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Is Colorescience sunscreen mineral or chemical?

Sunscreen is an essential skincare product that protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Choosing the right sunscreen can be confusing with the variety of formulations available. Two main types of sunscreen ingredients are mineral and chemical filters. Understanding the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens can help you pick the right product for your skin type and needs.

Introduction to Colorescience

Colorescience is a skincare company founded in 2000 that specializes in mineral sunscreen products. Their sunscreen line uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active mineral ingredients to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. Colorescience sunscreens come in different forms like powders, creams, and sprays. They are well-known for their sheer mineral powder sunscreens that can be worn alone over makeup or applied on top of liquid sunscreen for extra protection.

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreens

There are two main types of sunscreen filters used in skincare products – mineral and chemical. Here is an overview of how they work:

Mineral Sunscreens

  • Use active mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Sits on top of the skin to deflect and block UV rays.
  • Less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
  • Can leave a white cast on some skin tones.

Chemical Sunscreens

  • Use active synthetic ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate.
  • Absorbs UV rays and transforms them into heat energy.
  • Greater risk of irritation for sensitive skin.
  • Less white cast compared to mineral.

The main difference is that mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and act like a shield, while chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin to protect from within. Mineral sunscreens are typically recommended for sensitive skin because the ingredients are less likely to cause irritation or allergy.

Are Colorescience Sunscreens Mineral or Chemical?

Colorescience sunscreens use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients, which categorizes them as mineral sunscreens. They do not contain chemical UV filters like oxybenzone or avobenzone. Some key qualities of Colorescience sunscreens:

  • Provide broad spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays.
  • Use non-nano zinc oxide particles.
  • Sheer mineral powders leave little to no white cast.
  • Designed to be non-irritating for sensitive skin.
  • Offer high SPF coverage up to SPF 50.
  • Water and sweat resistant formulas.

As mineral sunscreens, Colorescience products use zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Some of their sunscreens also contain titanium dioxide for additional UV protection. The minerals sit atop the skin to deflect and scatter UV rays away from the skin.

Benefits of Mineral Sunscreens like Colorescience

There are several advantages that mineral sunscreens like Colorescience offer compared to chemical sunscreen formulas:

1. Gentle for Sensitive Skin

Mineral sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are less likely to irritate sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions. They sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed, making them a good choice for conditions like eczema or rosacea.

2. Immediate UV Protection

Once applied, the mineral particles immediately start deflecting away UV rays from the skin. There is no delay compared to chemical sunscreens that need to absorb first before taking effect.

3. Lower Health Concerns

Some chemical sunscreen filters like oxybenzone have raised health concerns over skin absorption and hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreens don’t seem to carry the same risks.

4. Less Skin Irritation

Ingredients in chemical sunscreens can sometimes irritate skin, eyes, and lips. Mineral sunscreens tend to be much gentler while still providing broad spectrum protection.

5. Stable in Sunlight

Minerals like zinc oxide remain stable when exposed to UV rays, unlike some chemical filters that degrade in sunlight. They maintain their protective properties longer.

Potential Drawbacks of Mineral Sunscreens

While mineral sunscreens have many benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Can leave a white cast on darker skin tones.
  • Thicker textures than chemical sunscreen.
  • May be drying for some skin types.
  • Can be tricky to blend in completely.
  • Higher cost than synthetic sunscreen.

The white cast mineral sunscreens leave is the biggest complaint for many users. However, formulas like Colorescience address this issue by using micronized mineral particles that leave little to no white residue.

Colorescience Sunscreen Product Lines

Colorescience offers a wide selection of mineral sunscreen products. Here is an overview of their major SPF lines:

Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield

Lightweight mineral powders provide sheer broad spectrum protection. Available in brush and powder formulas with SPF 30 or 50. Offered in tinted and non-tinted versions.

Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield

Water resistant SPF 50 body sunscreen spray with 22% micronized zinc oxide. Designed for active lifestyles with a clear dry-touch finish.

Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm

Multitasking balms provide broad spectrum SPF 50 protection along with a tint of color for lips, cheeks, or eyes. Offered in several shades.

Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50

Mineral sunscreen, primer, and skin brightener in one. Helps improve the appearance of dark spots and discoloration.

Suncare Mineral Radiance After Sun Repair Cream

Soothing cream with antioxidants, aloe vera, and vitamins C and E to nourish skin after sun exposure.

Sunscreen Line Key Features
Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Mineral powder SPF 30 or 50 for face
Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield Mineral spray SPF 50 for body
Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm Tinted mineral balm SPF 50 for lips/face
Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector Mineral SPF 50 serum for spots & discoloration
Suncare Mineral Radiance Cream After-sun repair cream for skin

How to Use Colorescience Sunscreen

Using Colorescience sunscreen properly is important to get the full protective benefits. Here are some tips for application:

  • Apply liberally and evenly over all exposed skin. Don’t rub in completely so some product sits on skin surface.
  • Allow sunscreen to fully dry before applying makeup or other skincare products over top.
  • Reapply every 2 hours if sweating or swimming. Reapply after toweling off or drying face.
  • Use a shot glass worth (about 1 oz) to cover the face and neck area sufficiently.
  • Can use powder sunscreen over liquid formulas for added coverage and water/sweat resistance.
  • Avoid using expired sunscreen which loses effectiveness. Check expiration dates.

Using the recommended amount is key to achieve the stated level of sun protection. Applying too little mineral sunscreen can diminish its blocking abilities against UV damage.


In summary, Colorescience sunscreens are categorized as mineral sunscreens since they use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients. As mineral formulas, they work by sitting on top of the skin to physically deflect UV rays away from the skin’s surface. This provides a gentler sun protection option compared to chemical sunscreens.

Some benefits of Colorescience mineral sunscreens include being suitable for sensitive skin, starting to work immediately, and causing less skin irritation. Potential drawbacks can include a white cast, thicker texture, and higher cost. However, Colorescience aims to minimize the downsides with specialized micronized minerals and cosmetically elegant formulas.

When used properly, Colorescience sunscreen provides safe, effective broad spectrum sun protection powered by minerals. Choosing a mineral formula like Colorescience can help reduce the risks of sun damage, skin cancer, and early aging.