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Non-Whitening Natural Sunscreen

Non-Whitening Natural Sunscreen

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I know that summer is winding down, but sunscreen is always a good idea. Well, nontoxic sunscreen that is. I agree that any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, but until a couple years ago I didn’t know how much gunk and toxic chemicals I was slathering all over my body. I did a deep dive into that information with a summer series a couple years ago. You can read them here: Nontoxic Face Sunscreen, Cruelty-Free NonToxic Reef-Safe Sunscreen, and Cruelty-Free and Nontoxic Self Tanner. The headline is that most sunscreens have not-so-safe chemicals and added fragrance. They aren’t great for your body AND they aren’t great for marine life. If you get in any body of water with creatures, you are actually harming them if you wear conventional sunscreen. It can kill off things like coral reefs and fish, in addition to winding up in your food. No bueno! If you are more of a pool dweller, at the very least, do your body a favor and find a sunscreen without added fragrance.

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I know a lot of people who would love to go more natural with sunscreen, but a lot of them are zinc based, which is basically like rubbing white paint into your skin. I don’t really have problem with it since I have pretty pale skin, but it annoys Nick a lot. Not only is it not the easiest to apply, but it turns his more olive toned skin into a casper the friendly ghost look alike. Hah! I get it. Those things are a turn off, especially if you have darker skin. That’s why I’m excited to share with you clear zinc / non-whitening options! Before I dive into those, I want to discuss how I try shop for sunscreen.

LA Hearts Pacsun Diana Bikini Top and Red Cari Bikini Bottom (similar here top and bottom, similar here top and bottom) | Melissa Slide Sandal | Aerie Sunglasses | Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Unscented SPF 30 | Badger Clear Zinc Unscented SPF 40 | Parasol | Business and Pleasure Co Laurens Cooler Bag | Straw Visor


Like lot of things these days, before I buy sunscreen I check the label. When I’m buying face sunscreen, I want it to have the shortest list as possible. I get excited when I see brands drop new sunscreen formulas (does this mean I’m old? hah!), but am usually saddened by how long and complicated the ingredient list is. I’m not against cleaner, man-made formulas (especially when they are for hypo-allergenic reasons), but good sunscreen just doesn't need that much gunk. I also prefer it not to have coconut oil in any form. Here’s why. For reference, I currently use Badger Unscented SPF 30 on my face and it literally has 5 ingredients. I’ll switch to the clear zinc version after I finish this tube, but again the white hue doesn’t really bother me. Pretty much all Badger sunscreens are rated a 1 by EWG, max 2. I’ve never tried their essential oil scented products. If I ever do, I would only put them on my body, not my face.

I currently use Kokua Hawaiian Sunscreen SPF 50 on my body. It definitely has white-cast. I don’t use it on my face because it has coconut oil. It has a slightly more complicated ingredient list, but EWG rates it a 2. I just got some SPF 40 (rates a 1 on EWG) I’m going to try out and I may switch both my face and body to that! If you don’t mind a slight white-cast, you can actually rub in regular zinc sunscreen pretty well.

Tips for rubbing in regular zinc sunscreen

I recommend doing your body in small sections versus trying to do it all at once. Additionally, rub it on your fingers / get it a little messy before apply and it will rub in easier and the white will be a lot less white.


Okay let’s get to the point! Here are my favorite clear zinc based nontoxic sunscreens that rub in clear. I have tried all of these and can easily recommend them. All of these rate 1 on EWG.

  • Badger Clear Zinc Unscented SPF 30. This is the clear zinc version of the one I currently use on my face. Nick uses this on his face. 2.9 oz, $17.99 currently on sale for $14.99.

  • Badger Clear Zinc Unscented SPF 40. This is the highest SPF I can find that has good ingredients and rubs in clear. It comes in this cute little tin that you can recycle or reuse. Not sure why it doesn’t come tube, but that doesn’t bother me. I may start using this on both my face and body after I finish both tubes I am in the middle of. 2.4 oz, $14.99.

  • Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Unscented SPF 30. Nick uses this for body sunscreen and loves it so much more than the previous non-clear version. It has more ingredients than the Badger products, but is still great. You can totally put it on your face, but we would just use it on our bodies alone.Side note - I like their after-sun aloe vera! 3 oz, $19.99 currently on sale for $10.80.

Also don’t sleep on Trader Joe’s Sunscreen! This TJ’s SPF 40 is rated 2 by EWG and is supposed to rub in clear though it has some reviews that say it doesn’t. In store it is around $5 - $7 making it the most bang for your buck since the tube is 5 oz!! I would use it on my body, but not my face. Another body sunscreen I would check out if you are looking for an aditional option is Sunny Screen by SuperGoop. It’s made for babies, but obviously anyone can use it. EWG rates it a 2. It doesn’t say anything about non-whitening, so unsure on that front as I have never used it. I have however used Juice Beauty Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 and like that! It does have a whitening effect though and does not rub in clear. EWG rates it a 2. I don’t use it on my face, but I do like their CC cream that has SPF 30. I haven’t used it in a while because it has coconut oil, but I never had any issues with it.

Here are a couple other options I would use on face. They are a little more chemically than what I listed above, but overall pretty good. Tula Protect and Glow is apparently non-whitening and EWG rates it a 2. I haven’t tried it, but have heard good things. Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen which is actually now a 2 instead of a 3 on EWG (!!!) and works SO well. It is actually a clear product, not one that has to rub in clear, but is white in the tube. It is velvety soft and works great under makeup. I haven’t tried Biossance’s new sunscreen formula (I tried their original one), but this one is apparently more sheer / less white and is EWG verified, meaning it has the lowest rating. People also rave about Beautycounter’s Countersun screen and EWG rates it a 2. I’ve never tried Ilia’s SPF 40 foundation but am definitely intrigued.

A couple other notes about zinc based natural sunscreen…it is kind of expensive for the amount you get. It hasn’t kept me from purchasing, but it is something I for sure noticed. I wish there was at least a bigger bottle option that was slightly less expensive per oz, though I realize sunscreen is something a lot of people use for only 3 months out of the year and it might go bad. That’s right! Don’t forget to check your sunscreen’s expiration date! You don’t want to burn and find out the hard way it wasn’t good anymore. ALSO, try to buy non-spray sunscreens when possible. Not only can you control where the sunscreen actually goes better, but it is better for your health and the environment. Research spray bottles like that if you want to learn more / find out what is in them. Anddd my last thought is to make sure you clean off the sunscreen well. Natural sunscreen is “stickier” if you will and takes a little extra scrubbing. I always double cleanse my face when I wear sunscreen too.

And that’s a wrap! Do you have any favorite nontoxic sunscreens that are also whitening? We go to the beach at least once a week, so we go through sunscreen like its water. Always down to try a new product!!

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