Posts Tagged ‘natural sunscreen’


It may be that you already traveled to some sunny, exotic locale during the winter holidays, or for “spring break” if you have kids. So yes, I should probably post my sunscreen picks a bit earlier in the year. But as they say, better late than never!

As I wrote up the post on our April trip to Tulum, Mexico I realized I hadn’t shared my sun protection product recommendations. I’m a big fan of applying suncreen every single day of the year–rain or shine, at least to the face. When you consider that the backs of the hands and decolletage are the first places to show signs of aging, those of us in age denial would be wise to cover those areas with sunblock as well.

I recently tried a mineral powder based product with an SPF 30+. I figured that at my age, it probably looks more youthful to cover any sun damage and have the skin looking flawless and age/sun spot-free. However, I thought the heavy layer of powder, despite being natural, made me feel too made up, which in turn made me feel older. So I switched back to my tinted sunscreens. They’re light, moisturizing and the sheerness makes me feel like I’m not trying to cover up anything (although if I could find a natural way to get rid of my age spots, I’d do it in a heartbeat).

I think Andalou Naturals and Juice Beauty make the best, reasonably-priced, all-natural tinted sunscreens available. Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Color + Correct and Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream continue to be my top picks for everyday sunscreen for my face. They’re both SPF 30+ zinc based–for the broadest spectrum of sun protection available, non nano particle, free of all the nasties (parabens, glycols, butenes, chemical sunblocks, etc.), and they both smell nice–something I’m very partial to seeing as I’m very scent-sensitive. Andalou offers a better price point, but Juice Beauty has a wider range of colors to choose from.

For my kids’ faces and for all of our bodies, I continue to love Burnout Sunscreen. It, too, is zinc-based, non-nano and moisturizing. Burnout offers several different formulations, but I usually get the Kids Physical SPF 35 or the Ocean Tested SPF 30. Burnout products are “reef safe” which is becoming a bigger deal in many parts of the world that still have viable coral reefs and/or reef fish populations. The faint white sheen it has when you first apply it sinks in about 10-20 minutes after application, which is perfect timing given that experts recommend applying mineral sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Another bonus: It doesn’t make you break out! There are no pore-clogging or other irritating ingredients, but if you’re prone to breakouts, always apply your sunscreen (or anything going on your fact) using clean hands. (But Burnout offers a Lightweight Oil-Free version if you’re extra sensitive.)

Of course, the best sun protection is no sun, or a long-sleeve shirt and broad-brimmed hat. (I love this inexpensive one featured above by Hinge at Nordstrom.) I don’t have a photo to share of her, but my 77-year-old aunt who grew up in Hawaii–but has always covered up, has an incredibly smooth, cream colored complexion. It’s too late to reverse some of the sun-worshipping naughtiness of my youth, but at least I make a point of putting on sunscreen everyday–rain or shine.

Happy summer and safe sunning!




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OK, for starters let’s admit I’m someone obsessed with sun protection. Perhaps it’s a genetic or cultural thing—after all, I am part Japanese (picture umbrellas on sunny days)—or maybe it’s just vanity. I tanned incredibly easily and frequently as a teenager and would get so dark I am unrecognizable in old pictures. Now due to a fear of cancer and premature aging, I lube up the kids before they step foot outside, and for more than a decade I’ve worn SPF 30 on my face every day, rain or sun.

But as you know, finding a safe and effective sunscreen can be a daunting task. Last year, after an extensive review of more than 1,700 sunscreens, the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) determined that 85 percent of sunscreens on the market either inadequately protect against damaging ultraviolet rays and/or contain ingredients that are known or suspected to be toxic.

Below are my top picks for natural sunscreen products for kids based on personal experience as well as the detailed reviews of the EWG.

1. Badger Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($14 for 2.9 oz tube)
This non-nano* zinc oxide cream is my top pick because EWG gives it a very high rating, the price is good and it really protects. The consistency is thick and it does have a high “casper” factor (white cast), but most of it absorbs in, and quite frankly, I’m not concerned about the beauty factor with my kids.
2. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30 ($32)
This nano-zinc oxide product protects well, leaves no white cast—because it has nano particles*–and comes in an easy to use “stick” form (similar to a deodorant stick). However, it’s a tad pricey.
3. Soleo Organics Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($17 for 2.6 oz)
I really liked this non-nano zinc oxide product. It has no casper effect and moisturizes well. That said, the company is relatively new and may have some quality control issues because the user reviews on Amazon are terrible (although it ranks high with the EWG). Another drawback, it seems as though the tube doesn’t last more than a few weeks during peak summer usage.
4. UV Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($34 for 5.3 oz)
I haven’t used this nano-zinc oxide product for a year, but I thought it protected well and again, there is no casper effect because it uses nano technology. It was a tad greasy, but also moisturized well so I didn’t mind.

(Please note: All prices are approximate and may vary slightly by retailer.)

Several people encouraged me to include California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance SPF 30+. I know many parents who love this product. However, I haven’t used it on my children for several years because it relies on titanium dioxide, which according to the EWG doesn’t provide full protection from UVA rays.

There are three more products I have yet to try, but I will do a follow-up to this article as soon as I do. All three are in the EWG’s top 10 from their 2009 study. They include:

  • Heiko 40 SPF Kids ($36 for 6.7 oz)
  • Loving Naturals SPF 30+ ($19.95 for 4 oz)
  • Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($16.90 for 4 oz)

If you have tried one of these three products, I would love to share your feedback with others.

Now go out and soak up the sun!

*Nano technology is controversial, and from what I understand, the jury is still out on whether we should fear them. Stay tuned for a separate article capturing the latest information and opinions. For now, I’m paranoid enough that I use only non-nano formulations on myself and my children.

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