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My own experience switching to a plant-based lifestyle was enjoyable yet challenging. One of those I found to be quite tricky was replacing all the personal hygiene and skincare products.
Good thing I didn't have to worry about vegan makeup, but I spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the summer. Protecting my skin from harmful UV rays is something I take seriously, but the problem was identifying sunscreen options that are vegan.
Some might say cruelty-free but still contain animal ingredients, while others are perfectly vegan-friendly, but they don't advertise it.
So, over the last summer, I set out to research and test over 50 products to bring you the best options available.
Our Top Vegan Sunscreens (2020 Updated)
OUR #1 RATED
Tarte Tarteguard 20
OUR #2 RATED
Kiss My Face
OUR #3 RATED
OUR #4 RATED
OUR #5 RATED
Jason Natural Products
1 - Tarte Tarteguard 20 Vegan Sunscreen (Editor's Choice)
If it's still early in the summer season and you want to get a bit of a healthy tint added to your skin, then Tarteguard is a very popular choice.
Many users like that it works well as a light and non-clogging moisturizer, as well.
Just keep in mind that it's only factor 20, which may not be enough for intense rays.
2 - Kiss My Face Cool Sport Spray Sunscreen
This is another water-resistant vegan product that is ideal for sporty people.
With an SPF of 50, it comes in a convenient spray bottle that makes it easier to apply.
If you're a parent, you'll know all about how much that convenience is worth.
While it claims to be fast-drying, I did find that you need to wait about 20 minutes for it to soak in thoroughly. Hint: avoid the sand at that time.
3 - Goddess Garden Sport SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
This is another favorite for families, as it comes in a large enough tube at a reasonable price. You can easily stock up on a few of these for your summer vacation.
It's made with the environment in mind while still maintaining maximum protection.
The main thing we didn't like about it is that you will notice some residue for quite a while after applying it.
4 - Avalon Organics Intense Defense Sheer Moisture SPF
This convenient mineral-based protection is an excellent choice for a busy urban life.
It is only SPF10, but unless you're spending a lot of time out in the sunshine, it can be enough for a quick shopping trip or outdoor work lunch.
On the downside, it's a bit thicker than other choices, which can make it difficult to pump out. The consistency can also feel heavy.
5 - Jason Natural Products SPF 45 Family Sunblock
This is one of the best-reviewed family products, possibly because of its factor 45 protection.
It will keep kids and adults stay safe, whether you're just out for a walk, or enjoying a swim in the pool.
One thing to keep in mind is that a few people have noted that it can take a while to dry.
6 - Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen
If you like to go for a splash on a hot day, then you'll need a water-resistant product, and this zinc-based  one is one of the best to protect your face.
Yup, I was attracted to the name as it stood out so much from other brands, but it also has very positive reviews, so I was easily sold.
Sadly, this doesn't come bigger than 0.45 oz. It can be a good thing because it's travel-friendly. But price-wise, I feel like it's a bit on the expensive side for its net weight.
7 - Alba Botanica Sport Sunscreen
This is another one of the more popular brands available, and I found a lot of positive reviews that it works very well as a moisturizer.
That's very helpful on very hot days, especially if you have dry skin.
One thing I would point out, though, is that while it is suitable for vegans, it's not entirely chemical-free.
8 - HydroPeptide Solar Defense Body Sunscreen
HydroPeptide comes in another very convenient spray bottle that makes it easier to spread out evenly.
It's entirely mineral-based, which is especially important if your skin is sensitive to chemicals.
From all the reviews, it seems to work very well, but it does come at quite a steep price.
9 - COOLA Full Spectrum 360 Mineral Sun Silk Sunscreen
While this is, by far, not the cheapest brand, keep in mind that this product is not meant to be used on your whole body.
The broad spectrum sunscreen is meant for sensitive skin on your face, where it will shield you from dangerous UV rays.
It does soak in very quickly, but some people reported that it can leave a white cast. Most sunscreens do that, so it's not a significant concern for me.
10 - Block Island Organics Natural Mineral Sunscreen
The final product on this list is popular because it's listed as using organic compounds.
For the less intense UV exposure, the SPF30 will be enough, but make sure you have a stronger one for sensitive areas like your nose and ears.
What we didn't like so much is that it can take quite a long time to soak in fully, and it does leave a slightly oily residue.
What Is Vegan Sunscreen?
Vegan sunscreens are products that are free from animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals either. It's important that you clearly understand this dual ethical impact, as it's something that I had not thought of when I first turned vegan.
These days, I also take it one step further in making sure that the ingredients themselves are mineral-based.
Zinc and titanium oxide are the most common ones that are safe and best suited to minimize the impact on coral reefs.
So, to summarize the 3 most important aspects:
- 1No animal ingredients
- 2No Animal testing
- 3No environmentally harmful ingredients
Cruelty-Free Vs. Vegan Sunscreen
The beauty and makeup industry are slowly waking up to the demands for certified vegan choices, and there has also been a big change in UV protection as well.
The annoying thing is that you can find products that have not been tested on animals, but they contain beeswax. On the other hand, there are natural sunscreens that contain no animal ingredients, but they have been tested on animals.
Personally, I would like to see a lot more vegan and cruelty-free sunscreen certifications on labels so that it becomes a lot easier to make a truly informed decision of the impact the product has .
Environmental Impacts Of Sunscreen
This is something that was relatively new to me, but once I looked into it in more detail, I was quite shocked at how much damage your sunscreen can actually be doing.
Many of the products you find filling shelves are packed full of chemicals like parabens, oxybenzone, octisalate, and nano-titanium, to name just a few. These don't only wash off swimmers in the oceans, but waste that is pumped into rivers ultimately brings these chemicals into contact with coral reefs .
And this is where a lot of damage is done.
THE WORLD'S CORAL reefs are suffering, and chemicals commonly found in sunscreen contribute to the problem. By the numbers, the problem is daunting: 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year.
Writer at National Geographic
Favor Natural Sunscreen Ingredients
Zinc and titanium dioxide are the best ingredients to look out for on labels. These are completely natural ingredients, and people are very rarely allergic to them. More importantly, they are not sourced from animals, don't need to be tested for safety, and they don't cause problems for marine life.
For the past 3 years, I have switched exclusively to mineral-based creams, and while they are a bit more expensive, the protection they provide is excellent. I tend to burn easily, so I was concerned about safety, but so far, I haven't had any burned skin at all.
How do you make vegan sunscreen?
You can make vegan sunscreen by mixing coconut oil, raw aloe vera, and some zinc or titanium oxide. It's actually quite inexpensive to make. Also, it's the best way to be 100% sure about the ingredients you expose your skin to.
What is the best natural sunscreen?
The best natural sunscreen is zinc and titanium oxide. These two simple minerals are classified as safe and generally don't cause any negative reactions. They also provide just as good, if not better, UV protection than most chemical-based products.
Is coconut oil a natural sunscreen?
Yes, coconut oil is a natural sunscreen, and it provides an SPF of about 5. This isn't a huge amount, but if you mix it with some zinc oxide, then you can achieve a much better protection level.
Is aloe vera a natural sunscreen?
Yes, aloe vera is a natural sunscreen and can reflect about 20% of all UV rays. It's not exactly a sun blocker, but a great ingredient to use in your homemade products.
Which Product Should You Choose?
Based on hours of research into hundreds of customer reviews, feedback from a dermatologist, and our own experience with more than 50 products over an entire summer, we have all concluded that the best option is the one from Tarte.
It’s lightweight and moisturizing. Since it has a subtle tint to it, you can skip your foundation and still get an even skin tone and a nice makeup base. Best of all, it's vegan, cruelty-free, and won't harm the environment. And, of course, you won't end up looking like a lobster.
If you have some other recommendations, feel free to reach out to us on social media.
Tarte Tarteguard 20 Vegan Sunscreen Product
#1 Vegan Sunscreen
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