July 14, 2014

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural sunscreens

No matter where you are in the “Should I Be Wearing Sunscreen?” green beauty discussion, I think everyone can agree that protecting your skin is imperative to keeping it youthful and soft, be it through mineral sun protection, shade, clothing or avoiding the sun at high-exposure times.

I’m in the “use natural sunscreen” camp, and I’ve tried several natural face sunscreens over the years.

I will admit that I haven’t found a natural body sunscreen that I love and do use conventional sunscreen sprays on my body to keep it burn-free.

However, I’ve found several wonderful natural sunscreen options for my face and neck and am excited to share my faves (and the duds) with you in this ever-growing post!

Keep this bookmarked to see what other natural sunscreens I add to the lists, and don’t forget to check out my other guides to natural deodorants and natural mascaras.

A Note About My Skin: I’m half-Asian, so I have olive / yellow undertones and can easily look very Casper-ish with natural sunscreens that don’t blend well.

Another Note: This little asterisk* indicates I received the natural sunscreen as a PR sample. So, yes, free stuff as well as paid-for-on-my-own stuff gets honest feedback around here!

best natural sunscreens

Natural Sunscreens I Will Repurchase

*Coola Mineral Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish

New to me in summer 2014, Coola’s Mineral Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish has everything you’d want in a makeup primer — including a high SPF! Dimethicone gives it that slip, though, so if you’re avoiding this ingredient, you’ll want to pass on this natural sunscreen. I use this as a base if I’m wearing heavier-than-normal makeup so that my skin doesn’t feel like it has a billion layers of product on it.

Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen

Pratima’s Neem Rose Face Sunscreen is my absolute favorite that I recommend over and over again. I discovered this natural sunscreen in 2011 and have been a fan of its silky formula and subtly scent of rose, neem and licorice ever since. I can’t rave more and more about this sunscreen — it’s a deserted island staple for sure.

*Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer

Though it feels a bit sticky at first application, Suntegrity’s Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer blends beautifully into your skin and smells of fresh citrus. It’s perfect for those with oily skin that want a sunscreen whose texture feels like it’s “mopping up” excess oil. It’s also one of those fabulous multipurpose products thanks to its primer properties; no shine here!

Natural Sunscreens I Will Repurchase But Only Wear in the Winter

Badger Damascus Rose SPF 16 Face Sunscreen Lotion

Badger’s Damascus Rose SPF 16 Face Sunscreen Lotion is clearly a winner, but it stays in this conditional, in-between category because of its lower SPF rating. If your sunscreen’s not SPF 30, it’s kind of pointless to wear unless it’s not really sunny and you’re inside all day. Badger is reformulating all of its sunscreens for release in early 2015, so I’m crossing my fingers for this one to re-debut as an SPF 30.

*Consonant 100% Natural Matte Finish Sunscreen

I fell in love with the creamy, smooth texture of Consonant’s 100% Natural Matte Finish Sunscreen, but it suffers the same fate as Badger above. SPF 15 just won’t cut it. Consonant does, however, make a “Perfect Sunscreen” that’s SPF 30, so onto the wish list it goes!

Natural Sunscreens I Will Repurchase But Only Wear At the Pool or Beach

*California Naturel Sunscreen SPF 30

California Naturel’s Sunscreen SPF 30 took a bit to rub into my skin (and I feared the white cast for a bit until I really massage it in), but after one application and several hours in the sun, this natural sunscreen performed! I didn’t redden or burn, and though re-application was a bit of a pain (again, massaging it in), I didn’t feel like it immediately slid off my face when I sweat or took a dip in the water.

With that said, I reserve this for outdoor activities only because it feels kind of thick and does take that extra time to apply to the skin.

*California Baby No Fragrance SPF 30 Sunblock Stick

I’ve noted how cute California Baby’s No Fragrance SPF 30 Sunblock Stick is in my previous review, but for me, this cuteness is designated for summer beach bags only. It’s not an absolutely necessary product for year-round use. Instead, it’s a great addition to your beach bag that encourages you to remember to cover your ears, exposed moles and other random body parts with SPF.

Natural Sunscreens I Will Not Repurchase

*DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+

After this post went live, a lot of you asked about DeVita, and I totally forgot that yes, I have tried it, and no, unfortunately, it’s not a repurchase for me.

The texture was fine, and it didn’t leave that white cast, but I found that as I massaged it into my skin, the formula would “ball up” and these little white particles, similar in texture when you use a pencil eraser and the little nubby things would deposit onto the paper, would appear on my skin.

I do not like little white nubby things on my face. It kind of cramps my style and makes makeup application a nightmare.

*Eminence Tomato Sun Cream SPF 16

Besides the SPF being lower than my preference, I’m just not a fan of the packaging of Eminence’s Tomato Sun Cream SPF 16. A jar? No, no, no. When I’m outside, sweaty and reapplying sunscreen, the last thing I want to do is stick my fingers into a jar of sunscreen. Pumps, squeeze bottles or sprays only, please. If Eminence could re-evaluate the packaging, this one could move up to the “natural sunscreens I will repurchase but only wear in the winter” category.

*Sunday Riley Cashmere Mist SPF 30

I truly adored this sunscreen (read my review), but to be blunt, it’s just too damn expensive at $125 for 50 ml. My beloved Pratima sunscreen costs $28 for 60 ml, if that gives you some context.

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  • http://elodiebeauty.com Seanna

    The Perfect Sunscreen by Consonant is my favourite! Definitely a must buy. I only wear it on my face and I find I use it almost like a primer or tinted moisturizer. Feels great too!

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Sold! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing (and stopping by!) :)

      • http://genuineglow.com/ Lilly

        I have tried the Perfect Sunscreen with SPF 30, and while I like the finish and tint I find it a bit greasy for my skin. I do wear it sometimes, but not if I have to spend the whole day outside when it’s very warm. I hope it works for you Kim!

  • Marcella

    Can I say that I love your ultimate guides? It’s so helpful! My facial skin has a huge problem with sunscreen if I layer it under makeup. Even though the Consonant Perfect Sunscreen has an amazing texture, I keep breaking out if I wear it with my Kjaer Weis foundation. It’s kind of baffling! So I’ve been going out with sunscreen on my face this summer (trying to find shade whenever I can), and my skin is happy!

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Ya know, I get in these writing funks, and hearing feedback like this revs me up to keep going. Blogging has always been about passion and telling people my honest opinions about the products I try, so I’m happy these guides are helpful :) I’ve updated my mascara and deodorant guides, too, so please take a look!

      As for the SPF, sheesh! I bet it’s because your skin just doesn’t like having so many layers. I wonder if a tinted moisturizer would be better — something with SPF 30 + color to even you out? I like the Tarte stuff, which we all know isn’t 100% clean, but hey, coverage and SPF = yes. At least you have some natural pigment to your skin so getting a bit of a summer tan isn’t a huge thing for you, right? :)

      • Marcella

        Well, I’m super glad you’re cheered up now!

        I’ve basically come to terms with having a tanned face and ghostly legs. It’s okay. I’m complicated. ;)

  • http://smellslikeagreenspirit.blogspot.com lizthegreenspirit

    This is incredibly helpful, thank you Kimberly! I’ve had my eyes on Badger and Pratima and now I have the confirmation that both are definitely worth purchasing :)

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      You are so very welcome! I am happy it’s been helpful for you and it’s inspiring me to keep going with the updates to the mascaras and deodorants lists (which have been updated!). I appreciate your comments and support — being helpful to real people is why I blog!!!

  • http://wonderfelleworld.com/ Elle

    Great roundup! Daily I alternate b/w Coola’s matte tinted sunscreen and Marie Veronique’s everyday coverage spf 30 – I like that they’re really matte and work well under makeup in the summer! For non-face sunscreen I’ve been using John Masters Organics mineral sunscreen or when I’m really lazy Dr. Dennis Gross’s sheer mineral spray. Not all the “cleanest” options but better than a lot of alternatives :)

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      I’m gonna have to check out the Sheer Spray. I use a dirty, generic SPF spray for my body. So yeah. Guilty :)

  • Kelly

    Been using Pratima for a few years now and it’s so amazing. I keep trying other sunscreens just to see what’s out there and pratima just outshines them all.

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Totally agree with you! Always fun to look, but we know Pratima is the one :)

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  • shortsmallsweet

    Love this roundup! Have you tried 100%Pure tinted moisturizer with spf20? My skin is breakout-prone with the wrong sunscreens too, and that doesn’t break me out plus I like that it evens out the skin tone nicely. I do like DeVita though, it didn’t give me the piling issue. :) I will try Pratima next summer!

  • http://thenotice.net Rae // theNotice

    Girl, I didn’t know you were half-Asian! *Asian high-fives* (but you can only have half of a high-five.)

    I’m already set for sunscreens this summer, but I’m bookmarking this post for next year!! The Pratima sunscreen you mentioned is at the top of my wishlist — Jenny (My Funny Valentine) loved it as well, and I figure if it can handle Australian sun, it can handle Albertan sun :P

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Believe it! I’m a quarter Viet and a quarter Chinese and half Scottish (mom is the half and half Viet / Chinese). But alas, most people think I’m Latina or Native American … or just a dark Caucasian :) I will take my half high five!!!

      Which sunscreens do you have for this summer? Not that I need any more, but to add to my list!

      • http://thenotice.net Rae // theNotice

        I thought you were just Caucasian! /flails (Admittedly, though, I’m pretty bad at faces.)

        I’m testing some Marie Veronique for the blog right now, and so far, I’m loving their Everyday Coverage formula — but HATING their Everyday Sheer Coverage. It makes everything slide around weird when I try to apply anything overtop, but it’s too sheer to wear alone :/ It doesn’t even pill, just… shifts over. ¬_¬

  • http://beautybybritanie.com/ beautybybritanie

    Great post, babe!! I find second to mascara, sunscreens seem to be the hardest thing for people to find. I know I have had a hard time finding a sunscreen that doesn’t irritate my skin. The only ones I will use right now are Pratima (best ever), Suntegrity and the Badger Unscented for my body. None of these have irritated me or broken me out. I swear by the Pratima for everyone though, it really is the best and doesn’t leave over any type of cast at all. I also find it calms my skin. It’s amazing.

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Thanks lady! Sunscreens ARE difficult, and you are right, between irritation and white glow, it can be a mess. I also swear by Pratima … it’s just so lovely and smells great. Her whole line is quite amazing! Ayurveda is so healing. xoxo

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