The 10 Best Powder Sunscreens You Can Brush On Your Face Anytime, Anywhere

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by Rachel Aschenbrand-Robinson and BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 

You’ve likely heard it a million times: Make sunscreen part of your daily skincare routine. But since greasy, heavy lotions aren’t necessarily the kind of thing you want to layer on your face every day, powder sunscreen for the face offers a light, shine-free alternative. Because wearing makeup in the summer and protecting your skin from the sun don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Powder sunscreen isn’t necessarily a substitute for traditional formulas if you’re planning on spending a day on the beach or getting active in the sun, but it’s a great option for those of us who tend to sweat, er, glow a little more in the summer but still want the benefits of a daily SPF. Plenty of the options available now reduce oil, set makeup, and some even offer a hint of color, all while adding sun protection. Just brush it on over your finished face–and remember to reapply every few hours! Especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, powder sunscreen can be a godsend, sitting on top of your skin rather than plugging up your pores; that’s especially true with a mineral powder sunscreen that features ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

An added bonus to using powder sunscreen— think kids that will not sit still. It’s hard getting them to stay put for the daily rub of SPF face cream before they run out the door. Now imagine having them close their eyes for a few seconds while you just brush on a sunscreen powder. We dare say they’ll like it (and even ask for it!).

So which SPF powder is right for you and/or your fam? We dove into the world of sun protection to bring you the best powder sunscreen picks available now. Scroll to shop all of the best powder sunscreens and give UV rays the brush 0ff.

Best Brush On Powder Sunscreen for Face

This mineral powder sunscreen is lightweight, non-chalky, and totally transparent so it can be used on all skin tones. In addition to protecting your skin from the sun’s rays, it helps reduce shine, sets makeup, and features nourishing antioxidants from sea kelp. Plus, this hypoallergenic, natural sunscreen powder is gluten-free, paraben-free, SLS- and phthalate-free, and cruelty-free. Brush it on 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every two hours–it’s that easy.

One Reviewer Said: “I love this product. I didn’t want to use normal sunscreen on my face because my skin is sensitive. I have been using this the last 2 summers and it gives me great results. It’s very sheer and with an SPF of 40 it was just what I needed. I tend to get sun spots on my cheekbone if I don’t wear sunscreen and this definitely keeps my skin healthy and safe. It does give you a shiny/dewy glow so if you don’t like that look you might not like this. I also love the anti aging ingredients.”

One of the many benefits of powder sunscreen is that it doesn’t run into your eyes the way traditional lotions can. If you’ve ever had to soothe a screaming child or spouse (raises hand) whose eyes were stinging from sunscreen, well you know the importance of this feature cannot be overstated. A mineral powder sunscreen that’s safe for kids and parents, Brush-On Block offers a convenient, refillable alternative to greasy formulas that’s also great for sensitive skin. It’s formulated with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, can be worn over or under makeup, and the Touch of Tan version comes with a hint of color that can be layered for deeper tones.

One Reviewer Said: “This is my go-to sunblock/makeup touch-up. I typically wear a moisturizer with SPF or straight sunblock on my face when I'm outside, and I use this as kind of my "second layer" of protection. If I feel myself getting shiny or sweaty and it's not quite time to reapply... or I am not able to reapply sunblock at the time, I brush this all over my face and along my part on my scalp. The color typically isn't too dark and sometimes you feel like nothing is coming out of the brush, but it definitely leaves a little color behind. I love it because it doesn't look chalky like liquid sunblock sometimes does, and it allows me to continuously reapply along my part and t-zone on my face.”

Colorescience’s mineral powder sunscreen offers protection from the sun’s rays as well as a hint of color so you can use it as light coverage and SPF (It’s available in four shades: Fair, Medium, Tan, or Deep). The brand’s “Enviroscreen Technology” employs a blend of “exclusive ingredients and patented sunscreen actives” to protect your face from free radicals and other skin-aging stressors. Just tap the tube on a hard surface and run your fingers through the brush bristles to get the sunscreen powder flowing, then dust it over your face for at least one minute.

One Reviewer Said: “My face burns easily…I always get a very red nose and have to wear at least 50 SPF. I was just in Disney all week in 90-degree strong sun every day and only used this on my face, no hat, and I didn’t get burned at all. Barely even got tan on my face. I ordered the med color, it goes on so nicely. I love that my face looks like I am wearing sheer makeup instead of greasy shiny sunscreen.”

Hawaiian Tropic is a name you can depend on — so, it’s nice to know that they also have a great mineral powder to help protect you from the sun. With an SPF of 30, this lightweight powder will give you a matte finish. It’s also worth noting that this product isn’t tested on animals, and is free from oxybenzone and added parabens, making it even more trustworthy. It’s also pretty affordable as far as powder sunscreens go, meaning it’s a good one to try if you’re new to the powder sunscreen game.

One Reviewer Said: “I used it for the first time at work when I was in the sun all day, I put it on my face, touched up throughout the day and I didn’t get sunburnt on my forehead/nose whereas I probably would have, not wearing any sunscreen at all on my face. I was impressed. I hate my face shiny, so I don’t use the regular face sunscreen. Happy I found this product as it mattifies face like a face powder plus includes the sunscreen element.”

The Brush On Block powder takes “easy” to the next level. With titanium dioxide as its active ingredient, this sunscreen offers sun protection that you can apply at any time. It has broad-spectrum SPF 30 sun protection delivered in a way that won’t cause mess or a greasy feeling on your skin. It’s a must for active beach-goers, or just those who spend a lot of time outside all year round. You can buy it in two shades — translucent, and touch of tan.

One Reviewer Said: “This is now my favorite powder. I ordered the shade, touch of tan. My skin is fair with pink undertones. The touch of tan blends perfectly on my face. And when I spray tan/self tan, touch of tan still matches my skin. My mom, with much more olive skin than me, can also wear touch of tan and it blends perfectly on her as well. The powder provides a matte finish with a slight shimmer. NOT glitter or super luminous, but a perfect shimmer - sun kissed, kind of.”

Best Vegan Powder Sunscreen

This mineral powder by Larkly is free from parabens, sulfates, and harsh chemicals. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan, containing ingredients like green tea extract, black licorice root, and resveratrol. It comes with a reusable brush, so you don’t have to worry about waste. And, it couldn’t be easier to use. Doesn’t your skin deserve the best sun protection?

One Reviewer Said: “This goes on just like any loose powder. It's a bit tricky to get the hang of how this dispenses, but once you've got a handle on how much comes out and how much you need, it's super easy. Best part? You can just apply it over your makeup! No more slimy, greasy, streaky mess like with regular sunscreen in an emergency. This stays with me all the time now. I'll never be caught without sunscreen again.”

If you’re looking for a gentle way to help protect your face from harmful rays, you might want to give Thrive sunscreen a try. It’s a great way to help your skin battle the harshest of weather conditions and will help your face feel more hydrated. It absorbs quickly with no lingering residue on your face, and best of all, it’s vegan. But, what really sets Thrive apart from the competition is the fact that it’s made with botanicals from Costa Rica.

One Reviewer Said: “I absolutely love this sunscreen - and I am very picky because I have skin sensitivities. Wish it came in a bigger bottle! Healthy zinc option without the thick, white feel of other sunscreens. And it smells so fresh. My husband and boys all liked it too. The fact that is also helps Costa Rican farmers makes it even better.”

Best Loose Powder Sunscreen for Face

Ilia’s combo powder/sunscreen for face offers a hint of color, sun protection, and shine reduction all in one–and it does so using 100% natural dye, aloe leaf extract, passion fruit and rosemary oil. If you’re looking for an everyday powder that will keep your skin looking glowy but not greasy, this vegan, talc-free formula is a great option. It’s got an SPF level of 20 and, according to customers, it gets the job done. Grab your favorite poof or brush, and this powder/sunscreen combo is pretty sweet for daily skin maintenance and protection.

One Reviewer Said: “Excellent finishing powder! Lasts all day!”

Looking for something that’ll offer a little more protection? This Sunkill RX mineral powder boasts an SPF of 46, which is slightly higher than some of the others on the list. This formula is made from a fine powder that promises not to clump. Reviewers say it works best on pale skin and feels almost silky when it’s on.

One Reviewer Said: “I see this as a product designed to answer the problem of how to layer sunscreen and makeup without looking ghastly, goopy, or like a melting wax statue, I believe it's meant to be worn as is, alone on bare skin as both the sunscreen and the makeup. It looks great when worn this way.”

Best Powder Sunscreen for Kids

Did you know there was a such thing as mineral powder sunscreen for kids? Well mama, here you go! This one is the best of the best, according to parents on Amazon. It’s great for kids, babies, and anyone with extra sensitive skin.

One Reviewer Said: “This lasted us almost two summers and this is our second order. No sunburns as of yet. Big fan of anything that makes parenting easier.”

Now that you’ve scored the perfect powder sunscreen, shop more beauty must-haves for the sunny season!

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