Health & Wellness

Why Powder Sunscreen Needs To Be On Your Packing List

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We can all probably agree that keeping your skin safe from the sun is a good idea. But for some, doing so is easier said than done, especially when news stories come out about the dangers that traditional sunscreen poses to both your health and the planet’s (cancer, dying reefs and more — oh my!).

Thankfully, as the health and beauty industry is apt to do, they’ve pivoted to other sunscreen products that are better for you and the environment. One of these new skincare options is powder sunscreen. Providing phenomenal sun protection and pulling double duty for other skincare products, this is the latest beauty industry must-have.

What is Powdered Sunscreen?

Woman looking at a skincare product in the store

But what exactly is powdered sunscreen?

Powdered sunscreen takes the same or similar active ingredients (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) you’ll find in traditional sunscreen, and retains the ingredients’ natural powdered form (yes, technically powdered sunscreen is more “natural” than its liquid counterparts).

Powdered sunscreen comes in a variety of packaging. Sometimes, your powdered sunscreen comes in a tin or compact, like what you might use for similar cosmetic products. Other times, the powdered sunscreen comes in a tube with an attached applicator brush.

The Benefits of Using Powdered Sunscreen

Powdered sunscreen isn’t always an ideal replacement for liquid sunscreens entirely. Most users just prefer powdered sunscreen for their faces. It’s an easy product to use with makeup and can be used as a sunscreen touch-up during a day by the water.

Powdered sunscreen is often handy to tuck into a cosmetics bag, and it’s no-mess compared to its liquid counterparts.

Additionally, many travelers prefer powdered sunscreen because it goes through TSA in your carry-on bag with no issues. There’s no need to worry about checking your luggage or being over the liquid limit. It’s also very convenient and mess-free when backpacking or on a camping trip.

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The Downsides of Using Powdered Sunscreen

Of course, not all is good in the world of powdered sunscreen. Using these products does come with a few downsides.

One, it can be more difficult for some users to sufficiently cover their entire bodies with powdered sunscreen versus liquid or lotion sunscreen. Liquid sunscreen is just easier to apply and to know where you’ve applied it. It takes more product and more care to get the same level of sunburn protection with powdered sunscreen.

Two, powder sunscreens are just more expensive than the liquid version.

8 Best Powdered Sunscreens 

If you want to give powder sunscreens a try for yourself, check out one of these nine top-rated options.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreens

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreens

This sunscreen might be pricey, but Colorescience Sunforgettable pretty high-quality in terms of powdered sunscreen. It gives wearers SPF 50 protection and stays in place for 80 minutes, regardless of swimming or sweating.

This option also has built-in hydrating ingredients and is a good pick for sensitive skin. It comes in four shades and can be used with or without makeup.



While this option is also on the pricey side ISDIN ISDINCEUTICS Brush Powder is a favorite for multiple reasons. The formula is ultra-lightweight, and it not only protects you from UV rays with its SPF 50 capabilities, it also can protect your skin from blue light.

Ilia Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20 

Ilia Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder Sunscreen SPF 20

If you don’t really need that much coverage and are just looking for a day-to-day sunscreen powder to use with your usual look, try this SPF 20 variant, Ilia Flow-Through RadiantP Powder.

The translucent powder moisturizes and nourishes with organic ingredients; for a formula you can feel good about applying to your face on a regular basis.

One nice feature? The brush can be removed from the powder base for easy cleaning.

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

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

If you want something on the budget-friendly side, you can try this option from Physicians Formula. The powder is pressed into a compact, too, which some users prefer.

The powder offers a thin layer of coverage so that it can be worn with or without makeup. The natural formula is free of chemicals, including talc, one of the more worrisome ingredients found commonly in cosmetics products and which is sometimes linked to cancer.

DERMA-E Sun Mineral Powder SPF 30

DERMA-E Sun Mineral Powder SPF 30

Do you hate putting sunscreen of any type on your face because it’s bound to cause a breakout? Then worry no more! The DERMA-E Sun Mineral Powder is excellent for balancing things out as it’s full of Vitamin E, Green Tea and Camomile. It also protects with SPF 30.

The powder gives your skin back some moisture that you lose from time in the sun while also combating redness and inflammation. And the chamomile will feel great on you sunny skin.

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

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

Infused with nourishing ingredients like Vitamin A and ceramides, this sunscreen keeps sun damage and oiliness at bay like a champion. Plus, you can easily touch up throughout the day with the convenient built-in brush.

This translucent sun-shielding power minimizes the looks of pores and keeps shine to a minimum without using parabens, phthalate, or fragrance, perfect for sensitive skin.

Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen

Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen

Not only is the Jane Iredale Powder-Me Dry Sunscreen water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, its natural clay minerals actually nourish and calm skin and even soothes sunburns.

The powder has a light feel and can be worn alone or over foundation for an SPF 30 setting powder.

Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Sunscreen Powder

Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Sunscreen Powder

Another great product from the Tarte brand, the Sea Set & Protect Powder pulls double duty as both sunscreen and setting powder. Throw out your old setting powder or setting spray — this is the only product you’ll need moving forward in your skincare routine.

It gives you SPF 30 coverage and keeps your makeup securely in place for up to 12 hours. It’s the perfect sunscreen powder for those who like to wear a full face of makeup no matter where they go, from the beach to bed.

Is Powder Sunscreen Right For You?

For many users, the convenience and overall feel of powder sunscreen is well worth the more expensive price when compared to traditional liquid or cream sunscreen. Whichever version you personally prefer to use, only one thing matters — keeping your skin safe and healthy this summer and every day of the year.

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Best Powder Sunscreen:

  1. Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreens
  2. Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
  3. ISDIN ISDINCEUTICS Mineral Brush Powder
  4. Ilia Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20
  5. Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30
  6. DERMA-E Sun Mineral Powder
  7. Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30
  8. Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen
  9. Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Sunscreen Powder

Holly Riddle

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