June 18th, 2012

4 Natural Sunscreens {Review}

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Groovy Green Livin Summer Natural Sunscreen

Summer is upon us and there’s no question, the best form of sun protection is to stay out of the sun. But that’s just not realistic.  The next best form of natural sunscreen is to cover up your delicate skin with sun protective clothing, sunglasses and a cute floppy hat. Most of us know that it’s not realistic to stay out of the sun or cover-up 24/7, so we need to turn to sunscreen for some additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  If you’ve taken a walk down the sunscreen aisle you know that there  are literally hundreds to choose from.

I’m always on the quest for the safest sunscreen. Using a combination of EWG’s Skin Deep Sunscreen Guide and my friend Kathy the SafeMama’s 2012 SafeMama Safer Sunscreen Cheat Sheet, I’m generally able to find a great selection of sunscreens that are both safe and effective.

This season I had the chance to try out 4 natural sunscreens-a few were new to the market this season and the others were new to me. Here’s what I found:

DO Naturals SPF 32 by Dolphin OrganicsDolphin Organics sunscreen

  • Price: $19.99 for 3 oz.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: 2 out of 10 (low hazard) on their hazard scale.
  • Texture: I really like the ease in application of this sunscreen. It isn’t thick and soupy, but rather light and creamy. This allows for a smooth application. My kids were able to apply it themselves and actually rub it in. After application there is a slight while film.
  • Scent: This mineral sunscreen is fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
  • Other Ingredients: The list is relatively long, but nothing jumped out as a red flag. For those with a nut allergy, this sunscreen does contain almond oil.
  • Verdict: Thumbs up Dolphin Organics!

Marie Veronique Kid Safe Screen, SPF 25+

  • Price: $24.00 for 2.7 oz.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Non-nano zinc oxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: 1 out of 10 (low hazard) on hazard scale.
  • Texture: My kids have been begging me for a spray on sunscreen and we were excited to see that this comes in a spray bottle.  The sunscreen doesn’t really ‘spray’ out as you would expect. It comes out in a stream of lotion. The lotion is very transparent and doesn’t leave a white film at all.
  • Scent: There is a slight scent that I didn’t mind-smells a bit like tea (the first ingredient on the label).
  • Other Ingredients: The list is short compared to other sunscreens and I didn’t see anything that was unpronounceable or concerning.
  • Verdict: The sunscreen is wonderful-easy to apply, no white film and no questionable ingredients. My only concern is the price. With a family of five and knowing how much sunscreen we go through each summer, it would cost us a fortune to keep covered up all season. Thumbs up on the screen. Thumbs down on the price.

Groovy Green Livin Honest SunscreenThe Honest Company Honest Sunscreen, SPF 20

  • Price: $13.95 for 3 oz.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Non-nano zinc oxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: 1 out of 10 (low hazard) on hazard scale.
  • Texture: As I found out quickly, you must shake this before use. The lotion is quite thick and spreads easily. Various types of oil (olive and jojoba) are ingredients, making the lotion a bit greasy. There is a slight white/off white tint to the skin after application. I happen to like the white tint-I can tell if my kids did a good job applying their own lotion.
  • Scent: This lotion is fragrance-free.
  • Other Ingredients: There are only 8 ingredients on the list and most are organic. Nothing jumped out as a potential hazard.
  • Verdict: I really like the small number of ingredients used to make this sunscreen-most of them being organic. The cost is reasonable. My only complaint is that the lotion is somewhat thick and greasy. Possibly good for the body, but you might want to use something different on your face. I tried it on my face and looked quite ghostly.  Thumbs up on the ingredient list. Thumbs down on the greasiness and white residue after application.

J.R. Watkins SPF 30 Sun Screen 4oz


  • Price: $8.99 for 4 oz.Groovy Green Livin J.R. Watkins Naturals sunscreen
  • Active Ingredient(s): Titanium Dioxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: Not rated
  • Texture: The lotion spreads very well. Squeezes out easily and application is a breeze. The lotion is an off white and leaves a slight white film after application.
  • Scent: Like most J.R. Watkins products, their sunscreen smells incredible-a combination of aloe and green tea. For those with sensitivities to strong scents this might not be the right sun protection for you.
  • Other Ingredients: The list is fairly long and contained quite a few ingredients that had long, unfamiliar names.  I searched on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Data Base and on SafeMama.com for a rating and as far as I can tell it hasn’t received a rating as of yet.  Being unfamiliar with most of the ingredients, I went on EWG’s site and researched each ingredient. Most were listed as “low hazard” with a few falling into the “moderate hazard” category.  Overall, there weren’t any that elicited any major concerns.
  • Verdict: I really like the smell of this sunscreen, but my kids did not. The scent was too strong for them.Overall, the lotion was easy to apply and a small amount went a long way. The ingredient list was quite lengthy and some of the ingredients were unknown to me.  Thumbs up on ease of application and the reasonable price. Thumbs sideways on the scent and ingredient list.

What’s your favorite sunscreen?

Disclosure: I was sent samples of all the sunscreens to test out. I didn’t receive any compensation for writing the reviews and the opinions contained in this article are my very own.

[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]

15 Responses to “4 Natural Sunscreens {Review}”

  1. Thanks for the reviews, I was curious about The Honest Co. My kids always beg for a spray on sunscreen too! My oldest gets so irritated that I won’t buy the ‘regular’ sunscreen. Fortunately he doesn’t mind the Badger face stick.

  2. Thank you for the information, they all sound good. My favorite sunscreen is All Terrain KidSport spray. I started using it last summer after seeing it on the Safe Mama cheat sheet. It gets a 3 on the hazard scale, so not as low as the others. I like it because it is easy for me to put on the kids (assembly line style!) and it has a reasonable price. It is pretty greasy though, but it doesn’t bother me.

  3. I haven’t tried All Terrain. I like that it comes in a spray. I’ll have to give it a try Marsha. Thanks!

  4. Hi Kelly, My kids ask for ‘regular’ everything and I continue to explain why we don’t buy it. Maybe they’ll understand one day?? Face sticks work well in our house too. We’ve been using California Baby for years.

  5. We are currently using Badger. Personally, I’m fine with a sunscreen that leaves a white film on my skin. It’s a real, physical barrier and my kids not absorbing nanoparticles.

  6. Hi Betsy, I’ve used Badger too-I found it a bit greasy, but worked well. Most or our sunscreens do leave a white film. It does seem like a true physical barrier between you and the sun. I only mind the thick white film on my face!

  7. […] Looking for a few more options for safe sunscreen? Check out THESE. […]

  8. Great post!

  9. […] been focusing recently on which sunscreens are safe and which sunscreens don’t leave a trail of white paste behind, but I haven’t spent any […]

  10. Thanks Lindsay!

  11. I love the Ava Anderson non Toxic sunscreen. The tube spf 30 is amazing-great coverage but easy to put on and doesn’t leave you white. I use the daily moisturizer spf 15 everyday on my face. And their sun stick rocks fro faces and noses. They are all totally non toxic and work great!

  12. Thanks, GGL, for being a life saver — I write this in spring 2014 on a sunny day after my son asked me about our sunscreen, “Is this sunscreen good for me?” Smart little guy! The information on EWG, although I love them to death, is a little overwhelming, so I turned to GGL. I’m going with DO Organics.

    My family thanks you. 🙂

  13. You’re so welcome Aviva!You’ll have to let me know what you think of Dolphin Organics. I have a few new brands that I’m looking forward to trying out this year. Your son is very smart!

  14. […] summer I test out non-toxic sunscreens and put together my list of favorite safer sunscreens. I’ve even put together a list of sunscreens that don’t leave a film of white paste behind. […]

  15. […] we need to turn to sunscreen for some additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Find a safe, non-toxic sunscreen (don’t use a spray) and apply it every morning before you head […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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