Our favourite natural sunscreens
Living in Australia, having a great daily sunscreen is essential. But so often sunscreens are made using toxic ingredients, leaving us wondering if we’re causing harm to our skin and the environment in the process.
The good news is that you can protect your skin without the use of harsh chemicals. With the growing range of natural sunscreens available, we had a few of the Bondi Wash team research, test and hand-select some of the best natural sunscreens on the market.
What to look for when choosing a natural sunscreen:
Natural sunscreens are typically formulated with minerals that offer high sun protection, without the use of chemicals or harsh preservatives. Mineral sunscreens contain tiny particles of minerals, typically zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, that act as a physical shield to reflect the sun’s rays. They provide immediate broad-spectrum coverage from both UVA (long-term damage) and UVB (sunburn) rays - compared to chemical sunscreens which typically take 30 minutes to be absorbed.
A good natural sunscreen will often contain botanical extracts or skin-boosting actives to further nourish and soothe the skin. We also like to choose sunscreens that are labelled as ‘Reef Safe’. Many sunscreens contain ingredients that are damaging for coral reefs and marine ecosystems when worn in the ocean (which often means they aren’t great for humans either).
What to avoid:
Look out for sunscreens made using chemical ingredients – in particular, oxybenzone (1), octinoxate (2) and octocrylene have been found to cause some worrisome effects on hormones and irritate skin. We also suggest avoiding sunscreens with added fragrance as these synthetic scents can often irritate skin and clog pores.
The best natural sunscreens in Australia
This is my go-to sunscreen for every day. It’s lightweight, fast-absorbing and doesn’t feel greasy. I use is daily on my face and keep it in my bag to top up if I have a long day in the sun.
A great choice if you’re after something to double as a primer under make-up. It’s rich and nourishing but doesn’t leave a white finish like many thicker sunscreens. I like that it contains natural antioxidants including niacinamide and aloe vera to give your skin an extra boost of hydration.
The Kind Sunscreen is my top-pick for an everyday natural sunscreen. It uses a zinc-oxide formula which means it sits on the skin acting as a barrier to UV rays, rather than absorbing into the body. It’s non-irritating, light-weight, and more affordable than many mineral sunscreens that I researched.
Another zinc-based formula that I tried and loved – made by a small Australian brand in WA. It’s full of skin-boosting ingredients including avocado oil and vitamin-E to nourish and hydrate. It’s easy to apply (you only need a small amount), fragrance-free and left my skin feeling glowy and soft.
This has been my most-trusted face sunscreen for years now. Made with truly natural ingredients, the texture feels a bit thick when squeezed out, but once on the skin, it absorbs beautifully and doesn’t leave a shiny residue. I have very sensitive skin and find this doesn’t irritate at all. It’s also ocean and reef safe!
I was recently gifted the Ultra Violette SPF50+ as a Christmas present and it’s become a new essential in my morning skincare routine. I wear the tinted fluid as it provides the perfect priming base under makeup. It sinks in softly and leaves my skin with a bright, natural finish but doesn’t clog my pores.
Hero image source: The Kind Sunscreen