Benefits:

  • UVA/UVB broad-spectrum protection
  • Made with only non-nano zinc
  • Non-greasy
  • Vegan and gluten-free 
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Reef friendly
  • Purchases support environmental restoration with 1% For the Planet
  • All Good is a Certified B Corporation

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Pacifica Sunscreen

For your next pool day, grab Pacifica Beauty's hydrating, water-resistant mineral sunscreen.

Headquartered in: Carpinteria

Price: $16 for 6 ounces

Price per ounce: $2.67 

To enjoy complete protection during an action-packed day on the water, look no further than Pacifica Beauty’s Mineral Sunscreen Coconut Probiotic SPF 30. The water-resistant zinc sunscreen is designed to apply evenly while delivering complete hydration. Plus, the coconut scent will transport your senses straight to the tropics. 

Benefits:

  • Easy to apply
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • Reef safe
  • UVA/UVB protection
  • Coconut prebiotic
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Sprays on white but blends in easily
  • 100-percent vegan and cruelty-free

 

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen

Juice Beauty offers a hydrating sunscreen made with certified-organic ingredients and broad-spectrum zinc. Photo courtesy of Juice Beauty.

Headquartered in: San Rafael

Price: $16 for 3 ounces

Price per ounce: $5.33

Made specifically for outdoor recreation, Juice Beauty’s SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen is designed for all skin types, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin. On top of providing the sun protection you expect from sunscreen, this lotion also includes vitamins C and E—plus organic coconut, aloe, and jojoba for antioxidant hydration. 

Benefits:

  • Non-nano mineral zinc oxide
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Reef safe
  • UVA/UVB protection
  • Cruelty-free
  • Formulated with organic ingredients

 

Coola Mineral Body Sunscreen Spray SPF 30

Coola provides plant-sourced sun protection with its broad-spectrum, antioxidant-rich mineral sunscreens. Photo courtesy of Coola.

Headquartered in: Carlsbad

Price: $42 for 8 ounces

Price per ounce: $5.25

Coola’s Mineral Body Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 features 70-percent organic ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin. This formula is crafted using antioxidants as well as plant-derived products, which help to fight free radicals and nourish skin.

Benefits:

  • Available in tropical coconut or fragrance-free
  • Non-nano zinc oxide
  • Sprays on white and dries sheer
  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Reef safe
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • Perfect for sensitive skin

 

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30

Beautycounter provides an easy-to-apply, non-sticky mineral sunscreen that can quickly be sprayed all over the body. Photo courtesy of Beautycounter.

Headquartered in: Santa Monica

Price: $36 for 6 ounces

Price per ounce: $6

Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist is the perfect solution for everyone who hates applying and wearing sunscreen. The easy, air-powered mist makes for extremely fast application, and the end result is surprisingly pleasant because there is seriously no oily residue left behind. If you are in a hurry, this zinc sunblock is absolutely the way to go. 

Benefits:

  • Easy application
  • Non-nano zinc oxide
  • Reef friendly
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • UVA/UVB protection
  • Sprays on white to guide application but blends in easily
  • Beautycounter is a Certified B Corporation

 

Raw Elements Face and Body Tint SPF 30

Raw Elements uses only certified-natural, reef-safe ingredients in all of its products. Photo courtesy of Raw Elements.

Headquartered in: Huntington Beach

Price: $19 for 3 ounces

Price per ounce: $6.33

Crafted with all-natural ingredients, Raw Elements’ Face and Body Tint SPF 30 sunscreen takes care of the planet as well as your skin. While the application process may be slightly different than you would expect from traditional sunscreen, this product is among the best mineral sunscreens for the face and is likely to become a new favorite. Its rich antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and more are bound to keep your skin feeling good and healthy. 

Benefits:

  • Plastic-free
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • UVA/UVB protection
  • Biodegradable
  • Never runs or stings eyes
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Reef safe
  • Free of soy, gluten, and nuts 
  • Cruelty-free
  • Non-GMO



Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum's award-winning zinc sunscreen protects and moisturizes the skin. Photo courtesy of Sun Bum.

Headquartered in: Encinitas

Price: $15 for 3 ounces

Price per ounce: $5

The award-winning Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion by Sun Bum is a cult favorite for a reason. This zinc-based sunscreen is lightweight yet powerful and moisturizing yet non-greasy, making it easy to go au naturel no matter where your California adventures take you. Best of all, the lotion glides on effortlessly and soaks into the skin, so you can kiss any residue goodbye.

Benefits:

  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • UVA/UVB protection
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Reef safe
  • Vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free

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