I’ve been testing all natural sunscreens all summer, I’m determined to find one I like. I wanted to share with you the ones that I think are great and the ones I think you should not bother spending your money on.
Before we get to the review lets talk about the two main categories of sunscreens; physical, a.k.a. mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens work by blocking harmful UV rays as a physical barrier reflecting them away from your skin. In contrast the chemical sunscreens absorb the harmful UV rays into the layer of sunscreen itself.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is to look at the back of the bottle; if the first ingredients are Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide, it’s a mineral sunscreen. If the ingredients include Oxybenzone or Retinyl palmitate it’s a chemical sunscreen. According to the EWG these chemicals are known as potential carcinogens which you’ll want to avoid.
Mineral sunscreens are a much greener option not only for your heath and skin but also for the environment.
Last year I went to Cancun Mexico. While there I went swimming in underground caves and protected reef areas. It was awesome but they required all swimmers to use mineral sunscreens. I had heard about all natural sunscreens before but never gave them much thought. I would sometimes buy them and sometimes not but after learning the reasons why I could not use my Neutrogena or Banana Boat in these protected areas I have continued to only buy all natural sunscreens ever since.
Many marine protected areas require mineral sunscreens now because the harmful chemicals in conventional sunscreens, even if they say they are waterproof, still leach off your skin while swimming and into the water. These chemicals damage coral reefs and are harmful to marine wildlife.
Having that experience in Cancun made me think that if chemical sunscreens were so bad that they are not allowed in protected areas and can harm wildlife, than what the heck does it do to me? Our skin is super absorbent and what we put on it does not just stay on top of our skin but sinks in and can get absorbed into our bloodstream. I didn’t want any of that happening to me and so began my search for a great performing and nice to use mineral sunscreen.
Sad but true it’s really hard to find an awesome mineral sunscreen, they are often very thick, don’t rub in that well and can leave a white cast on the skin. Below are my honest thoughts on how they worked and felt and in case you’re wondering I bought them all with my own money. Like I said I’m determined to find the best one and I’m not sure I’ve found it yet, I definitely have a favorite but would love to know if you have one you love.
This one is one of the ones I think all the bad stereotypes about mineral sunscreens came from. It’s like a paste. It’s really hard to rub into the skin. I’ll only put it on at the house before heading to the beach or out on a hike. I never bring it with me to reapply because it’s such a pain to use and I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to reapply this with a bit of sand stuck to my skin. On the up side it does work very well I have never gotten a sunburn while using it, it is very affordable at $7 a bottle and it’s cruelty free, but it definitely leaves a white cast.
For some reason every time I’ve used this one I got a sunburn or turned a little pink. So I do not recommend this one. I got it on sale but it’s $14.99 full price. I bought this one because it was 50, which was the highest I’d seen, for those days when you’re out in the sun all day but sadly it just didn’t work, even with reapplying.
This is my second favorite out of these four in terms of performance. It’s pretty thick but it rubs in easier than the Alba and worked very well (no sunburns, YAY). It leaves a faint white cast and is $14 a bottle. It does not say that it’s curlaty free and it’s expensive which are two reasons it’s not my favorite.
This one is my favorite out of these four. It feels the best when you put it on, easy to reapply, it blends in the best and leaves the lightest white cast out of all of them. It’s made out of the best ingredients with over half of them being certified organic and it’s cruelty free. Sadly it’s main downfall is price, at $15 a bottle, it’s expensive. Although it’s a good option performance wise it loses out on price. Many others must like it too because the one that comes in the blue bottle (sport formula) like mine is currently sold out. I linked their “everyday” formula above in case you wanted to give this company a try. I’m going to try their everyday formula next. You might still be able to find the Sport one in stores.
I hope you all had an amazing summer and got to spend lots of time outside in the sunshine…staying protected of course. ;)
P.S. – Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of covering up, like wearing a hat, sunglasses or loose fitting long sleeve shirt. These are the best kinds of “physical” sunscreen.