Despite knowing that we should wear sunscreen every day, most of us don’t for a very good reason: it’s sticky. And gloopy. And makes you sweat. And as for reapplication… is anyone really going to slather on more layers of sunscreen over makeup through the day? Exactly.
Thankfully, there are alternatives.
Powder sunscreens – mineral blends that provide physical protection – are the ultimate in summer salvation. They dust on invisibly over makeup while absorbing excess oil and leaving a smooth finish. In most cases, they even sop up any excess grease that would make your makeup smudge. Powder sunscreens are also easy to apply and feel absolutely weightless.
Are they effective? I have fair skin that blushes bright red within 15 minutes of soaking in the sunlight. Yet, every time I use a powder sunscreen, my skin remains happy. And since the active ingredients in a mineral powder won’t break down in a hot car as quickly as liquid formulas, you can safely keep one stashed in the glove compartment.
And it’s something you can throw in your bag without fear of spilling because of the brush or sponge mechanisms. Reapplying just got really, really easy.
With one caveat: Powder sunscreen is not so great around water. So when you hit the beach, stick to the slimy stuff. But for everyday wear, pick one from this curation of the best powder sunscreens for your face. You won’t look back.
Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35 PA+++
Supergoop! has achieved cult status for its sunscreens and this powder version is no different. While it gives light to medium coverage, the true genius lies in its power to set makeup and keep it from budging. So, goodbye to midday oil slicks and blush sliding off your face!
Plus, the coated silica spheres diffuse light and create a soft focus, pore diminishing finish, while the presence of ceramides and olive glycerides keep skin well conditioned. This one is particularly good for dry or dehydrated complexions that tend to start looking cakey or patchy with powders.
Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50
As a cream-to-powder sunscreen that’s especially formulated for inflamed, irritated and redness prone skin, Avene’s High Protection Tinted Compact is the one is the one I bring out when my skin is feeling particularly sensitive or acne-prone.
It comes with a built-in mirror and is water resistant up to 40 minutes, may be the only protection your skin needs this summer. Added bonus: It is formulated with photo-stable vitamin E, which helps protect the complexion against skin-damaging free radicals.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
Yes, Colerescience is definitely a splurge but I love this powder sunscreen for a number of reasons — and so does almost every beauty editor I know! It has a high level of SPF, goes on streak-free and is water resistant (for up to 80 minutes).
Plus, it’s got hyaluronic acid for added hydration, iron oxide to protect against blue light, Infraguard technology to shield skin from infrared radiation, antioxidants to prevent free radical damage AND antimicrobial brush bristles to help keep it hygienic.
The powder itself is lightweight and can easily double up as a semi-sheer base or be called upon to set your makeup, while simultaneously tackling greasy skin or shiny spots.
Not only does this loose mineral powder sunscreen offer broad spectrum protection, it also benefits from iS Clinical’s botanical antioxidant Extremozyme technology, which helps protect against other environmental stressors (think pollution!) as well. Plus, the just-opaque-enough coverage level reduces the appearance of redness, imperfections, blemishes and visible pores. And, despite being a powder, it feels hydrating — so win-win!
ILIA Flow-Thru Radiant Transclucent Powder SPF 20
While ILIA’s SPF rating is not high enough to be a standalone sunscreen (unless you are popping out for just about 20 minutes!), the silky, oil balancing powder makes it perfect for touchups. It’s also got skin soothing aloe vera and rosemary, which makes it perfect for days when my skin is feeling particularly irritated. Skin-balancing, it blends perfectly and leaves no chalky residue.
Jane Iredale Powder Me SPF 30 Dry Sunscreen
Jane Iredale’s powder sunscreen comes with a magnetised brush that can be quickly detached for cleaning — and trust me, you really want to clean you sunscreen brush after it has mopped up a few oil spills on your skin!
The sunscreen itself is a vegan formula that can be used on the face, body and scalp. It goes on cleanly and doesn’t clog my pores. However, there’s a very small range of shades with “Tan” being the deepest. And since “tan” can mean different things to different people, either try out the product before you buy or stick to “Translucent”.