Health & WellnessLife & Style

10 Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Sunscreen Brands for Summer

Woman applying sunscreen at the beach. Photographed by Retha Ferguson. Image via Pexels

This summer is the perfect time to invest in a a sustainable and eco-friendly sunscreen! 

With Australia’s summer season fast approaching, before long we’re going to be packing our beach bags with all of our summer essentials we need for the day out in the sun. Of course, sunscreen is high on that list as we know the necessity of protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. However, have you ever thought about the environmental impact of your sunscreen?

With studies proving the harm certain ingredients have on marine ecosystems (most especially oxybenzone and octinoxate) which may further contribute to coral bleaching; now more than ever is the best time to uncover the layers of ingredients found in our most commonly used skincare products.

While these terms may sound like a foreign language, the alternative ingredient you’ll want to look for instead is zinc oxide which physically blocks UVA/B rays, instead of soaking up the rays as chemical sunscreens do. It also won’t harm the reefs when worn in the water. Both your body and our pristine oceans will thank you for it.

So, to help you find the best sustainable and environmentally-friendly sunscreens to use this summer, we’ve found 10 brands that are both safe for our oceans and our bodies:


<strong>SunButter Skincare</strong> SunButter Sunscreen
Image via the SunButter Skincare website

SunButter Skincare SunButter Sunscreen

Founded in 2016 by marine biologist Sacha and conservation ecologist Tom, the brand was created by the duo who wanted to make a reef-friendly sunscreen whilst they were working with whale sharks on Western Australia’s pristine Ningaloo Reef. Leading the way in sustainable sunscreen, SunButter offers a plastic-free, four-hour water resistant, SPF-50 ocean-friendly sunscreen that is easy to rub in and leaves your skin feeling moisturised. As well as that, SunButter also has a broad range to try out including the Surf Zinc which is perfect for extended outdoor activities or their Family Sunscreen Pack which doubles as the perfect gift for beach loving families.

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<strong>Wotnot Naturals</strong> Natural Sunscreen
Image via the Wotnot website

Wotnot Naturals Natural Sunscreen

Wotnot pride themselves on being suitable for the whole family with a wide range of products that are all natural and certified organic. Their 30 SPF Natural Sunscreen ($28.99) is reef-friendly, moisturising, suitable for sensitive and delicate skin and utilises the ingredient zinc oxide that is used to reflect the UV rays instead soaking them up. As another plus, Wotnot’s packaging is also recyclable. For parents wanting to purchase a safe, family-friendly sunscreen, this is a great choice.

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<strong>Seed & Sprout</strong> Natural Sunscreen
Image via the Seed & Sprout website

Seed & Sprout Natural Sunscreen

Seed & Sprout’s Natural plastic-free Sunscreen ($29) comes in a reusable tin and is infused with beneficial coconut, jojoba and avocado oils. It is available in tinted or untinted shades and is 100% reef-safe, vegan, palm oil-free and is even SPF-50. Seed & Sprout was started by Byron Bay mum Sophie, who wanted to make plastic-free alternatives of the everyday products we use. Better yet, for other beautiful and practical alternatives such as lunch boxes, shampoos and hand sanitising bars, be sure to check out Seed & Sprout’s full collection.

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<strong>We Are Feel Good Inc.</strong> Signature Sunscreen Lotion
Image via the We Are Feel Good Inc website

We Are Feel Good Inc. Signature Sunscreen Lotion

Designed to make you feel good both inside and out, this eco-friendly sunscreen will glide smoothly onto your skin without stickiness. Available in a 200mL ($27.95) or 400mL bottle ($42.95), We Are Feel Good Inc. makes quality sunscreens without the undesirable chemicals of oxybenzone and octinoxate. You’ll also come across the Sensitive Sunscreen, the Coconut Sunscreen and other products such as the Sticky Zinc and Coco Milk Moisturiser for your sun-care range. And for that extra step towards sustainability, We Are Feel Good Inc. also has a great recycling program for used and empty bottles – simply wash it and drop it off at your local collection point (see website for more details).

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<strong>Little Urchin</strong> Natural Sunscren
Image via the Little Urchin website

Little Urchin Natural Sunscren

This sunscreen is named after the sea urchin, a critter who has amazingly evolved to produce its own natural sunscreen. Driven by mother nature, the Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen ($24.95) has all the qualities we are after – it’s non-greasy, reef-friendly, water-resistant and packaged in recyclable materials. The formula is also rich in antioxidants, boasting ingredients such as organic cucumber, green tea and rosehip. Plus, Little Urchin also sells a tinted sunscreen and a daily moisturiser to add to your skincare collection too.

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<strong>Simple as That</strong> Natural Sunscreen Lotion
Image via the Simple as That website

Simple as That Natural Sunscreen Lotion

Making their products from scratch and only using high quality ingredients, Simple as That makes a vegan, lightweight mineral sunscreen ($29.95) enriched with rosehip oil, green tea as well as red raspberry seed oil – a natural protectant against UVA/B rays. They strive to utilise fair trade and organic ingredients, in turn supporting local Australian farmers and ensuring they source only the purest ingredients. Containing 21% zinc oxide and no preservatives, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be harming your body or the oceans with this luxurious sunscreen.

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<strong>Sun & Earth</strong> Natural Zinc
Image via the Sun & Earth website

Sun & Earth Natural Zinc

Sun & Earth makes a creamy all-day zinc ($24.95) in the shades Sandy Light, Earthy Cocoa and Sunny Tan to protect and nourish your skin. It can be used as an everyday BB cream, but with the added benefit of high-grade sun protection. With sustainability at the forefront, each of their products are handmade by solar power in New South Wales and is finally packaged in a stylish plastic-free tin. This SPF 30 cream will keep you protected in the water, as thanks to the local beeswax in the product, it will last for hours in the surf. And, of course, no nasty chemicals will be entering our beautiful oceans.

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<strong>Synergie Skin</strong> ÜberZinc Body
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Synergie Skin ÜberZinc Body

Operated by cosmetic chemist, mother of two and passionate clean science enthusiast Terri Vinson, Australian skincare company Synergie Skin has formulated the ÜberZinc Body sunscreen ($59) with 30% zinc oxide. Our favourite protector of UVA/B rays, the ÜberZinc’s Body zinc oxide is also combined with the added antioxidant and blue light protector lycopene, which is derived from tomato skin extract. This broad-spectrum sunscreen has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which are great for reducing skin redness and controlling oil activity. It is also safe for babies and our precious environment.

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<strong>Tribe Skincare</strong> Protect Me! Day Moisturiser
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Tribe Skincare Protect Me! Day Moisturiser

Tribe Skincare is an Australian company that prides itself on being natural, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, with skincare designed to soothe and hydrate sensitive skin. As well as other high-quality products, they offer the lightweight and non-greasy Protect Me! Day Moisturiser ($58) with SPF 30, which is great for everyday use especially living with the harsh Australian sun. With its cute tropical packaging, having a bottle of this moisturiser in your collection might just be the incentive you need to start incorporating SPF into your daily skincare routine. Also using zinc oxide, this moisturiser is another natural sun-blocking alternative.

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<strong>DU'IT</strong> Tough Lips
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DU'IT Tough Lips

Another essential skincare summer product to add to your beach bag is a lip balm to pop on after your day in the sun. Packed with natural ingredients such as grape seed extract, beeswax, Vitamin E, and shea butter, the Tough Lips intensive lip balm by DU’IT ($5.95) will instantly rehydrate and repair your lips, especially if they have had excessive UV exposure. While this lip balm doesn’t contain any SPF, a moisturising lip balm is the perfect addition to your post-beach skincare routine.

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In the market for some new skincare? Why not have a look at 5 Australian made and plant-based beauty products? Or if you are on the road to living a more eco-conscious life, check out our 5 tips on making your wardrobe more sustainable.

Feature image: Photographed by Retha Ferguson. Image via Pexels