Compared: 10 Best Natural Face Moisturizers with SPF

April 30, 2020 (updated May 9, 2023) — Written by

For all the ways we talk about taking care of your skin, one thing stands out above the rest in terms of preventative care: a reliable, mineral face sunscreen. All the plant-based retinol and hydrating serums in the world can’t undo sun damage, but a natural moisturizer with SPF can help prevent it. Here are the best face SPFs we’ve tried, including our top picks (and we’ve tried A LOT).

a smiling woman applies face spf to her face

By: Lisa Fennessy and Nicolle Mackinnon


Sun’s out, screens out! Whether you’re an avid sunscreen user or you pick it up occasionally, a mineral sun blocker is one of the most powerful tools in your skincare arsenal. Preventing sun damage and protecting your skin from free radicals and UVA / UVB rays not only help you avoid things like skin cancer, but it also can help slow down the skin’s aging process.

And yes, you should be applying it every day—which is hard when you don’t have a sunscreen you loooooove. That’s where this comparison comes in. We’ve tested more than 15 of the TOP mineral sunscreen brands, and these are THE BEST. You’re gonna wanna bookmark this for future reference. 😉

RELATED: How to read sunscreen labels.

a woman applies sunscreen to her cheek

Things to note about our best SPF for face picks

We’ve put ourselves through the wringer with this overview, meaning we’ve been sourcing and testing and chatting with brands for more than four months to get this all narrowed down to THE BEST picks. That said, a few things to note before we dive in:

  • All of these are mineral sunscreen picks, meaning the active ingredient that blocks UVA and UVB is either zinc and / or titanium dioxide. We do not promote the use of chemical sunscreen barriers like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate. You can learn more about how to read sunscreen labels here.
  • We also typically do our skincare routines and then layer SPF over it—meaning we apply regular moisturizer and then layer more moisturizer via SPF as a last layer. Mentioning this because it will affect the finish / wear.
  • This year, we are also weighing in on how each of these formulas does with sensitive skin!
  • It’s not unlikely for indie beauty brands to have variation from batch to batch. We’ve gotten fresh samples this year and are comparing them here. 
  • All of these formulas say to reapply after 80 to 120 minutes. This is standard for sunscreen—and if you want to avoid a burn, follow that guidance. 
  • UPDATE: Fitglow Vita Shield IS returning and we will add it here along with other standouts when we as we get our hands on them.
  • Claims against blue light blocking are not included here because generally the active ingredient to block blue light is zinc, which is included in all of these formulas.
  • We narrowed down this study to NON-TINTED face SPFs. Our updated review of tinted SPFs is on its way.
  • Under each product, you will also see an application video so you can get an idea of how each formula goes on.

RELATED: Our picks for the best hydrating natural face moisturizers and the best nontoxic tinted face SPFs and the best DRUGSTORE face moisturizers with SPF.

A note about SPF and sensitive skin

Nicolle here, resident TNK sensitive skin tester. If you have sensitive skin, you might struggle with finding an SPF that works for you—but you might not know exactly why mineral SPFs are irritating.

The basic sensitive skin rule of thumb also applies to SPF: any ingredient, synthetic or natural or mineral or animal (ha), can be irritating to YOUR skin. Everyone is different, so if you find that you’ve got unidentified redness, irritation, bumps, itchiness, blemishes, flakiness or dryness popping up while you’re using a new (or any!) product, you might have to do a little detective work to figure out what ingredient is the culprit.

Bottom line: don’t assume that because it’s “natural,” it’s non-irritating for you. It took me nearly three years to realize lavender was the cause of continuous breakouts on my face; now, I rarely get cystic acne because I’ve eliminated that ingredient from my routine.

With mineral sunscreen, the active ingredient we recommend is zinc oxide, which can be incredibly drying, even for normal skin (it’s also the active ingredient in many natural diaper rash creams—and a cause of diaper rash? Dampness + friction). On me, that means mineral sunscreens are often linked to itchiness, dryness, and small red bumps and whiteheads popping up around my nose, on my chin and across my cheeks.

To combat this, I make sure to apply a good, thick moisturizer (here’s what I’m currently using) under my SPF, even if the SPF claims to have additional moisturizing ingredients. I also don’t use an SPF every day (I know, I KNOW) to keep my skin from being irritated—though you’ll find one pick below that left my skin clear and happy! 

Final sensitive skin note: Below, I’ve added my experience with each of the SPFs we tried, but my sensitivity might not be the same as your sensitivity, so take my notes with a grain of salt (or sand, since this IS an SPF post).

RELATED: Tips for aftersun skincare and Is it possible to reverse sun damage?

Compared: 10 natural face SPFs 

l💛ve Sun b☀️dy Sheer Power Daily Moisturizing Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30 | $42

✅ Fragrance Free, ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, ✅ Third Party Vetted

This is a medium-weight SPF that has a thicker consistency than most daily sunscreens, but you can still pull it off for daily wear. Historically this brand has been inconsistent in texture. Some years the consistency is thin and spreadable, but last year it was so thick I couldn’t even squeeze it out of the tube. We’ve tested this year’s Sheer Power and it’s homogeneous and spreadable. 

I also want to point out that this is one of the only SPFs that’s acquired the COSMOS NATURAL Certification (and the only one in the USA), which is the gold standard when it comes to clean beauty.  

RELATED: Read more about beauty certifications and why they can feel so confusing here.

What we like: 

  • ECOCERT Cosmos Natural Certified (THIS IS HUGE!!!) 
  • Added antioxidants like raspberry seed oil 
  • Dries down to matte  
  • Non-drying 
  • Takes a minute, but will rub into clear
  • Packaging is made from over 50% recyclable PCR
  • Can support long periods of time in the sun

What we didn’t like: 

  • It wears on the thicker side, making it great for beachwear, but a little too thick for everyday wear.
  • Is slightly irritating to Nicolle’s sensitive skin.

Good for sensitive skin? In the midfield for sensitivity. Gave Nicolle some slight irritation around her nose and mouth, but no overt blemishes popped up.

ELEVEN Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35 | $50 

✅ Fragrance Free, ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe,❓ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

We are seeing the emergence of oil-based sunscreens over the past year and Venus Williams is jumping on the trend with her Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35. This does not double as a moisturizer, but can be seamlessly incorporated into your daily routine over your skincare and under your makeup. 

We like how this SPF functions, but we have a lot of questions about the ingredient list. We see claims in the description about actives in this formula, but we don’t see them in the ingredient list. It’s really weird.

What we like: 

  • Smooth, velvety finish 
  • Not drying but also not moisturizing 
  • Seamless experience
  • No white cast 
  • Glass packaging + glass dropper 
  • Quick absorption
  • Did well on Nicolle’s sensitive skin

What we didn’t like:

  • We’re being picky here, but it has a very subtle gritty texture after it dries down.
  • The glass dropper doesn’t grab enough for a single application.
  • Not many certified organic ingredients.
  • Not our pick for long periods of time in the sun.
  • Being left with questions about what the actual ingredients are…

Good for sensitive skin? This is Nicolle’s THIRD pick for sensitive skin overall. It only produced a bit of redness around her nose, with no whiteheads or itchiness at all. The lack of skin-supportive ingredients puts it below Erin’s Faces, Mara + Honua.

Josh Rosebrook’s Nutrient Day Cream  Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | $55+

✅ Fragrance Free, ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

Josh Rosebrook’s Nutrient Day Cream lives at the crossroads of where certified organic meets effective. If you’ve tried this formula in the past and were left wanting more, it’s worth revisiting. Newly reformulated, this formula now applies sheerer than before and comes in air-tight glass packaging. Applies thicker than Le Prunier or Erin’s Faces, but thinner than Love Sun Body or Solara

This formula delivers a potent combination of distinct herbal actives and plant oils to repair, moisturize and protect the skin. Love, love, love the focus on certified organic ingredients—this is probably the most organic sunscreen on the market.

What we like:

  • More moisturizing than most
  • Leaves skin feeling plump
  • Not greasy 
  • Not drying 
  • Fragrance free
  • Also comes in a tinted formula
  • Packaged in glass
  • Comes in 3 sizes
  • Heavy focus on organic ingredients
  • Easy to layer over skincare and under makeup
  • Formulated with ingredients to treat the skin

What we don’t like: 

  • Smells a little like zinc
  • Not our pick for long periods of time in the sun
  • The price
  • Irritated Nicolle’s sensitive skin

Good for sensitive skin? Unfortunately, this incredibly high quality sunscreen was one of the more irritating for Nicolle’s sensitive skin. Ugh, annoying. Nicolle says, “I love Josh and his formulas, but my skin wasn’t happy with the reformulation. I had better success with the tinted SPF than with the untinted one—this new formula gave me itchiness and irritation almost immediately, and left me with bigger blemishes by the end of the day. 🤷🏼‍♀️”

Best daily moisturizer with SPF: Le Prunier Plumscreen™ SPF 31 | $78

This is TNK’s top pick for overall best natural face SPF.

✅ Fragrance Free, ✅Gluten Free, ✅Vegan, ✅Cruelty Free, ✅Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

Probably one of the most exciting and highly anticipated drops of 2021 and Lisa is obsessed. This formula is so special because it uses upcycled plum seed oil alongside broad spectrum zinc to deliver SPF 31 coverage. The kicker here is that plum seed oil is so naturally formidable at providing UV protection that Le Prunier only had to add 4.7% zinc to get a full pass on the “SPF 31” claim by the FDA.

This means that this truly feels like a moisturizer. It’s creamy, moisturizing and doesn’t smell like zinc (not even a little!).

We also love the addition of skin boosting ingredients like hydrating Zonaria Tournefortii Extract that helps protect against future wrinkles, and of course their trademarked Plum Superfruit Complex, which offers free radical protection, helps even skin tone, improves hyperpigmentation and more

What we like: 

  • Feels like a moisturizer
  • Silky smooth texture
  • Doesn’t smell like zinc
  • Good for all skin types
  • Transparent application 
  • Cream color (not stark white) and truly rubs in clear
  • Fragrance free but…
  • Smells so good naturally from ingredients like a hint of sweet prunes 
  • Not drying
  • Features skin-supporting ingredients in the bulk of the formula 
  • Easy to layer over skincare and under makeup 
  • The packaging (only the cap is plastic!)

What we didn’t like:

  • Not a huge focus on certified organic ingredients
  • Not our pick for long periods of time in the sun
  • The packaging makes it hard to get all of the product out
  • The price
  • It came in third in Nicolle’s sensitive skin testing

Good for sensitive skin? While Nicolle was super hopeful that this formula’s low zinc content would make it come out on top, it was still a little irritating. Some redness and irritation popped up after a day of wear, but its moisturizing ingredients did help balance it out a bit.

Best face moisturizer with SPF for the beach: kinfield Daily Dew SPF 35 | $24

One of our top budget picks.

🚫 Fragrance Free, ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted (Not that we found on their site.)

On the spectrum of everyday wear SPF to high (or sport) SPF, kinfield Daily Dew sits somewhere in the middle leaning closer to a high SPF formula. We personally feel more comfortable wearing this for outdoor activities than we do for everyday wear. It goes on WHITE and does take some time to rub in.

That being said, if you look at this as a sport SPF, it’s AWESOME. Super light (comparatively speaking) and we feel like we are definitely getting the coverage we want.   

The bulk of the formula is emollients, emulsifiers and bulking agents, binding agents and viscosity controlling agents. Listed last (meaning these are added in in the smallest percentages) are a couple of B Team heroes like aloe vera, glycerin and sunflower extract. But this is neither a pro nor a con—it’s simply prioritizing function and price over hero ingredients. 

What we like: 

  • The price 
  • Not drying 
  • Not greasy
  • Water resistant 
  • A hardy formula that feels like it is actually protecting skin
  • 1% For The Planet
  • Packaging made with post-consumer recycled plastic
  • Might be able to double as a moisturizer for some people
  • Has a very light scent to it (could be a pro or a con)
  • Finishes dewey (could be a pro or a con)

What we didn’t: 

  • Looks very white going on 
  • A little too heavy for everyday wear IMO
  • Not many ingredients to help treat skin 
  • This does have natural fragrance, which may be a con for some people
  • Is slightly irritating to Nicolle’s sensitive skin

Good for sensitive skin? We’ve got another midfield contender in the irritation category here. Not blemish-producing on Nicolle, but not quite as good as some of the others we tried.

Solara Suncare Time Traveler SPF 30 | $42

✅ Fragrance Free, 🚫 Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, ✅ Third Party Vetted (EWG)

Again, if you’ve tried this SPF in the past and were left wanting more, it’s worth another look. In this brand’s infancy, the consistency of this formula was not homogenous. It came out of the tube chunky and liquidy.

Well, not any more. We got this year’s batch to test and it’s homogenous, creamy and consistent. Lisa even left it in the car for a couple months to see if the Atlanta heat would break it down, but it stayed true to form. 

This formula sits more on the Sport-SPF side of the SPF consistency spectrum. It’s thicker in consistency and you have to make sure it’s rubbed in all the way. 

But this SPF stands out above the rest because it is LOADED with skin-changing activities that are clinically shown to help repair past damage at the cellular level, brighten and plump fine lines. This is truly skincare in the form of an SPF. 

What we like: 

  • Third party vetted (EWG)
  • Water resistant 
  • Skincare forward 
  • Actives to help improve skin
  • Fragrance free
  • Not drying
  • Finishes dewey (could be a pro or a con)
  • Can potentially double as your daily moisturizer
  • Amazing customer service
  • 100% recyclable packaging 

What we didn’t: 

  • You have to make sure this is rubbed in all the way
  • A little too heavy for everyday wear IMO
  • Is slightly irritating to Nicolle’s sensitive skin

Good for sensitive skin? This year’s batch is pretty good overall when it comes to reactivity. Nicolle experienced a bit of itchiness over the course of the day, and some small red bumps around her nose, but no overt blemishes at the end of the day.

Honua’s MALU Day Cream SPF 30 | $42+

✅ Fragrance Free (synthetic fragrance free), ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

Gosh, Lisa loves this SPF so much, it’s been in her TOP 3 for years now. Above all, it wears like a dream: goes on light, even, sinks in, smells great, moisturizes and leaves skin looking fresh and healthy. Also love the addition of Hawaiian laukahi and oat bran extract to soothe, noni fruit for a clear appearance and jasmine to help even skin tone. 

This is just so easy to use, it’s almost unbelievable.

What we like: 

  • Comes in multiple size options 
  • Smells like jasmine (can be a pro or a con)
  • Not drying
  • Not greasy
  • Moisturizing
  • Lightweight
  • A percentage of sales supports Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
  • Packaged in dark glass
  • Recyclable packaging 
  • Easy to layer over skincare and under makeup
  • Can double as a lightweight moisturizer for some
  • Minimal irritation for sensitive skin

What we didn’t like: 

  • Not our pick for long periods of time in the sun
  • Can be hard to get the last bits out of the bottle 

Good for sensitive skin? This ties for second best for sensitive skin (the Mara SPF reviewed below is the other second-place winner). It’s one of the least irritating overall, with just some slight redness around her nose appearing after a day of use.

Best face moisturizer with SPF for sensitive skin: Erin’s Faces Peptide SPF 30 | $57.50

Our top pick for sensitive skin.

✅ Fragrance Free, ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

This is one of our personal faves for this year. What we like most about this formula is it behaves like a moisturizer first and an SPF second. Truly goes on with ease, lightly moisturizes, has zero white cast and does not smell like zinc. Basically just imagine your favorite moisturizer, pretend it also has SPF and it’s THIS! 

Also love the addition of skin boosting ingredients like MATRIXYL 3000 to help improve sun damaged skin, cucumber fruit extract to target hyperpigmentation and blue passion flower to soothe inflammation. 

What we like: 

  • The consistency 
  • The bulk of the formula is sourced organic 
  • Skin supporting ingredients
  • Acts as a light moisturizer  
  • Easy to layer makeup over
  • Not drying
  • Not irritating to sensitive skin
  • Truly rubs into clear
  • Not greasy
  • Comes in 2 sizes

What we didn’t: 

  • The plastic packaging could be better
  • Not our pick for long periods of time in the sun

Good for sensitive skin? If you have reactive skin, THIS IS THE SPF FOR YOU—it’s our top pick for sensitive skin. Nicolle has been using it for two years and it causes the least amount of irritation day after day. Maybe it’s the aloe; maybe it’s the blue passionflower; maybe it’s the combo of skin-soothing ingredients balanced perfectly with zinc… we can’t say for sure, but we can say it gets Nicolle’s top pick award.

Mara Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum | $52

🚫 Fragrance Free (contains essential oils), ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

Another of the oil-based SPFs on the market, we think this is perhaps the best of that bunch. No skin-drying formulas, no product caking, no white cast, no greasiness…just goodness and protection. 

The zinc used here is called GlowDefence™ and it’s a super sheer, non-nano zinc oxide providing broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. You have to shake the formula to incorporate it before applying, but this custom zinc ingredient is a wonder and truly applies sheer.  

The formula is also rich in antioxidants (raspberry), skin-strengthening nutrients (sea aster) and ingredients that support the skin (algae). It also boasts moringa which delivers 90+ nutrients, 46 antioxidants and vitamins A, B, C, D and E for that fresh complexion and mega glow. 

It’s great for everyday wear (a beach day may require something stronger). 

What we like: 

  • The consistency 
  • The abundance of skin supporting ingredients
  • Acts as a light moisturizer  
  • Easy to layer makeup over
  • Not drying
  • Not irritating to sensitive skin
  • Truly rubs into clear
  • Glass packaging with easy to use pump

What we didn’t: 

  • There’s a tiny bit of an oily finish if you apply too much, so be aware
  • Not our pick for long periods of time in the sun
  • Has a distinct scent—sort of like algae, which might be a turn off

Good for sensitive skin? This is Nicolle’s second pick for sensitive skin in all the SPFs we tested. Applies easily without irritation and causes minimal redness by the end of the day, with no whiteheads, itchiness or blemishes. 

Best face moisturizer with SPF for the beach: Cocokind Daily SPF 32 | $25

One of our top budget picks.

✅ Fragrance Free, ✅ Gluten Free, ✅ Vegan, ✅ Cruelty Free, ✅ Reef Safe, ✅ USA Made, ✅ Mineral Based, ✅ Broad Spectrum, 🚫 Third Party Vetted

We wanted to find a new budget pick for this year and we landed on Cocokind Daily SPF 32 or kinfield Daily Dew. Both of these formulas are similar in both price and function. Really the biggest difference between the two is that this one is fragrance free, while kinfield is not. 

What we like: 

  • The price 
  • Not drying 
  • Not greasy
  • A hardy formula that feels like it is actually protecting my skin
  • Might be able to double as a moisturizer for some people
  • Finishes dewey (could be a pro or a con)
  • Fragrance free

What we didn’t: 

  • A little heavier than we’d prefer for everyday wear IMO
  • Not many ingredients to help treat skin 

Good for sensitive skin? Nicolle didn’t try this one, but she will and she will keep you posted! 

Natural moisturizers with SPF that we considered for this list

TNK’s top picks for natural moisturizers with SPF

a chart detailing TNK top picks for tinted face spfs

Natural face SPF TNK reader FAQs

Is it just me or do zinc based sunscreens dry out your skin?

Zinc is for sure drying, YES. That’s why we look for and recommend formulas that counteract that with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients. I personally love Le Prunier’s Plumscreen SPF 31 which only has 4% zinc added!  

Can they go bad?

All sunscreens should have a “use by” date. Make sure to locate it on the tube and check each season to see what you need to replenish.  

How high of an SPF does someone really need? I personally think SPF 30 is the best option for maximum protection while still being easy to spread and use. explains the difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30 is just a 4% difference in coverage. (Meaning SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97% and SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%). 

Is vitamin C in sunscreen just marketing?

I like the way you think! A lot of things can be “just marketing”. One easy way to fact check this specifically is to look at the ingredient list to see if the formula does in fact contain vitamin c! Vitamin c can be listed in several different ways. Here are some examples of what to look for: Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Calcium Ascorbate, Ascorbyl Palmitate. 

Which one does not sting your face if you sweat / swim? 

I hate when this happens! We tested a bunch of face SPFs this year and the ones included in our top 10 did not sting my face. (I had one that did and we didn’t include it!) I would recommend trying kinfield’s Daily Dew SPF 35 which is also water resistant.  

Will you review the new ILIA tinted sunscreen?

Oh heck yeah! Stay tuned!

Should we be concerned about nano?

Non-nano zinc oxide offers the best UV protection and it’s the kind supported by Ecocert and the Ecocert Cosmos certification (the gold star standards in clean beauty). When non-nano zinc oxide is applied to the skin, all of the zinc oxide remains on top of the skin’s surface to reflect UV radiation. This has been proven with a study that used tape. The tape applied to the skin was able to recover all topically applied zinc oxide in sunscreens.

What’s your fave for beach days?

There are so many great options out there now. For face I love Solara’s Time Traveler and kinfield Daily Dew. For body I like lovesunbody SPF 30 and EleVen Game Set Match.  

Is reef safe a certification? 

No! No one is monitoring the use of the term reef safe. This means brands can use it and claim it at will. Generally speaking it means not using oxybenzone and octinoxate as chemical barriers. But it can go deeper than that depending on what source you read.

What do you recommend for tinted SPF?

We are currently prepping our tinted SPF post that will go live mid June. We like to test fresh batches each year so it takes a little longer to get these up. Some of the front runners are Kosas and Saie Beauty …more to come!

What’s your go-to untinted face SPF? Share, share!

xo, lisa and nicolle

TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!


  1. Reply


    Hi Lisa, I’m a little late reading this article, In addition to non-greasy which you’ve covered, I’m looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t feel sticky or filmy when I sweat. Is there one in particular you’d recommend? Thank you.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      YES! You will like Le Prunier and Erin’s Faces the best!

  2. Reply


    Thanks so much for replying and for the recommendation!

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