The 10 Best Powder Sunscreens for Streak-Free UV Protection

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If you’re worried about sun damage and want to prevent premature aging (um, so, most of us), one of the best things you can do is wear sunscreen every day. Yup, even when you’re sitting inside. There’s just one problem: The thought of reapplying midday and ending up with a streaky mess as the sunscreen mixes with our makeup isn't exactly appealing. So we just don’t reapply. And when we’re getting more sun exposure during the summer months, that’s a major no-no.

The solution? powder sunscreen. Experts agree that while it shouldn’t be the only form of sunscreen you use (most powders don’t have a high enough SPF, nor do people apply enough of it for adequate coverage), it’s a great way to boost your protection throughout the day. After you apply your heavy duty SPF in the morning, keep a powder version on hand to reapply later without the major hassle of a lotion.

What Exactly Is Powder Sunscreen?

Most powder sunscreens are made up of a mix of zinc and titanium dioxides (the main ingredients typically found in mineral sunscreens), but instead of being put into a liquid or cream base, they come in micronized powder form that can be brushed onto your skin.

How Do You Apply Powder Sunscreen?

It’s easy. Just swivel up the built-in brush head and sweep the powder onto your face. Feel free to reapply multiple times if you’re getting a lot of sun—it’s light enough that it won’t create visible buildup.

One thing to keep in mind? While powder sunscreen is a dream come true for your face and neck, we suggest sticking to a sunscreen lotion for the rest of your body, as it’s hard to get full coverage over larger areas using such a small brush.

OK, ready to shop some of our favorite powder sunscreens?

powder sunscreen Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush On Shield SPF 50
  • Why We Love It: has no chemicals or fragrances, doubles as a setting powder, ideal for makeup touch ups
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 50

When you think of powder sunscreen, this one probably comes to mind first. It’s one of the most popular, and it even gets the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval. In addition to the standard zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this formula is infused with hyaluronic acid for hydration, iron oxides to protect against blue light and mica to create a subtle glow. And judging by the nearly 300 five-star reviews on Dermstore’s site, we’d say it delivers on its promises.

powder sunscreen iS Clinical PerfecTint Powder SPF40: a brush on powder sunscreen

Best for Oily Skin

2. iS Clinical PerfecTint Powder SPF 40

iS Clinical

  • Why We Love It: comes in five tints, has a silky finish, is mattifying, features skincare ingredients like glycerin
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 40

If you’re on the hunt for a powder sunscreen with serious mattifying power, look no further. This SPF from iS Clinical combats oiliness and lasts for hours to keep your face silky smooth and shine free. The tinted formula also features botanical antioxidants to help protect the skin from environmental aggressors and glycerin to keep things from drying out or getting patchy—even after multiple reapplications.

  • Why We Love It: developed in collaboration with makeup guru Ash Deleon, features non-nano zinc oxide, vegan and cruelty-free
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 30

OK, so $20 isn’t exactly cheap, but in terms of powder sunscreens, it’s about as inexpensive as they come. Besides the price point, our favorite thing about this sunscreen is that it’s made with non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide, so it’s reef safe. One thing to note? Some buyers mention that despite its product description, it’s not really translucent if that's what you’re going for.

  • Why We Love It: brush is 100 percent synthetic and made of antimicrobial bristles
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 35

Since this is a setting powder rather than a translucent one, it provides more coverage if you’re hoping to lessen the appearance of pores and blemishes. And it’ll keep your makeup in place even on a hot summer afternoon thanks to its sweat-resistant staying power. Some reviewers note that you should twist the body of the brush from the open to closed position after every use to ensure you don't have any unintended spills in your bag.

Best for Scalp

5. Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder

Brush On Block

  • Why We Love It: lightweight, water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 30

Scalp sunburns are the worst, but we’d rather suffer through them than get our hair all greasy by applying sunscreen to our part. Enter: this powder. It dusts onto your part and hairline for SPF 30 protection that you won’t be able to see or feel. Plus, it's free of any free of parabens, PABA and pthalates.

powder sunscreen Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30: a brush on sunscreen

Best for Sensitive Skin

6. Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

Mineral Fusion

  • Why We Love It: free of potential irritants like fragrance, parabens, gluten, artificial colors and phthalates
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 30

If your skin tends to be reactive, you may want to try this transparent powder from Mineral Fusion. It provides sheer protection and skips out on many common irritants found in skincare products like fragrances and artificial colors. As one happy reviewer on Amazon shares, "I've been using it for weeks without burns or breakouts, so I'm happy."

  • Why We Love It: has a light tropical scent to it, vegan sunscreen, PETA certified cruelty-free, non-comedogenic
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 30

On the other hand, if you prefer having some scent to your products, this drugstore favorite will be right up your alley. With a sweet tropical scent many of us associate with sunscreens of yore, this lightweight formula is also loaded with sea minerals that absorb excess oils from your skin, leaving you with a matte finish. Those who are worried about breakouts will also appreciate that the powder is non-comedogenic (aka it won't clog your pores).

  • Why We Love It: has clay minerals that help calm and protect the skin, comes with two refillable canisters of powder that you click into the reusable brush
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 30

We know $53 doesn't seem like a "good value," but this price includes two refills of powder and a reusable brush (that feels luxuriously soft, might we add). On that note, because the brush head is removable, it's also easier to clean than most others we've used, and the powder itself is silky to the touch—likely thanks to the boron nitrate in it, a talc-like substance that gives it a nice glide and helps the powder adhere better to your skin.

Best Clean

9. Eminence Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30

Eminence Organics

  • Why We Love It: has no added chemicals or fragrances, comes in five tints
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 30

This beloved skincare brand has been around since 1958 and is known for using biodynamically-sourced natural and organic ingredients in all of their products—including, of course, their powder sunscreen. With only six ingredients in the formula (two of them being zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), it provides even coverage that looks and feels lightweight on your skin. Note: It comes in five shades that can be used as bronzer depending on your skin tone, but we prefer the translucent formula because it's more foolproof.

Most Comprehensive

10. ISDIN Mineral Brush Facial Powder SPF 50


  • Why We Love It: dermatologist recommended, protects against UV rays, as well as free radical damage from pollution, blue light and infrared radiation
  • SPF Power: broad-spectrum SPF 50

We first heard about ISDIN through our dermatologist, who swore by the brand's sunscreens. And their powder is exceptional in every way: it's silky smooth in texture and finish and it blends seamlessly into your skin without feeling too, well, powdery. Its core ingredients include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica and iron oxides, which provide protection against UV rays, free radical pollution damage, blue light and infrared radiation. (Tip: Keep it in your car to reapply before driving—and don't forget the backs of your hands and arms.)

Here's What We Get Wrong About Sunscreen

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Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of the latest beauty products, trends and ingredients over the last 10 years. Equally comfortable in front of the camera as she is behind a computer screen, she aims to deliver information that's educational, entertaining and accessible to all. On that note, please subscribe to Youngish, her weekly beauty newsletter or find her on Instagram (where she will happily reply to any DMs regarding nail polish, sunscreen and BTS).

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...