6 natural sunscreens we love

natural sunscreenWe turned up the heat on these all-natural sunscreens—testing them for breakouts and a ghostly hue, as well as a clean ingredient list and performance. And we didn’t get burned.

In fact, natural sunscreens seem to be hitting their stride, with many products flaunting new light-weight textures and great skin-care ingredients. These are the six that won us over and we predict will give their chemically laden cousins a serious run for the money this summer.


Popular natural sunscreen

Vive Sana Solar to Polar Ultra SPF 40 ($29)
This fantastically popular synthetics-free sunscreen is laced with plant extracts and skin-nourishing jojoba, apricot kernel, and olive oil. It quickly absorbs leaving no white cast. I’ve put it to use on my sensitive, summer-shiny skin, where it almost does double duty as a moisturizer. Contains zinc and titanium dioxide.


Great natural sunscreen

MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 Coconut ($10)
MyChelle sunscreens should replace Neutrogena’s in every Duane Reade. Its anti-aging Solar Defense SPF 30 is free of titanium dioxide for those concerned about the mineral’s small particle size, and Sun Shield SPF 28 evokes that Coppertone coconutty scent of childhood before there were natural sunscreens. (There’s an unscented version, too). All use ZinClear, refined zinc to avoid that Morticia Adams hue, plus great skin-care ingredients like macadamia nut oil and anti-inflammatory red algae.

Pratima sunscreen


Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen SPF 30 ($28)
I’ve waxed poetic about the Ayurvedic doctor’s amazing sunscreens before, and for me they remain two of the best overlooked, under-rated products in a New York woman’s medicine cabinet. They have about five ingredients a piece, go on like a light and elegant organic skin-care moisturizer, and never sting, run, or cause a breakout.

Goddess Garden

Goddess Garden Facial Sunscreen SPF 30 ($16)
Not to be confused with a salad dressing, this non-greasy, 79 percent organic sunscreen has a lavender scent that I love, contains zinc and titanium dioxide, and landed a great EWG score of 2 out of 10 (10 being the most toxic).



natural sunscreen


True Natural Sunscreen SPF 40 Active ($11)
With a super clean ingredient list, this zinc-only sunscreen for face and body has an aloe-beeswax base and goes on clear. The consistency is a a tad tacky, which on the plus side lends to its water-resistance. EWG gave it a top safety rating.

Mexoryl sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream ($22)
You might want to sit down for this one: I’m a huge fan of Mexoryl, a chemical sunscreen ingredient. It blocks a range of UVA light that no others ingredients approved by the FDA do. I wish it didn’t contain some of the other back-up sunscreen filters, like avobenzone and octocrylene. But even so, the EWG gives it a score of 2 out of 10—and it’s widely available at New York drugstores.
—Melisse Gelula

What are your favorite sunscreens?

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24 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. June 7th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    California Baby! It’s at all the Ricky’s stores and most natural shops.

  2. June 7th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I am a little disappointed in your list, there are many affordable all natural and even organic sunscreens you did not mention. I can easily go through 4 oz in one day at the beach, so price does matter. Including Alba, all terrain, natures gate, california baby, Badger and many more.

  3. June 7th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Well thanks for creating a list of unaffordable sunscreens. Some of us are on a Target budget! $33.90 for less than 2 ounces? You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s less than one days worth!

  4. June 7th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    […] 6 Natural Sunscreens […]

  5. June 7th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you!!!!! This list is SO helpful!!!!!!

  6. June 8th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I have been searching for a more natural sunscreen and like the idea of the ones you have listed, but they are too expensive to keep purchasing.

    One of the cheapest ones I found at a local health food store was $5.99 an oz. (the ones you listed are more than that)!

    I think it is very important to go to a more natural sunscreen. Try looking for formulas that are physical sunscreens (sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium oxide) and shea butters, oils, etc.
    If you know what to look for maybe you can avoid the high cost.

    Or you can try to make your own sunscreen by buying a zinc oxide or titanium oxide online adding it to a lotion.

  7. June 10th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    I like Neutrogena pure and free and Alba.

  8. Well+Good
    June 10th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    As long as you know that Neutrogena Pure and Free is not pure and free of chemicals, just of chemical-based sunscreen filters. That’s two of many ingredients.

  9. June 10th, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Just because you find a screen at a natural or health food store – doesn’t mean it’s natural. I found shockingly un-natural, icky ingredients in a lot of the brands that we take for granted as being natural, some of which were mentioned in the comments. Others, even natural, while possibly a little cheaper (not much), were waxy and caused my skin to breakout. Others were ridiculously white on the skin, even at lower SPFs. This seems like a list of great sunscreens, not cheap sunscreens – which apparently we don’t need help finding. It’s the good ones that are hard to find!

  10. June 14th, 2011 at 6:02 am

    I am from Pickering, Ontario, Canada. Would you please recommend some sunscreens that have very good all around protection for a reasonable cost, and where I can purchase a good one (eg. Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart). I really need to know as my son is in a Landscaping business and needs to wear the best I can afford it more than he can, but not at an extremely high cost as I got hit by a tractor trailer awhile back and am now on Disability (he broke my neck. He just started up the business 2 years ago, and doesn’t have much in the way of his own cash. Right now he and his partner have to use just about all of their money to put back into the business. My son is 26 and is still living at home so he can get on his feet. This summer is the 3rd year and they are beginning to see a very small profit, however it’s hard for them as they didn’t have much capital to start the business. I would really appreciate it if you could let me know ASAP what to purchase for him as we are just about to get another heatwave and I wuuld really love to get a high protection with both UVA and UVB, and something waterproof as they sweat so much. He realizes he has to reapply the suncreen, however I think having a waterproof product would at least help him a little more.

    I would appreciate anything you can tell me.

    Mary Murney
    Pickering, Ontario

  11. June 21st, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I had NO IDEA that La-Roche scored so low on EWG – had been avoiding it for this reason despite all the rave reviews. Vive Sane is also at the top of my list. I’m a huge fan of Arcona sun blocks.

  12. Well+Good
    June 21st, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Melisse here! I personally love Arcona’s Reozone. It’s doesn’t drip, sting, or fume. Though there’s concern about anti-aging vitamin A (retinol palmitate) in sunscreen, and Arcona’s contains it. Here’s a quick summary of the findings the study done in conjunction with the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research: http://bit.ly/kKVspG

  13. June 30th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Well I have to admit, I thaught a Sunscreen was good for your skin, stopping me getting burnt, as i am very fair skined I have to use a high factor.
    But I never new about other chemicals in the sun protecters, but I shall be looking from now on, although its very late in the day, but never too late, I hope. Well you must all think must not have a brain, but I have. lol

  14. July 5th, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Shea butter has a natural spf of 6. Does anyone know of a pure shea butter lotion or cream?

  15. July 5th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Too expensive! My favorites: BurnOut Clean & Clear Eco Sensitive Spf 32 (AMAZING!) and Blue Lizard sensitive sunscream.

  16. July 25th, 2011 at 7:52 am

    […] at 10:30. At 4:30, a half-hour long kirtan class ends the day.A map of the islandPERSONAL AFFECTS Bring sunscreen—plus a small towel to mop up your sweat, and maybe a hat. A few tents and trees along […]

  17. August 10th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Fantastic article. Well-researched, excellent suggestions. You have compiled a wonderful list of sunscreens factoring in the variables that are extremely important – natural ingredients, zinc based, cost per ounce, and if it leaves you ghostly pale. Exactly what I am trying to avoid with my next purchase – I have tan skin and I love zinc-based products as they are the best sun protection. Thank you! PS – Everyone, this is the cost of natural sun protection.

  18. August 23rd, 2011 at 6:31 am

    […] But plenty hit the airports—and it’s you we’re concerned about. Are you packing your sunscreen? Will you remember your facial oil? Is your natural cleanser travel size?To avoid long lines, […]

  19. June 4th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Thanks for your list. Good to be careful in selecting a sunscreen…some are flammable–yikes! ahttp://www.kltv.com/story/18689073/man-catches-fire-while-grilling

  20. April 24th, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I love MD solar sciences mineral cream
    Broad spectrum spf 50! Fragrance free.
    Soaks right in leaving skin soft, makeup goes
    On smooth over it.
    Titanium and zinc oxide sunscreen with anti-
    Oxident provention-R.

  21. April 28th, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I was glad to find this list, and wished they were affordable. But, maybe I am checking an old list because La Roche sunscreen products (esp. Higher than 30SPF and ”melts like milk” have a rating range 4-7 by EWG. So, at that cost I would buy a 1 or 2 rated product not something down on the hazard scale.

  22. June 3rd, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Agreed the price of many of the above sunscreens is steep. Lori’s Earth Friendly Products carries the same Garden Goddess sunscreen mentioned here for $10.43 instead of nearly $16.

    Hope this helps!

  23. July 13th, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Coola is one of my faves!

  24. February 17th, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Andalou Naturals! LOVE their facial moisturizers with SPF. They are marketed as BB and CC lotions but really don’t offer coverage just great sun protection! I personally love the Skin Perfecting Beauty Balm Natural Tint with SPF 30 (in their Age-Defying line) and Moisturizing Color+ Correct Sheer Nude with SPF 30 (1000 Roses). I never wear make-up, foundations, or tinted things on my face (I have a light pink and white complexion) so was a bit hesitant at first but was hooked immediately. Unlike any other tinted products I’ve tried these don’t leave any weird color to my face, they blend perfectly, even though they both have 20% zinc oxide for sun protection. Add to that great ingredients, and a good rating on EWG’s Skin Deep. Price is not bad either, for such a great product. I use one or the other on my face every day, year round. Been looking for a safe, effective sunscreen for my husband (who has very dark skin)that doesn’t leave an obvious white shade, and on a whim had him try my Andalou Naturals…. it blended right into his skin too, although much darker than mine!

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