bath and body self-care Wellness

A Guide to Natural Sunscreen and Why I Recommend Using It

July 24, 2015

A look at natural sunscreen, some of my favourite brands and why I recommend using it. This is a complete guide to natural sunscreen!

A look at natural sunscreen, some of my favourite brands and why I recommend using it. This is a guide to natural sunscreen in its most complete form!It’s no secret that I have an aversion to the sun. I’m all about that vitamin D, but when it comes to skin damage (vanity) and skin cancer (health), I’m not about to start taking my chances.

I’ve done the whole “lay out in the sun until you look like snooki or worse yet, a dorito” game, but I also used to be a rave queen. People change…thankfully.

Now that those days are long gone, I’m all about that SPF.

But not just any SPF! The whole making my own deodorant thing should have been a blazing sign that this post was coming, but clearly if I’m concerned with what I’m putting on my underarms, I ought to care about what I’m putting on my sun-exposed skin. So yes, I’ve been using natural sunscreen for about a year now and I’ve never looked back.

Why use natural sunscreen?

First I think we should discuss why you need to be wearing sunscreen in the first place. If you slept through middle school health or are choosing the ignorance is bliss approach, here’s your wake-up call:

Repeated exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays is directly correlated to up to 90% of skin cancers. In addition to increasing cancer risk, UV rays contribute to premature skin aging and sun damage. 

So unless dry, wrinkled, discolored, and leathery skin is your thing (have fun with that…), I’d suggest loading up on the SPF.

If you’re already using conventional sunscreen, pat yourself on the back. Most people skip the stuff, so you’re halfway there! I’m not about to harp on anyone who is using the standard stuff, but if you’re interested in taking a closer look at sunscreen, let’s continue the discussion.

Conventional sunscreens may be somewhat effective, but they are laden with so many chemical and toxins that it’ll make your head spin. I’m not gonna tell you that every chemical in our atmosphere is harmful and you must avoid them at all costs, but I’m of the attitude that if you have a smarter choice available to you, make it. But if you’re happy with the conventional stuff (honestly – I applaud you actually wearing sunscreen so no judgment!), here are the most harmful factors to look out for according to the EWG:

  • Oxybenzone- can disrupt your hormone receptors.
  • Retinyl palmitate- may actually trigger skin damage, and possibly cancer.
  • Spray sunscreens- can be inhaled, and they don’t cover skin completely. Defeats the purpose…
  • SPF values above 50+- SPF protection tops out at 30 to 50 so don’t bother with anything higher.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s what made the EWG’s hall of shame for sunscreens in 2015…aka avoid these if possible.

Brands I recommend

Hopefully at this point I’ve scared enough sense into you to wear sunscreen but not too much that you’ll never go outside again. I promise that if you’re open to the idea of natural sunscreen there are some effective alternatives out there for all of your sunshine needs.

Admittedly, I have not tried every single one, but of the ones I’ve tried I’ve compiled a list of my thoughts and suggestions.

As a precursor, natural sunscreens tend to be thicker and leave a slightly white coating on top of your skin. This is because the main active ingredient in them is zinc. This is a good thing. Zinc Oxide is a barrier to UVA and UVB rays, which means they cannot penetrate the skin. If the supposed main ingredient is zinc but you don’t get that slightly white sheen, there is a chance that only a minute amount of zinc was actually used so you’re back to square one. My comment on this is that as much as we’d like to have it all, sunscreen that protects and gives us a shiny, bronzed look, just isn’t always possible. It’s sort of like how I want to marry Channing Tatum…it just isn’t gonna happen. Assess your priorities (or what’s feasible) and then make your choice.

With that being said, here are the natural sunscreens that I’ve tried and can vouch for:

A look at natural sunscreen, some of my favourite brands and why I recommend using it. This is a guide to natural sunscreen in its most complete form!1. Badger All-Natural Sunscreen (SPF 30) – This was my first introduction to natural sunscreen and probably one of the more popular brands on the market. Admittedly, it is also one of the thickest and you’ll be sporting a casper glow all day but it WORKS. Even in the powerful sun in Costa Rica after 2 hours of surfing I made it out unscathed. It also smells fantastic and the ingredients are on point i.e. zinc, essential oils, sunflower oil

2. Caribbean Solutions Solguard Sunscreen (SPF 25) – This is my latest find and the one I’ve been using this summer. It’s not as thick as badger, smells equally amazing and totally works. It uses a combo of zinc and titanium dioxide, which makes it a tiny bit less effective than pure zinc but there’s still enough SPF in there for it to not matter. I’ve been really liking this one.

3. Andalou Naturals Beauty Balm (30 SPF) – I’m obsessed with this stuff. I use it as a facial tinted moisturizer, but it also has 30 SPF in it! Because my face is sensitive to breakouts, I prefer to use something made specifically for faces. I also rarely wear makeup so I use this as a cover-up if I do have a breakout, but also to moisturize and protect from the sun. It’s actually amazing and super clean too!

4. John Masters Suncare (30 SPF) – What I love about this brand is that it isn’t too thick and can be used on both your body and face. However, it is kind of ridiculously expensive so unless you have a big budget, the solutions above are probably more to your advantage. 

5. Beaulance Natural Sun LotionThis product came as a recommendation from my friend Nikky. It’s much lower in zinc, which makes it easier to apply and not nearly as opaque, but provides quite a bit of SPF from other oils and ingredients. They don’t make any claims regarding exact SPF (which is mildly concerning) but if your skin isn’t too sensitive to the sun and you’re diligent about reapplying, this is a great alternative! 

A look at natural sunscreen, some of my favourite brands and why I recommend using it. This is a guide to natural sunscreen in its most complete form!Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or certified health professional. Please seek advice from a trained professional before changing up your sunscreen routine. All information is based purely off my own research and experience. In addition, this post does contain some affiliate links. I was not asked to write this post nor do I represent any of these brands. I purely support and stand behind these products. Thank you for supporting The Healthy Maven!

Do you use natural sunscreen? I’d love to hear your thoughts on natural sunscreen so please share!

P.S. I officially made my YouTube debut(lol)! Check out my latest video where we’re talking about…BALLS! Obviously.


Join 10,000+ members of the THM Community to get access to exclusive info about natural beauty, products I'm loving and how to transition to a more natural lifestyle.

Powered by ConvertKit
  • Reply
    Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
    July 24, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Yes, I use natural sunscreen on myself on my kids. My favorite is Kiss My Face spray lotion. It’s non-aerosol, but the spray is still nice for getting it on kids quickly. It also rubs on easily and is much less thick than the Badger. Also, no burns. 🙂 I also use that same BB cream as you and LOVE it.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      July 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Oooooh I definitely need to check that one out! I’ve heard great things about Kiss My Face products!

  • Reply
    Pip {Cherries & Chisme}
    July 24, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Ooo I wonder if these brands are available in the UK too? Shall have to do some researching!
    I’d never thought much about sunscreen contents before so thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      July 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      I think some of them are! Usually if they’re available in Canada they’re available internationally. Hope you find some in the UK!

  • Reply
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth
    July 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I’ve been going ‘natural crazy’ recently too (hence the DIY moisturizer post that went up today) but I haven’t reached sunscreen yet. Excited to check these out tho!
    Also, LOVED the vid 😀

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      July 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      At least I didn’t DIY the sunscreen…which I may or may not have tried lol. Also I’m all about the Coconut Oil moisturizer!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

    LOVED watching the video and LOVED reading the guide! Natural sunscreen is super important to me. <3

  • Reply
    July 24, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Speaking of natural sunscreen I need to pick some more up! I left my bottle in Katie’s bag when we were filming the other weekend haha That is weird that it doesn’t show the spf.. never noticed that before. I guess I was too distracted on how amazing it felt on my skin 😛 Great post, my skin thanks you for it!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      July 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      It felt and smelled amazing. I hope Katie is getting good use out of it! Can’t wait to see the summer favourites vid 😉

  • Reply
    July 25, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Have been using GloNaturals Essentials on my face this summer, spf 30. Not so thick and white! Just bought another since the tube is getting low, and I’m always looking for “even better.” It’s Mineral Fusion spf 40 and it is better under makeup for me and is a nice moisturizer. Thanks for all your great tips!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      July 27, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Awesome! thank you for your great review. I’ll have to check them both out! Much appreciated 🙂

Leave a Reply

Join 5000+ members of the THM Community and get my free 10 Day Guide to Busting Your Stress.