I have a confession.
I am a natural sunscreen collector. I love buying, trying and wearing natural mineral sunscreen- bonus points if they’re organic too. Back when I started my journey in beauty and wellness trying to figure out alternatives to the clearly awful chemicals that were putting on our skin (especially when it comes to sunscreen), the choices were limited.
All of the sunscreens that were available that were natural/mineral-based/chemical free you were literally baby sunscreens are in the same type of family. The zinc oxide in the sunscreen would end up turning my skin SO white that you could barely even tell that I actually did have a slight peach skin coloured flesh underneath.
But NOW, just five years later, there are an incredible amount of natural organic and chemical free skin care products that don’t turn you completely “baby at the beach” white.
I’m so excited to be able to share my favourites with you!
If you’re anything like me, and you’re into natural/clean / healthier products, you know how overwhelming it can be to find a sunscreen. You’ve learned that regular sunscreens are killing our coral reefs and seeping chemicals into our skin.
Remember, your skin is your body’s LARGEST organ. Just because it’s not mushy and inside of you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need protecting There are two types of sunscreens, chemical, and physical(mineral) – which I’ll be talking about in this blog post.
Heres a short recap on how sunscreens work.
Chemical sunscreen, a more modern invention, releases heat onto your skin by absorbing the UV rays from the sun. They’re a bit easier to use, because they usually absorb quickly and don’t rub off super easily.
Physical sunscreen, also known as mineral sunscreen, works by creating a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Because they literally create a physical barrier between you and the sun, there’s a bit of a white hew from the active ingredient, zinc-oxide and can rub off easier than chemical sunscreens. I just make sure I reapply frequently!
So you’ve realized that non-nano zinc oxide based sunscreens are the way to go, but have seen the price and reaaaallly aren’t sure if they work. Well, let me tell you, they do. Some will work almost too well, making you look (and feel) like a giant baby at the beach, slathered in thick white paste.
Some are SO expensive – ie $45 for 2oz of product. If you’re anything bigger than a baby, which i figure you are, since you’re reading this – 2oz will literally only cover your body for one “sun exposure” day, if you are reapplying – which you should.
Remember, you can start small. If you’re looking to swap out some of your current sun care products for some safer options, start with one! Then once it becomes a routine and something you don’t think about, you can start looking for replacements for your other products. Slow and steady wins the race.
I started with my face, since I was worried about sun damage and aging being out and about all day, I incorporated a sunscreen routine for my face before I left my place for the day.
And that brings me to some of my FAVS. I’ve been exploring natural sunscreens for the past few years (as I gathered the courage to finally share my blog) and have tested them out in a variety of conditions. From Muskoka’s woods, to Mexico’s beaches and in between, read on for my favourite natural sunscreens for face, body and lips!
My Favourite Sunscreens
I WISH they made a body sunscreen, cause boyyyy is this stuff great. It seems pricey for the amount you get (amount) but it lasts SO long. It’s slightly tinted and with a lil sparkle( very minimal) so you have this glow, rather than casper look. It comes out almost as mousse and a little goes a long way. I use it on my face and chest, leftovers going on the tops of my hands. Because a) use every last drop of this stuff is gold and b) tops of our hands are what show our age- don’t forget to protect them.
It does better over moisturized skin, so I usually put it on after my face cream/face oil. Its not greasy or sticky, and gives me such great protection. Since its tinted it also makes a great light foundation if you’re wearing it under your makeup.
The smell is to die for. That sounds silly, but when you’re replacing your Banana Boat for some of these more natural brands- you may notice you miss that tropical – vacationy- smell. I was SO excited when I tried this brand out as a recommendation from the lovely Ashley Norris from @thesoulfulsprout. It smells like you want a sunscreen to smell, but is safe for you, and for the environment.
And if you’re a mama (or papa) they actually started out as a sunscreen brand for babies and have lots of options for your little ones. The application is much easier than other natural sunscreen brands and doesn’t leave me looking like a giant white baby. Bonus points because it’s on amazon prime and you can get that shit delivered ASAP if you’re like me and often unprepared.
PS they have a face sunscreen that’s tinted and i sometimes use that on my body because it’s MUCH less noticeable on your skin, but its way pricier so unless you’re down to spend a fortune on sunscreen, id use it sparingly (on your body)
No to be confused with rocky mountain chocolate…if you want to protect your skin and smell like dessert- this is for you.
This stuff smells like cupcakes. It’s to die for.
It’s a bit thicker and a smaller container for the price, but also has really clean ingredients. This sunscreen is also a bit tinted, not as much as the Consonant sunscreen, but has more beige undertones than any other natural body sunscreen I’ve tried.
I would recommend making sure your body is moisturized as application can go on a bit thick. I really like having it as an option as it fits in my bag and is a good bang for your buck value wise.
One of the OG brands, and where I started my journey. This stuff works, let’s just start there. Your skin is safe and since its sold in most natural food stores and supermarkets it’s pretty accessible.
BUT it goes on pretty white.
I finally figured out how to avoid looking embarrassingly white. You need to mix it with some type of oil, or have super hydrated skin. It is a super thick recipe and i found my skin still was protected without being so white. I usually use coconut oil since it has a natural SPF of about 5, adding a bit of protection back as I dilute the product.
Now I’m not an expert, and am sharing what worked for me. If you have super sensitive skin talk to your doctor or test a small patch out before just lathering up with coconut oil mixed sunscreen.
I LOVE this sunscreen!!
It goes on smoothly, does not leave you feeling greasy, or looking like you’re wearing paste. The only thing that’s unfortunate is that it’s not water proof so you have to re-apply A LOT and isn’t ideal for swimming or water activities.
It’s a bit pricier than the thicker sunscreens, since you need to apply more often and it’s less SPF- but I honestly think it’s worth it. Especially if you’re using it on areas that don’t necessarily see the sun that often/ intensely and aren’t sweating/swimming a lot!
As someone who uses sunscreen A LOT in the summer – this one is just handy to have in your bag.
YES – you need a sunscreen for your lips!
The skin on your lips is thin and sensitive to wrinkles (yes you can get lip wrinkles). Plus, like any part of your skin that sees a prolonged amount of sun, you NEED to have an SPF to cover it. Balms are great because they stay on better than just applying sunscreen to your lips (if you even do that!).
I’ve tried a few natural lip sunscreens, and like any other zinc oxide product, some of them turned my lips REALLY white. But I don’t have that issue with this one from Rocky Mountain. Like their other sunscreen, it smells amazing and blends really well! It’s only SPF 15 though, so I make sure to bring it with me when I’m out on the lake paddle boarding for easy re-application.
Maybe buy two so you can keep one in your beach bag!!
bc I love you.
The shade. LOL, not kidding. Although sunscreens are important in protecting from sun damage, skin cancer and aging, it’s not a magic fix. Any time your skin tans or darkens, it means your skin has been damaged. Now keep your tits on, I’m not saying getting a tan is bad, I’m just saying be smart. Just because you can hangout in the sun all day doesn’t mean you should. Break up your sun exposure with some time in the shade, your skin will thank you.
IMPORTANT: Check the UV
Just like it’s important to expose your skin to sun sans sunscreen, it also means it’s important to shade yourself from the sun- even with sunscreen. Think of sunscreen as your last resort- not in a negative way. Sure you want to go to the beach and swim and read, and do so safely, that’s why you apply sunscreen, right?
But also consider how much sun you’re getting and how intense the uv rays are. UV index day of 6 or higher really means you should avoid mid day sun and even wear sun protection clothing. This is coming from a former sun worshiper, who wanted to be the MOST tanned. You can tan, you can get that glow, but it doesn’t have to be all at once – and you can do it safely.
Summer should be fun and care-free, I get it. Don’t stress too much over this. Read some reviews, ask for suggestions, and pick up some natural sunscreen before you need it, and when that perfect beach day comes, you’ll be ready to go!
The key to following through on those little changes in your health and lifestyle is to make it so easy on yourself that it almost happens by itself.
Let me know what you guys think!
Have you tried natural sunscreen before?
Did I miss any really good ones I need to try?
DM me on insta or tag me @dev_carlsen to let me know your favs!
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