The 5 Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreens of 2021

Best Eco-friendly Sunscreens
Image by Canva Photos

As summer approaches, it’s time to stock up on sunscreen so we can enjoy frolicking in the sun. However, many common sunscreens contain chemicals that are bad for our coral reefs, and also bad for humans. This is why we’ve come up with a list of the 5 best eco-friendly sunscreens of 2021. The sunscreens in this list won’t harm the environment and are very effective at keeping your skin safe from UVA and UVB rays, and also keeping our coral reefs and the environment protected.

No time? No worries. We’ve put a quick list of our top picks below:

Our Top Picks

Natural Organic Reef-safe Sunscreen Best Overall: Natural Organic Reef-safe Sunscreen
This SPF-35 sunscreen is safe for our environment, and also safe for you and your kids!
Sunbutter SPF 50 Reef-safe Sunscreen Best for Sensitive Skin: Sunbutter SPF 50 Reef-safe Sunscreen
Perfect for sensitive and fair skin, this SPF 50 sunscreen keeps you and the environment safe.
Think Baby All Natural Sunscreen Best for Toddlers: Think Baby All Natural Sunscreen
Think Baby has the best eco-friendly sunscreen for toddlers and babies alike, but adults can use it too!
Reef Safe SPF-50 Sunscreen Best High-SPF: Reef Safe SPF-50 Sunscreen
This wonderful reef-safe high-SPF sunscreen works for adults and kids and will keep you and our coral reefs safe.
Thrive Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Best Face Sunscreen: Thrive Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen
This is the best eco-friendly sunscreen for the face. Although it may be used on the rest of your body as well, this reef-safe sunscreen is formulated for facial skin.
 

A Closer Look: Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreens

Protection against the sun is critical, and making everyday changes against climate change is as well! So why not do both with our list down below?

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1. Natural Organic Reef-safe Sunscreen1. Natural Organic Reef-safe Sunscreen

The best eco-friendly sunscreen overall

Brand: Raw Love | Product Size: 2 oz. | SPF: 35 | Price: 💰💰💰

This sunscreen in a tin from Raw Love is a highly concentrated sunscreen balm. Non-nano zinc oxide is the active ingredient, and all the other ingredients are natural and safe, some are also organic. With Raw Love, you’ll be fully protected from UVA, UVB, and even UVC rays. They note that they are safe for babies and adults alike, so this works for your kids, too!

Raw Love is a great option for those who don’t want to deal with plastic packaging. Their metal tin is both cute, portable, and eco-friendly compared to generic plastic containers. This product is also reef-safe, cruelty-free, water-resistant, plastic-free, and plant-based. Sounds like an eco-friendly sunscreen to us!

Reviewers didn’t have a bad thing to say about this mineral sunscreen. They loved how a little bit of product went a very long way and appreciated how easily it rubbed in. More than anything, buyers were happy that it is such an eco-friendly and people-friendly sunscreen.

  • Rubs in very well
  • A little goes a long way
  • Eco-friendly product and packaging
  • Leaves marks on clothing, even after having dried
  • Works best for farer skinned individuals as it goes on white
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2. Sunbutter SPF 50 Reef-safe Sunscreen

The best eco-friendly sunscreen for sensitive skin

Brand: Sunbutter | Product Size: 4 oz. | SPF: 50 | Price: 💰💰

This eco-friendly sunscreen by Sunbutter is an excellent option, and it is the highest SPF sunscreen on this list. Many eco-friendly sunscreens don’t do higher than about 30 SPF, so this is one of the only 50+ SPF eco-friendly sunscreens on the market. One thing that we love is how gentle this sunscreen is. You can use it as an adult, or for your children, due to its soothing, gentle formula. We especially appreciate that this sunscreen is waterproof for up to 4 hours.

We love Sunbutter because it is vegan, gluten-free, reef-safe, waterproof, and has eco-friendly packaging. Sunbutter comes in a BPA-free, food-grade, reusable, and recyclable tin to keep you, and the planet, safe. For all with fair skin, who want some extra protection, this is the perfect eco-friendly sunscreen for you!

This eco-friendly sunscreen thrilled buyers. It worked well for those with sensitive and fair skin, due to its high SPF and gentle formula. It also was very easy to spread onto buyers’ skin and helped moisturize them all day. There were a few who mentioned the product being too runny, despite all the positive comments. The product description does mention that you need to keep the product in the refrigerator, or else it becomes milky in texture.

  • Incredibly moisturizing
  • Very effective and easy to use
  • Great for those with sensitive skin
  • It is too runny, turns to liquid when warm
  • And container isn’t entirely secure, so sunscreen can end up in laps/bags
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3. Think Baby All Natural Sunscreen

The best eco-friendly sunscreen for toddlers and babies

Brand: Think Baby | Product Size: 3 fl. oz. | SPF: 50 | Price: 💰💰

If you have a small child or have sensitive skin, you may want to consider Think Baby Sunscreen. This reef-safe sunscreen works by reflecting the sun’s rays instead of blocking them like most chemical sunscreens. We love this because it means you don’t have to wait after applying it to enjoy its benefits. Simply apply and go! It also happens to be waterproof, so you can be in the water for up to 80 minutes before you need to reapply. This sunscreen is also available on GoThink.com which is the brand’s home website.

We love how eco-friendly this option is. Not only is it reef safe, but it is not tested on any animals, and is free of harmful chemicals that are endocrine disrupters. Think Baby also happens to be a member of the Safe Cosmetics Campaign Compact!

Most buyers loved this sunscreen for its ability to rub into the skin, its light scent, and how effectively it works. One reviewer noted that it looks white on brown skin, but that was the only negative comment.

  • Smells good
  • Keeps you sunburn-free
  • It easily rubs into the skin
  • Sticks in hair
  • Shows on brown skin
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4. Reef Safe SPF-50 Sunscreen

The best high-SPF eco-friendly sunscreen

Brand: Reef Repair | Product Size: 4 fl. oz. | SPF: 50 | Price: 💰💰💰

Reef Repair’s reef-safe sunscreen is one of the best eco-friendly sunscreens on the market. It utilizes non-nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient and is paraben, silicone, and titanium dioxide-free. The sunscreen is waterproof for up to 80 minutes and is formulated to be moisturizing. It also is available on Reef Safe’s website for slightly cheaper, but you won’t have Prime’s free shipping.

This sunscreen is completely biodegradable and safe for our coral reefs, due to being free of harmful chemicals. It is safe for kids, or those with sensitive skin as well!

Reviewers loved how easily this sunscreen spreads, as well as how effective it is at protecting skin from burning. There were some who noted they got burned despite reapplying the sunscreen several times, and that the consistency was strange, so this may be a quality control issue that should be addressed.

  • It spreads easily
  • Smells very nice
  • Protects skin effectively
  • Buyers got burned
  • Consistency was gritty, hard to rub in
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5. Thrive Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen

The best eco-friendly face sunscreen

Brand: Thrive Natural Care | Product Size: 2 fl. oz. | SPF: 30 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

This is the best eco-friendly sunscreen for everyday use. Although you could put it on other parts of your body as well, it is simply perfect for daily use on the face and neck. Thrive’s non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen is also designed to be a gentle moisturizer. If you aren’t signed up for Amazon Prime, you may want to check out Thrive’s website so you can subscribe to this sunscreen and save a buck!

We simply love Thrive’s mission. They work with local Costa Rican farmers to grow the plants used in each of their products. The only fragrance in this moisturizer is an essential oil, and the sunscreen is vegan, cruelty-free, and free from harmful chemicals. It is truly one of the best sunscreens that is eco-friendly.

Most buyers were beyond thrilled with these reusable paper towels. They love how absorbent they are, which they found made these the perfect paper towel alternative. Buyers also loved the fun patterns that were printed on the towels. The only negative thing to note was that some wished there were more patterns!

  • No white cast
  • Natural, eco-friendly product
  • Great sunscreen, also moisturizes
  • It pills on the face
  • The fragrance is too strong

What to Look for in the Best Eco-friendly Sunscreen

Yellow hat by eco-friendly sunscreen
Image by Canva Photos

When searching for eco-friendly sunscreen, there are just a few things to consider in your search.

1

Sunscreen Ingredients

Sunscreen was developed to keep our skin safe from the sun’s harmful rays and ultimately keeps us protected from skin cancer. However, some sunscreens contain very harmful chemicals, which is why we’ve made a list of the best eco-friendly sunscreens, rather than just regular sunscreen. Since sunscreen is absorbed by our skin, we should be sure that our sunscreens are made of ingredients that not only protect us from the sun, but also from harsh chemicals.

2

Packaging

Although plastic packaging is incredibly common, it is known to be harmful to the human body. If your sunscreen is stored in plastic packaging, even if the sunscreen itself is eco-friendly, you could potentially absorb the harmful chemicals from the plastic packaging. This is why we love companies that use eco-friendly and human-friendly packaging and products so much.

Fun in the Sun

As summer approaches and we enjoy the sunshine, be sure to use some eco-friendly sunscreen to keep you and the environment safe!

Our Process

For this guide on eco-friendly sunscreens, our team spent 11 hours researching the most popular options from over 21 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred and seventy user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each eco-friendly sunscreen. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 eco-friendly sunscreens on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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