This post will be sharing the best drugstore sunscreens you can try out right now.
The quest for the perfect sunscreen for your skin is a never-ending one. It’s almost like there is no such thing as the perfect sunscreen. But we have no choice but to keep on trying because sunscreen is the most important product in your skincare routine. You can use the most expensive cleanser, moisturizer or serum treatments. But without sunscreen, it is all a waste of time.
There are so many challenges that come with the territory of sun protection. From the most popular being the white cast particularly from mineral sunscreens to the eye stings, alcohol content, formulation, compatibility with our skin type and most importantly price. Because there is no reason a sunscreen should be pricey since we have to run through several bottles regularly.
There’s also the issue of sunscreen UV filters. Sunscreens are broadly divided into two: Mineral/Physical and Chemical Sunscreens. The former uses Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide filters. While the latter uses a bunch of different ones from Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate and Octinoxate. Including newer filters like Tinosorb S and M, Uvinul T 150 and Uvinul A Plus. Given the way brands haven’t been honest about the percentages of their UV filters recently, it is important to be aware of these UV filters so you can make informed decisions when buying sunscreens.
Because I believe sunscreens should be affordable and accessible, I’ve gone in search of decent sunscreens you can try from drugstore brands. There is no guarantee that youur skin will enjoy these ones but at least you have options to try until you find your holy grail.
Here are 6 Best Drugstore Mineral Sunscreens To Try
Like I mentioned earlier, mineral/physical sunscreens only use two UV filters; Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These work by absorbing and then scattering or deflecting the UV radiation in addition to absorbing the UV light and releasing it as heat – Source. These sunscreens are all broad spectrum which means they protect you from both UVA rays that causes ageing and pigmentation and UVB rays that cause burns, redness and skin cancer.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF46
UV Filters – Zinc Oxide (9%) Octinoxate – (7. 5%)
EltaMD is the dermatologist-recommended brand for sunscreens so you know this is definitely good stuff. They have a bunch of sunscreens in their portfolio but this particular one has been targeted to those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. It’s a hybrid of both mineral and chemical filters. In my experience with hybrid sunscreens, the white cast is barely visible and will disappear if it is rubbed in well enough. It is also formulated with Niacinamide and Lactic Acid.
Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin, Broad Spectrum SPF 50
This is a 100% Zinc Oxide SPF that claims to be oil-free and lightweight enough for sensitive skin. It is also formulated with Oat and Glycerin. With zinc-based sunscreens, you should know that the white cast will be heavy and as such should be reserved for very hot summer days. Or days when you don’t really mind the white cast. It is also sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Cerave Hydrating Tinted Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (5. 5%), Zinc Oxide (10%)
Easily another of the best drugstore sunscreens is this one from Cerave. This particular one comes in two types; one with tint and one without tint. Based on the general consensus, the one with tint is the best to combat the white cast. I mean if you’re going to move around with a white cast, it might as well be tinted to suit your skin tone. Just like the rest of the Cerave products, it is formulated with three essential Ceramides, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol and Salicylic Acid. If you have dry skin, you should definitely go for this.
Blue Lizard Austrailian Sunscreen Sensitive, Broad Spectrum SPF 30+
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (5%), Zinc Oxide (10 %)
Just like Elta MD, this is an Australian sunscreen brand. Australian sunscreens are known to have the strongest protection so you can dip your face into them with this one. It is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes and has a broad spectrum that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also suitable for sensitive skin.
Austrailian Gold Botanical Tinted Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 50
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (4%), Zinc Oxide (4 %)
Unlike its name, this is not an Australian sunscreen but it is decent enough to use because it comes in tinted versions. Just be sure of your shade before making a purchase. It is formulated with Shea Butter, Panthenol, Red Algae and Squalane. It is cruelty-free and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
MDSolarSciences Mineral Creme SPF 50, Broad Spectrum
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (2%), Zinc Oxide (17 %)
This is a lightweight sunscreen that has a matte finish which makes it suitable for oily skin or to wear under makeup. It is mostly targeted towards acne or rosacea-prone and sensitive skin. It is also formulated with a Vitamin C derivative as well as Green Tea, Cranberry and Pomegranate extract as antioxidant support.
7 Best Drugstore Chemical Sunscreens To Try
In theory, physical/mineral sunscreens are really the best options, unlike chemical sunscreens which absorbs into our skin. This also leaves room for potential irritation from the UV filters. But what can we do if most of the mineral sunscreens on the market leave a horrible white cast and are generally terrible to use? Except for a handful of them. Chemical sunscreens are a better alternative because they are usually more cosmetically elegant and they don’t leave a white cast or sting the eyes. They are also a great way to train yourself to use sunscreen regularly. Here are really good ones you can try;
UV Filters – Avobenzone, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T 150, Mexoryl XL, Mexoryl SX
When it comes to the hierarchy of sunscreens that offer very high protection, it starts with Australian SPF —> European SPF —-> Japanese SPF —-> and the rest. La Roche Posay is a French brand that formulates some of the best sunscreens that offer the best protection. Like most French brands, they have a lot of options so you have to sieve through them to find the best ones that work for your skin type. One of which is the Anthelios Invisible Fluid. I’ve been using it for a few days now and I’m really impressed. It has five filters, doesn’t sting the eye or leave a white cast. It’s very fluid which absorbs very fast into the skin and sits well under makeup. While it has alcohol and fragrance, they are barely even noticeable especially if your skin is well moisturized beforehand.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Ultra-Light Sensitive Face Fluid SPF50 +
UV Filters – Uvinul T 150, Tinosorb S, Avobenzone, Mexoryl XL, Mexoryl SX
When looking for lightweight chemical sunscreens that will absorb fast and sit well under makeup, a rule of thumb is to go for fluids. So, if a sunscreen comes in a cream, more often than not, it also has a fluid version. In my experience, they are usually very lightweight and don’t leave a white cast. This sunscreen also happens to be one of them. This was quite a gamble for me because I was looking for the best drugstore sunscreens to try out for this post. I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and fast absorption. Similar to La Roche Posay, it is super lightweight and offers great protection with its five filters. It is also has a matte finish which I didn’t really like because of my dry dehydrated skin. Other than that, it is a great affordable sunscreen.
Bioderma Photoderm Max Aquafluide SPF 50+
UV Filters – Tinosorb M, Avobenzone, Tinosorb S
In the bunch of sunscreens I tried out, this was my least favourite. I bought it in a rush without checking the UV filters. If I did, I would have seen that it a hybrid sunscreen. This means that it has a filter; Tinosorb M that is partly physical and chemical. One part of it absorbs the sun rays while the other reflects it. This explains why it has a slight white cast that goes away when it is well absorbed. My only problem with this sunscreen is the mattifying finish which I really hate. I love my sunscreens dewy and greasy. This is perfect for anyone with oily skin as well as sensitive skin as it doesn’t sting the eyes. It is super light with a dry touch. It also comes in two tinted versions.
Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
UV Filters – Homosalate (10%), Meradimate (5%), Octinoxate (5%), Octocrylene (2%), Zinc Oxide (6.3%)
If you have dry acne-prone skin, this is a great moisturizing sunscreen you should try. Like most Cerave products, it has three essential Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol and Niacinamide. It also has four filters that give decent protection and is pleasant enough to use daily. If you prefer to have both your moisturizer and sunscreen in one product, you should go for this.
Eucerin Oil Control Sun Gel – Cream SPF 50+
UV Filters – Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octocrylene, Ensulizole
Eucerin has a bunch of new sunscreens targeted to different skin concerns. This one is for those with oily acne-prone skin. While it doesn’t have Niacianmide or any ingredient specifially for acne, it is formulated into a gel- cream. This makes it a lot more tolerable for those with oily skin who can’t use fluids or creams. With about four filters, it is decent enough for daily use with up to an 8-hour anti-shine effect.
UV Filters – Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Avobenzone
This is also one of the best drugstore sunscreens that I have tried. It is another Australian sunscreen that I recently heard about that I had to get. For someone like me with dry dehydrated skin, I prefer this sunscreen lotion. It is fragrance-free, alcohol-free and water-resistant for up to four hours. Most importantly, it is doesn’t leave a white cast or sting the eyes. As a lotion, it is also formulated with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. With four filters, it provides both UVA and UVB protection. I love the general formulation of this sunscreen and I’ll be using it a lot more particularly in the summer.
Avene B-Protect SPF 50+
UV Filters – Tinosorb M, Avobenzone, Tinosorb S, Uvasorb HEB
When it comes to mattifying sunscreens that can be worn under makeup, people with oily skin are quite lucky because they have quite a number of options. Similar to the Bioderma Aquafluide, this is also one of the best drugstore sunscreens with very high protection. While it is non-greasy, non-sticky and perfect for sensitive skin, it has a very slight white cast as a result of the presence of Tinosorb M which is a hybrid filter. Other than that, it provides both UVA and UVB protection and is one of the European sunscreens that are worth trying.
5 Best Powder Sunscreens for Easy Reapplication
Yes, because you should reapply your sunscreen after every two hours even if you wear makeup.
Colorscience Sunforgettable Brush On Shield SPF 50
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (22.5%), Zinc Oxide (22.5%)
This is a mineral broad-spectrum powder sunscreen that is perfect for reapplication. It literally the best powder sunscreen on the market. This sunscreen is water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It is also cruelty – free and non-comedogenic. This is a product specifically for those that wear makeup and need to reapply their sunscreen over it.
Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 45
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (20.75%), Zinc Oxide (19.60%)
Powder sunscreens are not just limited to those that wear makeup. If you struggle to reapply your sunscreen during the day, a powder suncreen is a great option. This is a translucent brush-on mineral powder for on-the-go UVA/UVB chemical free sun protection with Vitamins A, C and E. It is talc-free and gives a flawless matte finish.
Supergoop! Invicible Setting Powder Broad Spectrum SPF 45
UV Filters – Zinc Oxide (20%), Titanium Dioxide (15.7%)
This is another translucent mineral sunscreen that doubles as a setting powder. It comes in three colours including light, medium and translucent to cover all skin tones. It is the perfect product to set your makeup, reduce shine and refresh your UV protection all in one go. This sunscreen is sweat-resistant and has also been formulated with beneficial ingredients like Ceramides and Cholesterol.
Derma E Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (17.3%), Zinc Oxide (20.0%)
This is a cruelty-free mineral SPF that also gives a translucent matte finish which also makes it suitable for all skin types. It is not water nor sweat resistant but it talc – free and fragrance – free.
Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30
UV Filters – Titanium Dioxide (17.29%), Zinc Oxide (20%)
This powder sunscreen is formulated with antioxidants like Green Tea, Chamomile and Vitamin E. It also helps to absorb excess oil which keeps your makeup looking fresh. It does not claim to be water or sweat resistant so bare that in mind if you’ll be using it in a tropical climate.
I hope you have found this list of the best drugstore suncreens helpful. Hopefully, you now have a new options to try until you find one that your skin agrres with.