• Meaghan Mooney

Mineral Sunblock that Rocks!


It's almost like it happened overnight, and then the next morning, when the sun came out, store shelves were somehow stocked with more sunscreen than I've ever seen before!


And not just in-store, but online, too. What's awesome about this is that the health, wellness and beauty industries are getting more serious than ever about sun-protection. And that some are taking it a step further in the right direction with new or improved "mineral" (or "physical" or "natural") SPF-flaunting products....


Have I told you how excited I am??


Ok, but on the flip-side, the surplus of products and information out there is also super overwhelming! When there are SO many options, there's more research experimenting to do to narrow it down. Research and invest in trying products? Yes. A practice I began doing with all my beauty and fashion products back when I worked at Allure Magazine.



So, before buying a new sunblock, I try and learn as much as I can about the product; Everything from what SPF ingredients are being used to the color and texture I might expect, as well as other perks like, how environmentally friendly the packaging is.


"SPF shopping" like this and keeping up with the skincare industry over the past decade has been an educational experience I created for myself.

And many times, my testing requires help from friends...



Then, I ask myself, is the price worth it to me? If it hits all my marks, then heck yes. We're talking about preventative health and personal wellbeing, here! If no (or, if no until I can get my hands on a coupon), then I dig deep into another product.


Overtime, I developed, and continue to tweak, a kind of methodology for how I evaluate sunscreens. For example, I have sensitive skin and prone to breakouts and those chemical SPF ingredients in many sunscreens tend to reek havoc on my face. Unfortunately, many products (including some baby sunscreens!) still claim: "for sensitive skin" on their packaging, yet when I turn the bottle around to learn more, harmful and irritant-causing ingredients Are. In. There. But, why!? I'm asking you, heavily advertised tried-and-true brands (and some niche ones, too)! In the meantime, I'll keep going through your ingredients with a fine tooth comb-- AND take additional sun protection measures...



"SPF shopping" like this and keeping up with the skincare industry over the past decade has been an educational experience I created for myself. It's been empowering! To not only take my personal wellbeing into my own hands, but to also become a public advocate for sun safety, work with the American Academy of Dermatology and interview countless medical and skin specialists from New York City to Washington DC to Chicago.



Before being a public advocate of sun safety? I was a personal advocate of sunbathing. I would sit out in the sun for hours at Narragansett Beach (in my home state of Rhode Island) with the goal (goal? yes, goal) of getting tan. Even after moving to the big apple, I would frequent a skin cancer and wrinkles salon--I mean a tanning salon--on like 2nd Ave and 68th Street for a couple years. I thought the "glow" I got from all the rays enhanced my look and helped support my acne-prone skin. I also thought that skin cancer couldn't happen to me (even though my own mom had been battling melanoma for years...).



Unfortunately, I didn't listen to mom and (because sun damage accumulates over time) it's likely I'll end up with some form of skin cancer in the near future. Fortunately though, something finally did click in my thick head. I started reading more and more about how too much sun exposure significantly damages human skin. I also started learning how to protect myself correctly. For me, correctly means using umbrellas, wearing hats and finding sunscreens that don't lead to breakouts, don't break the bank, don't harm the environment and are products that get me excited to tell all my friends about! (Like I've been doing with these awesome 100% mineral SPF for the face.)



Since you're here reading this, let's be friends! I've been sampling and researching SO, SO many sunscreens lately. The hardest challenge? Trying to find 100% mineral broad spectrum sunscreen (the best), made with clean ingredients (even better), dries clear and matte (near impossible), and worth the price (which is somewhat subjective) in a SPRAY (because they're so convenient for the body).



Well, my research and experiments below paid off! I found a few that rock! Below, I tell you why and as I continue to experiment, I'll keep you in the know! For now, I hope you'll feel safer using these sprays and can share with your friends :).


100% Mineral Sunscreen Body Spray:


Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 -- Best for adults and kids. Best for light and brown skin tones. Best for daily protection at the beach, poolside or just hangin' 10 anywhere, anytime.


As I continue my journey in search for the perfect mineral sunscreen spray, this has been the first one I've found (in 10+ years!) that's really impressed me! Why? It's clear, below:

  • Spray nozzle is continuous, consistent (no drip) AND non-aerosol!

  • Sprays a lightweight, silky lotion that's milky white, which helps to ensure coverage

  • Spreads incredibly well and quickly (don't have to rub hard)

  • Dries t-t-t-transparent y'all! and "matte" (no, not sticky or greasy!)

  • Water Resistant for 80 Minutes. That's helpful! Remember to reapply after any amount of time being wet and/or every 2 hours if you're in continuous sun.

  • Mineral Active SPF 30 with Zinc oxide making up 14% of the ingredients. This means:

  • UVA / UVB Broad Spectrum Protection. Zinc oxide protects from both UVA rays that age our skin and UVB rays that burn us; both cause damage that leads to cancer. As long as Zinc is an active ingredient, it's truly broad spectrum. (*If* the only active mineral sunscreen ingredient is Titanium dioxide, it cannot be broad spectrum. Td offers excellent protection from UVB rays, but only some UVA rays.)

  • Zinc oxide 14%. This is very good. 6-7% Zinc is my minimum, together with at least 4% Titanium dioxide. The more Zinc, the better, especially on my face (and if so, it's ok-to-me to have less Titanium dioxide). For kids, I aim for at least 15% Zinc (with the occasional, reasonable exception*).

  • Free of chemical UV absorbers: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate & octocrylene. These look familiar, right? Some are more controversial than others and vary by country, but more studies are needed. Personally, I'm not a fan of all of them, as a variety of formulas proved to irritate my sensitive skin.

  • Less harm to my skin health and the environment because:

  • Avoids MANY ingredients that make it cleaner: No parabens, phthalates, PABA, silicones, retinyl palmitate, gluten, dye, nanoparticles, chemical actives

  • Fragrance is low on the ingredient list, so, less of it (their signature banana coconut scent).

  • Powered by AIR (not propellant/aerosol-based)

  • Cruelty Free, Vegan, Reef Friendly

  • Top inactive ingredients are skin-loving:

  • Water is a plus for sensitive skin & helps achieve a more lifestyle-friendly texture. But, it does require an emulsifier, so that the oils present don't separate. Also needs preservatives to avoid bacteria. This product uses 2 natural preservatives derived from coconut: Caprylhydroxamic acid and Capryl glycol. They've been found safe for sensitive skin as well as providing antimicrobial properties. P.S. Water is listed first in the majority of skincare. You guessed it. H2O = Affordable.

  • Sunflower oil is moisturizing, naturally reduces sun sensitivity & high in Vitamin E (a potent antioxidant against free radicals that otherwise attack/age our skin)

  • Butyloctyl Salicylate is a safe, non-comedogenic (not pore-clogging) inactive UV light absorber to protect the sunscreen itself from deterioration by UV rays

  • Safflower oil is hydrating, anti-inflammatory & high in Vitamin E (a potent antioxidant against free radicals that otherwise attack/age our skin)

  • Caprylic triglyceride (a mixture of glycerin and fatty acids from coconut oil) locks in moisture and helps evenly distribute product ingredients)

  • Under $20 (6oz)

Since launching their mineral sunscreen line, I'm a bit more bananas for this brand (but not swinging from the trees, yet). I was hoping for a smooth glide with their mineral stick, but it doesn't quite do that and it leaves a white cast.

100% Mineral Sunscreen Body Spray:


Coola Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 -- Best for adults and kids. Best for light and light brown skin tones. Best for daily protection before hitting the bike path or active outdoors.


This was another that impressed me. While the finish is still not clear, Coola really hit all the other marks on the nose, and then went above and beyond that. This product was formulated thoughtfully and is great for my sensitive skin.

  • Spray nozzle is continuous and it uses bag-on-valve technology, a non-traditional aerosol (it's more efficient and doesn't use flammable propellant gases)

  • Sprays a lightweight, fine mist of lotion that's white, which helps to ensure coverage

  • Spreads incredibly well and quickly (don't have to rub hard)

  • Dries "matte" & leaves barely a faint, cream-colored hue

  • Water Resistant for 80 Minutes. That's helpful! Remember to reapply after any amount of time being wet and/or every 2 hours if you're in continuous sun.

  • Mineral Active SPF 30 with Zinc oxide making up 14.5% of the ingredients, meaning:

  • UVA / UVB Broad Spectrum Protection. Zinc oxide protects from both UVA rays that age our skin and UVB rays that burn us; both cause damage that leads to cancer. As long as Zinc is an active ingredient, it's truly broad spectrum. (*If* the only active mineral sunscreen ingredient is Titanium dioxide, it cannot be broad spectrum. Td offers excellent protection from UVB rays, but only some UVA rays.)

  • Zinc oxide 14.5%. This is very good. 6-7% Zinc is my minimum, together with at least 4% Titanium dioxide. The more Zinc, the better, especially on my face (and if so, it's ok-to-me to have less Titanium dioxide). For kids, I aim for at least 15% Zinc (with the occasional, reasonable exception*).

  • Free of chemical UV absorbers: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate & octocrylene. These look familiar, right? Some are more controversial than others and vary by country, but more studies are needed. Personally, I'm not a fan of all of them, as a variety of formulas proved to irritate my sensitive skin.

  • Less harm to my skin health and the environment because:

  • Avoids MANY ingredients that make it cleaner: No parabens, phthalates, PABA, gluten, nanoparticles, GMO's, retinyl palmitate, mineral oil, chemical actives

  • Fragrance-free

  • Cruelty Free, Vegan, Reef Friendly

  • Antioxidant Enriched! Lots of natural and effective nutrients, oils, extracts and plant-derived ingredients that help fight free radicals that otherwise attack and age our skin

  • Top inactive ingredients are skin-loving and grown organically (pesticide-free):

  • Acacia Senegal Gum is a natural, helpful ingredient in sunscreen that helps adhere products to the skin. It is extracted from the Acacia Senegal tree

  • Algae Extract from various species of algae and seaweed is a natural emollient and a therapeutic skin conditioner (adds moisture) & humectant (retains moisture)

  • Arachidyl alcohol works as an emollient (thickening agent) and lubricates the skin surface, giving it a soft smooth appearance.

  • Arachidyl Glucoside helps remove excess oil and dirt from the skin. Plus, helps mix and disperse product.

  • Under $30 (5oz)

100% Mineral Sunscreen Body Bronzing Spray:


Pacifica Mineral Bronzing SPF 30 -- Best for adults. Best for light and brown skin tones. Best for occasional use, like before an outdoor party where you're showing more skin than usual (legs/arms).


I was so pumped to find this! It's been a helpful duo of protection AND an instant sun(less)-kissed glow (however, I won't be using it for all-over my body or a non-lounging beach day). I apply before dressing, in front of a mirror and then wash and dry my hands with soap and paper towels after spreading. It has rubbed off onto some fabrics when I applied too much. Light usage is the name of the game with this awesome stuff.

  • Spray nozzle is continuous & consistent (no drip) AND non-aerosol!

  • Sprays somewhat thick (like wet clay); so much better than runny!

  • Spreads evenly with careful hands and attention to detail. (I do hit my shins with an extra spray and when I spread this, I avoid my knees and ankles.

  • Dries as a "matte" sheer bronze color. Just be mindful around fabrics.

  • Water Resistant for 80 Minutes. That's helpful! Remember to reapply after any amount of time being wet and/or every 2 hours if you're in continuous sun.

  • Mineral Active SPF 30 with Zinc oxide making up 14.5% of the ingredients, meaning:

  • UVA / UVB Broad Spectrum Protection. Zinc oxide protects from both UVA rays that age our skin and UVB rays that burn us; both cause damage that leads to cancer. As long as Zinc is an active ingredient, it's truly broad spectrum. (*If* the only active mineral sunscreen ingredient is Titanium dioxide, it cannot be broad spectrum. Td offers excellent protection from UVB rays, but only some UVA rays.)

  • Zinc oxide 14.5%. This is very good. 6-7% Zinc is my minimum, together with at least 4% Titanium dioxide. The more Zinc, the better, especially on my face (and if so, it's ok-to-me to have less Titanium dioxide). For kids, I aim for at least 15% Zinc (with the occasional, reasonable exception*).

  • Free of chemical UV absorbers: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate & octocrylene. These look familiar, right? Some are more controversial than others and vary by country, but more studies are needed. Personally, I'm not a fan of all of them, as a variety of formulas proved to irritate my sensitive skin.

  • Less harm to my skin health and the environment because:

  • Avoids 4+ ingredients that make it cleaner: No parabens, PABA, silicones, retinyl palmitate, phthalates, nanoparticles, chemical actives

  • Fragrance is naturally derived. Smells like coconut; yum!

  • Powered by AIR (not propellant/aerosol-based)

  • Cruelty Free, Vegan, Reef Friendly

  • Top inactive ingredients are skin-loving:

  • Bentonite, naturally derived from volcanic ash, is non-toxic & soaks up excess oil

  • Bisabolol is a natural anti-irritant, protectant and helps heal skin

  • Butyloctyl Salicylate is a safe, non-comedogenic (not pore-clogging) inactive UV light absorber to protect the sunscreen itself from deterioration by UV rays

  • Caffeine provides anti-inflammatory (and anti-redness) benefits

  • Coco-Glucoside is derived from coconut and delivers hydration

  • Under $20 (6oz)

Bonus point for this company for their recycling program! Details on their website.


*****FULL DISCLOSURE: These are my personal experiences/thoughts. I am not being paid by the brands/companies to review these products or talk about any claims. Products were not sent to me. Links in this post are a part of the RewardStyle affiliates program.******