Finding a good organic sunscreen is no easy task. The best ones from an ingredient standpoint can be compromised in texture (as in: is that toothpaste or suntan lotion?) and/or scent. But it’s important to find a sunblock that’s chemical-free and devoid of endocrine disruptors like oxybenzone, which can wreak havoc on your hormone levels. Many brands have recently drawn attention to nanoparticles as another concern, but the EWG ( Environmental Working Group, a non-profit watchdog organization that ranks products on their toxicity for humans and the environment) has stated that “non-nano” sunscreen is actually a misnomer, as more research is needed to make a definitive set of guidelines for nanoparticles. Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide-the two most effective physical blockers according to the EWG-are nanoparticles; it’s the size of the particles that matters, and that’s tough for brands to gauge and therefore market accurately.
All that said, innovation in the green sun protection space means there are more organic sunscreen options available now than ever before. This definitive list is based on a combination of a few important credentials: organic ingredients, consistency, ease of use, EWG safety rating, ingredient list, and of course, scent.
Best organic sunscreen for babies
This sunblock is a zinc-based, chemical-free formula that boasts a stellar low rating of 1 from the EWG. Organic oils and waxes make for a thick consistency ideal for protecting delicate skin, and the calming scent of calendula and chamomile soothes fussy babes. It does create a subtle white sheen on the skin like almost any zinc-based, water-resistant sunblock and remains slightly opaque, even when rubbed into the skin. So you may not want to use it on yourself. Bonus: It’s biodegradable, reef-safe, and safe for the environment. Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 30 ($14)
With only six ingredients (15 percent zinc oxide, organic coconut, sesame, and jojoba oils, as well as organic beeswax and vitamin E), this is one of the gentlest sunscreen sticks on the market. If you’re not in the mood to slather or you’re in a rush, pack this EWG-approved stick that you can find at most natural foods stores or online. You might need to warm it up a bit for smoother application, but the wide base makes for easy and efficient coverage on babies and toddlers. Bare Belly Organics Baby Face Stick Sunscreen SPF 34 ($20)
Best organic sunscreen for your face
This two-in-one sunscreen has a green light from the EWG with a rating of 1. It’s a makeup primer, sunscreen, and moisturizer all in one-perfect to wear every day and the perfect size to toss in your carry-on for weekend jaunts. While the formulation isn’t 100 percent organic, several key ingredients are: aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea. This non-toxic mineral sunscreen won’t “ball up” under makeup, either. Win win. Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($45)
Goddess Garden is an excellent organic, chemical-free sunscreen for the face, especially if you’re going to be active outdoors. It’s water resistant for 40 minutes after application, maintaining its effectiveness through swimming and sweating. Out of the tube, Goddess Garden appears opaque, but unlike denser sunscreens, it glides on smoothly and doesn’t leave a chalky residue. It’s infused with lavender essential oils, smells divine, and has top marks from the EWG. Goddess Garden Organics Facial Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 ($10)
Best organic sunscreen for sensitive skin
For an everyday face-friendly formula that’s not a straight-up coating of zinc, an all-in-one makeup primer and sunscreen does the trick. Like the Suntegrity primer and sunscreen in one, this one won’t pill and is great to wear on its own or under foundation. Bonus: it acts as skincare, mimicking the effects of retinol without any of the photosensitivity that comes with it. Goddess Garden FACE THE DAY Sunscreen & Firming Primer SPF 30 ($14)
Beloved by surfers and swimmers coast to coast, Raw Elements is gentle enough to use on babies, and always gets the job done. If there was an award for “most eco sunscreen,” Raw Elements would win. Their packaging is recycled and each ingredient is cruelty free, non-GMO, reef safe, organic, and eco-safe. Pro tip: warm it up in your hands before spreading it on your body for a more even distribution. Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen SPF 30 Plus ($18)
Best organic sunscreen for outdoors or a beach day
This spray for the body is 70 percent organic, and one of the only organic sprays that doesn’t go on white, making it a good option for any skin tone. Spray liberally and use in an open area to avoid accidentally breathing in any airborne particles. COOLA Unscented Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 ($36)
Heavy-duty all-day sun protection calls for the big guns. Sweat and water resistant, approved by the EWG, this formulation is broad spectrum, chemical-free, and 20 percent zinc oxide, making it your new beach-bag essential. It goes on smoothly and quickly, leaving you and your bod protected and white streak-free in record time. Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body SPF 30 ($24)
Best organic after-sun care
Second to aloe straight from the plant, Herbivore after-sun mist delivers cooling lavender and peppermint essential oils, along with aloe vera to soothe sunned skin. Pro tip: keep the bottle refrigerated when you need relief from the heat or a bad burn.
An unfussy alternative to store-bought aloe vera, this liquid aloe is organic and doesn’t contain any of the “crap” you’ll see in aloe vera gels. Bonus? It’s super affordable. Like the Herbivore mist, keep this in your fridge for an extra cool, post-sun treat. Aubrey Pure Aloe Vera Liquid ($8)
In a hurry on your way to the beach? These EWG-approved sunscreens are the best drugstore buys.