22 Best Natural Sunscreens of 2016 (Including the One You Definitely Need)

Organic Authority 2016 Natural Sunscreen Guide

 

Have you heard? Mineral sunscreens are the most effective form of UV protection. You can pick up a tube of mineral sun protection at pretty much any supermarket or drugstore. But did you know that not all mineral sunscreen products are safe? It’s true. Just because a product contains mineral sunscreen ingredients doesn’t mean it is free from harmful ingredients, including chemical sunscreens.

Mineral Sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are more popular than ever. And for good reason. These minerals create a physical barrier on the skin, blocking both UVA rays (those that cause wrinkles and skin cancer) and UVB rays (those responsible for sunburn). Mineral sunscreens are effective the moment they are applied, unlike chemical sunscreens which require approximately 30 minutes to become effective after application.

Have you noticed, many mainstream brands are now adding mineral sunscreen ingredients to their sun protection line up? The problem with this practice is, if they are simply adding mineral sunscreens to their products, rather than reformulating to safe products, they may still contain harmful chemicals, including not only synthetic emollients, preservatives, and fragrance, but chemical sunscreen ingredients too.

The Problem With Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens have been found to accumulate in body fat and breast milk, and have even been linked to such hormonal disruptions as early onset puberty, low sperm count, and breast cancer, as well as allergic reactions.

These ingredients are also less effective in doing their job of protecting against UV damage. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays, allowing UVA rays to penetrate into deeper layers of skin. Mineral sunscreens form a barrier on top of skin and reflect UV rays. It has also been shown that some chemical sunscreens oxidize under the sun, causing potential free radial formation which could lead to premature aging and even skin cancer.

To steer clear of chemical sunscreen ingredients in UV protection, look for Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Avobenzone on ingredient lisitngs.

So why would a cosmetic brand add mineral sunscreen ingredients to a sun protection product that contains chemical sunscreen ingredients? Yes, you will get the physical barrier you don’t get with chemical sunscreens alone. But, sadly, this is also a marketing strategy. If it says “mineral sunscreen” on the label, the hope is that more consumers will believe it is a safer choice and buy the product.

Organic Sunscreen Facts

Organically produced ingredients are free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals, making them a healthier and safer choice over conventionally produced ingredients. But it is important to keep in mind that not all products containing organic ingredients are completely organic.

There are three levels of organic labeling. “100% Organic” means a product is made entirely of certified organic ingredients. A product labeled as “Organic” must contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. “Made with organic ingredients” means a product contains at least 70% organic ingredients.

Both “100% Organic” and “Organic” products may display the USDA Organic seal. “Made with organic…” products may not carry the seal, but are allowed to list up to three certified organic ingredients on the front label. Products made with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organic ingredients on the back label only.

For easy identification, we have noted which sunscreens in our guide are Certified Organic or made with organic ingredients, and added an asterisk by the product name. Mineral sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are exempt from the National Organic Program, so none of the following will be 100% Certified Organic.

Understanding the EWG Skin Deep Database 

If you check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Sunscreen Guide each year, you’ve noticed some very mainstream brand names on the list.

The EWG Guide provides detailed information on the best sun protection in each category, including mainstream brands, ranked by health hazard, UV protection, and stability. But some sunscreens on the list with low hazard rankings contain ingredients, like silicones and synthetic preservatives, that may not be ideal for your skin care needs. This is one more example of why it is important to read product ingredient listings to see exactly what’s inside.

Safest Sunscreens and How to Use Them

If all you are looking for is the most effective form of sun protection, you may think any old mineral sunscreen will do. But there is more to a safe sunscreen than minerals and the SPF number.

There are two reasons even mineral sunscreens can fail to protect against sun damage. If you plan to partake of more than incidental sun exposure, you need a broad spectrum sunscreen. “Broad Spectrum” refers to a product’s ability to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The European Union determines broad spectrum protection by the ratio of UVA to UVB protection, requiring one third of the SPF number to be UVA protection.

Products that provide protection against both types of rays and have an SPF value of 15 or higher may be labeled “Broad Spectrum”. Products that carry an SPF value of 2 to 14 may not be labeled “Broad Spectrum”. For UVA protection, the American Cancer Society recommends using an SPF of at least 15, while the American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF 30.

The second reason sunscreens seem to underperform is user error. It is important to apply an adequate amount of sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying one ounce (about a palm-full) to all exposed skin. And don’t forget to reapply every two hours, and after swimming or sweating it off.

Choosing the Right SPF for Your Skin Type

How to Calculate an SPF That’s Right for You
· Fair skin — can stay in the sun 10 minutes before burning
· Olive skin — can stay in the sun 15 minutes before burning
· Dark skin — can stay in the sun 20 minutes before burning

Multiply the SPF by the number of minutes you can stay in the sun before burning. For example: (SPF) 20 x 10 (Fair skin) = 200 minutes (amount of time you can stay in the sun before burning if you have Fair skin and use an SPF of 20).

Here are our hottest sunscreen picks for the hot season for face, body, baby, and sport. We even have a section for pets this year! They are all not only mineral sunscreens, but made with healthy, natural ingredients too. We have your back. And so will these sunscreens.

Sunscreens are listed in alphabetical order by category. Numbers do not reflect a ranking.

Face

You’d be hard pressed to find a woman that doesn’t use some form of facial sun protection these days, at least some of the time. That’s because it is so easy. You have your choice of facial sunscreen, facial sunscreen with moisturizer, tinted facial moisturizer with sunscreen, and foundation with sunscreen. Who wouldn’t cash in on that kind of goodness?

Why not use the same sunscreen on face and body? Facial sunscreens are designed to be extra gentle on skin and are usually more matte, making it easy to apply makeup over them. We’ve scoured the green beauty world for those with the least greasy feel and white cast.

Badger Damascus Rose SPF 25 Face Sunscreen Lotion

1. * Badger Damascus Rose SPF 25 Face Sunscreen Lotion

A weightless formula that smooths easily onto skin, Badger sunscreen for face leaves behind no whiteness or greasy feel. A lightly hydrating moisturizer that gives a matte finish and carries a mild, floral scent. This one makes a great daily go-to.
$19.99, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 25, Broad Spectrum

Features & Certifications: 100% NPA Certified Natural, Certified NSF Non-GMO, Non-Nano, Cruelty-free, Made with 95% certified organic ingredients

Look & Feel: light on skin, absorbs easily, non-greasy, non-whitening

Badger Damascus Rose SPF 25 Sheer Tint Face Sunscreen Lotion

2. * Badger Damascus Rose SPF 25 Sheer Tint Face Sunscreen Lotion

For super light, blendable coverage with UV protection, this is it. Badger tinted sunscreen for face diminishes redness and evens skin tone with sheer, natural color. Lightly hydrating without being greasy, this sunscreen carries the same rose and lavender scent as Badger non-tinted facial sunscreen above.
$16.99, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 25, Broad Spectrum

Features & Certifications: 100% NPA Certified Natural, Certified NSF Non-GMO, Non-Nano, Cruelty-free, Made with 95% certified organic ingredients

Look & Feel: light on skin, absorbs easily, blendable color coverage, non-greasy, non-whitening

Ilia Beauty Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

3. * Ilia Beauty Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

Ilia Beauty is a high performance natural makeup line and this product will not disappoint. Ilia Beauty Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 offers the big three: moisturization, light coverage, and UV protection. Made with all natural anti-aging and skin supportive ingredients, this over achiever comes in six ultra natch shades.
$42

Protection: SPF 20

Features & Certifications: Vegan, Gluten-free, Cruelty-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: light feel, semi-matte finish, diminishes appearance of spots and evens skin tone.

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30

4. * Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30

Repair, moisturizer, protect, and glow in one step. Think of this as your anti-aging sunscreen product. Aloe-based and includes lightly hydrating natural oils to be mild on skin. It brightens and firms skin, reduces the appearance of dark spots, helps to control acne, and adds a look of luminescence. Goes on like a lightweight facial moisturizer and sinks into skin with a nice, smooth, scentless finish.
$85

Protection: SPF 30

Features & Certifications: Wild crafted, Non-GMO, No Animal Testing, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: not tacky or greasy, smooth finish, non-whitening

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream – Tinted

 

5. * Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream – Tinted

Luxurious moisture cream and sun protection with light color coverage in one easy to apply step. Can be worn with makeup or alone. Powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, phytonutrient ingredients blend with zinc and mineral tint to offer a super natural hue that blends in with any skin tone. Perfect for mature and sensitive skin types. $55

Protection: SPF 30

Features & Certifications: Wild crafted, Non-GMO, No Animal Testing, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: lightly moisturizing, leaves skin feeling soft, very light color coverage, non-whitening

KEYS Solar Rx Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30+ Sunscreen

6. KEYS Solar Rx Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30+ Sunscreen

If you are looking for a daily use moisturizer with SPF, this is it. Not intended for lengthy time spent in the sun, this sunscreen is perfect for the work week. Offers light hydration from shea butter and avocado fruit oil, and also contains skin soothing aloe vera. The unscented formula is mild enough for those with sensitive skin or rosacea. Lends a slightly luminescent quality to the complexion. $26.95, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30+, Broad Spectrum

Features & Certifications: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, No Animal Testing, Antioxidant

Look & Feel: absorbs into skin well with no greasiness, ideal for use under makeup, non-whitening

Suntegrity 5-In-1 Natural Moisturizing Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30

 

7. * Suntegrity 5-In-1 Natural Moisturizing Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30

Suntegrity 5-In-1 Natural Moisturizing Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30 is the best of the best in facial sun protection. It manages to hydrate skin, nourish and protect with healthy antioxidant ingredients, hides flaws, provides light coverage, and protects against UV damage. Flawless, natural looking coverage with a light, non-greasy feel. Goes on like a dream and offers serious sun protection. Comes in five easy-to-match shades. $45, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum

Certifications: Vegan, Gluten-free, Cruelty-free, Nano-free, Fragrance-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: lightly moisturizing (perfect in place of regular moisturizer), not chalky or greasy, very natural looking

Body

Gone are the days of having to worry your mineral sunscreen will smear white, greasy gunk all over your car seats or furniture. There are too many non-greasy, non-whitening options on the market that offer premium protection with no junk, why would we choose anything else?

Badger SPF 25 Sunscreen Lotion Unscented

8. * Badger SPF 25 Sunscreen Lotion Unscented

The latest addition to Badger’s already stellar sunscreen line-up, this unscented lotion is designed for daily use on face and body. It does leave behind the slightest of white effect on skin, which is why it is in our body sunscreen section, though it would be perfect for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or don’t wear makeup. This mild sunscreen leaves behind no greasy feel. $17.99, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 25, Broad Spectrum

Features & Certifications: 100% NPA Certified Natural, Certified NSF Non-GMO, Non-Nano, Cruelty-free, Made with 95% certified organic ingredients

Look & Feel: lightweight, matte finish, slight white cast, sinks into skin

DeVita Solar Body Moisturizer SPF 30+

9. * DeVita Solar Body Moisturizer SPF 30+

DeVita Solar Body Moisturizer SPF 30+ includes sme of the same anti-aging ingredients as the facial sunscreen, which means it works as a body lotion too. Softens, moisturizes and protects all at once. Plus, it is super easy to apply and smooths skin as you wear it. $19.18, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum

Certifications: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Nano-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: light, non-greasy, easy to apply

Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion

10. * Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion

A pleasure to use, Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion contains lightly hydrating, skin soothing ingredients. But don’t let that fool you. This product also offers serious sun protection. Super sheer and easy to apply. $17.66, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant up to 40 minutes

Certifications: Biodegradable, Reef Safe, Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Nano-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: moisturizing, softening, non-greasy, skin looks brighter

Living Libations Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc

11. * Living Libations Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc

If you are into body oils, and who isn’t, you are going to love this product. Based on its after sun body oil, Everybody Loves the Sunshine, Living Libations created the same oil blend with the addition of uncoated zinc. The beauty of this product? Natura mineral sun protection combined with healthy oils, like skin loving jojoba and natural sunscreen raspberry oil, that goes on clear in the form of a body oil. Luxurious, hydrating and anything but gloppy, gooey, or sticky.

But what about the risks associated with oils and sun? Some believe there is a link between sun exposure with vitamin A and an increased risk of toxicity. Many healthy oils contain several vitamins, including A. Living Libations does not use a concentrated form of the vitamin in this product, but safe, skin loving oils.

Living Libations recommends applying a few generous pumps of oil to skin, paying special attention to nose, chin, and shoulders. Reapply at least every 2 hours.

Protection: While not technically a sunscreen, it boasts the equivalent of a 25-30 SPF.

Features & Certifications: Non-nano, Gluten-free, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Fair Trade, Wild Crafted, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: skin feels super soft and smooth, no color is left behind, fresh invigorating scent

Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body SPF 30

 

12. * Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body SPF 30

Another winner from this natural sunscreen brand. Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body SPF 30 provides optimal sun protection, plus a healthy dose of antioxidants. $24, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum

Certifications: Vegan, Gluten-free, Nano-free, GMO-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: fresh citrus scent, not greasy or sticky, white cast fades when rubbed into skin

True Natural Ultra Protect 50 Antioxidant Sunscreen

13. * True Natural Ultra Protect 50 Antioxidant Sunscreen

This sunscreen is pretty amazing. It goes on shockingly white and thick but, trust us on this, after a few seconds of rubbing it disappears completely into skin. Made with skin-soothing shea butter and a healthy boost of green tea, this sunscreen is super gentle. A mild coconut scent and whopping sun protection factor of 50 doesn’t bum us out either. $27.50, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF50, Broad Spectrum,

Features & Certifications: Non-nano, GMO Free, Cruelty-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: not greasy or sticky, non-whitening

Babies & Children

We take extra care in everything we do for our little ones. Choose the healthiest foods and safest toys. Of course we are using nontoxic sunscreen on them too. Following are our favorite ultra-mild formulas that are both effective and easy to use. Remember, it is not advisable to use sunscreen on a baby under the age of 6 months. Their immature skin is more susceptible to irritation and damage from UV rays and sunscreen ingredients. Best to protect their delicate skin with clothing, hats, and shade.

All Good Sunscreen Butter SPF 50+

14. * All Good Sunscreen Butter SPF 50+

A tin of super rich SPF that works well on little bodies. The ultra-mild coconut oil formula contains soothing calendula. Beeswax gives this product staying power for long lasting protection, making it a great choice for face when you’ll be spending a lot of time under the sun. Scentless and easy to apply. $9.99, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 50+, Water Resistant (80 minutes), Broad Spectrum, Coral Reef Safe

Features & Certifications: Non-Nano, Gluten-free, Made with 95% certified organic ingredients

Look & Feel: remains slightly greasy on skin, very slight white tint

Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 30

15. * Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 30

Toss this sunscreen in your bag and you are set. Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 30 is suitable for children and adults. You can even use it on your face. It is moisturizing, gentle, rubs in easily, and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Get one or the beach bag, pool bag, purse. And the chamomile/lavender blend is a universally yummy scent. $23

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant up to 80 minutes

Certifications: Cruelty-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: thicker consistency, stays slightly greasy, easy application, invisible on skin

Promise Organic SPF 30 Coconut Sunscreen Stick

16. Promise Organic SPF 30 Coconut Sunscreen Stick

This sunscreen stick contains nothing but zinc oxide and natural plant oils and butters, plus a touch of soothing aloe. It is a bit waxy going on but almost completely rubs into skin. And the stick design makes it perfect for on-the-go, and applying to faces and little bodies. $9.99

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant (80 Minutes)

Certifications: Cruelty-free, Fragrance-free, Nano-free

Look & Feel: not at all greasy, feels slightly sticky after application, non-whitening

True Natural Zinc 30 Baby & Family Sunscreen

17. * True Natural Baby & Family SPF 30 Sunscreen, Unscented

Pure zinc protection in a simple yet effective formulation. True Natural Zinc 30 Baby & Family Sunscreen is gentle and unscented, making it ideal for babies, children, and adults with sensitive skin. Made with antioxidant green tea and pomegranate. $18.99, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant up to 40 minutes

Certifications: Vegan, Biodegradable, Reef friendly, Gluten-free, Nano-free, Cruelty-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: easy to apply, stays slightly greasy, white cast fades when rubbed into skin

Sport

Are you doing more than lounging in a chaise? Sport sunscreens are designed to go the distance, with thicker formulas and water resistant benefits. For those of you who are hiking, biking, and lifeguarding, these durable and highly effective sunscreen formulas will do the trick. Remember to reapply.

100% Pure Everywhere SPF Body Stick 30 Sunscreen

18. * 100% Pure Everywhere SPF Body Stick 30 Sunscreen

A truly well rounded product. 100% Pure Everywhere SPF Body Stick is suitable for all outdoor activities and gentle enough for the kids too. May be used on face or body. Easy to apply. $14, EWG Top Rated

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant up to 40 minutes

Certifications: Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Nano-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: non-greasy, quick absorbing

EiR NYC Surf Mud Body Oil

19. * EiR NYC Surf Mud + Zinc

Anyone who has used straight zinc on skin knows it is not easy to remove. This is what spurred the idea of a zinc salve sunscreen by former competitive swimmer and surfer, Jun Lee. This balm style protection is made with coconut oil and cocoa butter to be ultra-hydrating. Cocoa powder gives a boost of antioxidant protection. Easy to apply and comes in a travel-ready tin. $24

Protection: Approximately SPF 30, currently awaiting Broad Spectrum and Water Resistance certification

Certifications & Features: Made with organic ingredients, may be used on hair

Look & Feel: hydrating but not greasy, herbal scent, colorless

Goddess Garden Organics Sport Natural Sunscreen

20. * Goddess Garden Organics Sport Natural Sunscreen

Another resort friendly option for outdoor activities. Goddess Garden Organics Sport Natural Sunscreen provides effective protection and won’t harm marine life. Gentle on skin. $12.42, EWG Sunscreen Guide 2016

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant up to 80 minutes

Certifications: Vegan, Reef safe, GMO-free, Gluten-free, Nano-free, Cruelty-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: a thicker formula that stays slightly greasy on skin, leaves a white cast

True Natural SPORT Stick SPF30 Sunscreen

21. *  True Natural SPORT Stick SPF30 Sunscreen

Take your protection on the road with True Natural SPORT Stick SPF30 Sunscreen. Safe protection in a convenient stick. Swipe on face and body before sports and outdoor activities. Easy to use and super portable. $14.49

Protection: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant up to 80 minutes

Certifications: Vegan, Biodegradable, Reef safe, GMO-free, Gluten-free, Nano-free, Cruelty-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: stick formula is less greasy, invisible on skin

Pets

Yep, you read that right. This year we have a category for our favorite furry friends. If you are concerned about your pooch or kitty getting freckles and dark spots on their sniffer, you are in luck.

SunPup SPF30 Sunscreen Stick for Pets

22. True Natural has come out with a new sun stick just for pets called * SunPup SPF30 Sunscreen Stick for Pets. So if you have a dog who likes to hike, go to the beach, or chill outside, or a cat that can’t get enough sun time, get him a tube of this healthy sun protection.

American Animal Hospital Association recommends using sunscreen that is fragrance-free and designed specifically for use on animals, because some sunscreen ingredients are toxic to pets. SunPup is nontoxic, alcohol-free, and formulated to be safe for pets. It is made with ingredients that stay put on moist surfaces and tastes less yummy to animals than a typical lotion (so they have no desire to lick it off). $12

Protection: SPF 30, Broad spectrum, Water resistant (80 minutes), Biodegradable

Certifications: Gluten-free, Cruelty-free, GMO-free, Made with organic ingredients

Look & Feel: white on nose, stays put, thick but goes on smooth, scentless

*Disclaimer: Help support Organic Authority!  Our site is dedicated to helping people live a conscious lifestyle. We’ve provided some affiliate links above in case you wish to purchase any of these products.

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Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert who has been researching and writing on the subjects of natural beauty, health, and wellness for over 10 years. She specializes in sharing safe beauty products and her knowledge on healthy ingredients with her readers, and helping organic beauty brands and shop owners share their message and products with the world through her writing services.