These 10 Nontoxic Sunscreens Are Better For Your Skin And The Environment
It’s hard to believe that less than 50 years ago people were hitting the beach or heading to the pool without slathering on any sunscreen first. In 2022, we’re all well aware of the fact that excessive sun exposure can lead to early signs of aging, or even scarier, skin cancer.
So whether you’re prone to tanning or just thinking about the sun makes your skin flush, it’s essential to have sun protection on hand if you plan on spending time outside. And it’s even better if that sun protection comes in the form of a clean sunscreen.
But first, what does it mean if a product is "clean?" At Rank & Style, we use the word clean to refer to beauty products made without ingredients shown or suspected to harm human health. While there currently isn't an industry standard for what this means, here are some ingredients we always avoid when writing about clean products: parabens, phthalates, PEGs, ethanolamines, formaldehydes, hydroquinone, oxybenzone, synthetic fragrance, BHT, and BHA.
When it comes to choosing a clean sunscreen, things get exponentially more complicated, because it’s not just your body and skin you have to worry about—it’s the environment (such as coral reefs and marine life) as well. To make your shopping experience as easy as possible, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 top-rated sunscreens that meet our definition of clean.
How We Found The Best Clean Sunscreens
Here’s how we do things at Rank & Style: we use our proprietary ranking algorithm to score and rank products based on a unique point system and a spectrum of data, including social media buzz, commentary from industry insiders, beauty editor reviews, magazine mentions, and more. We do this so that you can have an unbiased shopping experience and discover products that real people love and swear by. So with that said, keep scrolling to meet the 10 clean sunscreens that shoppers are raving about.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Tinted Sunscreens.
Product Expert:Georgia Jones
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Suntegrity Unscented Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body Broad Spectrum SPF 30
WHAT TO KNOW: Suntegrity was awarded "Champion" status by the EWG Campaign for Safe cosmetics, meaning their sunscreen is formulated solely with non-toxic ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, and of course, non-nano zinc oxide.
EXTRA DETAILS: If there’s a trip to the beach on your summer bucket list, you’ll be happy to hear that this sunscreen is reef-safe. It’s also completely fragrance-free, which makes it a great option for babies, children, and adults with sensitive skin.
Indie Lee Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
WHAT TO KNOW: Indie Lee’s best-selling sunscreen is formulated with 20% uncoated zinc oxide for sheer, all-over protection from the sun’s harmful rays. And while it’s appropriate for all skin types, it’s unscented and soy- and gluten-free, which makes it a good pick for small kids.
EXTRA DETAILS: Any product featured on Credo must meet their standard of “clean,” which means they can’t feature any ingredients on The Dirty List that are associated with safety or sustainability consequences. Indie Lee surpasses this standard, though, by only incorporating natural ingredients in their sunscreen, including sunflower seed oil, shea butter, and squalane.
Badger Sport Mineral Sunscreen Cream
WHAT TO KNOW: There’s a lot to love about Badger Sport’s Mineral Sunscreen Cream, whether it’s that it’s a 98% organic sunscreen made with just four ingredients, or the fact that it’s manufactured with solar power. But one thing we can’t not share with you is that this sunscreen was the first of its kind to achieve the rigorous Protect Land + Sea Certification.
REVIEW HIGHLIGHT: When it comes to receiving a seal of approval as a chemical-free, safe sunscreen, it doesn’t get much better than support from a professional sailor: “We own and operate a sailing charter business and spend our days outdoors on the water. Badger sunscreens work. And Badger cares about protecting the waters we love. We'll always have Badger aboard!”
The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen SPF 30
WHAT TO KNOW: The Organic Pharmacy’s Cellular Protection Sunscreen is a natural mineral sunscreen that combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two ingredients that provide protection against UVA and UVB rays. It’s also infused with nourishing ingredients like aloe, rosehip, shea butter, and calendula for a soothing and hydrating finish.
EXTRA DETAILS: While this isn’t a fragrance-free sunscreen, clean beauty enthusiasts will be happy to hear that its scent is derived from essential oils.
Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
WHAT TO KNOW: Juice Beauty makes affordable products with certified organic and natural ingredients. Their SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen features a nontoxic formula complete with mineral zinc oxide, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera to help hydrate your entire body.
EXTRA DETAILS: Go for a swim this summer without worry, because this product is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Alba Botanica Sensitive Clear Spray Sunscreen SPF 50
WHAT TO KNOW: Everyone knows how convenient spray and roll-on sunscreens are for when you’re out and about, but did you know that most spray sunscreens are full of hormone-disrupting, irritating, coral-killing ingredients? Not Alba Botanica’s Sensitive Clear Spray Sunscreen SPF 50, though, which is a reef-friendly, oxybenzone free sunscreen that’s unscented to boot.
REVIEW HIGHLIGHT: Based on a scroll through the 60+ five-star reviews on Walmart’s website for this product, users love the mist-like application, the lightweight finish, and the fact that it’s safe for sensitive skin.
Bare Republic Clearscreen Sunscreen Spray
WHAT TO KNOW: With an SPF of 100, Bare Republic’s Clearscreen Sunscreen Spray offers the highest sun protection factor of all the products on our Top 10 list. It’s a dye-, fragrance-, and oxybenzone-free sunscreen that’s designed to be easy to apply and leave you with a non-greasy finish.
APPLICATION TIP: Here’s a refresher on how to correctly apply spray sunscreen. First, shake the bottle, then hold the nozzle between four to six inches away from your body. Spray, then rub the product in. Avoid irritating your eyes by spraying the product into your hands, then gently rubbing it on your face.
Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
WHAT TO KNOW: Coola’s Classic Body Sunscreen is 70% organic and features the brand’s antioxidant-rich Plant Protection Complex that helps fight free radicals. That means that in addition to protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays, it’s also actively working to diminish visible signs of aging. Plus, its guava mango scent is proven to put you in a good mood with every application.
REVIEW HIGHLIGHT: Here’s a testimony from a shopper who lives in the Valley of the Sun: “I work in the Phoenix area and have to walk to and from buildings frequently for my job in the sun at all times of year. I have been looking for a moisturizing body sunscreen that actually moisturizes and doesn’t smell like your everyday beach sunscreen.This smells nice and rubs in well, and so far the SPF has kept me from burning.”
BeautyCounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30
WHAT TO KNOW: The Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist is Beautycounter’s best-selling sunscreen, and after learning that it’s vegan, cruelty-free, water-resistant, and has a non-aerosol mist design, we’re not surprised. But there’s more: This product’s formula features the California poppy, which is known in skincare for its antimicrobial properties and unique ability to soothe irritation and swelling.
EXTRA DETAILS: The nozzle on this product is designed to spray at every angle, so you can say goodbye to awkward tan lines.
Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 PA++++
WHAT TO KNOW: It’s sunscreen. It’s lotion. It’s your new everyday, holy-grail skincare product. Supergoop! is known for their line of products that are all reef-friendly, cruelty-free, and made with clean ingredients. The PLAY Everyday Sunscreen Lotion is no different, with a oxybenzone-free, non-toxic formula that includes natural additions like sunflower and rosemary leaf extract.
USER REVIEW: Here’s a pretty convincing tidbit we found while researching this product: “This is my favorite sunscreen. It's not oily, wears well under makeup, no white cast (!!!!), and doesn't break me out. I got a free sample and then bought the *value* bottle when I ran out. It is THE BEST!”