Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Review: An Exquisite Matte Sunscreen for Oily Skin

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Sunscreen should be a big part of everybody’s skincare routine. As I’ve mentioned before, it not only prevents wrinkles but also reduces the risk of skin cancers.

The trouble is, find the right sunscreen is ridiculously difficult. Some sunscreens are expensive, some are greasy, some leave you with a white cast, and some do all of the above. Oh and did I mention, some are even banned in some parts of the world because they harm aquatic life.

Well, that’s not the case with Australian Gold Botanical’s Tinted Mineral Sunscreen—it’s affordable, non-greasy, white-cast-free AND reef safe.

I’ve repurchased it more times than I can count–it’s my absolute favorite sunscreen and I can’t find anything nearly as good as it. If you have oily skin, I highly recommend it. But since it’s mattifying, I’d skip it if you have dry skin.

Reef Friendly

Not all sunscreens are created equally.

Some sunscreens contain ingredients that can bleach coral reefs. Some, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, are even banned in certain parts of the world because of this. Don’t be fooled. Just because something isn’t banned, doesn’t mean that it’s good. A 2018 study performed by Corinaldesi et al revealed that uncoated, non-nano zinc (aka an ingredient that’s often marketed as “all-natural” to the consumer) also leads to a “severe and fast coral bleaching.”

The Australian Gold Botanical Tinted sunscreen is considered reef-friendly because it’s:

  • Oxybenzone-free
  • PABA-free
  • Non-nano
  • Paraben-free
  • Triclosan-free
  • Octocrylene-free
  • Octinoxate-free
  • Camphor-free

Pro tip: If you’re adamant about reef-safe sunscreens, choose a product from the Botanical line. Australian Gold’s other products don’t share the same morals.

Water Resistant

Yes. Just like every other sunscreen, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

When I first put it on, the sunscreen forms a mattifying layer on my face. If water splashes on me, the water just forms beads–it doesn’t absorb into my face at all.

Sun Protection

Australian Gold Botanical is advertised as having broad spectrum protection (i.e. it protects against both UVA & UVB) with an SPF rating of 50.

Don’t get me wrong, I think an SPF of 50 is great–that’s exactly what I look for in a sunscreen. But SPF is a measure of UVB rays. Even though the packaging says that it has “broad spectrum” protection, I can’t tell how well the sunscreen performs agains UVA rays (aka the rays that penetrate deepest into the skin and cause aging and wrinkles).

Unlike SPF, PPD is a measure of UVA rays. While PPD is popular in Europe, I had to email Australian Gold Botanical for it here in the US. Here’s what they said:

Thank you for contacting us. Our PPD is 19.2 which is our UVA protection factor. The US does have a broad spectrum test which we have also passed. The UVA protection for the mineral combination of Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide tends to be outstanding. Sunscreens and their ratings have to pass the FDA’s requirements to be on the market.

If you’re used to SPF ratings, the previous statement might not mean much to you. Let’s put it this way, a PPD of 19.2 means that you can get 19.2 times more UVA exposure without tanning.

Is that the highest PPD rating?

No. The highest I’ve seen was 38 from Bioderma.

But it’s a high PPD rating, especially compared to most of the other face sunscreens on the market. And I haven’t experienced any burning or excessive tanning while wearing it (I’ve been wearing it daily for about 3 years now).

Bottom line: Since this sunscreen has an SPF of 50, a PPD of 19.2, and a PA++++, it provides really good broad-spectrum coverage against UVA/UVB damage.

The Smell

This sunscreen is fragrance-free, which is wonderful for sensitive skin as fragrance can often cause allergic reactions.


Since I absolutely hate the white cast of some sunscreens, I don’t mind that the slightly orange tinge of this one. I have a light-to-medium complexion, so the “Fair -Light” option actually blends in with my skin tone quite nicely.

While it doesn’t offer much coverage, it blurs some of the redness/imperfections on my skin. On most days, I don’t feel the need to add a foundation on top of this, but I do feel like adding concealer on-top, especially in my under-eye area.

When I started using this product, they only had one shade, the “Fair-Light,” which I still use to this day. They’ve recently expanded their range to include “Medium-Tan” and “Rich-Deep.”. I really can’t speak to their darker shades–I’ve never purchased them and I couldn’t find any non-sponsored content on them. One of these days, I’m going to buy them and swatch them for you, but, for now, they’re out of stock.

Bottom line: The “Fair-Light” shade blends well with my light-medium, neutral skin tone. Even though the “Fair-Light” is the lightest shade in the range, I don’t think it would actually work on fair/pale skin–it would be way too dark. Although there are other shades in the range (“Medium-Tan” and “Rich-Deep”) I don’t know how the darker shades perform on darker skin tones. The photos on Australian Gold’s website make it seem like the “Rich-Deep” would match with an NW47 (Mac), but it’s hard to tell when you’re looking at colors on a computer screen.


This sunscreen spreads beautifully. Unlike some other mineral sunscreens, I don’t have to spend a lot of time rubbing it into my skin to make it look good. I dot it over my face and spend maybe 30-45 seconds massaging it into my skin.

Since it dries down matte in about 10 minutes, I either apply a wet concealer to my problem areas before or immediately after I put on this sunscreen. When it’s completely dry, I might use powder foundation on top of it.

Side note: From my experience, cream/liquid foundations don’t work well with this sunscreen. If I apply wet foundation immediately after I apply the sunscreen, I’ll dilute the SPF. If I wait until the sunscreen is dry and apply wet foundation, I’ll look cakey.

The thing I love about this sunscreen (and the reason I’ve used it for so long) is that it’s mattifying. After application, it dries down into an almost powdery finish. In the past, I’ve definitely gravitated towards powder foundations to tackle my shine, but this sunscreen actually works better than a lot of the powders I’ve used. Powders always look like powders, but this looks natural AND it’s mattifying.

The mattifying effect doesn’t last throughout the whole day. You’ll have to reapply it throughout the day. But, I’m certainly not as oily as I would have been had I not applied this sunscreen.

Amount of Product

When I wear sunscreen, I wear a lot of it. And I reapply it throughout the day. So, I don’t want to buy something that looks travel-sized.

With Australian Gold Botanical, you get a hefty 3 ounces.

That means I can apply it to my face, neck, and ears without being stingy. And I don’t have to go back to reorder it that often because I ran out. Even when I think I’m almost out, I can usually get more out of the tube if I squeeze hard enough.


Titanium dioxide 4%, Zinc oxide 4%, Alumina, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium Edta, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Hexyl Laurate, Iron Oxides, Panthenol, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol (I wrote an article all about this preservative—read it here), Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Polymethysilsesquioxane, Porphyra Umbilicalis (Red Algae) Extract, Silica, Squalane, Stearic Acid, Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylysilane, Water.

Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide

You might recognize these powders from your favorite powder foundation (i.e. Bareminerals Original). Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are known as physical sun blockers when they’re included in sunscreen. They sit on top of your skin to reflect and scatter the sun’s damaging rays. These minerals work better together. Titanium dioxide is better suited against UVB rays (aka sunburn rays), while zinc oxide is better suited against UVA rays (aka suntan/skin aging rays).

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter

Shea butter, an extract from the African shea tree, is a popular ingredient in skincare because it’s an emollient (aka it’s moisturizing and skin softening). One study found that it has anti-inflammatory effects (Verma et al., 2012). But more interestingly, a 2020 study by Sarruf et al. found that shea butter increased the SPF value in lipstick.

Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract

This is a really cool ingredient. According to a 2022 study by Moreira et al., eucalyptus extract has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and de-pigmenting effects (among other things). But those effects aren’t the only reason that eucalyptus extract is a great product to use in sunscreens. A 2018 study by Park et al. found that the extract helps reduce wrinkle formation and dryness in skin exposed to UVB rays.

Red Algae

A 2020 review written by Thiyagarasaiyar et al. describes red algae’s benefits. What you need to know is that red algae has MAA’s (aka Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids) that can protect skin against sun damage.

Kakadu Plum

The kakadu plum, a fruit native to Australia, has been used medicinally for centuries to treat things like colds and headaches. In doing research, I haven’t found any studies that specifically relate to skincare, but I found a bunch of studies that describe the composition of the fruit. By all accounts, it’s chock-full of vitamin C and has top-notch antioxidant abilities (much higher than that of blueberries). Since a study by Dunston et al. found that combining sunscreen and antioxidants increases protection against sun damage, I’m all for adding the kakadu plum to this SPF 50 sunscreen.

What I Liked

  • It’s a good value
  • Doesn’t make me look greasier than I already am
  • Spreads out nicely
  • It’s tinted (aka no white cast)
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Love the ingredients

What I Didn’t Like

  • The mattifying effect wears off after ~4-5 hours
  • Hard to wash off at the end of the day (enter the double cleanse method)
  • Gets in my eyebrows and flakes
  • It’s always sold out in the summer, so I have to stock up beforehand or go without

Where to Purchase

Check out Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Mineral Sunscreen here on Amazon.

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