Non Toxic Sunscreen to Protect the Whole Family

Helping you find the best non toxic sunscreen for the whole family, including mineral sunscreen lotion, safe sunscreen sticks, cleanest sunscreen sprays, sunscreen for face and more.  

Swim suits, towels, organic snacks – check! Sounds like you’re ready to head out for some fun in the sun. But what about the sunscreen?

If you still using conventional, chemical sunscreens – the kind found at most drugstores or mass merchants – now’s a good time to make the switch to a natural, non-toxic sunscreen brand.

We’ve done the research and testing to come up with a great list of non toxic sunscreens, ranging from mineral sunscreen lotions and sticks, clean sunscreens for your face, and the safest sunscreen sprays – so that you can find the healthy sunscreen that works best for YOU!

sunscreen and towel in beach basket at ocean

At Mindful Momma we only endorse products we’ve personally researched, tested, and honestly love. We may receive commissions from affiliate links in this article including Amazon Affiliates. Full Disclosure

Why Non Toxic Sunscreen Matters

Most conventional sunscreen products on the market contain worrisome chemical ingredients that may lead to health problems like hormone disruption, allergies or even ironically, cancer, which sunscreen is purportedly trying to prevent. Many sunscreens also make misleading SPF claims that may put you at risk of sun damage.

One of the most troubling aspects of chemical sunscreen ingredients is that they are absorbed into the bloodstream after only one use, and can be detected in blood weeks after application. 

Safest Sunscreen: Ingredients to Avoid

To be safe, you should avoid the following chemical sunscreen ingredients as much as possible:

  • Oxybenzone (this one is the WORST!)
  • Octinoxate
    (Octyl methoxycinnamate)
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene

Fortunately advocacy groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have evaluated thousands of sunscreens for safety and created a ratings scale that allows us to make safer choices. Each year the EWG comes out with a Sunscreen Guide, which is definitely worth a read. Sunscreen ratings range from 1 – 10, with 1 being the gold standard and 10 meaning don’t touch it with a ten foot pole!

A note about benzene in sunscreen: A recent report by Valisure, found a known human carcinogen called benzene in 78 popular sunscreen products. You won’t find benzene on the ingredient list because it is a contaminant from the manufacturing process. Unfortunately there is no way to know if a particular sunscreen does not contain benzene, unless the company has a policy of spot testing for contaminants. The only company I know that does this is Beautycounter. You’ll find the Beautycounter sunscreen below (it’s my favorite!) and you will find the list of sunscreens with benzene here (on page 12 of the report).


Sunscreen shopping guide

sunscreen being squirted into a woman's hand

What to Look for in Clean Sunscreen

With guidance from the EWG, here are some things to look for in safer sunscreens. 

Active ingredients in Non Toxic Sunscreen

The active ingredients in a sunscreen should be minerals, not chemicals. Mineral-based sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical sun blockers, meaning they act as a barrier on the skin, but are not absorbed into the skin. They do an excellent job blocking UV light and ultimately protect you from the threat of skin cancer.

It’s also important the the minerals used are non-nano sized particles, due to concerns that extremely small nanoparticles may be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream.

Inactive Ingredients in Clean Sunscreen

Even when you are buying mineral sunscreen, you need to pay attention to the other, inactive ingredients in a sunscreen lotion or spray. Beware of paraben preservatives, artificial fragrances and other potentially harmful chemicals that may cause endocrine disruption or lead to other health concerns. (Here’s a list of some other important ingredients to avoid in personal care products.)

Instead, look for natural ingredients (and some organic ingredients) that have beneficial properties for your skin. The best sunscreens will be either unscented or lightly scented with natural essential oils. 

Broad Spectrum

To properly protect skin from the sun, a sunscreen needs to provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are associated with skin burning and UVA rays are associated with skin aging and damage. Sunscreens that protect from both types of rays are known as broad spectrum sunscreens.

In addition, avoid sunscreens with SPF over 50 because high SPFs give us a false sense of security and can lead to overexposure of both UVA and UVB rays.

Water Resistance

If you are active and/or planning to be in the water, it is important to consider the water resistance of the product. All water resistance claims must be tested in water for either 40 or 80 minutes.  

Reef Safe

Another important feature of a good sunscreen is that it is safe for coral reefs and marine life. Sunscreens that contain chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate have been shown to contribute to the bleaching of coral which puts it under severe stress and can cause the coral to die. A reef-safe sunscreen uses physical sunscreen blockers like zinc oxide, instead of those toxic chemicals. 

Clear Sunscreen Formula

One of the biggest complaints about mineral sunscreen is that it is difficult to rub into the skin. I’ve found that there’s been a huge improvement on this front – even compared to a few years ago. It is now possible to find mineral sunscreen that is easy to apply and rubs in easily – yay! Look for clear zinc sunscreen formulas to ensure they are easy to rub in without leaving a white residue on your skin. Find my favorite sunscreens for kids that rub in easily here.

Related: Non-Toxic Shampoo for the Whole Family


Sunscreen shopping guide

sunscreen bottle at beach

17 of the Cleanest Sunscreen Brands

If you’re ready to make the switch to safe, non-toxic sunscreen products, here are some that my kids and I have tested out over the past few years. Since we all have different needs for sunscreen, I put together this sunscreen guide covering products for babies and kids, active folks, bargain brands, sensitive skin and even my favorite facial sunscreen brands.  

All of these sunscreens are mineral-based formulas made with good quality, plant-based ingredients, and non-nano zinc oxide (and that skip the harmful ingredients and sunscreen chemicals). They all rate well on the EWG sunscreen database – with either a 1 or 2 rating. The one exception is the spray sunscreen, which is rated a 3 due to concerns about spray inhalation. 

Note: Prices were correct at the time of publication. Current pricing may vary.

Best Non Toxic Body Sunscreen

These sunscreen lotions are perfect for everything from a trip to the park or a day in the garden, to beach days and family vacations.

Badger – Best Family Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: Clear zinc oxide provides mineral protection without the whitening – this one rubs in very easily.
  • Fav product: Badger Sport SPF 40
  • Best for: Families with kids
  • EWG rating: 1
  • Price: $15

Beautycounter Countersun Sunscreen SPF 30

Beautycounter – Best Sunscreen for Moms

  • Why it’s great: A luxurious formula with a lovely light scent that rubs in more easily than any other sunscreen I’ve found. This is my personal go-to sunscreen!
  • Favorite product: Beautycounter Countersun SPF 30
  • (Note: Beautycounter is currently only available at Ulta stores and Ulta.com and will be back to business as usual in Fall 2024.)
  • Best for: Moms who want the good stuff
  • EWG rating: EWG Verified
  • Price: $25

Think Sport – Best Sunscreen for Sports

  • Why it’s great: Formulated for athletes and active people. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
  • Favorite product: ThinkSport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
  • Best for:  Swimming and sweating
  • EWG rating: EWG Verified
  • Price: $14

sunly mineral sunscreen stick - plastic free

Sunly – Best Plastic Free Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: The Sunly line is packaged in biodegradable cardboard tubes and of course is EWG-Verified and super effective at blocking those rays.
  • Favorite product: Sunly Mineral Sunscreen Stick (I love the orange blossom scent!)
  • Best for: Plastic free sunscreen application
  • EWG rating: EWG-Verified
  • Price: $19.95

Earth Mama – Best Sunscreen for Babies

  • Why it’s great: Specific formulas for babies, kids, adults and people with uber-sensitive skin. NSF organic certified.
  • Favorite product: Earth Mama Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40
  • Best for: Babies and anyone who is pregnant
  • EWG rating: 1
  • Price: $14.99

Suntegrity Sunscreen

Suntegrity – Best Unscented Sunscreen

Alba Botanica – Best Affordable Non Toxic Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: Easy to find and lower cost than many mineral sunscreens
  • Favorite product: Alba Botanica Sport Sunscreen Lotion
  • Best for: Budget minded 
  • EWG rating: 2
  • Price: $8.99

Think Baby – Best Compact Sunscreen Stick

  • Why it’s great: Handy sunscreen stick is great for throwing in a purse or beach bag.
  • Favorite product: Thinkbaby Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
  • Best for: Keeping in purse for emergencies 
  • EWG rating: 1
  • Price: $9

All Good Sunscreen Butter Tin SPF50

All Good – Best Sunscreen Butter

  • Why it’s great: Water and sweat resistant formula in an easy to carry tin
  • Fav product: All Good Sunscreen Butter SPF 50
  • Best for: Zero wasters (comes in a reusable tin container)
  • EWG rating: 1
  • Price: $9.95

California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30

California Baby – Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

non toxic sunscreen for face - woman at beach applying sunscreen

Non Toxic Sunscreen for Face

These face sunscreens are meant for everyday use in order to provide protection from the sun’s rays throughout the day. I’ve included both tinted and non-tinted facial sunscreens so you can choose your favorite type. 

Beautycounter – Best Facial Lotion with Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: A lightweight facial lotion that provides protection from UVA, UVB, and HEV blue light rays while leaving no chalky white cast.
  • Favorite product: Beautycounter Countersun Daily Sheer Defence for Face SPF 25
  • Best for: Sunscreen + facial care combined
  • EWG rating: EWG Verified
  • Price: $46

ATTITUDE

  • Why it’s great: Unscented facial sunscreen stick that is easy to apply and comes in a biodegradable cardboard tube. Tinted version also available.
  • Favorite product: ATTITUDE Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick – Sensitive
  • Best for: Sunscreen stick for face
  • EWG rating: 1
  • Price: $12.95

Beautycounter – Favorite Tinted Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: A lightweight facial lotion that provides sheer makeup coverage, radiance-boosting ingredients, plus SPF protection. I LOVE this product and keep repurchasing over and over again!
  • Favorite product: Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
  • Best for: Tinted sunscreen lotion
  • EWG rating: 3
  • Price: $50

Kinship – Glowy Tinted Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: A break-out free facial sunscreen that moisturizes and primes skin and leaves you with a blurred, glowy finish.
  • Favorite product: Self Reflect Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 32
  • Best for: A glowy finish
  • EWG rating: 3
  • Price: $28

ELEVEN by Venus Williams – Best Sunscreen Serum

  • Why it’s great: A lightweight serum that combines skincare and sun protection. Meant to be used over your moisturizer and under makeup.
  • Favorite product: Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 40
  • Best for: Anyone wanting a sunscreen serum vs a lotion 
  • EWG rating: 1
  • Price: $48

Best Non Toxic Spray Sunscreen

A quick note about spray sunscreens – the EWG recommends that we avoid spray sunscreens due to inhalation concerns, as well as concern that it may not provide an adequate coating on the skin to ensure proper protection. But I get it – spray sunscreens are super easy and sometimes the only way we can get sunscreen on our kids.

My kids used to BEG me for spray sunscreen! So I’m sharing a couple of the safest spray sunscreens that I’ve found. Keep in mind that you can lower inhalation risk by applying it to your hands and then apply it to the face with your hands.

Babo Botanicals – Non Toxic Spray Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: The continuous air-powered spray is much safer than aerosol sunscreen sprays but is still very kid-friendly. 
  • Fav product: Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sunscreen Spray
  • Best for: Squirmy kids
  • EWG rating: 3
  • Price: $13.95

all good mineral sport sunscreen spray

All Good – Mineral Spray Sunscreen

  • Why it’s great: A reef-friendly formula that uses compressed air instead of propellent chemicals. 
  • Fav product: All Good Mineral Sport Sunscreen Spray
  • Best for: Anyone who prefers a spray sunscreen
  • EWG rating: 3
  • Price: $16.95

Non-Toxic Sunscreen Guide

Do you have a favorite safe sunscreen brand? Tell me why you love it and I might add it to the Non-Toxic Sunscreen Guide!

More Favorites from Mindful Momma

green & healthy wishes Micaela signature

Favorite Non-Toxic Sunscreens

23 Comments

  1. Thanks for this great list. It’s so encouraging to see so many safer products available. Our purse power has really made a difference in this marketplace!

    1. I agree Diane – it’s pretty impressive to think about all that has happened since we first started blogging and met each other!

  2. Thanks for the recommendations. My kids always want spray sunscreens too and they aren’t really the safest option!

    1. Yes, spray sunscreen is one of those compromises – but at least with Goddess Garden we know the ingredients are really safe and if used carefully, it is probably just fine!

  3. So many of my favorites on here and so many to try, too! Thanks for sharing Mindful Momma 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Rachel! I know there are still some great brands I have yet to try – like Coola for instance!

  4. Thanks for this important post! We personally love Badger and Raw Elements (non-GMO) as they are chemical free, but safe for the environment as they are reef safe and biodegradable. Great for the whole family, too.

  5. Lisa Sharp says:

    I use Badger. I burn so badly so sunscreen is a must! Thanks for sharing these great options!

  6. Sophie-SCHF says:

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 Staying safe from the sun but also avoiding harsh chemicals can be tough during the summer. These are some great options!

  7. This is a great list! Living in South Florida we are always looking for good sunscreens!

  8. So great to have all this info in one spot! Thank you!

  9. Great. Always want to know which are the safest. Saving this for warmer weather.

  10. Always looking for safe options to use on my sensitive skin. Thanks!

    1. None of these use artificial fragrances – which is great for sensitive skin!

  11. Love this article! Thanks for putting all of the work into it and making it easier for me! 😉 Do you have a favorite? I tried Badger and it SO hard to rub in and my 3-year-old isn’t a fan of it taking so long to put it on!

    1. Did you try the Badger clear zinc? That one is pretty easy to rub in! My favorite is the Beautycounter sunscreen but I also love the new formula of the Goddess Garden – it rubs in super fast. If you buy, just make sure it says new formula on it!!

  12. LoriLeigh Moreland says:

    I’d like to know how to remove barrier sunscreens. What a nightmare! Ruined a rash guard, 2 neoprene life vests and we still have it on our car and boat upholstery. Not to mention impossible to wash of oneself.

    1. Wow – sorry to hear about that. I’ve never run into that problem before. I asked around and someone recommended using Dawn dish soap and very hot water. Hope that helps!

      1. LoriLeigh Moreland says:

        Thank you! We will give that a try!

  13. Four of the sunscreen products listed here can be bought from iHerb. Yippee! That is so incredibly helpful when you live in Australia. Trying to source non-toxic products here in Australia is an absolute nightmare when considering all the best reviews for non-toxic products are coming from American websites and can only be bought from America at exorbitant postage costs. I love shopping at iHerb mainly because they offer free postage when you buy a certain amount of items. Thanks for sending this important article to my inbox. I really appreciate it.

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