11 Affordable Reef-Friendly Sunscreens for Your Beach Bag
Starting in 2021, you won't be able to buy many chemical sunscreens in Hawaii, which banned reef-damaging chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate that are abundant in drugstore sunscreens. So what are the more eco-friendly ones? We've scoured the labels and tested the options to find the best affordable reef-friendly sunscreens so you don't have to.
Invisible Brush On Block Powder for Face, SPF 30
Forget for a second that this looks like a makeup brush. This mineral sunscreen is the easiest to apply, most invisible sunscreen we've found yet. And on top of that, it's mess-free, TSA-friendly, and long lasting. Even if you use it every day, it'll last for months. Plus, you can cut down on plastic packaging by using Brush On Block. Instead of buying a whole new unit when you run out of powder, you can purchase tiny refill cartridges. The product comes in both clear zinc and a lightly tinted color.
Buy It: Amazon, $32
Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50
Sun Bum's mineral variety feels (and smells) as great as its non-mineral versions, and it's a budget buy compared with many mineral sunscreens. It's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Buy It: Target, $15
Thinksport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
Thinksport's unscented sunscreen stick is a great pick to leave in your beach bag or even keep in your pocket. It's tiny and while it takes a bit more effort to rub in than a lotion, it does eventually rub in fairly clear.
Buy It: Thrive Market, $9
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Face Lotion, SPF 30
Zinc sunscreens are notorious for not rubbing in as well as chemical-based sunscreens, which work by absorbing into your skin rather than sitting on top of it. But Bare Republic's face lotion is as invisible as it gets for a mineral sunscreen lotion, and it has a fantastic dry-to-the-touch feeling, rather than seeming heavy or oily.
Buy It: Target, $13
Bare Republic Mineral Body Lotion, SPF 50
Like Bare Republic's face lotion, the brand's body sunscreen goes on easily and more or less clear, making it a wise choice for anyone who doesn't want to appear as pale as a ghost. It has a light, natural vanilla coconut scent that's just strong enough to appreciate.
Buy It: Target, $11
Bare Republic Mineral Whipped Mousse, SPF 30
This sunscreen gets extra credit for being unique. A mix between a spray and a lotion, the whipped mousse rubs in easily, smells great, and feels good on your skin. Beware, though, that it's not waterproof, and it's more challenging to rub in on hairy arms and legs.
Buy It: Target, $17
MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid, SPF 50
This sunscreen goes on more like makeup than a regular facial sunscreen, and it blends better than many other mineral-based products. Using a makeup sponge to rub it in helps it go in even clearer. It's available in several tints to accommodate different skintones.
Buy It: MyChelle Dermaceuticals, $23
MyChelle Sun Shield Clear Spray, SPF 30
MyChelle's water-resistant mineral spray goes on quickly and clearly, and feels light on your skin.
Buy It: MyChelle Dermaceuticals, $20
Kokua Sun Care, SPF 50
This mineral sunscreen is made with several ingredients grown in Hawaii, and it smells absolutely delightful. It's pricier than many other sunscreens that are similarly effective, but it feels great on your skin, more like a regular lotion than a sunscreen. It rubs in more clearly than many other zinc-based products.
Buy It: Amazon, $30
All Good Lip Balm, SPF 15
Don't forget the SPF lip balm! Your lips are vulnerable on sunny days but All Good's buttery smooth balm, available in a wide variety of flavors, will help protect them.
Buy It: iHerb, $3
Bare Republic Neon Sunscreen Sticks, SPF 50
Whether you're headed to a music festival or just want to give the kids a good reason to put on sunscreen, Bare Republic's colorful neon sunscreen sets are as fun to use as they are effective.
Buy It: Target, $19