La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Review

This mineral sunscreen was disppointing, to say the least. It promises to be a good option for oily skin but it leaves your skin feeling oilier than ever—and it's hard to wash off.

I’m a pretty frugal person, but I still get the urge to splurge once in a while. And I usually don’t feel too guilty about splurging on sunscreen because it’s an essential product. A few weeks ago, I impulsively purchased a bottle of La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50. I bought it on a whim after skimming a few reviews online, and hoped for the best. The reviews were typical of a mineral sunscreen—hard to apply, leaves a white cast, yada yada—so I wasn’t scared off by the reviews…but I should have done a bit more research before buying it. This is probably one of the worst mineral sunscreens I’ve ever tried, and that’s saying a lot. The higher-than-normal price only added insult to injury, unfortunately. If you’re looking for a good mineral sunscreen that won’t make you hate mineral sunscreens, I recommend checking out Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen (read the review here) or Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 (read the review here).

La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 ingredients

Active ingredients: titanium dioxide (5%), zinc oxide (15%)

Inactive ingredients: water, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, isohexadecane, isononyl isononanoate, dicaprylyl ether, peg-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, dicaprylyl carbonate, ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer, triethylhexanoin, silica, poly c10-30 alkyl acrylate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, caprylyl glycol, diethylhexyl syringylidenemalonate, triethoxycaprylylsilane, aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, aluminum stearate, chlorphenesin, disteardimonium hectorite, alumina, polyhydroxystearic acid, tocopherol, p-anisic acid, capryloyl salicylic acid, xanthan gum, disodium edta, propylene carbonate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cassia alata leaf extract, maltodextrin

My Dad the Chemist’s review of La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Dear Emily, most of the inactive ingredients are necessary to incorporate zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, they are fine and safe ingredients. Based on the formula ingredients I think it would work well if the sunscreen paste looks uniform (not grainy) and smooth, no liquid separated from the paste (lotion) throughout usage. Chlorphenesin is one of the preservatives that I preferred not to use because some countries banned it years ago, but now it’s approved to be used (less than 0.15%)in personal care and cosmetics products worldwide.

Love, Dad

Overall, he thinks all the ingredients should work well and be effective. He expressed a preference to avoid products with chlorphenesin, but he thinks it’s safe to use now since it’s now approved for use at very low concentrations.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 review

I had high hopes for this sunscreen because I absolutely loved their (now discontinued?) BB Blur product. It was the prefect product for oily skin because it left a matte finish, just like this particular sunscreen claimed to do. But when I tried applying it, it was very difficult to rub in. It almost felt like I was rubbing wet clay onto my face. It definitely leaves a white cast, which I was sort of expecting already (pretty much all mineral sunscreens do). But what disappointed me most was that it was so difficult to rub in…and it was equally difficult to wash off. There were some pros: I didn’t end up getting burned and it didn’t irritate my skin more than any other mineral sunscreen. My dad said that as long as the sunscreen looked smooth without any separation of ingredients, it should be effective. I definitely didn’t notice any separation or graininess, so I think this sunscreen is probably perfectly effective at what it claims to do: offer SPF 50 protection. But I won’t be buying this again. At this price point (pricier than something like Coppertone, but still available in drugstores, so not quite as expensive as EltaMD or Supergoop!), I expected a more elegant formula.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Review

It’s interesting that this sunscreen uses a mix of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of just zinc oxide. Titanium dioxide offers UVB protection, while zinc oxide offers both UVA and UVB protection. It actually left more of a white cast than many other solely zinc oxide-based sunscreens I’ve tried in the past, so the lower concentration of zinc oxide (15% whereas other products have contained 20%+) didn’t actually translate into less of a white cast. I didn’t detect any noticeable odor and it doesn’t contain any added fragrances. It also claims to be non-comedogenic, which is a plus. However, I just didn’t think the labor of painstakingly trying to rub it in evenly on my face and neck was worth the price or effort. I’ve been reaching for other sunscreens instead, but I know I’ll eventually have to use this one up or chalk it up to a loss. Just shows that sometimes even the “nicer” drugstore brands don’t make products that are necessarily better than the Coppertones or Banana Boats out there. The consistency of this one actually reminded me of the Coppertone Sport Mineral Sunscreen I tried out years ago. If you’ve read my review, you know that’s not a compliment.

I’m still on the hunt for new mineral sunscreen options, because this one is definitely a dud. And it was pretty expensive, too. I was hoping it would offer more of a luxury beauty experience because of its price point, but unfortunately, it failed to deliver. It may be effective at blocking UV radiation, but I find myself reaching for other sunscreens because I just can’t stand the thought of trying to rub it into my skin again—and then having to scrub it off later. As all the dermatologists say, the best sunscreen is the one you actually wear. And even though I have a pretty high tolerance for looking as pale as a ghost, I still dread the thought of going out in public wearing this particular sunscreen.

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