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 read labels & realize they’re filled with chemicals too (heyyy Blue Lizard & Sun Bum, I’m lookin’ at you!)!?!  It’s SO CONFUSING!!!  Which is why I’m here & have done the legwork: I’ve scoured ingredient lists to find sunscreens that don’t have chemicals in them.  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: 1) Mineral sunscreens, or 2) Chemical sunscreens.  (A few combine both).  Mineral sunscreens rely primarily on two ingredients: zinc oxide (the white stuff) & titanium dioxide.  These act as physical barriers, & start working immediately, since they 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 these sunscreens lies in the fact that, during that chemical reaction, chemicals can actually be 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 for Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

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 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 sunscreens recommended below use ONLY zinc oxide or titanium dioxide ~ & NONE of these chemicals.  

Additionally, some sunscreens use only zinc & titanium ~ like Blue Lizard, which I wanted to recommend ~ but the problem is, it’s filled with other chemical ingredients.  Similarly, the Honest Company has a mineral sunscreen, but the bad news is: it doesn’t work.  So I can’t recommend that either.

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 body, I mix sunscreen with a little coconut oil & it goes on much better (& makes my legs glow).  For face, I mix with a little jojoba oil & it spreads much more easily.

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Face!

Not everyone wants to use the same sunscreen on their face & body.  Body sunscreen is typically greasier, & the last thing most women want on their face is extra grease.  So, on that note ~ here are the best mineral sunscreens specifically for face & neck.  And most importantly: NONE contain chemical sunscreens.  These rely only on zinc oxide & titanium dioxide

WINNER = Elta MD (available in tinted or non-tinted, chemical-free or broad-spectrum)

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel, Girl Who Travel the World

Keep your pretty face natural…

Face Sunscreen SPF 50

$11.87

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

Elta MD SPF 41

$30.00

Dermatologist recommended physical sunscreen; especially for very sensitive skin

Coola Mineral Face SPF 30

$36.00

Winner for Best Natural Sunscreen; matte finish

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Body!

You could use these sunscreens 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. 

WINNERKiss My Face Organics Mineral Spray Sunscreen.  I love this spray, because when I’m traveling solo, it allows me to protect hard-to-reach places like my back, ears, & even the top of my head.

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Best mineral sunscreens for body & booty…

Coola Mimosa Mineral

$36.00

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

Zinc Oxide SPF 30

$13.59

Smells like chamomile & calendula, w/nourishing ingredients

Mineral Spray

$18.16

Easiest to apply & mineral-only; gets hard-to-reach spots like scalp

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Kids

Technically, you could use any of the sunscreens above on children.  They’re safe & they work.  But the sunscreens in this category have less ingredients, to minimize sensitivity ~ & the sunscreen sticks are easy to apply in a hurry or in the car.  When traveling, I keep one in my purse at ALL times, so I can re-apply frequently to my nose & forehead (which burn most easily).  Because they have fewer ingredients, most sunscreen sticks are also REEF-SAFE!!! 

WINNER: Mistaya Organic Suncreen Stick SPF 30.

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

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

Certified Organic Baby Sunscreen 

$13.59

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

Organic Sunscreen Stick ~ SPF 30

$9.95

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

Thinksport Kid’s ~ SPF 50

$19.71

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

Organic Kids Sun Stick

$9.95

Meant for kids w/100% ingredients

Best Mineral Sunscreens for Travel

That concludes our search for chemical-free sunscreens!  I hope your 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 zinc/whiteness issue?  Let me know in the comments below!  

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