You already know that exposure to UV rays can cause damage to your complexion and skin cancer. But here’s something that might surprise you: Practicing safe sun is about more than simply slathering on any sunscreen you find at the bottom of your beach bag. Just like you wouldn’t blindly grab whichever face lotion is on sale, the same goes for SPF. So how do you know which products to try and which to toss—or, better yet, not even bother buying?
Chemical sunscreens contain concerning active ingredients. Nasties like oxybenzone (a potential endocrine disruptor), octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, and retinyl palmitate aren’t just bad for your body, but also for the environment. Your best bet? Opt for physical blockers—better known as mineral sunscreens—which use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a barrier between the UV rays and your skin.
Ahead, are the top-of-the-line natural and non-toxic SPFs that belong in your sun protection arsenal. Planning an outdoor summer wedding or a tropical honeymoon? You’ll also want to add these skincare essentials to your packing list.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Fragrance Free Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
When it comes to sensitive skin, Babo Botanicals sets the bar. This high-performance, hypoallergenic lotion is formulated with skin-safe, non-nano zinc oxide and soothing organic oils. What you won’t find on the ingredient list? Fragrance, dairy, soy, gluten, nuts, dyes, or parabens.
SHOP NOW: Walmart, $9.99 for two
Best for Sports
Coola Mineral Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick
Love outdoor adventure? This water-resistant, broad-spectrum, zinc oxide-only sports stick is enriched with vitamin E, sea kelp extract, and moisturizing oils (coconut, sunflower, jojoba, and sesame). Plus, it’s easy to apply and super portable, so you can take it along anywhere—from boating to mountain biking.
SHOP NOW: Sephora, $26
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30
Packed with zinc oxide, antioxidant-rich marula and raspberry seed oils, as well as grape, sunflower sprout, and algae extracts, this daily must-have melts into skin—sans greasiness or chalkiness—so all that’s left is an invisible shield of defense against UV and environmental damage.
SHOP NOW: Sephora, $34
Josie Maran Protect + Perfect Argan Daily Tinted Moisturizer SPF 47
Need a little extra coverage? This tinted treasure is the answer to your prayers. Beyond providing sun protection (courtesy of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), this argan-infused formula also evens tone and boosts radiance.
SHOP NOW: Sephora, $34
Best for Face
Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30
A moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup primer all in one? We were skeptical, but this award-winning multitasker—with nourishing organic jojoba, pomegranate, and sunflower oils, anti-inflammatory green tea extract, and hydrating hyaluronic acid—does it all!
SHOP NOW: Dermstore, $45