Our Guide To Powder Sunscreens: What They Are And How They Work


In case you weren’t aware, winter has officially packed up and departed for the year and a long, hot summer awaits. That means only one thing: ice cream! Oh and, higher UV rays, longer sun exposure time, and an increased chance of sun damage. 

This also means that we need to be more diligent than ever when it comes to our SPF application. By now we’ve got the morning routine downpat: cleanser, serum, moisturiser, SPF. You know the drill. But it’s the top-ups throughout the day that are falling by the wayside – and rightly so. 

After all, does anyone have time to take off and reapply their makeup every four hours? If only there was an SPF product that we could dust over our already set makeup…

But wait, there is. Introducing powder sunscreens: what they are, how they work and some of our favourites on the market.

What are powder suncreens?

There is no major difference between powder sunscreen and your regular SPF, except they come in the form of a mattifying dust instead of the thicker, creamier liquids or sprays that we are used to.

Because of how much powder is required to actually protect you from the sun, it’s recommended that you use one alongside your regular SPF, not instead of; perfect as an added layer of protection, as well as for a quick touch-up throughout the day. 

How do powder sunscreens work? 

If you have never used powder sunscreen or even a powder foundation with SPF, it may seem like an entirely new and exciting experience. While you’re right about the latter, turns out these “new” formulas aren’t so new after all. All sunscreens contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which actually originate as powders. 

However, cream formulations have become the preferred form of SPF to safeguard against factors such as uneven coating and using too little product. 

Powder sunscreens to try…

Paula’s Choice On-The-Go Shielding Powder

The Paula’s Choice On-The-Go Shielding Powder is a translucent, finely milled powder, formulated with SPF 30, vitamin C and E, for sun protection that offers pore-minimising and skin brightening benefits.

$44 at Paula’s Choice

SUPERGOOP Colourless Poof Part Powder SPF45

Weightless, translucent and packed full of protection, SUPERGOOP’S Colourless Poof Part Powder SPF45 has been formulated with 100 per cent mineral actives to shield your scalp from the sun without messing up your hair. 

$71.95 at Net-A-Porter

ILIA Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20 

The ILIA Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20 will set makeup in place and provide skin softening SPF top-ups throughout the day. Plus, the addition of aloe leaf extract and passionfruit works to soothe the skin and ease redness.

 $34 at Dermstore

Tarte Sea Set & Go Mineral Powder

Formulated for dry, sensitive, combination or oily skin types, the Tarte Sea Set & Go Mineral Powder provides a fragrance and oil-free light and natural dusting of UV protection.

$45 at Sephora

Main image credit: @cgonzalezbeauty

Have you used a powder sunscreen? If not, will you?

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