*Last updated August 2020
What is the best natural sunscreen for melasma treatment?
I’ve tried so many great natural sunscreens – mineral and physical sunblocks – over the years. I’ve rounded up the sunscreens I’ve tried in the past 2 years to share my favorites! I’ve found noticeable improvements in my melasma – or at least not worsening! – since I switched to zinc oxide sunscreens without those nasty chemical filters (which not surprisingly to me do get absorbed into the bloodstream) . In fact I was wearing a chemical sunscreen the day my melasma developed over a decade ago!
All of these beauties have zinc oxide and many of them have raspberry seed oil or other awesome antioxidants 🙂 . You’ll notice I don’t have any Supergoop in the list below; they just came out with a new 100% mineral formula which I hope people switch too. But I was never impressed with their face formulas. AND they left most literally an awful taste in my mouth so I will have trouble trying their new formula.
Here I’m concentrating on natural sunscreens for face and I’m writing in order of least good under makeup to very good under makeup 🙂
**More will be added soon but here is a new post on tinted sunscreens from iS Clinical and Elta MD
Just OK Natural Sunscreens
- Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte™ Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 – this is a fine sunscreen that doesn’t produce a white caste. However I was just never impressed by it and it doesn’t perform well under makeup. I love Drunk Elephant but I just have nothing to rave about with this one.
- Raw Elements Tinted Face Moisturizer is an inexpensive, mildly tented (no imperfection coverage though) non-nano zinc natural face sunscreen. However I feel it may be too light – or feels like it wears off too easily (and therefore not great under makeup). And it has a slight unpleasant tinny smell. Because I’m so obsessed with sunscreen even though it’s not my favorite I keep the travel size stick version in my purse 🙂
- True Botanicals Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – this is a nice lightweight slightly tinted natural non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen, but unfortunately it pills up and therefore doesn’t where well under makeup. More on what I love about True Botanicals and how it helped my melasma here!
- REN Clean Skincare – Clean Screen Mattifying Face Sunscreen SPF 30 – Ugh. Classic REN. Adding fragrance that’s too strong (even though its natural) to bungle what could have been a good skincare experience :/ . It absorbs OK. This is definitely one of those that I’ll throw into my backpack or gym bag to have just in case.
Great Coverage but Not Awesome Under Makeup Natural Sunscreens
- Suntegrity “5 in 1” Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – this is another really nice sunscreen with a great full coverage feeling but I don’t think makeup looks great or stays on top of it well. I keep this formula in my gym bag. It’s totally non-irritating which is great!
- AKT Therapy D-Luxe Daily Bronzer SPF 30 – I love this formula for its very thick coverage. I feel totally confident that my melasma will be protected and not worsen when I’m out in the sun wearing this. However it is VERY bronzing and therefore doesn’t work well under makeup that is close to natural skin tone.
- Edible Beauty Australia Sunscreen Review – This full-coverage SPF50 sunscreen is powered by rosehip seed oil, kakadu plum extract and natural zinc oxide. It is a very thick mineral SPF that produces a minimal white cast at first then dissipates within about 2 minutes. Because it is so thick and oily I don’t think it is the best formula to use under makeup. But this is my go-to when it is very hot outside. The consistency is more similar to a body sunscreen so I use it for both face and body. It is scented, however. It’s a light citrusy sweet scent.
Pretty Great Under Makeup Natural Mineral Sunscreens
- Coola Daydream™ Mineral Primer SPF 30 – first tried this in a Sephora sun safety kit and it’s part of the clean at Sephora designation. Overall I just wasn’t crazy about this as a primer because of a dry, non-absorbing texture (which may be great if you have oily skin!) but ultimately I just haven’t used the product enough to recommend it.
- Ayuna velo 6-in-1 Suprastratum Protection natural spf – I got this SUPER luxe SPF from a Beauty Heroes box. And while I love this brand and think this is a lovely face cream, something in this formula makes my eyes itch. I’m pretty sure its myrrh which would explain why I’m so sensitive to Vapour organic beauty as well. This must be popular though – it’s pretty expensive but out of stock! And like most Ayuna natural and organic skincare it does have added (natural) fragrance :/ but at least it doesn’t smell like regular sunscreen!
- Hanua Malu Protecting Day Cream +SPF 30 Sunscreen – this incredibly lightweight sunscreen veil is great however the natural scent of jasmine is too much for me.
- De Mamiel Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar SPF30 – this formula is truly exquisite. It provides a nice protecting veil with nourishing ingredients but there is something in this botanical formula that has too strong of a scent profile.
- Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 Review – This was my go-to natural sunscreen recommendation for a very long time. The formula is very smooth (thanks to the jojoba?) and light but feels like strong coverage with just a slight hint of a white cast. This always wears fine under makeup but unfortunately it does have added fragrance. It’s natural however but to a scent sensitive gal like me its too strong and sweet (but I did get used to it eventually after wearing it most every day)
Holy Grail Status Natural Mineral Sunscreens / Best Melasma Sunscreens
- Kypris Pot of Shade Heliotropic Zinc Oxide Sunscreen & Primer – What a gem! But an expensive gem 🙂 I love it so much I go through this little bot very quickly. It is a dream to wear under makeup and I saw amazing results from my Kypris routine last fall ( more on that Kypris organic skincare routine here ). But the small jar doesn’t last long so I’ve tried to find other formulas for better cost savings 🙂 I love it’s ingredients, including algae which always does well for brightening my skin.
- AKT Therapy Elemental Sun Balm SPF 30 – I got so obsessed with this product but then they changed the formula! The new version is fine and coconut oil based, but it doesn’t impart the same glow as the original. I’m sure it still works just as well its just so coconut oily – does that make sense? Apparently they’ve gotten enough feedback though on the love for the old formula that they are working to have both versions available for purchase! The original version looks peach and iridescent before application and then absorbs so well into the skin. I’ve got 1-3 applications left in my jar that i’m hoarding haha. ***Update – save on my favorite sunscreen with my code ‘ MAGGIE15 ‘
- Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream Tinted SPF 30 – this is the formula I suggest to friends who are just starting their natural, clean and green beauty pursuits because it feels like a face cream and not a sunscreen. All skin types seem to love this multi-purpose lotion in my experience. And it’s light enough that makeup sits well on top. At first, I had to push through the blue tansy scent but now I hardly notice it 🙂
- Biossance Squalane + Mineral SPF 45 Natural Sunscreen Review – Zinc Sunscreen review – my go-to everyday sunscreen for the past month. This is a fantastic natural sunscreen and primer in one! This formula leaves a bit of a white cast which I find comforting – but it blends in well and goes away. It leaves the slightest shimmer as well. I feel very protected and my makeup stays on very well with this formula. It’s also reasonably priced and available at Sephora, making it easier for me to recommend to friends and more palatable to buy than Kypris or Josh Rosebrook. I also love the higher SPF factor. **Update this initial review was about the older formula from 2019. There is a newer formula but performance may not be the same.
- Graydon Skincare Tinted Moisturizer Primer and Illuminator – This . is . it. Almost perfect. Most importantly it is a fantastic face primer that sets and unbelievably glowy base (probably due to actual infusion with gemstones 🙂 ). This smithsonite gemstone also supposedly helps block against UV rays, giving this zinc formula an extra boost. It’s got lots of skin yummy ingredients like algae and raspberry seed oil. My only problem is that it works so well as a primer and its so lite and there is no white cast I’m just not sure how much zinc is used in it and if its enough coverage for me. So some days I double up on this with a layer of Biossance underneath (which is probably overkill). It’s already sold out on Graydon’s website! I bought mine through Beauty Heroes where I got 15% off as a subscriber to their amazing beauty box.
ShrutiSeptember 13, 2020 at 3:26 am
I’m curious to see why you haven’t mentioned Colorescience anywhere in the list. Thanks for your article 👍
MaggieSeptember 27, 2020 at 10:33 pm
Great question! I actually have tried a few samples but I think i need to buy a whole bottle and commit to it. They have many options – which is great – but I wasn’t wowed by the samples. But I’m sure I will test a full size at some point in the next 12 months.