Product Review

Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Sheer Sunscreen Is the Natural SPF That Truly Goes on Clear and Cast-Free

The lightweight, mineral-based sunscreen dries down to a sheer, dewy finish.
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Best of Beauty
  • Best of Beauty
  • 2015
Readers' Choice
  • Readers' Choice
  • 2020, 2019, 2018
TL;DR:
  • What It Is: A featherlight, mineral SPF that gives skin a dewy glow
  • What It Does Protects skin from sun damage while imparting a glowy finish 
  • Who It's For: Anyone looking for a mineral sunscreen that hydrates skin and gives a dewy glow

I'm a pretty particular person. Some would even say I'm "picky." And that's fine — let me be picky, because, at the end of the day, it just means I know what I like. And it just so happens that what I like are lattes with oat milk, toast without gluten, and a wardrobe without color. Oh, and when it comes to sunscreen, I prefer mineral-based, easily blendable, and streak-free formulas. That's why I like the Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30. It meets all of my (and apparently all of yours) SPF needs and more. No wonder it was picked for a Readers' Choice Award winner this year.

The cream-based formula is made with 20 percent zinc oxide to shield skin from harmful UV rays, as well as antioxidant-packed algae and sunflower sprout extracts, to fight off free radical damage. All of this is important because mineral-based sunscreens are said to be great for sensitive skin types, like me.

"People with sensitive skin can have a hard time finding sunscreens, as most are made with chemical UV blockers that can cause stinging, burning, irritations, and redness when applied to the skin," Shari Marchbein, a New York City-based dermatologist, previously told Allure. "Instead, you want to look for physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which can be found in baby sunscreens and most that are labeled for sensitive skin."

As far as texture goes, Umbra is pretty lightweight for a mineral sunscreen. In my experience, I've found most zinc oxide formulas tend to be on the thick and pasty side, but such was not the case with Drunk Elephant's version. Sure, it's creamy, but it's also lighter than a paste and glides onto skin fairly seamlessly. Oh, and there's no dreaded white cast either. (We know, because we've tested it on multiple skin tones.)

For me, a person with fair skin, it only took a second or two for Umbra to completely blend into my skin. And instead of a tacky matte feeling, it dried down into a sheer, dewy finish. It made applying my BB cream all the more easier — no piling at all. Consider this picky person satisfied.

The Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Sunscreen is a 2020 Allure Readers' Choice Winner. See the complete list of this year's winners here.