Whilst we’re always trying to find the best natural and non-toxic beauty options, an eco-friendly SPF is extra important. Why? Because traditional, chemical formulas are not only packed with toxins that could be irritating to some skin types— but they’re actually damaging our oceans, too.
How does it work? Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that work by absorbing UV rays as they come into contact with your skin. These include things like oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone and homosalate. There’s no doubt that these ingredients are great for protecting skin from sun damage, but they’re not so great for our environment. When chemical suncreams wash off (whether in the shower or whilst you’re taking a dip in the ocean) research has found that their formulas are bleaching and eventually killing off coral reefs. In fact, Hawaii has now completely banned the sale of any sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate due to their damaging effects on coral reefs.
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So what can you do? If you’re concerned that your sunscreen might not be cutting it in the eco-friendly stakes, we’re here to help. Thanks to a high-demand of all things natural, eco-friendly and organic— many traditional sunscreens have been reformulated and are now better than ever.
Natural, non toxic sunscreens
Natural, non toxic sunscreens work by using ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide— that physically reflect harmful UVA and UVB rays from reaching the skin. These ingredients aren’t absorbed by the skin so are great for anyone who’s concerned about toxins and allergies— plus, they don’t harm marine life or coral reefs.
Whilst there’s still a way to go, (head to your local pharmacy and you’re still likely to find 90% of the sunscreens on offer to be chemical formulations) shopping around for the best natural sunscreen is about to become a whole lot easier.
We’ve rounded up the best natural sunscreen options to help you find the right one.
The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen SPF 30, £39.95
This natural, mineral sunscreen combines zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Enriched with aloe, shea butter, rose hip oil and vitamin E, this ultra-natural lotion nourishes skin, leaving it feeling soft and hydrated.
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, £38
Super lightweight and ultra-hydrating, this zinc oxide sunscreen is great for everyone— from babies to the most sensitive skin sufferers. Its formula is water-resistant, as well as being infused with added antioxidants and aloe vera. The best news? It smells delicious.
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Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sunscreen Spray SPF 30, £21
Originally formulated as a toxic-free alternative for kids, this 100% zinc sunscreen spray is great for everyone. It’s water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes, meaning it’s great for outdoorsy types or for holidays in extra hot countries. Plus, unlike the natural sunscreens of yesteryear, this one is totally transparent. Ideal.
Hampton Sun SPF 45 Mineral Crème, £38
This zinc sunscreen works as a barrier to physically diffuse the sun’s harmful UV rays, whilst added citrus extracts and argan oil infuse your skin with hydration. It sinks in quickly and feels lightweight, without leaving a white or chalky residue. And the best part— the formula is completely biodegradable and won’t harm coral reefs. Hurrah!
Soleil Toujours 100% Mineral Sunscreen Glow SPF30, £36
If you thought natural sunscreens weren’t very glamorous then think again. Soleil Toujours’ 100% Mineral Sunscreen Glow combines SPF30 with a sheer, tinted finish— leaving your skin looking glowing and bronzed. Plus, thanks to the antioxidant blend found in all Soleil Toujours products, skin is protected from free radicals and environmental aggressors. Wear under make-up or on its own for daily protection.
Green People Scent-Free Facial Sun Cream SPF 30, £18
Perfect for sensitive skin types, or those who suffer from psoriasis or eczema, Green People’s Scent-Free Facial Sun Cream is 100% reef safe, non-greasy and non-whitening. It contains an antioxidant rich blend of rosemary, avocado and green tea to protect and hydrate the skin, whilst giving broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. 10/10.
Words: Chloé Burcham