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Does Powder Sunscreen Actually Work? What It Does, How It Can Help Your Skin and the Right Way to Use It

Don’t leave home without it.
Does powder sunscreen work

Sunscreen lotions have come a long way in recent years—but even the most advanced formulas might look and feel heavier on your skin than you’d like. Having to reapply them every two hours is also a drag, since that can ruin your makeup and trap acne-causing debris.

That’s why you might be considering a powder sunscreen. 

Unlike creamy SPFs, powder sunscreen is completely dry, and leaves your skin matte, not greasy. It brushes on just like your favourite setting powder, and can be applied right over your makeup—so topping up your sun protection couldn’t be easier.

But does it actually work at protecting your skin from sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging?

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

In this tutorial, we’ll tackle that question. You will learn what powder sunscreen does, how well it protects you, and the right way to use it in your routine. 

What Is Powder Sunscreen?

Powder Sunscreen Benefits

Does Powder Sunscreen Work?

Is Powder Sunscreen Safe?

How to Use Powder Sunscreen

The Best Powder Sunscreens for Your Skin

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
Supergoop Resetting 100 Mineral Powder SPF 35 PA
Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
ISDIN Isdinceutics Mineral Brush On the Go Facial Powder SPF 50
iS Clinical PerfecTint Powder SPF 40
Colorescience Total Protection Sheer Matte SPF 30 Sunscreen Brush
Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30
Tarte SEA Set Protect Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 30
Mineral Fusion Mineral SPF 30 Brush-On Sun Defense
ILIA Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20


Now you know the pros and cons of powder sunscreens—and why my mantra is “don’t leave home without it.” 

Rather than relying on a powder as my go-to SPF, I simply keep a tube in my handbag at all times. That way, I can rest easy knowing that I always have a back-up or “emergency” sunscreen with me, in case I’m out and about and need to reapply.

By layering a powder formula over a sunscreen lotion, you get the best of both worlds. Your regular sunscreen gives you that base level of protection, and your powder keeps it going all day long—while also taming shine and helping your makeup to last longer.

Further Reading

  1. Sabzevari, Nina, Qiblawi, Sultan, Norton, Scott A. & Fivenson, David. (2021). Sunscreens: UV filters to protect us: Part 1: Changing regulations and choices for optimal sun protection. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. 2021 Jan; 7(1): 28–44.
  2. Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 
  3. Baumann, Leslie. (2007, November). Are SPF Powders Reliable Sun Protection? Yahoo Lifestyle.
  4. DRAFT: GUIDANCE DOCUMENT Sunscreen Monograph. (2012, November 16). Health Canada.