The Best Non-Toxic & Safe Sunscreens For Baby, Our Oceans, & You

Avoid sunburns and awful chemicals with a non-toxic baby sunscreen.

We went deep into the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens to find the absolute best sunscreens on the market.

There are a lot of sunscreens on the market that are full of toxic chemical ingredients. In fact, if you go to your local drugstore and pick a sunscreen, there’s a very high chance that it’s going to be full to the brim with toxic ingredients.

If you’re used to using a chemical sunscreen, now is a great time to switch to a safe, mineral based sunscreen that’s not only better for you and your little one, but for our coral reefs as well.

Today we’ll be answering questions like:
  • Why chemical sunscreens are no good.
  • How the chemicals in bad sunscreens are destroying our oceans.
  • What goes into an ideal safe and non-toxic sunscreen.

The Problem With Chemical Sunscreens.

There are two main kinds of sunscreen: chemical and mineral (also known as physical.)

Let’s start with chemical sunscreens (the nasty stuff.)

Chemical sunscreens use one of the following 6 active ingredients, all of which are toxic to our coral reefs and other aquatic life:

Oxybenzone – This chemical has been linked to endocrine disruption and Hirschsprung’s disease. Also results in high rates of skin allergic reactions.

Octinoxate – This chemical is linked with endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, and reproductive organ disruption in both males and females.

Homosalate – Linked to hormone disruption. In one study, this chemical was found in 85.2% of breast milk samples. It’s also been shown to increase the amount of pesticides we absorb through our skin.

Octocrylene – Found to be a strong allergen in children, leading to dermatitis.

Avobenzone – This UVA absorber is unstable on its own, needing to be paired with chemicals like homosalate. Also absorbed into the skin with currently unknown effects.

Octisalate – While official information on the dangers of this chemical are hard to find, it is absorbed into the skin and is best to be avoided.

The Scary Findings of a 2020 Study on Chemical Sunscreens.

In early 2020, a study was published in the medical journal JAMA. This study looked at the 6 main active ingredients in chemical sunscreens listed above.

They looked at 48 participants over 21 days. They tested 4 commercially available sunscreens in cream, aerosol spray, non-aerosol spray and pump spray formats. Participants were required to apply the sunscreens to themselves each day.

They found that after just the first day, all 6 of these chemicals were detected in the bloodstream at levels over the safe limits as dictated by the FDA.

This means that not only are all of these chemicals finding their way into our bloodstreams after a single application, but the amount of chemical accumulated over time as well.

The FDA says that these results only mean that more studies are needed to determine if this is dangerous or not, and that we should continue to use sunscreens.

Since it’s easy to find sunscreens that don’t have these ingredients, we strongly recommend doing so and will only recommend products that don’t have these toxic chemicals.

Unsafe Inactive Ingredients To Avoid In Sunscreens.

Besides the 6 toxic active ingredients listed above, there are several other ingredients its best to avoid when looking for a safe and non-toxic sunscreen for your family.

  • Parabens – Chemical preservatives that have been linked to breast cancer. Parabens come in a number of forms, but the most common are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. If you see an ingredient that ends in “paraben” it should be avoided.
  • Fragrance – Beware of anything labeled “fragrance”. This umbrella term can cover hundreds of mystery chemicals, some of which can be quite toxic.
  • Sodium Benzoate – A preservative that is less dangerous than parabens but would ideally be avoided.
  • Phenoxyethenol – Like sodium benzoate, a preservative that would be best to avoid.
  • Retinyl Palmitate – A form of vitamin A. A 2012 study suggested that retinyl palmitate when exposed to sun could cause skin cancer. However, this study was performed only on animals and it’s not known if this also applies to humans.

Why Mineral Sunscreens Are Safer & Better.

Next up we have mineral sunscreens which use titanium dioxide & zinc oxide. These ingredients simply sit on top of the skin and deflect the sun’s rays.

According to the FDA, there’s enough evidence that these sunscreens don’t warrant the same health concerns as chemical sunscreens.Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients:

  • Zinc oxide: The main active ingredient in mineral suncreens. It provides full-spectrum protection from both UVA & UVB rays.
  • Titanium dioxide: You’ll find this as an additive in some sunscreens. Titanium dioxide doesn’t provide full-spectrum UV protection.

Some facts you should know about physical (mineral) sunscreens:

  • Mineral sunscreens are effective immediately after application. Do you remember the old advice that you should apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure? Well, that only applies to chemical sunscreens which need that time to be absorbed into the skin.
  • Not all mineral sunscreens are safe. Some of them also contain nasty chemicals and you really need to read the labels to make sure.
  • Watch out for sunscreens that have nanoparticles. These are microscopically small particles that can be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. Unfortunately, there are no FDA guidelines on nanoparticles, but it’s always safer to go with a sunscreen that says they don’t use nanoparticles.
  • Mineral sunscreens often don’t apply as transparently as chemical sunscreens do. Expect the possibility of white streaks and more difficulty in application.

Chemical Sunscreen is Toxic To Our Oceans.

The chemicals in non-mineral sunscreens are incredibly toxic to our oceans. When we slather it on and go out into the water, it quickly rinses off and makes its way into the water ecosystem. In fact, every year somewhere between 6000 to 14000 tons of sunscreen makes its way into our coral reefs each year.

It’s only been recently that we’ve become aware that the chemicals in our sunscreens are contributing to unprecedented levels of coral bleaching.

In 2018, Hawaii banned the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. Hawaii has, in recent years, estimated that 1/5th of their coral reefs have died, and sunscreens are a huge factor in that.

It’s also been thought that nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are dangerous to our aquatic life as well, so that’s another good reason to avoid such sunscreens.

Beware of The Term “Reef-Safe”— It Doesn’t Mean Anything.

If you look at some popular sunscreen brands, you might see the term “reef-safe” written somewhere on it.

Unfortunately, the term “reef-safe” is unregulated, meaning anyone can claim that their sunscreen is reef safe even if it isn’t. They also don’t have to do any tests to prove that their sunscreen is non-toxic to our aquatic life.

Often, manufacturers will cut out the two main chemical cuplrits: oxybenzone and octinoxate, then claim that their sunscreen is reef-safe.

The problem with this is that although oxybenzone and octinoxate are the most studied chemicals, there are others like octocrylene, which haven been shown in studies to be harmful to our aquatic life.

Your best options for choosing a reef-safe sunscreen.

Finding a truly reef-safe sunscreen is difficult, but there are a few guidelines to go by:

  • Uses non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Generally, sunscreens that use these two main active ingredients are considered to be reef-safe. Nano particles can be ingested by marine life (including coral) causing internal damage.
  • Does not include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, butylparabens, avobenzone, homosalate.

Your best options for choosing a reef-safe sunscreen.

Finding a truly reef-safe sunscreen is difficult, but there are a few guidelines to go by:

  • Uses non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Generally, sunscreens that use these two main active ingredients are considered to be reef-safe. Nano particles can be ingested by marine life (including coral) causing internal damage.
  • Does not include: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, butylparabens, avobenzone, homosalate.

Baby Sunscreen vs. Non-Baby Sunscreen.

There’s absolutely no difference between a sunscreen labeled as being “for baby” and a standard sunscreen without this label.

It really just comes down to it being a marketing term. If you’re looking for a sunscreen for your baby and see one labeled “for baby” and one not, you’re probably going to go with the one that’s supposed to be for babies.

In reality, there’s zero difference, and the term “for baby” doesn’t mean anything.

Sun Safety Tips For Babies & Children.

Sunscreen isn’t the first line of defense for sun protection. Here are some must-know tips to have summer fun without worry.

  • Babies under 6 months should avoid the sun. According to the AAP, babies under the age of 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight completely. This is especially important between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the sun and UV rays are harshest.
  • In a stroller? Use a sun canopy. If your stroller comes with a canopy, take advantage of it. If yours didn’t come with one, there’s a good chance you can buy one that works with yours.
  • Keep them away from reflective surfaces. You might be surprised to learn that water, sand and snow can reflect up to 50% of the sun’s UV rays.
  • Be careful in the car. Ever gotten a sunburn on your arm just from driving? Your little one might be in direct sunlight, so be sure to invest
  • Keep in the shade. The protection of a nice, tall tree or a sun umbrella is a great way to stay out of direct sunlight.
  • Make sure they stay cool & well hydrated. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they’re not getting overheated. If they’re becoming fussy or their skin is getting red, that could be a sign they’re too hot.
  • SPF starts with the clothing. Sun hats, long sleeves and pants are a great way to add some sun protection before even worrying about sunscreen.

Our Criteria: What Makes For An Ideal Baby Sunscreen.

Many parents think that they have to get the strongest, highest SPF, most expensive sunscreen they can find, but that’s really not the best way to go about it.

Here’s our criteria:

  • Physical (mineral) sunscreens. As opposed to a chemical sunscreen. Typically the sunscreens have zinc oxide as the main active ingredient, but some are combined with titanium dioxide.
  • No toxic ingredients. Any good sunscreen will be completely free of any toxic ingredients.
  • Broad spectrum coverage. It’s important that your sunscreen offers both UVA & UVB protection.
  • Use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. There is some concern that these nano particles can be absorbed into the blood stream.
  • SPF 30-50. A higher SPF isn’t always better, and the sweet spot is somewhere between 30-50.
  • Lotions & sticks only, no sprays. Sprays can be very difficult to apply evenly to a wiggly child, leading to missed spots and sunburns. On top of that the airborne particles can easily be inhaled, and there’s no telling what these chemicals could do. Spray sunscreens are often flammable as well.
  • Hypoallergenic & fragrance free sunscreen is important, especially if your child has sensitive skin.

The Best Sunscreens.

These sunscreens are the best of the best. With simple all non-toxic ingredients, any of these are a great choice to make for a sunscreen you can rely on.


Kabana

Kabana Green Screen Sunscreen
Rating: Best 🌟

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Details

This excellent sunscreen is made from only 6 ingredients, with many of them being organic. The active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide, and there are absolutely no harmful or toxic ingredients to be found.

For an easy choice without any questionable ingredients, go with Kabana. This is one of the best sunscreens on the market, period.

What we loved:

  • Contains only 6 ingredients, and they're all excellent.
  • Most of the ingredients are organic.

What we didn't love:

  • It can be hard to apply because it's very thick.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • Organic Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Vegetable Vitamin E,
  • Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

Green Goo

Green Goo Solar Goo Sunscreen
Rating: Best 🌟

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Details

These are some of the best and cleanest sunscreens on the market—period.

The ingredients are all organic and natural and there are no toxic chemicals to be found. The active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide and organic calendula flower oil. The other ingredients are various oils (coconut, sunflower), beeswax, shea butter and tocopherol (vitamin E).

The sunscreen comes in both stick and balm format, either of which are a great choice.

If there was one sunscreen we would recommend over all others, it would be this one.

What we loved:

  • Great ingredients, nothing questionable.
  • Comes in stick and balm formats, both of which are easy to use.

What we didn't love:

  • It's only SPF 30.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Organic Shea Butter,
  • Tocopherol

Soleo Organics

Soleo Organics Natural Sunscreen
Rating: Best 🌟

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Details

Soleo Organics sunscreens are a great choice for a non-toxic, physical sunscreen that’s good for the entire family, including baby.

The ingredients are all natural and there are no toxins to be found.

One thing that seemed questionable to us is the claim of using “organically-sourced” ingredients. It’s not clear what this term means, but after reaching out to the brand, they told us that the ingredients are organic. However, they don’t appear to be certified organic.

Even still, this is a great sunscreen that you can feel safe using.

What we loved:

  • Great ingredients that are all-natural.

What we didn't love:

  • Ingredients are "organically sourced" but not certified organic.
  • This is an Australian brand, so it can be hard to find.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Grape Seed Oil (Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil),
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Vegetable Oil,
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Roman Chamomile Oil (Anthemis Nobilis Oil),
  • Lecithin,
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract),
  • Vitamin E,
  • Macadamia Gympie Nut Oil (Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil),
  • Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter

Badger Baby

Badger SPF 30 Chamomile Baby Sunscreen Cream
Rating: Best 🌟

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Details

This is an excellent sunscreen with certified organic ingredients—and very few of them at that. None of the included ingredients are toxic to our aquatic life, either.

It’s also certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.

Because of the great ingredients list, this mineral sunscreen is highly recommended.

What we loved:

  • Certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
  • Very few ingredients and they're all certified organic.

What we didn't love:

  • Nothing.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Sunflower Vitamin E,
  • Organic Roman Chamomile Oil (Anthemis Nobilis Oil),
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Organic Sea Buckthorn Fruit Extract (Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract)

Earth Mama

Earth Mama Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
$14.99
Rating: Best 🌟

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Details

Containing all natural ingredients, this zinc oxide based mineral sunscreen is one of the best you can find.

There are no synthetic ingredients to be found, and absolutely nothing in this sunscreen is toxic.

This sunscreen comes highly recommended.

What we loved:

  • Truly organic sunscreen with all-natural ingredients.
  • Absolutely no toxic or harmful ingredients.
  • Safe, non-nano zinc oxide.
  • Pleasant smell from the organic essential oils—not artificial fragrance.

What we didn't love:

  • Can be hard to rub in, leaving a white residue on the skin.
  • A little bit greasy.
  • Some users complained that it stained clothing.

Good Sunscreens.

While any of these sunscreens are a safe choice, they’re not quite as good as the ones listed above. They likely have a slightly more complicated ingredients list, but are still non-toxic and safe to use.


Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 - Fragrance Free
Rating: Good

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Details

Babo Botantical’s sunscreen lotion is a good non-nano zinc oxide choice for a baby sunscreen. This sunscreen comes in a fragrance free and fragrance version, and we would recommend the fragrance free version.

While not all of the ingredients in this sunscreen are organic, most of them are. While there are a lot of ingredients in this sunscreen, none of them stand out as being bad.

This sunscreen used to contain sodium benzoate—which we would prefer to avoid—but since 2018 it no longer contains this ingredient.

All in all, we can recommend this sunscreen.

What we loved:

  • Comes in fragrance-free version.
  • The ingredients are all safe and many of them are organic.

What we didn't love:

  • We would prefer a sunscreen with fewer ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Arachidyl Alcohol,
  • Arachidyl Glucoside,
  • Behenyl Alcohol,
  • Organic Bisabolol,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Shea Butter,
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Caprylhydroxamic Acid,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Cellulose Gum,
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Cetyl Alcohol,
  • Organic Matricaria Oil (Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil),
  • Citric Acid,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Glycerin,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Methyl Dihydroabietate,
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose,
  • Organic Watercress Flower/Leaf Extract (Nasturtium Officinale),
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Organic Kudzu Root (Pueraria Lobata Root Extract),
  • Sodium Gluconate,
  • Sodium Hyaluronate,
  • Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate,
  • Organic Meadowsweet Flower Extract (Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract),
  • Organic Cocoa Butter,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Water

Beautycounter

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
Rating: Good

Details

Unlike their cream sunscreen, Beautycounter’s sunscreen sticks don’t have phenoxyethanol making them a safer alternative for infants.

The ingredients are relatively good for a sunscreen and it’s reef-safe, too.

As a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen, this is a great choice for the whole family, including your little one.

What we loved:

  • Good, safe and non-toxic ingredients.
  • Stick format can be convenient for applying to wiggly babies and toddlers.

What we didn't love:

  • We wish it had fewer synthetic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Coco-Caprylate/Caprate,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Organic Cocoa Butter,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Cetearyl Nonanoate,
  • Mica,
  • Coconut Alkanes,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Organic Shea Butter,
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • Lauryl Laurate,
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil),
  • Isostearic Acid,
  • Lecithin,
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate,
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Lemon Peel Oil (Citrus Medica Limonium Peel Oil),
  • Tangerine Fruit Extract (Citrus Reticulata Fruit Extract),
  • Tangerine Peel Oil (Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil),
  • Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita Pepo Seed Oil),
  • Organic Pomegranate Seed Oil (Punica Granatum Seed Oil),
  • Organic Acai Berry Fruit Oil (Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil),
  • Glycerin,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Soybean Oil (Glycine Soja Oil),
  • Silica,
  • Acai Berry Fruit Oil (Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil),
  • Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract),
  • Peppermint Oil (Mentha Piperita Oil),
  • Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice)

Made Of

MADE OF Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Rating: Good

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Details

MADE OF’s sunscreen is a great choice for a non-toxic and reef-safe.

The ingredients are all organic and natural and the active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide. For the animal lovers, this brand is also certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.

This is one of the best sunscreens there is, so it comes highly recommended by us.

What we loved:

  • Certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
  • Great ingredients.

What we didn't love:

  • Would be nice if it came in higher SPF formats.

Ingredients:

  • Tocopherol,
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Organic Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil),
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Organic Natural Vanilla,
  • Organic Raspberry Seed Oil,
  • Organic Cocoa Butter,
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil)

California Baby

California Baby (All Sunscreens)
Rating: Good

Details

California Baby’s line of sunscreens are all excellent and any of them are a great choice.

While they do contain a fair amount of synthetic ingredients, they’re still a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen and are much better than chemical sunscreens.

This rating covers all of California Baby’s lineup:

  • (No Fragrance) Super Sensitive™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen Stick
  • (No Fragrance) Super Sensitive™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen
  • Everyday/Year-Round™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen Stick
  • Summer Blend™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen
  • Calendula™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen
  • Everyday/Year-Round™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen

We recommend the no fragrance options over the rest, but if you’re a fan of fragrance, those options are an okay choice as well.

Note: Ingredients listed are for Super Sensitive™ Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen.

What we loved:

  • Comes in a fragrance-free format.
  • All good ingredients.

What we didn't love:

  • We would prefer fewer synthetic ingredients, but the ones in here are fine.

Ingredients:

  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Isoamyl Laurate,
  • Coco-Caprylate/Caprate,
  • Calendula (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Viola Tricolor Extract,
  • Polyglyceryl-2-Dipolyhydroxystearate,
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • Glyceryl Starch,
  • Safflower Oleosomes (Carthamus Tinctorius Oleosomes),
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate,
  • Levulinic Acid,
  • Glycerin,
  • Tapioca Starch,
  • Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract),
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Squalane,
  • Magnesium Stearate,
  • P-anisic Acid,
  • Allantoin,
  • Panthenol

Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick
Rating: Good

Details

This sunscreen stick is a great option with many organic ingredients and nothing toxic or harmful. The active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide and there are no synthetic ingredients to be found.

This is a stick sunscreen. It also comes in spray format (which we don’t recommend) and a cream as well.

What we loved:

  • No synthetic ingredients and nothing iffy.

What we didn't love:

  • The spray format should be avoided.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Organic Shea Butter,
  • Organic Tamanu Seed Oil (Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil),
  • Organic Hemp Oil (Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil),
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Octyldodecyl Oleate,
  • Organic Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa Bran Oil),
  • Organic Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima Oil),
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Organic Cocoa Butter,
  • Tocopherol

3rd Rock Essentials

3rd Rock Sunblock Sunscreen Lotion
Rating: Good

Details

This sunscreen lotion is a zinc oxide based physical sunscreen with fairly good ingredients. Nothing stands out as being toxic or a concern. While some other sunscreens we’ve rated have a more simple ingredients list, this is one of the good ones.

What we loved:

  • Has good ingredients.

What we didn't love:

  • Expensive for the amount of product in the bottle.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Water,
  • Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • L-arginine,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • High Mountain Desert Beeswax with Propolis,
  • Orange Peel Wax (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Wax),
  • Phosphatidyl Choline,
  • Cetearyl Glucoside,
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Tocopherol,
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),
  • Corn Starch,
  • Arrowroot Extract (Maranta Arundinacea Extract),
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Gamma Oryzanol

Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
Rating: Good

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Details

This non-nano zinc oxide stick is relatively good in terms of ingredients which are mostly natural.

While there are some chemical ingredients, it’s still a rather safe choice and much better than any chemical sunscreen.

What we loved:

  • Stick format can be easier to apply, especially to a wiggly baby.
  • 70% organic ingredients.

What we didn't love:

  • Tiny tube for the price.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Organic Bisabolol,
  • Organic Shea Butter,
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Organic Tamanu Seed Oil (Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil),
  • Organic Matricaria Oil (Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil),
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Organic Watercress Flower/Leaf Extract (Nasturtium Officinale),
  • Octyldodecyl Oleate,
  • Oryzanol,
  • Organic Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa Bran Oil),
  • Organic Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima Oil),
  • Organic Kudzu Root (Pueraria Lobata Root Extract),
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Organic Meadowsweet Flower Extract (Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract),
  • Organic Cocoa Butter,
  • Tocopherol

Thinkbaby

Thinkbaby Sunscreen, SPF 50+
Rating: Good

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Details

This zinc oxide based sunscreen does have a lot of synthetic ingredients, but nothing stands out as being dangerous.

While there are sunscreens on the market with fewer (and better) ingredients, this one is good enough to recommend.

What we loved:

  • Applies easily and not too greasy.
  • Has a pleasant scent from the natural papaya.
  • Water-resistant for 80 minutes.

What we didn't love:

  • Not an organic sunscreen.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Sorbitan Stearate,
  • Methyl Abietate,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Cetyl Dimethicone,
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil,
  • Magnesium Sulfate,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),
  • Tocopherol,
  • Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Raspberry Seed Oil,
  • Cranberry Seed Oil (Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil),
  • Hyaluronic Acid,
  • Glucose Oxidase,
  • Lactoperoxidase,
  • Currant,
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis Seed Extract)

Iffy Sunscreens.

These sunscreens are almost good enough, but have issues that make us unable to recommend them.


Beautycounter

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30
Rating: Iffy

Buy on Amazon

Details

Unlike Beautycounter’s cream sunscreen, this one doesn’t contain any phenoxyethanol, which is an ingredient we prefer to avoid.

It’s a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen with relatively good ingredients. It does contain essential oils for fragrance, but it’s virtually impossible to find a sunscreen that doesn’t have some sort of fragrance in it.

Unfortunately, since this is a spray sunscreen, we can’t recommend it for infants.

What we loved:

  • Contains relatively good ingredients.

What we didn't love:

  • Spray format is unsuitable for children as the contents can be easily inhaled.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Organic Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Methyl Dihydroabietate,
  • Ethyl Macadamiate,
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Bentonite,
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil),
  • Bisabolol,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Glycerin,
  • Lemon Peel Oil (Citrus Medica Limonium Peel Oil),
  • Tangerine Fruit Extract (Citrus Reticulata Fruit Extract),
  • Tangerine Peel Oil (Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil),
  • Caprylhydroxamic Acid,
  • Cellulose Gum,
  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Eschscholzia Californica Leaf Cell Extract,
  • Peppermint Oil (Mentha Piperita Oil),
  • Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract,
  • Organic Matricaria Oil (Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil),
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract)

Beautycounter

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Rating: Iffy

Details

Beautycounter’s sunscreen is a popular non-nano zinc oxide product, but it contains phenoxyethanol.

Phenoxyethanol is thought to be a safer alternative to parabens (chemical preservatives) but has been linked to allergic reactions and eczema in infants.

While this might be a safe sunscreen for you to use, when it comes to sunscreen for infants, it’s best to avoid those with phenoxyethanol. Because of this, we have to give it an “iffy” rating.

If you like Beautycounter’s sunscreens and want to use one on your infant, consider their sunscreen in stick format—it doesn’t contain phenoxyethanol.

What we loved:

  • Other than phenoxyethanol, the ingredients are relatively good.

What we didn't love:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, an iffy ingredient for use on babies.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Coco-Caprylate/Caprate,
  • Cetearyl Nonanoate,
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate,
  • Isopropyl Palmitate,
  • Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate (Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate),
  • Glycerin,
  • Isopropyl Myristate,
  • Magnesium Sulfate,
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Silica,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Isostearic Acid,
  • Lecithin,
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil,
  • Decylene Glycol,
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil),
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • 1,2-Hexanediol,
  • Lemon Peel Oil (Citrus Medica Limonium Peel Oil),
  • Tangerine Fruit Extract (Citrus Reticulata Fruit Extract),
  • Tangerine Peel Oil (Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil),
  • Eschscholzia Californica Leaf Cell Extract,
  • Peppermint Oil (Mentha Piperita Oil),
  • Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract

Coppertone

Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby Tear Free Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion
Rating: Iffy

Buy on Amazon

Details

While this is a non-nano zinc sunscreen from a huge sunscreen brand, it contains enough questionable synthetic ingredients that we can’t give it a “good” rating.

These ingredients include Cyclopentasiloxane, believed to be a possible endocrine disruptor, and propylene glycol, which has been known to cause dermatitis.

There are simply better sunscreens with better ingredients on the market.

What we loved:

  • It's at least a giant sunscreen company trying to do something better.

What we didn't love:

  • It's way too full of iffy ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Isopropyl Palmitate,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Ethylhexyl Isononanoate,
  • Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone,
  • Propylene Glycol,
  • Cyclopentasiloxane,
  • Bis-octyldodecyl Dimer Dilinoleate/Propanediol Copolymer,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Ethylhexyl Methoxycrylene,
  • Polyester-27,
  • Organic Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Tea Leaf Extract),
  • Organic Giant Kelp Extract (Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract),
  • Organic Lotus Flower Extract (Nelumbo Nucifera Extract),
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane,
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Hydroxyacetophenone,
  • Dimethicone Crosspolymer (PEG-12),
  • Tocopherol,
  • 1,2-Hexanediol,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Sodium Chloride

Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 30
Rating: Iffy

Buy on Amazon

Details

While the ingredients of this non-nano zinc oxide physical sunscreen are okay, it’s a spray sunscreen which we can’t recommend for two reasons:

First of all, it’s incredibly difficult to apply a spray sunscreen to a wiggly toddler or baby, and second of all, spray sunscreens can easily be inhaled.

Because of this, we can’t recommend it.

What we loved:

  • The ingredients are okay.

What we didn't love:

  • Spray sunscreens can be inhaled into the lungs, which is even more of an issue for small children and babies.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Bentonite,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Caprylhydroxamic Acid,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Organic Matricaria Oil (Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil),
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Glycerin,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Heptyl Undecylenate (Castor Oil derived),
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Methyl Dihydroabietate,
  • Organic Watercress Flower/Leaf Extract (Nasturtium Officinale),
  • Organic Kudzu Root (Pueraria Lobata Root Extract),
  • Organic Meadowsweet Flower Extract (Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract),
  • Water

Baby Bum

Baby Bum Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Rating: Iffy

Buy on Amazon

Details

This sunscreen contains phenoxyethanol, which is thought to be a safer alternative to parabens, but has been linked to allergic reactions and eczema in infants.

Along with the other synthetic ingredients used in this sunscreen, it’s enough for us to be unable to give it a good rating.

What we loved:

  • It's a mineral sunscreen.

What we didn't love:

  • Contains more synthetic ingredients than we're comfortable with.
  • Expensive for the amount of product.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Diheptyl Succinate,
  • Methyl Dihydroabietate,
  • Shea Butter,
  • Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer,
  • Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate,
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Cocoa Butter,
  • Sodium Hyaluronate,
  • Bisabolol,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose,
  • Cellulose Gum,
  • Cetyl Alcohol,
  • Arachidyl Alcohol,
  • Behenyl Alcohol,
  • Arachidyl Glucoside,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Sodium Gluconate,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Citric Acid

Bad Sunscreens.

These sunscreens are bad. They’re filled with toxic ingredients that are bad for us and bad for our oceans.


Kiss My Face

Kiss My Face Sun Spray Natural Sunscreen Lotion With Hydresia
Rating: Bad

Details

Not only is this sunscreen a chemical sunscreen but it’s also in spray format which makes it easy to inhale into the lungs.

We recommend avoiding this sunscreen.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Spray sunscreens are easy to inhale.
  • This is a chemical sunscreen full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octinoxate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Cetearyl Olivate,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Carrot Oil (Daucus Carota Oil),
  • Dimethicone,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Eucalyptus Leaf Oil (Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil),
  • Glycerin,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Lecithin,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Polysorbate 20,
  • Sorbitan Olivate,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Water,
  • Zemea Propanediol

Kiss My Face

Kiss My Face Kids Defense Continuous Spray Sunscreen
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

Kiss My Face’s sunscreens are chemical sunscreens and what’s worse is that this one is a spray. There’s nothing good to say about it and it should be avoided.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octinoxate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Golden Kiwi Fruit Extract (Actinidia Chinensis Fruit Extract),
  • Alcohol (Denatured),
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),
  • Dicaprylyl Carbonate,
  • Natural Perfume,
  • Mangosteen Fruit Extract (Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract),
  • Glycerin,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Heptyl Undecylenate (Castor Oil derived),
  • Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate,
  • Flax Seed Oil (Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil),
  • Goji Fruit Extract (Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract),
  • Pomegranate Juice Extract (Punica Granatum Juice Extract),
  • Tocopherol

Kiss My Face

Kiss My Face Sun Spray Lotion SPF30
Rating: Bad

Details

Like the other Kiss My Face sunscreens, this one is also full of toxic chemicals and in a spray format that can lead to inhaling the product. Not recommended.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Octinoxate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Cetearyl Olivate,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Carrot Oil (Daucus Carota Oil),
  • Dimethicone,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Glycerin,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Lecithin,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Polysorbate 20,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Sorbitan Olivate,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Water

Kiss My Face

Kiss My Face Bare Naked Sheer Air Powered Spray Sunscreen
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

Full of toxic chemical ingredients and should be avoided.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Octinoxate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Alcohol (Denatured),
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract),
  • Dicaprylyl Carbonate,
  • Glycerin,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Heptyl Undecylenate (Castor Oil derived),
  • Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate,
  • Flax Seed Oil (Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil),
  • Lotus Flower Extract (Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract),
  • Sage Leaf Extract (Salvia Officinalis Leaf Extract),
  • Tocopherol

Kiss My Face

Kiss My Face Cool Sport Spray Sunscreen
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

This sunscreen is much like all of the other Kiss My Face sunscreens—full of chemicals and in spray format. Not recommended.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Alumina,
  • Bentonite,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Caprylhydroxamic Acid,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Safflower Seed Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil),
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract),
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Natural Perfume,
  • Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract,
  • Glycerin,
  • Heptyl Undecylenate (Castor Oil derived),
  • Garden Balsam/Jewelweed Leaf Extract (Impatiens Balsamina Leaf Extract),
  • Methyl Dihydroabietate,
  • Avocado Extract (Persea Gratissima Fruit Extract),
  • Silica,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Water

Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica Sunscreen (Spray & Cream)
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

Alba Botanica’s sunscreen comes in both spray and cream formats.

Alba Botanica is guilty of greenwashing with their sunscreens. At the bottom of the container you’ll see a green leaf and the claim that there’s “no oxybenzone (or) octinoxate” but it contains avobenzone & octocrylene as main ingredients which are just as bad as oxybenzone.

They also claim that the sunscreen is “reef safe” when it has the above chemicals which are not reef safe.

Since their sunscreens are full of toxic chemicals, we can’t recommend them.

Note: Ingredients listed are for the spray version.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Greenwashing and misleading company.
  • They label the sunscreen as "reef safe" when it's not.
  • Contains avobenzone & octocrylene, two toxic ingredients that absorb into the skin and are awful for our oceans.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Octyl Salicylate,
  • Alcohol (Denatured),
  • Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer,
  • Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima Oil),
  • Diisopropyl Adipate,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Matricaria (Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract),
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract,
  • Panax Ginseng Root Extract,
  • Apricot Fruit Extract (Prunus Armeniaca Fruit Extract),
  • Shea Butter,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Glycerin,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Vanillin,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate,
  • Coumarin,
  • Anisyl Alcohol

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Beach Defense (All Formats)
Rating: Bad

Details

This chemical sunscreen is a chemical cocktail of toxic ingredients. It’s essentially a laundry list of all of the chemicals we want to avoid, making it extremely toxic to both our aquatic life and us.

In comes in a lotion, a stick, and a spray format, and all are full of toxic ingredients.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Chemical sunscreens that are all full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Oxybenzone,
  • Water,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Potassium Cetyl Phosphate,
  • Benzyl Alcohol,
  • Silica,
  • Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate,
  • Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer,
  • Trisiloxane,
  • Cetyl Dimethicone,
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Sodium Polyacrylate,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Ethylhexyl Stearate,
  • Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer,
  • Behenyl Alcohol,
  • Trideceth-6,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Glyceryl Stearate,
  • Stearate (PEG-100),
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Chlorphenesin,
  • Perfume

Up & Up (Target)

Sport Sunscreen Lotion
Rating: Bad

Details

Target’s in-house brand of sunscreen might be cheap and easy to find, but as a chemical sunscreen we strongly recommend avoiding it.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Chemical sunscreen that's full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Water,
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Stearyl Alcohol,
  • Glycerin,
  • Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer,
  • Cetyl Alcohol,
  • Carbomer,
  • Ceteth-10 Phosphate,
  • Dicetyl Phosphate,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Methyl Dihydroabietate,
  • Lauryl Peg-8 Dimethicone,
  • Phenylisopropyl Dimethicone,
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate (Isostearate/Dimer Dilinoleate Crosspolymer),
  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Triethanolamine,
  • Propylene Glycol,
  • Hydroxyacetophenone

Hawaiian Tropic

Hawaiian Tropic (All Sunscreens)
Rating: Bad

Details

This might be an extremely popular brand of sunscreen, but there are some major issues with it.

On the packaging they claim that it’s “reef safe”, but it contains avobenzone, which is known to be toxic to our coral reefs. This is along with a laundry list of other toxic chemicals included in the ingredients list.

Because of these reasons, we give this sunscreen a “bad” rating.

This includes the following sunscreens:

  • Hawaiian Tropic®Island Sport® Lotion Sunscreen
  • Hawaiian Tropic®Island Sport® Clear Spray Sunscreen
  • Hawaiian Tropic®Matte Effect MineralEnriched Sunscreen Lotion
  • Hawaiian Tropic®Antioxidant Plus Refresh Sunscreen Mist
  • Hawaiian Tropic®Antioxidant Plus Lotion
  • Hawaiian Tropic®Silk Hydration Weightless Lotion Sunscreen
  • Hawaiian Tropic®Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion Sunscreen

Note: Ingredients listed are for Hawaiian Tropic®Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion Sunscreen

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Every one of their sunscreens is a toxic chemical sunscreen.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Water,
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Mica,
  • Benzyl Alcohol,
  • Diisopropyl Adipate,
  • Glycerin,
  • Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer,
  • Perfume,
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Chlorphenesin,
  • Ceteth-10 Phosphate,
  • Dicetyl Phosphate,
  • Sodium Hydroxide,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Shea Butter,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Mango Seed Butter (Mangifera Indica Seed Butter),
  • Plumeria Acutifolia Flower Extract,
  • Passiflora Incarnata Fruit Extract,
  • Mango Fruit Extract (Mangifera Indica Fruit Extract),
  • Papaya Fruit Extract (Carica Papaya Fruit Extract),
  • Guava Fruit Extract (Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract),
  • Panthenol,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate,
  • Titanium Dioxide

Sun Bum

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

This sunscreen is misleading customers by advertising it as “reef safe” when it contains ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene, all of which are toxic to our coral reefs.

Because of this and the fact that it’s a chemical sunscreen, we don’t recommend this product.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Water,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Hydrated Silica,
  • VP Hexadecene Copolymer,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Polyester-8,
  • Caprylyl Methicone,
  • Ethylhexyl Stearate,
  • Trideceth-6,
  • Glyceryl Stearate,
  • Stearate (PEG-100),
  • Perfume,
  • Sodium Polyacrylate,
  • Behenyl Alcohol,
  • Dimethyl Capramide,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Polyaminopropyl Biguanide,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • BHT,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Methylisothiazolinone

Coppertone

Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

While this sunscreen is called “Pure & Simple”, it’s anything but.

It does include zinc oxide, but that comes along with the chemical sunscreen ingredients octinoxate and octocrylene, which are both toxic to our coral reefs as well as us.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Labeled "pure and simple" but is full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Octinoxate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Ozokerite,
  • Cocoa Butter,
  • Lauryl Laurate,
  • Bis-PEG-12 Dimethicone Beeswax,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Synthetic Beeswax

La Roche-Posay

Anthelios Dermo-Kids Gentle Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 60
Rating: Bad

Details

This is called “gentle” sunscreen lotion, but it’s absolutely full of essentially every toxic sunscreen chemical you can think of. It’s bad for our oceans, and toxic to us.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • It's labeled a "gentle" sunscreen but is full of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Water,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Propylene Glycol,
  • Diisopropyl Sebacate,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Glycerin,
  • Alcohol (Denatured),
  • Dimethicone,
  • Potassium Cetyl Phosphate,
  • Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Glyceryl Stearate,
  • Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose,
  • Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate,
  • Myristic Acid,
  • Palmitic Acid,
  • Stearate (PEG-100),
  • Laurate (PEG-8),
  • Pentylene Glycol,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • T-butyl Alcohol,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Triethanolamine

Solimo (Amazon)

Solimo Sunscreen for Babies, SPF 50 Broad Spectrum
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

This sunscreen is an Amazon private label brand. Unfortunately, this is a chemical sunscreen that has a long list of toxic ingredients.

It’s toxic to both humans and the oceans, and it’s really unfortunate that Amazon wouldn’t create a better product.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Chemical sunscreen with a long list of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Oxybenzone,
  • Water,
  • Sorbitol,
  • Triethanolamine,
  • VP/Eicosene Copolymer,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • Sorbitan Isostearate,
  • Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate,
  • Benzyl Alcohol,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Tocopherol,
  • Chlorphenesin,
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Distearate,
  • Perfume,
  • Carbomer,
  • Disodium EDTA

Australian Gold

Australian Gold Little Joey Sunscreen
Rating: Bad

Details

Like any chemical sunscreen, this one contains a long list of toxic ingredients. Not recommended.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Chemical sunscreen with a long list of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Water,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Glycerin,
  • Polyethylene,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Polysorbate 20,
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer,
  • Sodium Hydroxide,
  • Carbomer,
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose,
  • Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Sorbitan Oleate,
  • Cocoa Butter,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Propylene Glycol,
  • Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate,
  • Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Tea Tree Leaf Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil),
  • Kakadu Plum Fruit Extract (Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract),
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin

Babyganics

Babyganics Sunscreen Stick 50 SPF
Rating: Bad

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Details

While this sunscreen stick uses a combination of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, it also includes aluminum.

While there is no concrete evidence that aluminum in sunscreen is bad, there is some proof that the aluminum salts can accumulate in the body, much like the case with antiperspirants. (source).

Because of this reason, we can’t recommend this sunscreen stick.

What we loved:

  • Besides the aluminum, the ingredients list is okay but not great.

What we didn't love:

  • Contains aluminum, which is questionable.
  • Reports of it being hard to apply.

Ingredients:

  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • Organic Carnauba Wax (Copernicia Cerifera Wax),
  • Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate,
  • Tribehenin,
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate,
  • Hydrogenated Dimer Dilinoleyl/Dimethylcarbonate Copolymer,
  • Sunflower Seed Wax (Helianthus Annuus Seed Wax),
  • Myristyl Myristate,
  • Stearyl/Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer,
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Polyqlycervl-1o Pentaoleate,
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Tomato Seed Oil (Solanum Lycopersicum Seed Oil),
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Cranberry Seed Oil (Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil),
  • Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil (Nigella Sativa Seed Oil),
  • Red Raspberry Seed Oil (Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil),
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Silica,
  • Alumina

Blue Lizard

Blue Lizard Baby Mineral Sunscreen
Rating: Bad

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Details

Blue LIzard’s mineral sunscreen uses an active ingredient base of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, but also includes a very long list of toxic chemicals.

These chemicals include phenoxyethanol, which has been linked to liver toxicity, nervous system issues and reproductive and developmental health issues.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Contains a lot of toxic ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Alumina,
  • Aluminum Stearate,
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Cetyl Dimethicone,
  • Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone,
  • Chlorphenesin,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate,
  • Ethylhexyl Stearate,
  • Hexyl Laurate,
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil,
  • Methyl Glucose Dioleate,
  • Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate,
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil (PEG-7),
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Propanediol,
  • Water,
  • Sorbitan Oleate,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane,
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate,
  • VP Hexadecene Copolymer

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen Stick
Rating: Bad

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Details

A sunscreen stick that contains toxic BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and polyethylene, which is a plastic. This is along with a list of iffy chemicals, making the name “Pure & Free” quite misleading.

While this is a titanium dioxide and zinc oxide based sunscreen, it can’t be recommended.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • While it's a zinc oxide sunscreen, it contains a lot of questionable ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba),
  • BHT,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Dipropylene Glycol Dibenzoate,
  • Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax),
  • Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate,
  • Ozokerite,
  • Paraffin,
  • Phenyl Trimethicone,
  • Polyethylene,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate,
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane

Aveeno

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion
Rating: Bad

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Details

This might be a mineral sunscreen, but it’s full of chemicals that we strongly suggest avoiding.

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is safer than parabens, but when it comes to young children, it’s been linked to skin rashes and eczema.

It also contains chlorphenesin which is known to be a skin irritant, especially for those with sensitive skin.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Too many toxic chemicals.
  • Expensive.

Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,
  • Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer,
  • Phenyl Trimethicone,
  • Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Glycerin,
  • Ethyl Methicone,
  • Silica,
  • Cetyl Dimethicone,
  • Triethoxycaprylylsilane,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Glyceryl Behenate,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer,
  • Chlorphenesin,
  • Phenethyl Alcohol,
  • Oat Kernel Flour (Avena Sativa Kernel Flour),
  • Caprylyl Glycol,
  • Cetyl Dimethicone/Bis-Vinyldimethicone Crosspolymer,
  • Feverfew Juice (Chrysanthemum Parthenium Juice)

Babyganics

Babyganics Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

This is a tricky sunscreen and might fool you if you don’t look closely at the ingredients.

Like the label says, it’s a broad spectrum sunscreen lotion, and because the name is “Babyganics” you might think it’s organic.

But, even though it does have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, it also has octisalate. This synthetic chemical is harmful to both marine life and human life and makes this sunscreen a no-go.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Greenwashing name—not an organic brand.
  • Contains octisalate, a toxic chemical that absorbs into the skin.

Ingredients:

  • Octisalate,
  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Water,
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate,
  • Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Stearyl/Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer,
  • Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate,
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Hydrogenated Dimer Dilinoleyl/Dimethylcarbonate Copolymer,
  • Glyceryl Stearate,
  • Cetyl Alcohol,
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Organic Glycerin,
  • Tomato Seed Oil (Solanum Lycopersicum Seed Oil),
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Cranberry Seed Oil (Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil),
  • Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil (Nigella Sativa Seed Oil),
  • Red Raspberry Seed Oil (Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil),
  • Organic Shea Butter,
  • Jojoba Esters,
  • Stearyl Alcohol,
  • Arachidyl Alcohol,
  • Arachidyl Glucoside,
  • Behenyl Alcohol,
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Silica,
  • Alumina,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin,
  • Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate,
  • Phenoxyethanol

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray
Rating: Bad

Buy on Amazon

Details

This is a chemical sunscreen that should be avoided. Not only that, but spray sunscreens are strongly discouraged from being used by experts, especially for babies and children.

This sunscreen is essentially a chemical cocktail of ingredients that are toxic to our children and our oceans.

What we loved:

  • Nothing.

What we didn't love:

  • Chemical sunscreen full of toxic ingredients.
  • Not ocean-safe.
  • Spray sunscreen is easy to inhale, leading to toxic chemicals in the lungs.

Ingredients:

  • Avobenzone,
  • Homosalate,
  • Octisalate,
  • Octocrylene,
  • Oxybenzone,
  • Alcohol (Denatured),
  • Dimethyl Ether,
  • Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer,
  • Ethyl Methicone,
  • Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer,
  • Dimethicone,
  • Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer,
  • Perfume,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate,
  • Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate,
  • Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Wax,
  • Cetyl Dimethicone/Bis-Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer,
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate

In Conclusion…

Sun safety always starts with keeping safe in the first place — out of the sun, proper clothing, and avoiding the sun at its harshest hours.

But sunscreen is always a good idea!

2 comments
  1. Thank you so much for this write up and for all the effort you put into the research. I remember Alba being sold at Costco but I felt dubious about it. Happy that thinkbaby is good enough as we have a few leftover from last summer.

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