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Grabbing light linen layers, a baseball cap, sunglasses, and taking a break indoors or under an umbrella is a good idea when looking to shield yourself from the sun, but all those precautionary measures for avoiding sunburn can be boosted to new heights when paired with protective, sun-barrier-creating SPF products. It’s a godsend for avoiding those taunt red (extremely painful) burns that lead to itching, peeling, and the increased and very serious risk of developing skin cancer, but they’re often packed with chemicals that, on a normal basis, you wouldn’t actively rub all over your arms, legs, and fill up your pores with. Sometimes it’s more that you have very sensitive skin, and those ingredients don’t agree with keeping your complexion calm. There’s also the chance that you already follow an organic cosmetic regimen and want to stick with it in every area of your beauty routine. Whatever the reason, there’s options out there for you, including natural, organic, mineral, and chemical-free variations, to investigate. Check out a few below.
This may come as a surprise to you, but tarte—the company that makes some of our favorite lip and cheek duos—has launched a sunscreen that holds an SPF 30. Even better, this formula is chemical-free, using minerals to block the sun’s harmful rays from harming your skin. It’s fairly light, and blends in pretty well, leaving you with little of that white residue that many mineral sunscreens do. On top of blocking the sun, this bottle is packed with a combination of antioxidant-rich ingredients, like vitamin E and soybean extract, as well as honeysuckle for a soothing component.
(tarte tarteguard 30 sunscreen lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $32, tartecosmetics.com)
While not all-natural, this SPF is made with 97% natural ingredients, including zinc oxide, and is water-resistant for about 40 minutes (so you’ll have to be mindful about reapplying, as per usual). It’s not super thick or gloopy, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve blended well before walking out of the house to avoid a chalky tint on your skin. The call out ingredient is cucumbers—the brand used organic cucumbers in the bottle—and also aloe vera for soothing elements. Anyone who’s been out in the sun and dosed on some aloe knows how good it feels.
(Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, $10, drugstore.com)
In another luxury organic approach, The Organic Pharmacy produces a mineral-based sunscreen complete with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to ward away the sun’s harmful effects. Although it’s a rather high SPF 50, it’s not waterproof, so if this is your thing and you’re going to take a dip, make sure to reapply as soon as you’ve dried off. It’s made with shea butter—a common ingredient in moisturizers—and aloe, calendula, and rose hip oil.
(The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream, $69, theorganicpharmacy.com)
To further discourage irritation, you might benefit from studying an SPF that is free of fragrances. This product is chemical-free and a mineral sunscreen made with vegetarian ingredients, enriched with superstar aloe vera and also jojoba seed oil, which is known for being an anti-bacterial, hydrating, and nourishing property.
(alba botanica Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen Fragrance Free SPF 30, $11.50, albabotanica.com)
One big concern with traditional chemical sunscreens other than what it might do to your skin? What the formula does to the life in the ocean when it rubs off or comes off while you’re taking a dip. To address that issue, Badger, a line of organic skin care products that you’ve probably seen in your local Whole Foods, created a line of fragrance-free, zinc oxide sunscreen that holds an SPF of 30 and is biodegradable. It’s only waterproof for about 40 minutes, but with a major plus for anyone who’s a stickler about dictionary-length ingredients lists, this product only has 5, including zinc, sunflower oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and seabuckthorn.
(Badger Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream, $16, badgerbalm.com)