Safe Sunscreens that Are Best for Squirmy Kids (i.e. Rub in Easily)

Safe sunscreens that are easy to apply, rub in easily and don’t leave a pasty white residue on skin – making them the best sunscreens for kids.

Safe Sunscreens that Rub in Easily

The most common question I get about safer sunscreens is whether or not they are hard to rub in and leave an obvious white residue behind. If you have kids, you’ll know this is complaint #1 when it comes to sunscreen!

When my boys were younger they would get so annoyed with me that by the time we were done with sunscreen application we were all CRABBY!! Seriously, I’ve had to give up on some brands because they were just too challenging to deal with.

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Looking for more safe & effective sunscreens? Don’t miss my Mom Tested Non-Toxic Sunscreen Guide!

Now I’m always on the search for well-rated sunscreens that rub in quickly and don’t leave that icky white sheen. Every year we beach-test some safe sunscreens and repurchase the best sunscreens for kids. Here are some of the easy to apply sunscreens we have been most happy with.

Safe Sunscreens that Are Easy to Rub In

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Beautycounter Countersun Sunscreen SPF 30Beautycounter

Founder Gregg Renfrew started Beautycounter with a mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. 

Skin Deep rating: 1 (best possible)

Active ingredients: Non-nano zinc oxide (19%)

Other ingredients: Antioxidant-rich California Poppy, aloe vera, beeswax and other natural ingredients.

Fav Features:

  • Rubs in super easily and completely – better than ANY other mineral based sunscreen I’ve tried!
  • Formula is lightweight, unlike many mineral sunscreens which are thicker and more pasty.
  • A pleasant light citrus scent 
  • Water resistant for up to 40 minutes


Badger Sport Clear Zinc SunscreenBadger

Badger is a family owned company based in New Hampshire dedicated to making safe and effective products to soothe, heal and protect your body.

Skin Deep rating: 1 (best possible)

Active ingredients: Non-nano zinc oxide

Other ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, beeswax, jojoba oil and more (varies by product but all ingredients are listed on the package)

Fav Features:

  • NEW Clear Zinc product line really does go on clear
  • Ingredients are 94% to 99% certified organic by NSF
  • Cruelty free
  • A variety of natural scents or unscented to choose from


Earth Mama baby sunscreenEarth Mama Organics

Small company founded by an herbalist and nurse who formulates products for the sensitive skin of pregnant women, new mamas, children and babies.

Skin Deep rating: Product is too new to be rated, but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a 1 (best rating)

Active ingredients: Non-nano zinc oxide

Other ingredients: red raspberry seed oil, argan oil, calendula flower extract and shea butter

Fav Features:

  • Organic ingredients used whenever possible
  • Red raspberry seed oil has natural SPF protection
  • Specific formulas for babies, kids, adults and those with super sensitive skin
  • Water resistant for up to 40 minutes


Goddess Garden

Goddess Garden and Other Safe Sunscreens

Boulder, CO mom Nova Covington created Goddess Garden after discovering that her daughter was allergic to the chemicals in traditional bath and body care products.

Skin Deep rating: 1 (best possible)

Active ingredients: Non-nano Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide (varies by product)

Other ingredients: Varies by product but all ingredients are listed on the package.

Fav Features:

  • Made with a sheer form of zinc oxide that is almost transparent
  • Up to 92% certified organic ingredients
  • Lightly scented with lavender essential oil


ThinkBaby and ThinkSport SunscreenThink Baby & Think Sport

Founder Kevin Brodwick set out to create safe, alternative products for babies, kids and adults

Skin Deep rating: 1 (best possible)

Active ingredients: Non-nano Zinc Oxide (20%)

Other ingredients: aloe, jojoba oil, vitamin E

Fav Features:

  • The base formulations of each sunscreen product is identical.
  • “We set out to make the most effective safe sunscreen possible. It didn’t make sense to make one safe for babies, and a harmful version for adults.  While this seems obvious, you should check out what the major brands are doing.” (from ThinkBaby website)
  • First sunscreen to pass Whole Foods Premium Care Requirements
  • Water resistant for 80 minutes


Do you struggle with sunscreen application on your kids? Any tips for making it easier?

Find many more safe, natural sunscreens in my Non-Toxic Sunscreen Guide!

green & healthy wishes Micaela signature



  1. We’ve used Goddess Garden lotions and sprays and love them! I like the idea of bars too. Especially for faces. Anything to make sunscreen application (esp. with little kids!) easier.

    1. Betsy – I think I need to get one of those Goddess Garden sprays!

  2. I’ve never tried Bare Belly, I’ll check them out! I like Garden Goddess too, they have a good spray on suncream!

    1. Yes, check out Bare Belly Lindsay – I love that they are a small, mom-run company!

    1. The body stick is pretty awesome Sarah – it’s so easy to apply!

  3. I would love to try that stick…my boys HATE getting sunscreen on!

  4. That stick is interesting. I wonder how long it will last and if you can tell that you have good coverage?

    1. Hi Jen – I think you have to be careful about coverage – as with any sunscreen. Once it’s on you can rub it around to make sure it’s spread evenly. Not sure yet how long the stick lasts since we just started using it! My son used it this morning for an outdoor field trip. That will be a good test for us!

  5. Honest Company and Beautycounter are also both great. Very different product lines but both are easy to apply and rated safe. The Beautycounter ones are a little pricey but they smell awesome and feel amazing.

    1. Hi Dori – I just met Mia from Beauty Counter last week! The products sound very nice but I haven’t tried them yet. Glad to hear you like the sunscreen.

    1. Yes – I’ve noticed my boys prefer the spray type as well Anna! At least Goddess Garden is a safer version than most spray sunscreens!

  6. Tried the sunny baby. It protected my skin, no burn. It does make your skin look white though. It did not rub in clear.

    1. Hi Nan – sorry for the confusion on the Sunny Baby sunscreen. It doesn’t rub in clear but it doesn’t leave a thick white film like so many other zinc & titanium based sunscreens do. I found a little bit of whiteness remains but not much – it’s all relative!

  7. I find the goddess garden spray very white and hard to run in. I look like a ghost and so does my son it takes so much rubbing. Don’t know if I like it❔

    1. Sorry to hear that Angelia. The safer sunscreens are never going to rub in quite as easily as the conventional brands – but I’ve found Goddess Garden to be one of the better ones. Definitely give the company your feedback – they are always looking to improve on their formulas!

  8. Jennifer K says:

    I went to buy goddess garden sunscreen for this summer, since we loved it last year, and the one on amazon has Aluminum listed as the second ingredient πŸ™

    1. Looks like they are using aluminum hydroxide in the spray sunscreen. It is rated a 1 (most safe) on the Skin Deep database so should not be a concern!

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