A few years back, I was living with a friend who was the queen of natural skincare. Whenever we’d get ready in the morning, she’d whip out her all natural face wash and moisturizer and finish it all off with a bit of natural sunscreen. At the time, I had just made the switch to products that weren’t riddled with chemicals, and I hadn’t even thought about the fact that my sunscreen, which I’d had long past the expiration date, probably wasn’t doing my skin any favors.
That summer was when I took the plunge into the world of natural sunscreen, and I haven’t looked back since. Well, with the exception of that $20 bottle of horrible sunscreen at Legoland (sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do).
Traditional Sunscreen vs. Natural Sunscreen
Really, the big difference between traditional sunscreen and natural sunscreen are the ways that they protect you from the sun. Traditional sunscreen makes use of chemical filters, while natural sunscreen utilizes mineral filters. With traditional sunscreen, the chemical filters are made up of the active ingredients oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate or octinoxate. The problem with these chemicals is that some of them penetrate the skin and can cause hormone disruption or skin allergies.
Natural sunscreen, on the other hand, use either zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These ingredients are safer because very few of the particles are able to penetrate the skin and reach living tissue.
Aside from the fact that they’re bad for our skin, traditional sunscreen chemicals are also terrible for the environment, specifically coral reefs.
With all that being said, natural sunscreen is a good option for those of us concerned about the amount of chemicals that are in our day-to-day skincare products. Check out our list of the best natural sunscreens you should try this summer!
Badger SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen
When I was first wanting to reduce the chemicals in my skincare products, this was the first natural sunscreen I tried. I had already switched my face wash to a badger oil option, so I figured I’d try the sunscreen too. Though 30 SPF may have been a bit low for my light skin complexion, it was a start.
I didn’t find this sunscreen to be greasy at all, and it stood up well to my occasional trip to the river with friends. As for the nitty-gritty details, this sunscreen is unscented, biodegradable, certified non-GMO and leaping bunny certified cruelty-free.
Alba Botanica Coconut Spray Sunscreen SPF 50
Now SPF 50 is a bit more up my alley! I’ve found that my skin responds well to the Alba Botanica brand, especially when it comes to my face. I have a facial sunscreen I use from them that doesn’t leave a nasty oily feel on my skin and doesn’t cause me to break out. As for an all-over sunscreen, this coconut spray option is convenient without sacrificing quality of ingredients.
Free of parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, this sunscreen is also leaping bunny certified cruelty-free. The spray itself doesn’t use aerosol and is eco-friendly.
SuzyQs Earth Remedies Natural Sunscreen Stick
This convenient sunscreen stick’s number one ingredients is love. D’awww! Cuteness aside, this sunscreen is made from non-nano zinc oxide, essential oils, coconut oil, and shea butter. The Etsy seller estimates that this sunscreen is equivalent to SPF 35 but says that it has not been laboratory- tested, so reapply often, as you see fit.
Reviewers mention that the sunscreen is moisturizing without feeling greasy.
Organic SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
A husband and wife Etsy selling team created this sunscreen in response to the expensive price tag of many natural sunscreens. At only $10 for a roll on stick, I think this sunscreen would be worth a try. Made out of shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and non-nano zinc oxide, the ingredient list is short and only includes the necessities.
As for the more specific details, this natural sunscreen is non-toxic, safe for sensitive skin, and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Butter Me Up Organics Natural Organic Sunscreen
Made out of shea butter, coconut oil, and non-nano zinc oxide, this extra-large natural sunscreen has an SPF of about 45. The seller mentions that she used this sunscreen for 3 hours in 104 degree Fahrenheit weather, with no shade, and didn’t end up with a sunburn. As long as you reapply every few hours, you should be good.
The company prides itself on being zero waste and upcycling their packaging when possible. The formula is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic dyes and fragrance.
Coconut Raspberry Seed Sunscreen
Now, if you’re like me and like a bit of scent in your skincare, check out this coconut raspberry seed natural sunscreen! Red raspberry seed works as broad-spectrum UV-A and UV-B shield while the coconut oil acts as a fat barrier to protect your skin. The formula also features zinc oxide and carrot seed oil to add some antioxidants into the mix.
Reviewers mention that this sunscreen doesn’t leave any white streaks or a slimy film on their skin, and that the scent is pleasant without being overwhelming.
Sun’s Up Lavender Mint SPF 35 Sunscreen Stick
This sunscreen is lab-tested to be SPF 35 and received a rating of 1 (safest/least risk) on EWG’s 2016 Sunscreen Guide. Made out of non-nano zinc oxide, coconut oil, shea, cocoa butter, and organic essential oils, this sunscreen is available in either lavender-mint or unscented. So whether or not you are into scents, this is a sunscreen option for you!
The convenient stick form makes this sunscreen a good size to toss in your purse or beach bag and makes application on kids a breeze.