It’s really confusing to know which ones are the best (and safest) to buy. It’s even more confusing with labels like “all natural,” “vegan” and “organic.” So what’s the difference?
Don’t be fooled by the label “all natural.” It means the products were derived from nature but all plants, animals and animal by-products are considered natural. Organic means the ingredients that make up the products were made without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics. Cruelty-free means the products were not tested on animals, and vegan means there are no animal or animal by-products (i.e. beeswax) in the ingredients.
If you’re unsure of which type of formulation to choose (sprays, lotions, gels), check out this guide to summer sunscreen. If you want organic sunscreens, make sure it has the USDA Organic label; Only products that are made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients can use this label.
To give you a head start on searching for great sunscreens, I tested six different SPFs; some are certified organic, and all have an Environmental Working Group score of three or less, even without being organic.
How the EWG score works: They rate products from zero to ten, one being the least hazardous and ten being the most. Zero simply means they don’t have enough available data to rate. You can learn more about how the EWG rates sunscreens here.
1. Coola Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer
Price: $32 for 1.7 ounces
EWG score: 3
Coola’s facial sunscreen is made from over 70 percent certified organic ingredients. Their website states it is hypoallergenic and paraben free. It also contains antioxidants through omegas 3,6 and 9, and B, C and E vitamins.
I love how lightweight and sheer this sunscreen feels. It has a lovely cucumber scent, which reminded me of getting a spa facial. The formula is non-greasy and worked really well with my concealer and blush. The refreshing scent and lightweight feel were my favorite aspects of this sunscreen, plus it was moisturizing, without leaving me greasy or shiny. I would definitely use this one again.
2. Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30
Price: $45 for 1.7 ounces
EWG score: 1
Suntegrity’s information on this product doesn’t state the level of organic ingredients, but it did receive a EWG score of 1, the best you can get. This product is vegan, cruelty-free and free of parabens and sulfates.
My favorite of all the lotions I tried, this has a thicker, creamier texture but surprisingly doesn’t feel heavy and provides a perfect primer surface for makeup. Even after a long day of work, my skin still remained matte and my makeup stayed in place. It also has a light, refreshing citrusy scent. Although it’s a bit pricey, I really loved this primer/sunscreen and will consider adding it to my regular skin care routine.
I also tried the Suntegrity Tinted SPF 30 Sunscreen. The texture was quite thick, but it went on very smoothly. The tint blended well with my skin and provided very light, even coverage. The best part was that it worked really well with my concealer and blush; a very seamless finish.
3. Soleil Toujours Mineral Suncreen SPF 45
Price: $55 for 1.7 ounces
EWG score: 3
Soleil Toujours sunscreen is 81 percent natural, with no parabens or sulfates. It is also hypoallergenic, vegan and free of synthetic colors or fragrances. They tout their EcoSun Complex, which contains antioxidants to help firm skin, reduce UV-induced DNA damage, stimulate collagen and reduce fine lines.
It had a very thick texture and didn’t go on as smoothly as I would have liked, but once I rubbed it in, it didn’t have a heavy feel like I anticipated. Plus, it didn’t leave a white residue once it was rubbed in. I liked that it felt light, was not at all greasy and had a very pleasant smell. This one also worked well with my makeup.
4. Badger Balm Unscented Organic Sunscreen SPF 30
Price: $16 for 2.9 ounces
EWG Score: 1
Badger Balm is 98 percent certified organic ingredients, and it only contains five ingredients. It is not tested on animals and comes in a BPA-free bottle made from recyclable plastic. It is fragrance free and is one of their simplest natural sunscreens.
It has a thick, almost paste-like texture. It felt very heavy. I tried both the tinted and non-tinted sunscreens. The tinted color gave very subtle coverage and blended well into my skin. It provided a subtle base color and evened out my skin tone, which I really liked. It also blended very well with my makeup for a consistent look. The non-tinted version had a heavy feel, but looked very matte and wasn’t greasy, which I liked.
The tinted color rubbed off pretty easily and the regular non-tinted version also felt heavy, but did work really well with my makeup. With some effort, I was able to rub it in enough to get rid of the white residue some sunscreens leave. Final verdict: The non-tinted version is perfect for my kids and on my body, but I will skip using it on my face, since it felt so heavy.
5. Green Screen Organic Sunscreen SPF 32
Price: $6 for 1 ounce
EWG: Not rated
Green Screen is made of 86 percent certified organic ingredients. It is fragrance free, vegan, cruelty free and free of all allergens. It is recommended for children and babies under 6 months.
The Green Screen was thick, felt very heavy so I prefered some of the above products on my own face but Green Screen was great for using on my kids. Although I felt slightly bad about leaving them with these white streaks all over their bodies, the white residue actually helped me to see where I’d already applied the sunscreen and will ensure I don’t miss any spots. I felt good using this on my kids because it is dermatologist recommended for young children and is free of all allergens.
6. Goddess Garden Facial Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
Price: $18 for 3.4 ounces
EWG score: 1
Green Goddess Sunscreen is certified organic and contains anti-aging ingredients like coconut oil and green tea. It is scented with lavender oil.
Once you get past the rather strange brownish/green color, the sunscreen is super lightweight, not at all greasy and is super moisturizing. I personally found the smell a bit odd; not gross, just not overly pleasant, but once I rubbed it in and applied my makeup over it I didn’t notice the smell at all. I really love that this formula is not greasy and is super easy to blend and wear under my makeup. For the price, I think this is the best buy of the ones I’ve tried.
Have more sunscreen questions or comments? Send me a message: Stacey@poshinprogress.com.
All Images: Karen Cox/SheKnows