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6 Best Vegan Sunscreen Brands for Safe Skin Protection

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Spending time in the sun can have its benefits to our health; however, this can also expose us to harmful UVA/UVB rays which can potentially lead to cancer and premature skin aging.

Applying any sunscreen on the shelf isn’t advisable either due to the many toxic active and inactive ingredients lurking in many regular sunscreen brands.

However, a better choice is a natural sunscreen with mineral sun protection and nothing scary!

Here we have rounded-up some of the best vegan sunscreen brands to ensure you are safely protected from the sun’s rays – so go enjoy the great outdoors without worry!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks

The Scary Truth About Typical Sunscreen

Skin cancer is scary, but so are the toxic chemicals lurking in many popular sunscreen brands.

Very recently the FDA conducted a study revealing that chemicals used in sunscreen to protect skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, including oxybenzone and avobenzone, do in fact absorb through the skin into our bloodstream.

These chemicals, once in our bodies, can lead to health problems including hormone disruption, irritation and even cancer.

Pregnant women have a heightened risk when using sunscreen with oxybenzone due to the dangers it poses for the developing fetus.

The FDA classifies specific ingredients in sunscreen as either “generally recognized as safe and effective” (aka GRASE) or not.

Ingredients which are GRASE are iron oxide and titanium dioxide found in mineral and natural sunscreens such as the ones in our round-up; these are referred to as “physical sunscreens” which shield the skin on the surface.

However, ingredients which are not GRASE include the following commonly used in sunscreens:  ensulizole, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, oxybenzone, avobenzone.

The harmful effects of sunscreen extend to our oceans and reefs, too.

The National Park Service determined that around 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters areas where reefs are located, and research has discovered that oxybenzone alone is enough to break down these reefs causing them to turn white and lose nutrients.

Reefs are home to many of the Earth’s marine life and this devastating fact is quite sobering.

Also, you may notice some products claim to be ‘non-nano’ which means it doesn’t contain nanoparticles sometimes found in mineral sunscreen which contains nano titanium dioxide.

Nanoparticles also can pose a risk to oceans and even humans, so steer clear unless it says “non-nano” or “reef-safe.”

You don’t have to swim in the ocean to contaminate it – bath water and run off will also carry the chemicals to the sea.

Choosing the Right SPF Level and Other Considerations

Not every sunscreen is created equal and it’s important to choose the right one before sun exposure.

Firstly, look for a broad spectrum sunscreen which will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays.

Next, waterproof or sweat-proof sunscreen doesn’t exist! Look for a sunscreen which has a water resistance duration which suits you – usually it’s about 80 minutes while swimming.

A good rule of thumb is to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours and especially right after swimming and toweling off.

Also, no sunscreen completely blocks the sun’s rays. A SPF 30 will block about 97%, SPF 50 is 98% and 100 is 99%. Sticking to about SPF 30 is usually a good plan for all-day sun exposure.

People with sensitive skin should look for fragrance-free options. Avoiding chemicals like PABA and oxybenzone helps too since they have been known to cause irritation.

Another important thing to consider – sunscreen SPF levels are not as affective at high altitudes as they are at sea level.

A SPF 15 for example is essentially a body lotion at elevation; so consider using SPF 50 or greater in those locations.

Planning a vacation to the tropics? Sunscreen protection levels diminish as you get closer to the equator.

I learned this first-hand when using a SPF 15 in Jamaica – minutes later I was burnt to a crisp!

People of color should consider wearing sunscreen too! Although there is natural protection built-in from higher melanin levels causing fewer UV rays to penetrate the skin, the sun causes cell damage to every skin tone.

Finally, don’t forget – sun exposure can also occur through a window in your house or vehicle!

Things to Look For That Differentiate These Products

All of the sunscreen brands in our list are vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t contain any of the scary chemicals previously mentioned.

There are a few differences to note though.

If you are looking for a daily sunscreen to use under makeup, or alone, there’s one with tint.

There are some with a mild, natural fragrance and others without fragrance which would be better suited for people with sensitive skin.

Finally, there’s even a sunscreen for your lips – yes, they burn too!

No matter what you are looking for, there is sure to be a perfect one for you here!

6 Top Picks for Vegan Sunscreen

Whether you are looking for a daily sunscreen with a little tint, or need a reliable and safe option for your trip to the beach, there’s a natural and vegan sunscreen here for you!

Tinted Sunscreen for Face SPF 20 – Light Beige

Tinted Sunscreen for Face - SPF 20 With Natural & Organic Ingredients Broad Spectrum Sunblock Lotion, Tinted Moisturizer Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Face for Skincare, Facial Sunscreen (Light Beige)

This tinted facial sunscreen by Beauty by Earth is perfect for people looking to incorporate a sunscreen into their daily beauty routine, and don’t want the usual chalky, white residue.

It’s a mineral, physical sunscreen sans toxic chemicals with a SPF 20 protection level and a natural beige tint from iron oxides for light to medium skin tones

Need a darker shade? Beauty by Earth offers two other tones called Toffee and Cocoa.

Not only is the zinc oxide sun protection safe for your body, but it is also safe for the environment and the ocean.

This sunscreen is mineral oil, paraben, and fragrance-free so it is suitable for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Using a sunscreen such as this one will guard your skin on a daily basis from harmful rays which could cause skin aging, and it also contains anti-aging ingredients to nourish your skin too!

Aloe, argan and coconut oil soothe, hydrate and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles; along with many extracts such as cucumber and ginkgo biloba which calm skin and keep it clear.

What We Like

  • Chemical-free
  • Reef safe
  • Great for use as a primer, light moisturizer and/or foundation
  • Anti-aging; beneficial ingredients
  • Good for dry, combination and sensitive skin

What We Don’t Like

  • May make oily skin feel more greasy
  • Color may rub off on clothing
  • Might settle into pores with certain skin types
  • Some may not like the consistency

All Good Kids Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

All Good Kids Sunscreen Lotion - Zinc Oxide - Coral Reef Safe - Water Resistant - UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum - SPF 30 (3 oz)(2-Pack)

All Good kids’ sunscreen lotion protects your child’s skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays, and doesn’t contain toxic chemicals harmful to the body and our delicate oceans – it really is ‘all good’!

Part of All Good’s mission to protect the Earth’s waterways and the life which call them home, this sunscreen is formulated with only biodegradable ingredients.

This is also a non-nano sunscreen. While the harmful effects of nanoparticles in zinc oxide sunscreens in humans are debatable, they wreak havoc on ocean life.

It is oxybenzone-free and contains chamomile to calm the skin making this not only safe but also great for children’s sensitive skin.

This sunscreen packs SPF 30 broad spectrum protection, and it is water resistant up to 80 minutes – so you and your child can enjoy lots of fun in the sun and water without needing reapplication very often!

Here’s a helpful tip – start with a dab and rub in until absorbed before applying more. Zinc blends better on well-hydrated skin; so if you have dry skin, try applying a moisturizer first!

What We Like

  • Reef-safe
  • Non-toxic and good for sensitive skin
  • Long-duration water resistance (80 minutes)
  • Lightweight and non-greasy
  • Mild scent

What We Don’t Like

  • May leave a white film typical of zinc sunscreen
  • Not tear-free
  • Thick consistency may require more work to rub in

Alba Botanica Tropical Fruit Kids SPF 45 Sunscreen

Alba Botanica Tropical Fruit Kids SPF 45 Sunscreen, 4 oz.

Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Alba Botanica kids’ sunscreen is made with botanical ingredients and is a tear-free formulation.

This tropical fruit sunscreen is a broad spectrum SPF 45 and is water-resistant up to 80 minutes!

I love how this product protects the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also contains beneficial ingredients and it’s gluten-free!

These include aloe vera, chamomile, lavender and calendula which are all known to soothe and calm the skin.

Also, vitamin E and green tea leaf extract protect and heal – you receive the benefits of a lotion and protection of a sunscreen all in one!

This product is Leaping Bunny certified meaning it is cruelty-free and this extends to the oceans since it is also reef-safe containing no oxybenzone and octinoxate.

It is recommended you apply this 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and re-apply every 2 hours; especially after swimming, exercising and towel drying.

What We Like

  • Biodegradable and reef-friendly
  • Tear-free
  • Botanical ingredients
  • Delicate scent
  • Good price
  • Blends well and isn’t greasy

What We Don’t Like

  • Product doesn’t last long due to its small size
  • Spray bottle version is a bit tricky; some may prefer the lotion tube
  • May cause rash on very sensitive skin
  • Could sting eyes with direct contact

SolThera Premium Mineral Sunscreen

SolThera Premium Sunscreen (Natural Mineral Sunscreen, Kids, Reef Safe, Coral Safe, Waterproof, Non-Nano, Biodegradable Sunblock, Travel Size, Light Coconut Scent)

SolThera is a natural mineral sunscreen developed by a couple PhD scientists from San Diego who happen to love the water and the outdoors.

As it states, it is ‘good for the body, Earth and soul’ containing non-nano particle protection while delivering chemical-free, broad spectrum SPF 30.

It has a delicious natural coconut scent derived from actual coconuts and it is formulated with antioxidants like vitamin E and green tea extract along with hemp seed oil – protection and nourishment in one!

Hemp seed oil runs the gamut of benefits. It keeps your skin from over-producing oil thereby cleansing from within the pores and preventing acne and other breakouts, and it calms inflammation and irritation along with its inherent antimicrobial abilities.

Hemp seed oil also helps stall premature aging!

So not only are you preventing premature skin aging and cancer with the broad spectrum SPF, you are treating your skin with beneficial ingredients such as this to further protect it.

Since this product is mineral-based and biodegradable it is safeguarding the oceans while it also safeguards your skin.

What We Like

  • Nice scent
  • Easy to apply with medium thickness
  • Beneficial, natural ingredients
  • Effective, long-wear sun protection

What We Don’t Like

  • Dries quickly and may appear to flake
  • May take a long time to rub in
  • Might leave a slight film depending on skin tone

Goddess Garden Sport SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin

Goddess Garden Sport SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin (3.4 oz. travel size), Reef Safe, Clear Zinc Oxide, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant, Unscented, Non-Nano, Vegan, Cruelty-Free

Need a safe option for you or your child’s sensitive skin? Goddess Garden’s mineral sunscreen is dermatologist tested and great for people with sensitivities to sunscreen.

This sunscreen delivers a powerful SPF 50 mineral-based protection, and is water-resistant up to 80 minutes!

It is great for sensitive skin due to it being fragrance-free and containing calming ingredients such as organic shea butter and coconut oil.

There are no harsh chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, and octocrylene making it safe for you, your kids and our ocean’s reefs.

The organic formula is lightweight and easy to apply, and it is ultra-sheer with a dry finish which is sometimes hard to find in zinc sunscreens (especially ones this powerful!).

To apply, begin with moisturized skin and cover one area of your body at a time – if it’s white then keep rubbing it in!

What We Like

  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Organic ingredients
  • Reef-safe, cruelty and chemical-free
  • Unscented and dry-touch
  • Strong sun protection level (SPF 50)

What We Don’t Like

  • May leave a slight white cast
  • Requires reapplication after swimming or sweating (so it may seem often)
  • Some may need more water-resistance than this offers

Brush On Block Protective Lip Oil – SPF 32 Sunscreen

Brush On Block, Protective Lip Oil, Natural Broad Spectrum SPF 32 UVA and UVB Sunscreen, Vegan, Cruelty Free, No Parabens, Nude Tint

Lips burn too, but who wants to put regular sunscreen on our lips? This protective lip oil is specifically designed for lips, and it does way more than protect from harmful UVA/UVB rays (and blue light HEV).

Infused with antioxidants, like vitamin E, which protect against free radical damage, and argan, sunflower, and castor oils create a barrier on your lips to lock in moisture.

In fact, argan oil alone can be used in place of lip balm due to its ability to moisturize and cure chapped lips!

Sunflower oil naturally prevents UVA damage and contains lots of vitamin E, and castor oil is great at conditioning the skin.

It has SPF 32 and there is a soft, shiny nude tint which glides on easily and smoothly using the convenient applicator.

This is like lip gloss but so much better! It is of course vegan and cruelty-free, and it’s free of other nasty chemicals such as PABA, phthalates, and parabens.

The lip oil is good for sensitive skin and can even be used over your favorite lip color!

What We Like

  • UVA/UVB and HEV (blue light) protection for lips
  • Beneficial emollients
  • Nice nude tint
  • Goes on smoothly and makes lips shiny
  • Convenient size

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t provide a lot of color
  • Pricey

Top Choice for the Best Vegan Sunscreen

SolThera Premium Sunscreen (Natural Mineral Sunscreen, Kids, Reef Safe, Coral Safe, Waterproof, Non-Nano, Biodegradable Sunblock, Travel Size, Light Coconut Scent)

Choosing a mineral sunscreen is by far the best choice for you and your family!

All of the products in our round-up are safe for humans, animals (cruelty-free and vegan), and the oceans and reefs.

While there are similarities regarding the minerals used for sun protection, there are many variations and formulations to choose from.

Out of all of these great products, our top choice is SolThera Premium Mineral Sunscreen!

SolThera combines all the natural goodness of a mineral sunscreen, while also including beneficial ingredients such as hemp seed oil and antioxidants like vitamin E and green tea leaf extract.

The non-nano formula means it is reef and ocean safe along with being safe and protective to our skin with a SPF 30 sunblock.

All of these benefits, and long-wear sun protection without dangerous chemicals, puts SolThera sunscreen at the top of our list!

Meet

Katie Hill

I'm a vegan mom, and I love cooking new vegan recipes. Over the years of living a plant-based lifestyle, I've learned the benefits to our health and the environment. I enjoy hiking, skiing, and attending music events.

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