When you think of sunscreen, your mind probably jumps to a thick, goopy lotion that smells way too strong and feels overly sticky. But protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays doesn’t have to be so uncomfortable. In fact, it can become an easy (and enjoyable!) part of your beauty routine if you opt for a slightly different formula.

Enter powder sunscreens: These high-performing SPF powders protect your skin, absorb excess oil, and even out your complexion without feeling heavy.

“Powder sunscreens are beneficial to those who wear makeup in the summer but don’t want the greasy feeling of a lotion. You can use these powders over your makeup or by itself,” says Ellen Marmur MD, a New York City-based dermatologist and founder of Marmur Metamorphosis Skincare.

Still, the concept of using powder only may feel a bit wrong if you’ve only ever slathered on a lotion to get your SPF fix. Depending on your skin type, activity level, and desired coverage, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best powder SPF for you.


How to choose (and use) the best powder sunscreen

Kick up the SPF: Look for a broad-spectrum powder that’s SPF 30 or higher, and opt for mineral formulas (meaning they contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) over chemical ingredients (such as oxybenzone). According to a recent FDA report, mineral ingredients are the safest and most effective for all skin types.

Mind your skin type: Because powder sunscreens sit on top of the skin, they’ll be your best friend if you’re oily or acne-prone. If you’re on the dry side, look for finer powders that contain hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid or ceramides, to avoid a heavier-looking application.

Don’t forget to reapply: Like any other sunscreen, it’s important to reapply your SPF every two hours. Powder sunscreens make this process much easier, since you can simply touch-up over your makeup. Still, it’s important to note that most powder sunscreens aren’t water resistant for long periods of time, so be sure to read the label if you plan on spending time in the water.

Now that you have the basics down, we made the process of finding the best powder sunscreen a bit easier. Below, the best formulas to reach for all year long.

Sunscreen has been around for almost 100 years, so it’s about time things got interesting. For better or worse, the past few years have seen innovative sun-protection techniques hit the market — some we love, like SPF for the scalp, and some that worry the Food and Drug Administration, like alleged “sunscreen pills.”

One seemingly new-school invention is powdered sunscreen, like the new Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30, Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50, and the Brush On Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen. But does a powder provide the same protection as slathering on your favorite lotion sunscreen? We asked the experts how we should be working this new option into our skin-care routines.

What is powdered sunscreen?

I’ve always pictured the inventor of sunscreen products to be a scientist with a great spray tan and huge sunglasses, working in a lab situated directly on the equator. But according to cosmetic chemist Stephen Alain Ko, powdered sunscreen is far from a new development. In fact, the active ingredients in all sunscreens already exist in powder form. “Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide used as sunscreens are already provided as powders or powders dispersed in liquids,” says Ko.

Cream and spray sunscreens are formulated as liquid to “ensure maximum dispersion of the titanium dioxide and provide an even coating of sunscreen agents on the skin,” Ko says. There’s no “special formulation” that turns sun-protective ingredients into powders because they exist that way in the first place. Ingredient-wise, you’re getting the same goods in a tin of powder that you are in a spray can.

How should you apply powdered sunscreen?

The “shot glass rule,” for the unfamiliar, is a layman’s way of making sure that you wear the proper amount of sunscreen. The rule states that it takes about a shot glass full of cream or lotion sunscreen to adequately cover the body.

But the same rule doesn’t apply to powdered sunscreen. Ko’s blog has a helpful visual representation of how much powder it takes to achieve the SPF protection claimed on the label. If your powdered sunscreen is labeled SPF 25, but you only blot on a swipe of powder, you’re likely not getting the full power of the sun-blocking ingredients.

“It amounts to quite a large amount of powder, which most people may not have an easy time applying,” says Ko. He points out that Colorescience recommends “two passes” when applying its powdered sunscreen.

When should you use powdered sunscreen?

“In theory, powdered sunscreens would be great if thoroughly applied to the entire face in a thicker coat,” says Anna Guanche, a California-based board-certified dermatologist. But since no one has the time (or money) to apply half a jar of powder to their faces halfway through a beach day, she recommends saving SPF powder for touch-ups.

“Apply a mixed chemical and physical sunscreen to the skin first thing in the A.M.,” says Guanche, “then touch up with the powder sunscreen throughout the day on the most sunburn-prone areas: midface, nasal bridge, and upper forehead.”

Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Health, agrees that powder is great, as long as you’re not just using powder. “They are ideal for reapplication over makeup, but I would caution against as a primary method of sun protection, as the amount applied is likely insufficient to properly protect the skin,” she says.

These dermatologists do not suggest ditching powdered sunscreen altogether — after all, everyone can use more sun protection. Just be sure that you’re adding it to an existing base of sunscreen-coated skin, instead of using powder as the only barrier between yourself and UV rays.

OK, I have all my sunscreen on. What now?

This wouldn’t be an article about sunscreen if we didn’t remind you that sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect yourself from all the skin-damaging effects of UV rays. “Remember to also wear hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing, including long sleeve shirts, to remain properly protected,” says Marchbein. That’s after you coat your face and body in cream or lotion SPF — and then blot away any summer sweat with an extra swipe of sunscreen powder.

Check out a few of our favorite powdered sunscreens:

courtesy of brand

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 (Shop Now)

courtesy of brand

Brush On Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen (Shop Now)

courtesy of brand

Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30 (Shop Now)

Courtesy of brand

ISDIN Fotoprotector Mineral SunBrush (Shop Now)

Courtesy of brand

Supergoop 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder (Shop Now)

More on sun protection:

  • The 22 Best Sunscreens to Use on Your Face
  • FDA Announces Sunscreen Safety Proposal With Major Implications
  • The 13 Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones

Now, see how sun care has evolved within the last 100 years:

You can follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all things beauty.


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It’s very nearly summer, so let’s talk about powder sunscreen – one of the most unique ways of protecting your skin. Sunscreen is critical in preventing sunburn and skin cancer, and on the vainer side of things it’s the best product for keeping the skin wrinkle-free, but do sunscreen powders work as well as oily sunscreen lotions?

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If you’ve been following me for a bit, then you know I love me a multi-tasker and that more than that, I love a sunscreen. A mattifying or setting powder SPF sounds like it’d fit the bill on all fronts! However, sunscreens are a tricky product category. You do one thing wrong and bam – sunburn!


That is why I’m covering the very best powder sunscreens available in the cosmetics aisle. I also explain exactly what powder sunscreen is, as well as its special benefits.

I explain how powder SPF compares to liquid and cream sunscreens and help you understand when to use which. To finish things off, I address some safety concerns you might have, and then give the most thorough instructions for applying powder sunscreen along with some useful tips and tricks.

Your Guide to Powder Sunscreen: Contents


  • 13 Best Powder Sunscreens to Try
  • What Is Powder Sunscreen?
  • Powder Sunscreen Benefits
  • Liquid Vs. Powder Sunscreen: When to Use Which?
  • Is Powder Sunscreen Safe?
  • How to Use Powder Sunscreen
  • Powder Sunscreen Tips

13 Best Powder Sunscreens to Try

Looking for new ways of protecting your skin from the harmful sun rays? Consider these powder sunscreen options that are the best in the category.

1. Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

You’ll be happy to pull this vegan powder sunscreen out of your bag when it’s time to apply, because the packaging is cute and the application is easy-peasy. Made with both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, it provides broad spectrum protection. The applicator is built into the container, so all you have to do is click a button a few times and the soft brush will become saturated with powder SPF. It’ll leave your skin looking matte but not dry, and smelling very faintly of tasty vanilla. It is available at Sephora.


2. Jane Iredale Powder Me Dry Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This powder sunscreen from Jane Iredale is all-mineral, which will surely appeal to those who prefer natural cosmetics. It has a translucent finish that will work for light to medium skin tones, and a mattifying finish aided by oil-absorbing montmorillonite clay. A touch of pomegranate extract gives an antioxidant boost. At only 30 SPF, this is definitely a touch-up sunscreen for short excursions outdoors. You can buy it from Nordstrom.

3. Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30

This is the best powder sunscreen formula on our list for those wanting a more nourishing and anti-aging formula. It is made with zinc oxide to provide comprehensive protection, along with moisturizing ceramides and antioxidant vitamins. Once applied to your skin, we guarantee you won’t feel it. The shade is ostensibly universal, but it may not work for the darkest skin tones. It comes with a built-in brush that is as soft as a cloud. Order it from Dermstore!

4. Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45

This pre-loaded brush is full of the highest powder SPF we’ve seen so far, so if you’re in need of serious protection this is the best powder sunscreen for you. The formula is boosted with stabilizing vitamin C and nourishing ceramides, but it is still light and should work for all skin types. It comes in four colors, which is great for those who are often under-served by the beauty industry. The only drawback is that the packaging is a little finicky, but keep reading to learn the solution to that. Find it at Nordstrom!


5. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45

This is another high-SPF formula that gives really thorough UVA protection thanks to a double dose of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The finish of this powder sunscreen is quite matte, and despite being marketed as translucent it does have a bit of warmth that may not work for those with lighter skin tones but will be appreciated by those with medium to dark skin who are usually woefully underserved. The brush leaves something to be desired, so you might choose to decant it. Pick it up at Sephora!


6. Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30

This is another powder SPF option that gets a lot of credit for offering enough color options to suit many skin tones. This formula contains a bit of silicone so it goes on super smooth, with a bit of a skin-blurring effect. Once again, the brush is not the best on the market, but it’s worth it for the incredible protection and color choice. It is available at Nordstrom.

7. Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Face Powder by Ash Deleon SPF 30

This gentle sunscreen powder is one of the more affordable options on this list, but it provides comprehensive protection in a convenient package. It is lightweight with a silky finish and a color that will work best for those with a medium skin tone. The formula contains a touch of chamomile and green tea extracts to give a soothing boost of antioxidants. Buy it from Ulta!

8. Arcona Nearly Invisible Dry Mineral Powder SPF 30

This sheer powder sunscreen is truly translucent, and should work for most skin tones. It comes with a built-in brush with a little button on the end for dispensing powder. The broad-spectrum formula boasts antioxidant vitamin E, smoothing vitamin A, and soothing chamomile and oat powder. You won’t feel it on your skin, and while it’ll absorb some oil it won’t make you overly matte. You can get it at Nordstrom.

9. Brush on Block Mineral Face Sunscreen Powder Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This sunscreen powder formula includes a lot of natural skin care ingredients, including chamomile, green tea, and even moisturizing safflower oil. It has a slightly luminescent finish that is super flattering. It is quite water- and sweat-resistant, which is another benefit. It comes in two shades. Order it from Amazon!


10. Sweat Mineral Foundation SPF 30

Sweat is a brand making products with athletes in mind, so you know this powder sunscreen will hold up even through a rigorous and sweaty workout. It is both a sunscreen and a mineral foundation, offering light, blendable coverage. Beyond the sunscreen ingredients it also contains vitamin E and milk thistle extract. It is available in 5 shades at Anthropologie.

11. La Bella Donna LBD Sun Protection SPF 50

This sunscreen powder has the highest SPF on this list because it is made primarily of the sunscreen minerals, with just a touch of bismuth oxychloride for its anti-inflammatory effects and some iron oxides for color. It has a translucent color that should work for most skin tones, with a light, semi-matte finish that will work for all skin types. You can find it at Walmart.

12. Catrin Natural 100 Mineral Sun Kill RX Sunscreen SPF 46

This unique mineral sunscreen powder comes with a powder puff applicator, which you may like if you struggle with brushes. The formula itself offers both UVA and UVB protection. It does have a bit of coverage in a color that will work for lighter skin tones, as is common with Asian beauty products. Buy it through Amazon!

13. Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30

If you need something small and compact for when you’re out and about, this might be the best powder sunscreen for you. Pressed powders like this one take up less space and tend to be less messy, although they do require that you also carry with you an applicator of some sort. The formula is quite nourishing, with a collection of natural extracts along with vitamins A, E, and C. It gives the skin a natural, airbrushed finish, and comes in a translucent shade that gives a bit of coverage. It is sold at Ulta.

What Is Powder Sunscreen?

Powder sunscreen is exactly what it sounds like. Powder sunscreen is a powder similar to a translucent makeup powder that provides sun protection. The sunscreen protection comes from zinc oxide occasionally combined with titanium dioxide.

These two mineral ingredients are able to provide high level of protection from both UVA and UVB rays. They are the most popular SPF ingredients you’ll see in sunscreens from natural brands. They come in a dry, powdery form and are dispersed in a cream to form a sunscreen. Instead of a dispersing them in a cream, the new innovation is to mix them with other dry ingredients in order to make a powder that protects from the sun.

Powder sunscreens usually have a slight mattifying effect on the skin, and they can come either tinted to fit particular skin tones or translucent in order to work with most skin colors. They usually come in a container with a brush or sponge applicator built in for an easy application on the go.

Powder Sunscreen Benefits

Apparently, this innovative sunscreen options has quite a few benefits, which are:

• Doesn’t Feel Greasy or Heavy

Unlike cream sunscreens, a powder SPF doesn’t feel greasy on the skin. Instead, it actually has a dry, nearly invisible finish and a weightless feel.

• Easy to Apply over Makeup

Re-applying sunscreen on top of makeup is basically impossible with a cream sunscreen. A powder sunscreen sits on top of makeup beautifully, and can even help boost the coverage and longevity of your look.

• Mattifies the Skin

Powder SPF can absorb excess oils from the skin, leaving it looking matte. This is especially great for those who have oily skin, as it’ll prevent you from looking shiny even on hot days.

• Sets Foundation

Your powder SPF can easily double as your setting powder! You can apply it to your skin after you’ve put on foundation and it will help absorb excess moisture from your makeup while also waterproofing it. This will ensure that your foundation doesn’t fade or smudge throughout the day.

• Doesn’t Dilute or Interfere with Other Sunscreens

It’s a complicated game to put one kind of sunscreen on top of a different kind, as the different sunscreen ingredients will not play nicely with one another and might end up canceling each other out or diluting each other, thereby reducing your protection. This is not an issue with powder sunscreen, since it doesn’t mix with the layers below it. Instead it creates a brand-new layer of protection.

• Non-Comedogenic

It can be very tough to find a liquid sunscreen that won’t cause breakouts (although they do exist), but powder SPF products are almost always non-comedogenic. If your skin gets clogged at the drop of a hat then definitely invest in a powder sunscreen.

• Great for Sensitive Skin

A liquid sunscreen formula is a complex thing that will contain a variety of preservatives and emulsifiers. Often sunscreens will also contain alcohol and fragrances. These ingredients, along with the sunscreen chemicals themselves, can irritate the skin, especially since the thin formulas can penetrate through the top layers of the stratum corneum.

Powder SPF formulas are much simpler since they are free of liquids. They don’t require any of these potentially irritating ingredients, and as a result they are unlikely to cause allergies, contact dermatitis, or any other types of irritation.

Liquid Vs. Powder Sunscreen: When to Use Which?

I’ve hyped up powder sunscreen quite a bit so far, so it’s quite important that I address this. Unfortunately, powder SPF is no replacement for your cream or liquid sunscreen. I know, I’m sad about it too.

Creamy sunscreens are often just so heavy and gross, while liquid ones contain so much alcohol that they make my eyes sting. Powder SPF, in comparison, is as good as makeup, with a matte, unobtrusive finish and the ability to make me less oily!

But here’s the thing: for a sunscreen to offer full protection it must be used at around 2mg per square centimeter of skin, which roughly equates to a ¼ teaspoon for the face. Any less than that and the reduction of SPF is exponential.

If you only use ⅛ teaspoon you’re not getting half the coverage – you’re getting a third of it. This is why you can’t rely on your foundation for sun protection; if you were to use a full ¼ teaspoon of foundation your face might be protected but your makeup will look like a cakey mess.

Cream and liquid sunscreens sink a little bit into the skin after they’re applied, so it’s easier to apply multiple layers of them. Powders, however, do not sink into the skin. A quarter teaspoon of cream sunscreen already feels like a lot of product, but a quarter teaspoon of powder will turn your face into a cakey, powdery mess. In addition to that, powders are simply harder to control so you’ll have a very tough time ensuring that your whole face is covered evenly.

This is why it’s important to always start your day with a layer of cream sunscreen under your makeup. This layer will provide you with a base of coverage that will keep you protected for a couple of hours of direct sun exposure.

I recommend Stephen Alain Ko’s method of applying a ⅛ tsp of sunscreen, waiting five minutes, and then applying a second ⅛ tsp layer. However, after 4-6 hours some of this sunscreen will naturally fade from yourself even without any exposure to the sun, which is why touch-ups are so important. You will find that this is much easier to do with a light, elegant sunscreen like one of the ones I recommend here.

Later on, in the day you can use powder SPF as a reinforcement or touch-up product, especially if you’re wearing makeup. Chances are that you will only apply enough powder SPF to gain about 45 minutes of protection (going by calculations from Michelle at Lab Muffin), but this might be all you need to protect yourself when heading back home from school or work.

On days when you’ll be out in the sun all day long it is better to skip the makeup altogether and to apply a cream sunscreen every two hours so you can get full protection each time you reapply. Additionally, it’s better not to rely solely on your sunscreen for protection: wear a hat, sunglasses, and stay covered with light but long-sleeved clothing.

Is Powder Sunscreen Safe?

There are two safety concerns worth discussing when it comes to powder sunscreens. The first is whether they actually work. After all, the only thing more dangerous than not wearing sunscreen is wearing an ineffective one while thinking you’re protected.

For a very long time the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would not approve powder sunscreens but earlier this year they changed their tune. Nowadays, companies wanting to sell powder sunscreens in the US have to provide the FDA with additional data proving their efficacy, so we actually know that powder SPF is safe, well-researched, and well-regulated.

The second is regarding inhalation. The concern comes from the (fairly low) cancer risks of inhaling the active sunscreen ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The inhalation concerns apply primarily to nano version of these minerals, though in powders they are usually micronized (i.e. slightly bigger) and therefore less dangerous.

Beyond that, the initial concerns didn’t pop up because of cosmetic powders or sunscreens, they started because people who were inhaling these minerals day in and day out in their workplaces were experiencing ill effects. Occasionally inhaling a small amount while applying your powder SPF shouldn’t pose a risk.

However, as with any powder product, you do want to be careful not to inhale your powder sunscreen when you apply it. The application only takes a few seconds, so holding your breath shouldn’t be a problem.

How to Use Powder Sunscreen

Since it’s so difficult to get even initial protection from a powder sunscreen, it is best to use them for touch-ups throughout the day, especially if you’re wearing makeup. They are best for the face and neck, but achieving high protection from them on the rest of the body is difficult and therefore not recommended.

• You always want to start your day with a base layer of cream or liquid sunscreen, using a full ¼ teaspoon to cover the whole face.

• Wait 5-10 minutes to allow your sunscreen to sink into the skin a little bit and to become drier.

• You can follow that up with your typical makeup application, being careful to use stippling motions that won’t drag or remove any of your sunscreen.

• Once it’s time to set your makeup you can use your typical setting powder or use your brand-new powder SPF.

• Technically, sunscreen should be reapplied after two hours of direct sun exposure. However, if you’ve been indoors most of the day you should still put on more sunscreen before heading out since some of your sunscreen will have rubbed off throughout the day.

• To use your powder SPF, first dispense some of it on your applicator of choice. For built-in brushes this means shaking it a bit, pressing down on the brush, or pressing on a button at the bottom to saturate the brush with powder.

• If you’ve decanted your sunscreen then dip your brush into the container it’s in.

• Apply the powder sunscreen in a pressing motion rather than a dragging one, and make sure your areas of application overlap. Do so methodically, making sure to cover the whole face, and pay special attention to the high points of the face like the forehead, cheeks, and nose, as they are going to absorb more UV than other parts of your face.

• Apply a second layer if you feel like you need extra protection.

Powder Sunscreen Tips

• While some people love the built-in brush contraptions that powder SPF comes in, for others they can be difficult to use. If the container is not working for you simply decant the powder into a different container (I’m partial to these) and apply it with your favorite face brush.

• One of the best uses for powder sunscreen is in the hairline and along the part. A regular sunscreen will get on your hair and make it and your scalp feel greasy, while a powder sunscreen will actually absorb oils from your scalp while providing protection, almost acting like a dry shampoo.


Powder Sunscreen Is the Hero SPF Product Your Beauty Routine Is Missing

Want to know the secret for zapping oil from your face after a few hours in the sun (without wiping off your SPF) and for preventing scalp burns without making your hair oily? Well, we’ve finally discovered the hero SPF product you’ve been missing: powder sunscreen.

Powdered sunscreen is typically a mineral-based product that can be brushed onto the skin to deflect ultraviolet radiation, says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. While the idea of dusting yourself with powder to prevent sunburn and aging may seem too good to be true, it shouldn’t be so farfetched, since the active ingredients in most sunscreens—like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—already exist in powder form, points out Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City.

But you may be wondering, are powders as safe as other types of sunscreen? In order to achieve the SPF level advertised on the product label, you must apply the product—whether a lotion or powder—sufficiently and liberally, explains Dr. Nazarian. Because super lightweight powders are unlikely to provide effective coverage, be sure to choose one that’s sweat-proof (read: water-resistant) and has a high SPF, she adds. While a lotion should be your first choice for sunscreen (since it offers better coverage), you can use a powdered sunscreen on top of lotion for additional protection, or for touch-ups throughout the day, Dr. Jaliman tells Health. She doesn’t recommend using it as your all-over body protection from the sun, though.

If your hair gets greasy easily and you don’t want to slather or spray sunscreen onto your scalp, powder sunscreen is a great solution because you can use it directly on your part and hairline without causing any heavy buildup, says Dr. Jaliman. She specifically recommends powder protection to her patients who have oily or acne-prone skin, because it helps zap shine and won’t clog pores or make skin break out.

The best way to use powder sunscreen is to create a thick coat by making at least two passes over the area, and reapplying often, Dr. Nazarian says. Use it on top of a lotion and paired with other sun safe methods, like hats, sunglasses, and sun protective clothing with UPF.

Here, dermatologists share their favorite powder sunscreens that’ll protect you from the sun (and keep oily hair and skin at bay) all summer long.

RELATED: These Are the Best Sunscreens for Your Face, According to Dermatologists

Now that you know about the best mineral sunscreens, there’s one more product to consider adding to your summer beauty arsenal.

Powder sunscreen!

Also known as “dry sunscreen,” it can give your daily suncare routine a little extra somethin’-somethin’.

Not in replacement of your regular sunscreen, mind you, but in addition to it. Here’s why.

Powder Sunscreen Benefits

Three of the best powder sunscreens from Colorescience, Éminence and Laboratoire Dr Renaud.

These are some of the reasons to love powder sunscreen:

  • Goes on over makeup: How convenient is that? It looks and feels just like any loose face powder, is available in both translucent and tinted versions, and mattifies at the same time as it protects. Besides your face, you can also put it on your chest, hands and down your part.
  • SPF 25 to SPF 50: Thanks to the same ingredients—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—that you see in creamy mineral sunscreens, powder sunscreens also have a sun protection factor (SPF) on their labels.
  • An extra layer of protection: I’m not suggesting powder SPF should be the only sunscreen you use to protect your skin—at least not for prolonged outdoor exposure. (I doubt most of us would apply it liberally enough, plus overly powdery faces don’t look good!) But powder is perfect for adding an extra layer of protection on top of your favourite lotion-based sunscreen.
  • Easy to re-apply: We already talked about the whole sunscreen re-application conundrum. I think powders are the best solution, because they contain safe mineral filters, are super-quick to apply, and won’t mess up your makeup.
  • Portable: When you get caught without enough sunscreen on, it’s the worst. I suggest keeping a powder sunscreen in your purse at all times as a back-up or “emergency” sunscreen—you never know when you might need it! Each tube comes with a built-in, self-dispensing brush, so it’s easy to use on the go.

Is Powder Sunscreen Safe?

You may have heard that powder sunscreen has been banned, or that it contains dangerous nanoparticles. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Are powder sunscreens banned? No. According to Health Canada’s sunscreen monograph, powder is considered an acceptable form of sunscreen, and can currently be purchased in Canada. In the US, the FDA stepped up its regulations on powder sunscreens in 2013, requiring all manufacturers to submit their products for approval in order to continue selling them as SPFs. Unless you’ve somehow managed to get hold of old stock, the powder sunscreens now sold in the US have gone through this approval process.
  • What about nanoparticles and inhalation? These are definitely valid concerns about powder sunscreens. The products I’ve suggested below use micronized forms of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, not nano-sized particles, so the risk if inhaled is much lower. (Dr. Annie Chiu, for example, doesn’t think there’s any danger.) To be on the safe side, I try to hold my breath and avoid inhaling when I’m swirling the powder over my face—it only takes a couple seconds, so no big deal.

Ready to see my powder picks? Read on!

Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45

Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45

Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45 has a sheer, silky, non-drying texture. With 24.5 percent zinc oxide (and no silicones!), it offers an SPF 45 and full broad-spectrum protection. There are three matte tints, Light, Medium and Deep, along with a translucent version—and they promise no flashback in photos.

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45 was recently reformulated to include even higher levels of active ingredients. Although the SPF 45 hasn’t changed, it now has 20.75 percent titanium dioxide and 19.6 percent zinc oxide, which give you broad-spectrum protection. It comes in one transparent matte shade. Bonus: You can also use it as a hair powder!

Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a powder sunscreen that offers a light layer of protection. It features 10 percent zinc oxide and 8.6 percent titanium dioxide for an SPF 30. There’s just one shade, translucent, to suit all skin tones.

Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30

Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30

Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30 features 19.24 percent zinc oxide for broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection. This one is a finely milled translucent powder that also mattifies shine and blurs the appearance of large pores (perhaps due to the silicones).

ILIA Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20

ILIA Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20

ILIA Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20 is ideal if you’re looking for a product with very clean ingredients and no silicones. Just keep in mind that it’s only an SPF 20, with 14 percent zinc oxide. It comes in one translucent shade, but rather than matte, the finish is luminous. (Don’t worry though, there’s no glitter or sparkle in here!) They recently improved the packaging to ensure the powder flows through seamlessly.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50 is perhaps the original powder sunscreen. With 22.5 percent zinc oxide and 22.5 percent titanium dioxide, you’re getting SPF 50 and complete broad-spectrum protection. It comes in four shades (Fair, Medium, Tan and Deep), gives a matte finish and is water-resistant.

Jane Iredale Powder Me Dry Sunscreen SPF 30

Jane Iredale Powder Me Dry Sunscreen SPF 30

Jane Iredale Powder Me Dry Sunscreen SPF 30 only contains titanium dioxide—17 percent of it. So it’s not going to give you protection from UVA (the aging rays) like zinc oxide will—it’ll just protect from UVB (burning rays). Still, you could use it as a topper for zinc oxide sunscreen lotions, and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. There are now three shades (Nude, Golden and Tanned), plus Translucent.

Arcona Nearly Invisible SPF 30 Dry Mineral Powder

Arcona Nearly Invisible SPF 30 Dry Mineral Powder

Arcona Nearly Invisible SPF 30 Dry Mineral Powder contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but unfortunately they don’t disclose the percentages. All we know is that it’s an SPF 30! It’s water-resistant, comes in one transparent shade, and has a finely-milled, lightweight texture.

Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30

Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30

Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30 gives you SPF 30 protection with 20 percent zinc oxide and 17.29 percent titanium dioxide. It comes in one translucent, mattifying shade, and is oil-free and silicone-free. This is a good choice if you prefer more natural products.

Éminence Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30

Éminence Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30

Éminence Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30 has the shortest ingredients list here, and no silicones, which I appreciate. It contains eight percent each of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for an SPF 30. What’s great about this one is the selection of shades; it comes in Translucent as well as five different tints (Honey Apple, Cherries and Berries, Peaches and Cream, Calendula Spice and Cinnamon Bronzer). If you set it with a face mist, it becomes even more water-resistant.

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30 is the most affordable powder sunscreen—yet it has a whopping 20 percent zinc oxide and 17.3 percent titanium dioxide to give you SPF 30 broad-spectrum protection. It comes in one transparent shade, and has a short, silicone-free ingredients list. The silica is great for controlling oil.

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 contains 12 percent zinc oxide and 15 percent titanium dioxide for a respectable SPF 30 level of broad-spectrum protection. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Brush On Block Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Brush On Block Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Brush On Block Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 is the brand’s tinted version, and it features the same active ingredients—12 percent zinc oxide and 15 percent titanium dioxide. The only difference is its sheer hint of warm colour. It, too, is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Touch In Sol Pang Pang Sun Cutting Powder SPF 30

Touch In Sol Pang Pang Sun Cutting Powder SPF 30

Touch In Sol Pang Pang Sun Cutting Powder SPF 30 contains mostly physical sunscreen filters—13.93 percent titanium dioxide and 2.94 percent zinc oxide—plus a small amount, two percent, of octinoxate. It has one of the shortest ingredients lists, and should help with oil control, thanks to the witch hazel. It comes in one transparent shade with a weightless, finely milled texture.

Laboratoire Dr Renaud Loose Powder SPF 50

Laboratoire Dr Renaud Loose Powder SPF 50

Laboratoire Dr Renaud Loose Powder SPF 50 gives you full broad-spectrum protection with the highest possible level of active ingredients: 24.8 percent zinc oxide and 23.4 percent titanium dioxide. That’s more than any other powder on this list! There are just two shades, Light and Dark.

Supergoop! Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF 45

Supergoop! Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF 45

Powder sunscreen is not just for your face. Supergoop! Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF 45 protects your hair and scalp from the sun’s rays. It has 24.5 percent zinc oxide, and the powder is translucent—so it won’t be detectable, no matter what your hair colour. It’s just like dry shampoo, but with sun protection!


Carry a powder sunscreen in your purse and you’ll never be caught without sun protection.

You can never be TOO prepared to face UV radiation, which is why I love the concept of powder sunscreen!

It’s quick, it’s easy and it won’t mess up your makeup—you can’t even tell you’re wearing it. Plus, it’s made with zinc oxide, your best bet for full-spectrum sun protection. (The only exception is Jane Iredale, which must be paired with a zinc-based sunscreen lotion for adequate protection.)

Again, I suggest not relying on powder sunscreen as your only sunscreen. Use it as a top-up and a back-up, and you’ll always be sun safe!

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Have you tried powder sunscreen?
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The 5 Best Powder Sunscreens

It’s hard to argue with the benefits of wearing sunscreen on your face every day. Still, it’s not easy to find a product that feels good on your skin and works well with your makeup. Instead of settling for a liquid formula, which are often thick, heavy, or greasy, consider investing in one of the best powder sunscreens, which basically feel like you’ve got nothing on your face at all. Some of them are so good, they can even replace your current foundation or bronzer — and of course, they’re great for travel and on-the-go touchups.

Powder sunscreens are a relatively new innovation, and they offer a convenient, less messy alternative to your standard liquid sun protection. With powder, you don’t have wait for the sunscreen to start working, there are plenty of formulas that are free of chemicals, and you can reapply it as often as you want. So, which powder is right for you and your needs? Well, that depends heavily on your current skin care routine. A pressed powder, or one that comes in a mirrored compact, is great for post-gym application and stowing in your bag. Tinted formulas are great for giving your skin a soft, matte finish and can be easily integrated into your current makeup routine. Another thing to consider, of course, is your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, look for formulas with soothing or all-natural ingredients like green tea, chamomile, red algae, tapioca powder, or lavender powder.

Below, you’ll find five of the best powder sunscreens on the market, including a brush-on powder for sensitive skin, a budget-friendly baby powder with SPF 20, and a loose mineral powder that gives skin a flawless finish.

1. This Loose Mineral Powder That Comes In 14 Shades

There’s a lot to love about jane iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder. It’s an all-natural, mineral foundation that not only gives your skin sheer to medium coverage and a smooth, matte finish, but is also infused with a broad spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen that’s water resistant up to 40 minutes. This loose powder stands out among others because it’s made from micronized minerals, is chemical- and oil-free, and comes in 14 different shades to suit a range of skin tones.

2. This Best-Selling Powder Sunscreen That Comes In Brush Form

If you have sensitive or blemish-prone skin, you’ll love the Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Brush. It’s an innovative brush-on powder that’s made with custom-refined minerals and calcified red algae to calm and treat your skin. It also has chemical-free, broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen for maximum sun and UV protection that lasts all day. The powder blends easily into your skin with a built-in soft bristle brush and can be used to conceal redness, acne, or hyper-pigmentation. It’s also water-resistant and comes in four different shades.

3. Another Brush-On Powder Sunscreen, But One That’s Translucent

For a translucent, no-frills sunscreen powder you can reapply over and over again without any mess, try the Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder. With SPF 30, the formula is water-resistant, all-natural, and includes green tea leaf, chamomile extract, and honeysuckle to provide the skin with soothing antioxidants and quick sunburn relief. This easy-to-use powder is one of the best options out there because it goes on clear and blends easily. You won’t notice it on your skin, but you will notice that it feels less dry and sun-damaged at the end of the day.

4. This Four-In-One Mineral Makeup That’s A Cross Between Concealer, Powder, Foundation, And Sunscreen

To incorporate all the benefits of a powder sunscreen into your makeup routine, try PUR Cosmetics Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup. This formula provides buildable coverage so it can work as a concealer, powder, or foundation, and it comes in a wide variety of shades including Light, Blush Medium, Golden Dark, Medium Dark, Deeper, Light Tan, and Tan. It also has SPF 15 to protect your skin from the sun and both Vitamin E and organic shea butter to nourish and soothe the skin. This powder is also particularly great for oily complexions because it’s made with silica, which absorbs excess oil and gives a matte finish.

5. This All-Natural Baby Powder With SPF 20

In general, powder sunscreen can be pretty expensive compared to standard liquid formulas. So if you’re on a budget, or you just want a simple, all-natural powder form of sun protection, try Safflower Safari’s All Natural Sunscreen Baby Powder. This formula’s star ingredient, natural zinc oxide, is water-resistant and considered one of the safest active sunscreens available. It filters UVA and UV rays and has SPF 20. It’s easy to apply, great for large areas of the body, and is made with organic tapioca powder, organic arrowroot, and organic lavender powder, so it’s safe for all types of skin — even your scalp.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

Zinc Oxide

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists zinc oxide as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a nutrient. It is also approved as an indirect food additive for use as a colorant of some polymers in contact with food. Zinc oxide is approved by FDA for use in color cosmetic products, including those applied to the lips and eye area. Zinc oxide is also an approved colorant for drugs.

FDA only approves colors after extensive review of all safety data and publication of the basis for its approval in the Federal Register. When used as a colorant in cosmetics or other FDA-regulated products, zinc oxide must comply with the identity, specifications, uses, restrictions, and labeling requirements stated in the regulations .

FDA has approved the use of zinc oxide for use in OTC skin protectants and anorectal skin protectant drug products at concentrations up to 25 percent, and in sunscreen drug products at concentrations up to 25 percent.

Overall, FDA has conducted extensive reviews of the safety of zinc oxide for use as a color additive in drugs and cosmetics and as a sunscreen and skin protectant active ingredient. The results of these reviews are publically available information.

European Union (EU)

The Cosmetics Directive of the European Union approved the use of zinc oxide as a color (see Annex IV Part 1); when used in cosmetic products in the European Union (EU), this ingredient must be called CI 77947. In its September 18, 2012 opinion (revised September 23, 2014), the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded the use of zinc oxide is safe when used as colorant, in its uncoated, non-nano form, in cosmetics for dermal application. In light of subsequent SCCS concerns of lung inflammation induced by zinc oxide particles after inhalation, however, the European Commission amended Annex IV of the Cosmetics Regulation in August 2017 to stipulate the use of zinc oxide as a colorant, in its uncoated non-nano form, in cosmetic products should be restricted to those applications that will not lead to exposure of the end-user’s lungs.

Zinc oxide is also allowed as a UV filter in the EU. The SCCS has thoroughly reviewed the safety of nano-sized zinc oxide used in sunscreens and concluded at concentrations up to 25% used on the skin, it does not pose a risk of adverse effects. In 2016, the European Commission published a new regulation amending Annex VI of the EU Cosmetics Regulation to include a new entry for zinc oxide in the nanoparticle form as a permitted UV filter in ready-to-use cosmetic products. The new Annex VI entry #30a for zinc oxide (nano) is in addition to the existing entry #30 for zinc oxide, and authorizes the use of zinc oxide in the nano form as an approved nanomaterial ingredient. Use of both nano and non-nano forms are restricted to applications that will not lead to exposure of the end-user’s lungs. Zinc oxide is used mainly in sunscreens but may also appear in other cosmetic products intended for dermal application. The maximum permitted concentration of both nano and non-nano zinc oxide is 25%, whether used individually or in combination.

Zinc Oxide Powder

Buy Zinc Oxide Powder Online

Zinc oxide powder is a fine white-coloured powder that is great for use as an effective sunscreen. The product also works well in mineral makeup due to its astringent properties as it works to keep excess oils from forming on the surface. As such, it is sometimes used in acne treatments. The powder is not soluble in water which is an added benefit when acting as a sunscreen and in mineral makeup. Zinc oxide is also used in cream and ointment formulations, particularly for babies, to soothe irritated skin.

This powder contains uncoated, non-nano, micronised particles that are not absorbed into the skin. Particle size is approximately 4.83 sqm/g as measured by the surface area.

If you’re looking for bath and body products in Australia, N-essentials is your one-stop online shop. We have a wide range of cosmetic powders including Zinc Oxide Powder, plus plenty more products, all at highly competitive prices. We source only the best quality products from reputable suppliers around Australia and the world, and our Zinc Oxide Powder is no exception.

What is Zinc Oxide Powder?

A fine, white coloured powder, Zinc Oxide Powder is great for use as an effective sunscreen. It also works well in mineral makeup, due to its astringent properties, as it works to keep excess oils from forming on the surface. For this reason, it is sometimes used in acne treatments. It is not a water soluble powder, which is an added benefit in makeup and sunscreen, and is also used in cream and ointment formulations, particularly for babies, to soothe irritated skin.

Why buy Zinc Oxide Powder from N-essentials?

Our customers expect only the very best when they buy from N-essentials and because of our extensive experience in the industry, we’re able to offer you a range of quality products that are pure and natural.

Whether you need a little for yourself or a lot for your business, ordering Zinc Oxide Powder from N-essentials is fast and easy. Simply select the package size you want, type in the quantity you want to buy in the ‘Order Quantity’ box and then click ‘Add to Cart’. You can then continue browsing or go straight to the checkout.

We have a range of shipping and payment options. You can pay by credit card, with our secure online facility, you can pay by bank deposit if you’d rather, or alternatively, if you live in Melbourne, you can pick up and pay for your purchases at our factory.

Need more information?

At N-essentials, we take customer service seriously and our friendly, expert team are always standing by to be of assistance. If you have a query about buying products in bulk, or a question about any of our products, feel free to get in touch. You can send us an email any time at [email protected], or give us a call during business hours on 03 9077 7796.

Once you’ve ordered the Zinc Oxide Powder you need, be sure to browse our Bath ‘n’ Body section, to explore more of nature’s finest products.

Powdered sunscreen for face

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