Summer (and the smell of sunscreen) is officially in the air! If you’ve ever stood in the sunscreen aisle you know just how overwhelming it can be. There are dozens of options, all claiming to do the same thing: protect your skin from the sun. Here are three tips for choosing a safe, natural sunscreen.
1. Use a mineral sunscreen — ideally, its active ingredients should be zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Mineral sunscreens sit on top of your skin instead of penetrating it, while still providing excellent sun protection.
2. Don’t obsess over SPF. A sunscreen with SPF 100 doesn’t actually work twice as hard as the SPF 50 does; in reality, the difference is within 1% effectiveness. No matter what the SPF number, you’ll still need to apply sunscreen about once every hour. Don’t be fooled by higher numbers…an SPF 30 is plenty sufficient and will work just fine!
3. Lastly, if you’re spending the day in the water and plan on using a natural sunscreen, make sure it’s water-resistant! (Learned this the hard way — not all physical sunscreens are meant for use in the water.)
Luckily we’ve done the hard work for you and tested many natural sunscreens so you don’t have to! Here are our top favorite natural sunscreens (safely recommended by EWG.org), for every budget:
- Definitely the best bang-for-your-buck, this mineral-based sunscreen is Tear-free and fragrance-free and rubs on like a slightly drier lotion. The best part is, it comes in multiple sizes — we love the tiny 2oz tubes for reapplying at the park, while the large 8oz tube is big enough to toss in your beach bag and use for the whole family!
- Welcome to the next generation of sunscreen technology! This sunscreen is perfect for those mamas wanting a safe sunscreen, but can’t stand the white, chalkiness of zinc oxide. This advanced gel formula is quick drying, non-greasy, and CLEAR. We’d recommend it for adults — check out their mineral baby line for your little ones!
- This surprisingly safe option is great for young babies with extremely sensitive skin. The non-greasy lotion won’t run or sting your baby’s eyes and is formulated to be especially gentle for eczema. (Plus, if you’re in a pinch and forgot to pack sunscreen on your way to the lake, it can be found in nearly every big-box retailer nationwide.)
- Blue Lizard is our top-pick for those wanting a quick, easy application. It provides the safety of a mineral sunscreen, but has the feel of a more traditional sunscreen; though formulated with 10% zinc oxide, its thinner formula effortlessly rubs onto the skin and leaves no trace of white behind. Bonus: their bottle changes color in UV light (fun for the kids!) and helps you remember to apply, even when it’s overcast outside.
- This matte tube of mineral sunscreen packs in over 70% organic ingredients, and glides on silky smooth. It’s formulated with extra moisturizers like sesame, avocado, and coconut oil keeps your baby’s skin moisturized with every application.