Shopping Guide to Natural Sunscreen

natural sunscreen shopping guide

natural sunscreen shopping guide

In the Australian summer, you can’t get away from sunscreen. It’s an essential part of your summer sun safety. But you need to make sure that you’re choosing a sunscreen with good ingredients.

And that means looking for a sunscreen that uses a physical barrier, rather than a chemical absorber, to protect you from the sun.  Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide physically block the sun. Chemical absorbers protect you by absorbing the sun’s rays. But there can be lots of issues with chemical absorbers, from health to environmental issues.

That’s why I always recommend using a natural, mineral based sunscreen like zinc based ones. There’s a large range of natural sunscreens now. And so it becomes difficult to choose!

Don’t forget to check out our Safer Natural Sunscreen Cheat Sheet, for an indepth look at 25 different Australian sunscreens.

Tips on using a natural sunscreen:

Zinc sunscreens are thick – that’s how you get the physical barrier and the sun protection. But there are a few tips to make it work for you.

  • Knead the tube before you squeeze it out, especially on a cooler day. I’ve found that if it gets hot, the oil can separate so you need to kind of squish it back next time yo use it. On a hot day, just give it a good shake before you apply.
  • Warm it between your hands before you apply to help it go on more easily.
  • Apply the sunscreen a bit at a time, and rub it in well. Then move on to the next area. This works better than squeezing a great big blob in to your hand and trying to cover everywhere at once.
  • If you have olive or darker skin tone, most zinc based sunscreens are going to leave a white cast. Try using a tinted sunscreen and rub it in well.
  • Remove zinc sunscreens with a face washer or baby wipe, plus warm water and a gentle soap.

Over the years, my family have use every single sunscreen we stock here at Hello Charlie. So here’s my opinion on them all:

Eco Logical Sunscreen – Baby

Our bestselling baby sunscreen!

  • Face: okay, but you’re better to use the face sunscreen
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: neutral. Not drying, but not moisturising either.
  • White cast: yes
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: anyone over 6 months
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Eco Logical Sunscreen – Body

  • Face: no
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: neutral. Not drying, but not moisturising either.
  • White cast: slight white cast, but rubs in well
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: better for kids and adults, although safe for babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: very water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

 

Eco Logical Sunscreen – Face

  • Face: yes
  • Body: you can, but it’s better for face
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: didn’t dry out my dry skin too much
  • White cast: very slightly white, good if you rub it in really well. Pop a tinted moisturiser over this for good, natural coverage
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: better for kids and adults, although safe for babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

Eco Tan (Eco by Sonya) Natural Sunscreen

  • Face: yes
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: good on my dry skin, tested by oily skinned friends who liked this, too
  • White cast: no, rubs in clear
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: better for kids and adults, although safe for babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Grahams Natural Sunclear Sunscreen

  • Face: yes, although maybe not under makeup, depending on your skin
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: yes, without being greasy
  • White cast: no, rubs on clear like the name says
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: better for kids and adults, although safe for babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 2 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Little Innoscents Natural Sunscreen

  • Face: no, too oily
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: yes
  • Moisturising: very moisturising, so great if you’ve got dry skin
  • White cast: yes. Not so bad if you rub it in well.
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen

  • Face: okay for face, but possibly not under makeup. Read the review here
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: not once you rub it in
  • Moisturising: not super moisturising, so you may need to moisturise once you’ve washed it off
  • White cast: very slightly white, but it rubs in well
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen – Tinted

  • Face: okay for face
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: not once it’s rubbed in
  • Moisturising: I need to moisturise after I wash this off, but I have very dry skin
  • White cast: no, because it’s tinted
  • Fragrance: yes (natural from coconut oil)
  • Babies, kids or adults: better for kids and adults, but safe for babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Natural Instinct Invisible Sunscreen:

  • Face: okay for face as it’s not greasy. See the review here
  • Body: great for body
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: not really. I find this a little drying on my (already dry) skin, but my two boys like this one
  • White cast: like the name says, it’s pretty much invisible once you rub it in
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Natural Instinct Tinted Face Sunscreen:

  • Face: okay for face as it’s not greasy, and it’s tinted. See the review here
  • Body: great for body
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: not too bad. Better than the invisible one
  • White cast: no, as it’s tinted
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: better for kids and adults, but safe for babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Natural Instinct Kids Sunscreen:

  • Face: okay for face as it’s not greasy, and it’s tinted. See the review here
  • Body: great for body
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: better than the invisible one, but dry skins may need to moisturise after using this one
  • White cast: a little bit of a white cast, but rubs in okay
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Simple As That Sunscreen:

  • Face: ideal for face and for wearing under makeup. See my review here.
  • Body: works well on your body, too.
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: neutral. I have dry skin, and find that I have to moisturise after this. But if you have normal or oily skin, you wouldn’t need to.
  • White cast: no, doesn’t take much to rub it in.
  • Fragrance: yes (natural)
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Soleo Organics Natural Sunscreen

  • Face: too oily
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: can be a little, but okay if you rub it in well
  • Moisturising: yes
  • White cast: can leave a slight whiteness, but rubs in well
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

UV Natural Baby Sunscreen

  • Face: no, too oily
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: yes
  • Moisturising: very. Skin doesn’t feel dry after a day at the beach
  • White cast: no, as it has a little bit of a tint
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 2 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

UV Natural Lip Sunscreen Sport

  • Face: yes, designed for lips
  • Body: no
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: not like a lip balm, but it won’t dry your lips
  • White cast: just enough to make your lips look pale
  • Fragrance:
  • Babies, kids or adults: kids and adults
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

UV Natural Sunscreen

  • Face: no, too oily for face
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: yes
  • Moisturising: very. Skin doesn’t feel dry after a day at the beach or pool
  • White cast: no, as it has a little bit of a tint
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 2 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

UV Natural Sport Sunscreen

  • Face: too oily
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: yes
  • Moisturising: very moisturising, won’t dry your skin out
  • White cast: no, as it has a little bit of a tint
  • Fragrance: yes, from essential oils
  • Babies, kids or adults: best for kids and adults because of the essential oils
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: 3 hours water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Wotnot Natural Sunscreen 100g  &  150g

  • Face: no, too oily for face
  • Body: yes
  • Greasy: yes
  • Moisturising: yes, great for dry skin
  • White cast: yes, but absorbs pretty well when you rub it in
  • Fragrance: no
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

 

Wotnot Sunscreen for Face:

  • Face: ideal for face and under makeup. See my review here
  • Body: works well on your body, too
  • Greasy: no
  • Moisturising: neutral. I have dry skin, and find that I have to moisturise after this. Friends with normal and oily skin found they didn’t need to
  • White cast: no, requires very little rubbing in
  • Fragrance: yes (natural)
  • Babies, kids or adults: good for everyone from babies 6 months +
  • SPF: 30+
  • Water proof: water resistant
  • Reef friendly: yes

Please bear in mind that I’ve tested these on myself, family and friends and that you might find something I said was drying is actually oily on your skin. Or perhaps you’ve got a darker skin tone than my (English & Scottish heritage) family. This is just a guide to try and help answer the many questions I get asked about natural sunscreens! Vanessa xx

Like this? Why not Pin it?

How the New Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen Stacks Up

little-urchin-natural-mineral-sunscreen

little-urchin-natural-mineral-sunscreen

Did you know that, like humans, sea urchins are sensitive to light and chemicals? Sea urchins are such clever little guys. They create their own natural sunscreen to protect their little ones from the sun’s harsh rays. And that’s what inspired the new Little Urchin natural mineral sunscreen.

Little Urchin was developed when Chris Mathews’ daughter was at day care. The day care used sunscreens on the children, quite rightly in our Australian sun. But the sunscreens chosen weren’t great. So Sydney dad Chris decided to formulate his own, and Little Urchin was born.

Chris worked with one of Australia’s leading sunscreen formulators to develop a natural, mineral based sunscreen. The result is rich in nourishing oils, butters and antioxidants, as well as great sun protection.

I received a tube of the Little Urchin sunscreen to review, and I was so impressed that we’re now stocking it at Hello Charlie.

What I like about Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen

  • SPF 30
  • 3 hour water resistant
  • Zinc based mineral sunscreen
  • Doesn’t leave you looking like a ghost!
  • Broad spectrum, UVA and UVB protection
  • Non greasy
  • No chemical absorbers
  • All natural, no preservatives
  • Safe for hypersensitive skin and babies 6 months and older
  • Fragrance free
  • TGA certified
  • Reef safe and eco friendly
  • Proudly made in Australia

I love a zinc based sunscreen. It’s a physical sun barrier made from natural  minerals, rather than a chemical sun absorber. You can find out more about the difference between chemical absorbers and physical barriers in sunscreen here.

Little Urchin Ingredients

Active: Zinc Oxide 22%. Inactive: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Grape Vine (Vitis Vinifera) Seed Oil, Silica, Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter, Candelilla (Euphorbia Cerifera Cera) Wax, Bees (Cera Alba ) Wax, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed) Oil, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Aqua, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Leaf Extract, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil, Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Rosehip (Rosa Canina) Fruit Oil.

I like the fact that it’s zinc based, and that there’s no titanium dioxide. It’s preservative free, thanks to all the oils. And I love the addition of the green tea, cucumber and rosehip oil. Just the thing for sensitive skins like mine!

little urchin natural mineral sunscreen

Review of Little Urchin Sunscreen

Like many kids, my two hate putting on sunscreen. They tolerated Little Urchin, because it’s lightweight on the skin, and it doesn’t feel greasy. It also doesn’t leave a white film on your skin, as long as you rub it in well. So let’s just say that I didn’t notice a white film on my face, but both the kids did. I’m just happy that they put sunscreen on, so I’m not going to quibble too much about getting them to rub it in. Pick your battles, right?

Like many oil based natural sunscreens, it can be thick coming out of the tube, especially on a cooler day. Knead the tube, give it a quick shake, and it’s all good.

We gave it to a friend’s daughter to try. The daughter has sensitive skin and eczema, and often reacts to sunscreen. She had no reaction, and no sunburn, but did say she didn’t like the smell. She’s used to fragranced sunscreens, so I can understand that. But both my boys and I thought it just smelled like zinc (which I personally think is the smell of summer!).

It’s been a thumbs up from all who have tried it, so I think we can safely say that the Little Urchin sunscreen is a winner!

And finally …

Another thing that I love about Little Urchin is that they’re a member of One Percent For The Planet. That means that they donate at least 1% of annual sales revenues to environmental organisations worldwide.

And an interesting fact sea urchins:  these small creatures are known to live more than 100 years without showing any biological signs of ageing!

Little Urchin natural mineral sunscreen is available at Hello Charlie.

Images: Little Urchin