Today I am sharing my guide to eco-friendly sunscreen, updated for 2023.
I’m all about eco-friendly beauty products. From sustainable soap to plastic-free conditioner and to zero-waste makeup, I always think that the best products are ones that work well, are effective, affordable, and are made sustainably. The sunscreen market should be no different.
Questions have been raised about the ingredients in conventional sunscreen. Whilst in the past, more sustainable options have been limited, in 2023 the market for sustainable sunscreen has grown hugely.
What To Look For In An Eco-Friendly Sunscreen
Unfortunately, even in the eco-friendly market, not all sunscreens are equal. Be wary of brands that say they offer “complete protection” without any further detail. Instead, look for ones that specifically say that they give broad-spectrum protection. Specifically both UVA and UVB protection.
Also, be wary of sunscreens saying they offer protection above Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 50. There is no evidence anything above SPF 50 offers increased protection. This also fools you into thinking you can reapply less. Be mindful that you still have to reapply the cream every couple of hours regardless of the SPF level.
Guide to Eco-Friendly Sunscreen
To help you through this minefield I’ve done some research. As such, I’ve come up with a few reliable eco-friendly sunscreen brands – from vegan-friendly to reef-safe options, and more. Each offers a good SPF. And all creams featured also offer both UVA and UVB protection and are safe for all of the family to use.
Use the quick links below to skip to information about each brand, or keep reading for the full post:
- Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen
- Green People SPF 30 Sunscreen
- Jāsön Sun Family SPF 45 Sunscreen
- Sol De Ibiza Plastic-Free Sunscreen
- Odylique Natural Sunscreen
- Weleda SPF 30 Sunscreen
Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen
Badger Sunscreen is one of the best eco-friendly sunscreens on the market. It offers an SPF of 30 and provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s 100% harsh chemical-free. What’s more, it contains 87% certified organic ingredients and is hypoallergenic. This makes it safe for every member of the family, even little ones.
If you’re planning on snorkelling or diving in coral reefs or other environmentally sensitive ecosystems, then it’s a great choice. As it’s completely biodegradable it won’t cause any harm to the reefs or waterways. And for the final thumbs-up, it’s not tested on animals. However, do bear in mind that it’s not vegan as it contains beeswax.
The downside is that it is not readily available in the UK. However, I’ve tracked down this one, and other sunscreens in Badger the range, on Amazon.
Green People SPF 30 Sunscreen
Green People’s 78% certified organic eco-friendly sunscreen packs great protection from UVA and UVB rays. It’s also free from parabens, alcohol, Lanolin, phthalates, artificial perfumes, petrochemicals, and colourants.
Green People’s sunscreen is suitable for the most sensitive of skin, even babies, and rubs in really well. It’s not vegan, however, due to the inclusion of beeswax.
Green People have also confirmed that it is reef-safe, so good news if you are planning on diving or snorkelling.
Available with free delivery from Green People for £29 for 200 ml, this is a great family size for holidays. Also, take 10% off your first order when you sign up for the Green People newsletter.
Jāsön Sun Family Sunscreen SPF 45
Free from parabens and SLS, the Jāsön Sun Family Sunscreen offers a hefty SPF 45 protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also gentle and non-irritant, making it great for all of the family. The sunscreen is not tested on animals and is vegan-friendly. However, if you are planning on snorkelling then bear in mind it’s not reef-safe. If you’re after a reef-safe sunscreen then try the Jāsön Mineral SPF30 sunblock, which is £14.99, from Look Fantastic.
Jāsön Sun Family Sunscreen is available from Ethical Superstore for £12.80 for 113 g, making it a handy size for carrying around in your bag.
Sol De Ibiza Sunscreen
If you are looking for plastic-free sunscreen, then try Sol De Ibiza. This SPF 50 natural sunscreen, which protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, gives you great protection without any plastic packaging. This fragrance-free, non-nano formulation is made with organic and cruelty-free ingredients and is suitable for the whole family. What’s more, it’s water-resistant and reef-safe.
At £23 for 100 g, it is not the cheapest product. However, I tried this out over the hottest days of summer and found it to offer mighty eco-friendly sun protection.
Sol De Ibiza also comes in a cardboard pushup tube for easier application on the go. Ironically, I found it difficult to apply the sunscreen in the tube as the texture is more akin to that of a wax crayon. This means it’s tricky to get any on your skin. My advice? Stick with the tin.
Odylique Natural Sunscreen
This exceptionally pure, 100% natural, eco-friendly sunscreen was the first sun lotion to be accredited as both Fairtrade and organic. What’s more, it’s also cruelty-free and certified vegan, as well as being plastic-free.
The sunscreen itself is great for very sensitive skin, including babies and children. The mineral zinc oxide is the active ingredient, delivered in non-nano format. As such, it offers broad-spectrum UVA and SPF30 UVB protection without any harmful chemicals.
Odylique’s formulation protects the skin whilst actively caring for it. This is through its mixture of nine organic botanicals. These include Fairtrade raw shea butter, which replenishes and soothes skin. The formulation also contains a mixture of chamomile, rosemary, and sea buckthorn to calm sun-sensitive skin.
The light, non-greasy formula makes for easy application and for immediate protection. Find it here at Big Green Smile. Prices start from £15 for a 50ml glass jar.
Weleda SPF 30 Sunscreen
Weleda’s SPF 30 Sunscreen offers waterproof UVA and UVB sun protection with natural non-nano mineral UV filters.
This high-factor natural and vegan sunscreen does leave a white sheen on your skin. However, this is due to its non-nano mineral UV filters, which reflect harmful UV rays. In terms of skincare, organic virgin coconut oil and shea butter protect the moisture level in young skins.
The fragrance-free formula is also clinically tested. As such, it’s suitable for sensitive skin – both babies and adults.
All ingredients are grown biodynamically by Weleda. Where this isn’t possible, ingredients are ethically sourced from around the world.
Find it on sale at Content Beauty.
Have you found any other eco-friendly sunscreen brands you love? Do let me know in the comments! I’m especially looking for recommendations on plastic-free sunscreen. I’ve only tried a couple of brands, and always happy to hear about your favourites.
PS: Now you’ve got your sunscreen, be cool at the pool with this guide to ethical swimwear too.