Since I developed perioral dermatitis (a rash around the mouth for those of you who don’t know) in March 2023, I’ve been particularly interested in physical or mineral sunscreens, since these are supposed to be a lot less irritating for the skin than chemical formulas.
A bonus tip is that my dermatologist also told me they are less likely to cause acne, which, although interesting, definitely should be taken with a pinch of salt and not read as ‘chemical sunscreens cause acne’ – I know what the internet can be like!
Moving on, I want to share some thoughts on some of the Korean mineral sunscreens I’ve received from brands in the recent past (though none of this is sponsored whatsoever). Some are tinted and others melt seamlessly into the skin.
Providing SPF 50+ Pa++++, this creamy formula from HaruHaru Wonder is a lightweight gel texture that feels super elegant for a mineral sunscreen. If you’re desperate to move away from chalky-feeling formulas, this one is definitely worth a shot.
When it comes to sunscreens for sensitive skin, I love that it doesn’t contain fragrance, essential oils or denatured alcohol – a staple in most chemical sunscreens and even a lot of mineral ones.
As for UV filters, I noticed this sunscreen contains a sneaky chemical filter – butyloctyl salicylate, making this a hybrid (not a true mineral SPF after all).
Unless you have an allergy to salicylates, you should be fine with this, but it’s something to watch out for if you’re hoping to try a ‘real’ mineral SPF. You’ll start to notice just how many ‘mineral’ formulas contain this sneaky chemical filter in the rest of this post!
Whilst Haru Haru Wonder is a popular Korean beauty brand, and I love them for their fragrance-free versions of their most popular products, such as their Black Rice Hyaluronic Toner for sensitive skin, I am myself personally a little concerned by the high amount of cyclohexasiloxane.
Cyclohexasiloxane is a silicone which is not a problem for most people, but for me personally I believe it can sometimes give me that ‘suffocating’ feeling, and cause spots on my forehead. It’s something I try to avoid in mineral sunscreens but, unfortunately for me, it’s in so many of them!
Overall, this is a really, really nice sunscreen. I would recommend it for those who’re looking for a satin-dewy finish on the skin, and particularly for those with dry skin. It performs well on the skin and doesn’t leave an obvious white cast on medium skin tones, with a mild wild cast on dark skin tones. It is very moisturiser-esque and nice under makeup, and for that I applaud it – not many mineral formulas do (even if they are really a hybrid).
This interestingly named ‘yam root’ inspired sunscreen is a relatively new release from Isntree, who’re the same K beauty brand that are known for the ultra popular Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF.
This time they’ve created a tinted, mineral formula that again uses zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and butyloctyl salicylate to create a hybrid formula of mineral and chemical filters.
There are no essential oils or fragrances in this formula, and because it’s tinted it also contains iron oxides that provide an additional layer of protection from hyperpigmentation – perfect if you’re looking to even out your skin tone from day one but also over time.
Whilst unfortunately for me it still contains my anxiety-inducing cyclohexasiloxane silicone, for most people this could be a really nice formula.
The major downside, as with so many mineral tinted formulas, is that this will not work well for deeper skin tones. There appears to be only one shade – I feel that Isntree could have at least brought out a handful of shades so that it can live up to its ‘foundation-like’ claim.
As a brand, Skin1004 is one that feels relatively unexplored to me. Not meaning to be super brutal, but this is because nothing has ever stood out to me as super good… or super bad. I’ve had no real ‘pull’ to explore them – that is until my hunt for a mineral SPF with an elegant, comfortable formula began. Of course we need to know, does this one contain butyloctyl salicylate? Yes, yes it does.
I watched lots of YouTube videos searching for the perfect mineral sunscreen and this centella air-fit suncream came up quite a few times, which led me to take a closer look at the brand. Unfortunately for those with sensitive skin, this formula immediately waved me some red flags.
Others may disagree, but I prefer not to use products containing multiple essential oils, of which this product has many. If you’re here because you, too, have stumbled across perioral dermatitis, I’d recommend giving this one a miss for the same reasons.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that again, cyclohexasiloxane is present – and also worth mentioning, again, that most people will react totally fine to this, it’s just my preference to avoid it if I can. Unfortunately, during my quest I have found that silicones like cyclohexasiloxane are present in maybe 75% of mineral formulas, especially newer releases. This may be because it gives a product a ‘silkier’ feel, something that is typically desperately needed by mineral filters such as zinc oxide.
Overall, this is an easy pass for me due to the essential oil content that I now avoid in pretty much all of my purchases. Despite this, it is relatively highly rated by its users and many of them claim that it doesn’t sting their eyes, which is always a plus with sunscreen.