Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel!

Shopping for sunscreen can be SO dang confusing these days!?!  Some sunscreens say they’re organic ~ but in fact use chemicals!  Others look organic with their cute, fresh packaging ~ but then you look at the labels & realize that, shoot! ~ they’re filled with chemicals too (heyyy Blue Lizard & Sun Bum, I’m lookin’ at you!)!?!  It’s SO CONFUSING!!!  Ha ~ which is why I’m here & why I’ve done the legwork: aka, I’ve scoured ingredient lists to find sunscreens that actually don’t have chemicals in them.  Tada!  Here is your “Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel” post!  

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel

Keep it natural for your sunscreen routine & keep our reefs healthy in the process.


What’s the Difference in Sunscreens?  

Sunscreens typically fall into two categories: either they are 1) Mineral sunscreens, or 2) Chemical sunscreens.  Mineral sunscreens rely primarily on two ingredients: zinc oxide (the white stuff) & titanium dioxide.  These ingredients act as physical barriers & start working immediately, since they actually create a wall of protection between you & the sun.

 Chemical sunscreens work differently: they create a chemical reaction that turns UV rays into heat, then they release that heat from the skin.  The controversy surrounding chemical sunscreens lies in the fact that, during that chemical reaction, these chemicals are actually absorbed into your body, & have the ability to disrupt hormones, etc.  

Here’s an easy way I like to think about it: 

Mineral sunscreens = Condoms (physical barrier);

Chemical sunscreens = The Pill (potential hormone disrupters)  

Best Mineral Sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens = Condoms. Chemical sunscreens = The “Pill.”

Any woman who’s ever been on the “Pill” knows about hormone disruption (& her mate likely does as well) ~ it’s not exactly pleasant!  So for those of us in the chemical-free (mineral) sunscreen camp, this explains why: we want sun protection, not potential hormone disruption!  

What Chemicals To Avoid?

Ingredients in chemical sunscreens to avoid (& that I personally avoid) include: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, & octinoxate.  ALL of the sunscreens that I’m recommending below use ONLY zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide ~ & NONE of these chemicals.  

Additionally, some sunscreens that DO use only zinc & titanium ~ like Blue Lizard, which I wanted to recommend ~ but the problem is, it’s filled with other ingredients that aren’t great.  Why do they make a “mineral” sunscreen & then throw in bad shit?!  I have NO idea!!  Similarly, the Honest Company has a mineral sunscreen ~ but the bad news is: it doesn’t work.  So I can’t recommend that one either.  The sunscreens below have passed the test on numerous fronts.  

But Zinc is Too White!  

I get it.  I’ve had the same thought.  If any of the sunscreens below are “too white” for you, or they’re too hard to spread, just try mixing them with a little moisturizer.  For my body, I’ll mix sunscreen with a little coconut oil & it goes on much better (& makes my legs glow).  For my face, I mix with a little facial moisturizer.  And voila!  Problem solved.  


Best Organic Beauty Products for Travel, Organic Sunscreen

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Face!

Guys don’t necessarily understand this ~ but women definitely do: we don’t use the same sunscreen on our face that we use on our bodies!  For us, this is just a no-brainer.  Sunscreen that goes on the body is typically greasier, & the last thing any woman wants on her face is grease or extra shine.  Sooo…on that note ~ here are the best mineral sunscreens specifically for the face & neck.  And most importantly: NONE of them contain chemicals.  These face sunscreens rely only on zinc oxide & titanium dioxide.  

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Face

Keep your pretty face natural…

Face Sunscreen SPF 50


Uses Zinc Oxide & Titanium Oxide only; non-greasy w/a slight tint

Coola Mineral Face SPF 30


Uses Zinc Oxide & Titanium Oxide only; Winner for Best Natural Sunscreen; matte finish

Organic Sunscreen Stick ~ SPF 30


Soothing ingredients + zinc oxide only; easy to pack in purse

Tinted Moisturizer ~ SPF 20


Soothing organic ingredients + tinted moisturizer w/SPF 20

Badger Face Stick SPF 35


Uses 22% Zinc Oxide; good for kids & sensitive skin

Tinted Moisturizer ~ SPF 40


Tinted moisturizer + mineral sunscreen combined

Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20


Perfect for sensitive skin

Day Cream SPF 15


Uses only zinc oxide & titanium dioxide + 95% natural ingredients

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Body!

These sunscreens you could use on your face ~ but really, they’re meant for your body.  In the “Best Mineral Sunscreens for Body” category, I’m including the best mineral version from several different brands.  Figure out which one works best for you!

Best Mineral Sunscreens

Best mineral sunscreens for body & booty…

Coola Mimosa Mineral


98% natural, water-resistant, & citrus mimosa scent

Mineral Sport SPF 45


Biodegradable; reef-safe mineral sunscreen

Zinc Oxide SPF 30


Smells like chamomile & calendula, w/nourishing ingredients

Mineral Spray


Mineral-only spray; get hard-to-reach spots

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Kids

Technically, you could use any of the above sunscreens for kids.  They’re safe & they work.  It’s just that the sunscreens below in the “Best Mineral Sunscreens for Kids” category were formulated with fewer ingredients to minimize any sensitivity ~ & the sticks are typically easier to apply in a hurry or in the car.

Best Mineral Sunscreens

Best mineral sunscreens for kids….minus all the chemicals…

Certified Organic Baby Sunscreen 


Zero chemicals; zinc oxide-only; perfect for kids & adults

Zinc Oxide Stick ~ SPF 30


Reef-safe; super water-resistant; perfect for travel & swimming 

Thinksport Kid’s ~ SPF 50


#1 Rating for baby, beach & sport; zero harmful ingredients 

Organic Kids Sun Stick


Meant for kids w/100% ingredients

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel

That concludes our search for sunscreens that don’t have chemicals in them!  I hope your sunscreen horizons have been expanded beyond Banana Boat & Copper Tone, & that you have some new ideas for sun protection.  What are your favorite mineral sunscreens?  How do you deal with the whiteness issue with zinc?  Let me know in the comments below!  

Read Next: Best Organic Beauty Products for Travel

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Noelle Bertram is a restaurant owner, former fitness coach, Huffington Post writer, & all-around entrepreneur who travels full-time now & writes all about it! Catch up with her on Instagram or at her website about being the ultimate, fearless travel girl:
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